Listening for Candor:  Building Trust to Bridge Power Divides with Peter Yaholkovsky


It’s easy to feel drowned out, overlooked, or even silenced amidst the clamor of opinions and power plays. But what if, amid this chaos, we dared to pause and embrace a far reaching act—the profound power of listening?

Imagine a world where instead of engaging in heated debates, we develop genuine, attentive listening. Not merely hearing words, but understanding the deeper nuances of human interaction and connection, even when on the surface, it seems to be only about the money. 

My guest on your SUPERPOWER listening podcast, Peter Yaholkovsky, has an extensive background in the linguistic foundations of trust and communication, having studied and worked with Dr. Fernando Flores since the 1980’s and being certified by the Strozzi Institute as a Master Somatic Coach. Over the past three decades, Peter has coached families and executive teams in building and restoring trust. Prior to his consulting career,  Peter practiced Internal Medicine as a Board Certified Internist after graduating from Stanford University and UC Davis Medical School. His recently published book, Listening for Candor, illuminates a path for trust conversations by building a shared sense of what matters.

Looking back, he sees the through-line is communication — wrapping around trust as trust wraps around ‘what really matters’ — which comes down to commitment and responsibility. He shares examples about how to deal with what matters to you, me, and us together. The question is: how do we build a ‘we’ with substance? 

In this episode, Peter shares how to pause and truly listen, recognizing what truly matters so that “we” can move forward and work together towards shared goals. .

“Possibilities start taking shape, all built from what matters and what’s important to pay attention to.” – Peter Yaholkovsky 


02:25 – That moment he noticed the power of listening: In the early eighties when I became engaged with what communication is and the various commitments we make in speaking.

11:38 – What he would tell his younger self now as a medical practitioner back then.

17:18 – How listening interplays with power: Always listen for what matters.

26:16 – Consciously designing conversations: It is helpful to understand the difference between a statement of facts and an interpretation.

28:32 – How to argue with opinions: Find a way to move together into the future.

33:57 – Getting your voice heard amidst power plays: Get everybody lined up with what matters.

37:57 – Big difference between operational versus personal relationship

44:09 – Peter’s inspiration to write his book, Listening for Candor

52:21 – Where you can get a copy of ‘Listening for Candor

Key Takeaways:

“Listening is not like an algorithm. It is a discovery of information that then makes a decision going this way or that.” – Peter Yaholkovsky

“Listening is connecting with the world,…the aspirations, the possibilities, the constraints of the other, and moving together to orient them for going forward.” – Peter Yaholkovsky

“When listening, I’m looking at the interplay of relationships, concerns, engagement, commitment, and what’s the underlying overlying big deal, hardly ever spoken — trust.” – Peter Yaholkovsky

“If you’re listening for what matters and what matters is I protect myself, or what matters is I’m right. That’s not headed for building trust.” – Peter Yaholkovsky

“Listening is not just receiving information. Listening is an engagement with the intention of another.” – Peter Yaholkovsky


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