One of the things that’s really different about the problem space is that you’re paying attention to people and their purposes not to your solutions. You’re not even getting into generating ideas yet. All you’re trying to do is absorb that person’s approach to the purpose. Absorbing their interior cognition takes time. It takes trust. You need to get to their core inner thinking, emotional reactions, and guiding principles to develop cognitive empathy. You can’t understand them just based on their opinions and preferences, or explanations and descriptions. You have to get to depth in the problem space, so that you understand how their thinking changes from context to context. As if you were studying to be them, to act their part in addressing the purpose.
It’s connecting with the people and understanding what’s going on in their minds. How did they address their purpose their way? How do they decide to do what they did? What was it like emotionally? What guiding principles did they use to decide, and how did they develop those guiding principles? This kind of listening is called empathic listening. It is a type of active listening or non-directed interview.
You can conduct a listening session using any communication medium that is comfortable for the other person, and for you. You can conduct a listening session via text messages, for example, for 15 minutes a day for a week, or something. Communicate in the manner that best allows the person to unfold their interior cognition as they addressed their purpose, in the recent or memorable past.
Allow yourself to follow the person, not lead. Give yourself the freedom to go where they lead, into side-trips and related concepts. It’s not about your solution or how you intend to support the person. It’s about how they addressed their purpose.
In a listening session you don’t take notes. In most cases you make a record of it. Instead of notes, pay rapt attention to the person. Notice if they are at interior cognition or not and help them there if needed. Notice if they feel comfortable communicating with you. Build trust. That is what a listening session is.