Coaching Essentials: Use of Body Language

(This blog post is Part IV in the Coaching series focusing on Coaching Essentials.

For previous posts in this series, go here: Part I – The Client’s RolePart II – The Components of Powerful Questions, or Part III – The Use of Accountability Tools) Body language always matters (just ask your spouse or boss). What are you doing to ensure your body language supports your cause?

body language

One component of Executive Coaching is the coach’s use of body language to build rapport, trust, and show interest in the client (Thanks for Mauricio Serratto for pointing this out to me tonight). These four tips for better body language should help you in every relationship:

1) Maintain Eye Contact Nothing shows interest better than eye contact. However, eye contact is uncomfortable. Tip: Look at the person’s eyebrows. This will make you feel less awkward and the other person will have no idea you aren’t actually looking into their eyes.

2) Turn Your Body Towards a Person If you are really interested in something, you not only listen but your actual body is pointing in the direction of it. Tip: When crossing your legs, make sure the foot of the leg on top is pointing towards the other person and not away from them.

3) Watch Your Arms Watch your arms for one day and think about what you are communicating. Folded arms or hands in your pockets tell people you are uninterested. Tip: Keep your arms unfolded/uncrossed and your hands open. You are sending a message that you are a safe place for a person to share and you are open to hearing what they have to say.

4) Avoid Distractions What do cell phones, clocks, watches, tablets, and other devices all have in common? When meeting with someone, they all can easily turn into a distraction for you and send the wrong signal to the other person (ie you don’t care about what they are saying, you are too busy for them). Tip: Turn your cell phone ringer off, don’t look at your watch, and keep your attention 100% focused on the other person. Try this for one day and you’ll see how difficult this is and how beneficial it can be for your relationships or coaching clients. What other tips do you have? Which of these do you need to utilize first?