When we talk about body language, we refer to the non-verbal cues that people send and receive. Body language can be a subtle way of revealing one’s emotional state, intended meaning, or disposition. While there are more direct forms of communication, professional life coaches argue that body language has a profound impact on the way we communicate and provides an accurate reflection of internal feelings (Cortel, 2021).
Body language has been explored as a significant influence in human relationships and communications through the scientific study of kinesics (Life Coach Directory, 2020). This field studies the motions of the body and the impact of non-verbal communication (Life Coach Directory, 2020).
For managers or other professional workers, non-verbal cues can help people to evaluate and assess the reactions of clients or employees (Life Coach Directory, 2020). For life coaches, it is important to understand body language and its effects in order to provide quality coaching to clients.
How Body Language Affects Communication
In order to succeed in a life coach career, it’s important to understand how body language is used to communicate. Research commonly suggests that individuals understand each other by interpreting different avenues of communication in different proportions (Currie, 2013). Only 7% of how we communicate is through words, 38% is through voice tone and pitch, and 55% is through body language (Life Coach Directory, 2020). Accordingly, 93% of our interactions are nonverbal (Life Coach Directory, 2020)
Nonverbal communication can be broken down into different categories: facial expressions and body proxemics (Life Coach Directory, 2020). The facial area is key to understanding emotions, as an individual makes facial gestures and micro-expressions when they feel a strong emotion (Life Coach Directory, 2020). Body proxemics – or movements – are other important nonverbal cues, communicating an individual’s preferences and nervousness (Life Coach Directory, 2020). Professional life coaches will be able to interpret nonverbal communication in clients to provide a more personalized and accurate coaching plan.
The Relationship Between Body Language and Confidence
Research consistently shows that body language is a powerful asset in business, relationships, dating, and daily encounters (Life Coach Directory, 2020). Students in certified life coach training will learn how to build confidence in clients to take on both personal and professional pursuits. Professional life coaches highlight the importance of moving and acting confidently to achieve positive results (Currie, 2013). Motion and purposeful action can help to boost your natural energy levels while conveying confidence to those around you (Currie, 2013). In that sense, an individual’s body language is closely linked to their confidence (Academic Life Coaching, 2018).
This idea extends to those in a professional life coaching career. By being mindful of their physical coaching presence, life coaches can create a safe space for building their client’s confidence (Academic Life Coaching, 2018). This in turn can lead the client to become more open and responsive in coaching sessions (Academic Life Coaching, 2018).
Interpreting Meaning in Body Language for Those in a Life Coach Career
Knowing how to accurately read body language is a skill that can be developed through training, experience, and careful observation. Interpreting non-verbal language involves decoding and encoding (Life Coach Directory, 2020). Decoding is the process of deciphering someone’s body language, while encoding refers to your ability to control your own non-verbal behaviour and the impression that you give to others (Life Coach Directory, 2020). Graduates of a life coach program should understand the uses of nonverbal language and provide assistance to clients on how they can adapt their communication methods to improve their relationships. By understanding the impact of body language, professionals can offer supportive and quality coaching.
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Academic Life Coaching (2018). How Does Your Body Language Influence Your Coaching. Retrieved from https://www.academiclifecoaching.com/2018/04/how-does-your-body-language-influence-your-coaching/
Cortel, J. (2021). The Importance of Body Language – Coaching For Improvement Part Two. Retrieved from https://www.jasoncortel.com/psychology-body-language-coaching-improvement/
Currie, M. (2013). Secrets of Body Language. Retrieved from https://www.lifecoachhub.com/coaching-articles/secrets-of-body-language/281
Life Coach Directory (2020). Principles of non-verbal behaviour and communication. Retrieved from https://www.lifecoach-directory.org.uk/memberarticles/principles-of-non-verbal-behaviour-and-communication