One of the most advantageous ways another person, e.g., a coach, can be of service to you is by noticing when your body language tells something you may not be aware of.
Here’s an example:
One of my clients said she was struggling to decide whether she should go back to work or stay at home for her children for another year before returning to work.
I asked her to tell me a bit more about this. It became apparent that actually, she did know what she wanted to do and what felt like the right decision.
I’ll tell you how I noticed this is just a minute.
But first, I want to say that it is quite reasonable to say we don’t know what we want to do.
We may have, for example, cultural expectations that we might worry about. Or we may have some concerns about how we’ll do financially after making this decision vs. that decision.
I think it is useful for us to have a person, a trustworthy friend, or a coach who can be present with you at such a level that noticing these kinds of things becomes possible. This is why I prefer coaching my clients on video calls.
How the Body Language Reveals Things to the Trained Eye
Ok, so I promised to get back to the signs that told me this client already knew what she wanted to do.
I asked her if she was aware of how differently she used her body when describing the options she had.
When she talked about getting back to work, her posture and breathing changed. It seemed to me as if she suddenly had a heavy burden on her shoulders. Facial expressions were also different, as well as the tone of voice she used to describe this option.
When she talked about staying home a bit longer with her children, she sat more upright and had a more energetic tone of voice as she spoke. Her facial expression was also more positive.
I didn’t have an opinion about whether she should stay at home or go back to work. That’s not my job as a coach anyway.
Nevertheless, when you have someone who is truly present with you, it is an opportunity to become aware of things that you aren’t aware of yet.
I asked this client if she had noticed the differences. She said she hadn’t thought about it, but it made sense to her.
Thinking about returning to work feels heavier, and staying at home feels lighter. After all, my kids are not going to stay as little kids forever…
So, we had to figure out how she could choose this option and overcome the potential downsides and worries relating to this decision. But that’s another story for another time.