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How should a life coach interpret vocal cues and body language?

As a life coach, you are responsible for providing advice, mentorship and counselling to your clients. Your ability to provide helpful, useful advice all depends on whether or not you are able to properly assess your client’s needs.

While your client may express their specific needs verbally, you will need to be able to assess their body language and non-verbal communication. This will give you an increased understanding of who they are as a person and will give you a glimpse into their personal beliefs system. How they react to the things that you say or do can say a lot more than what their words would lead you to believe.

Forms of non-verbal communication

Forms of non-verbal communication to look out for can include:

  • Facial gestures and expressions
  • Body posture
  • The ability to maintain eye contact.

Vocal cues also play a part in enforcing the message being shared – and may often be contradictory when used incorrectly. There’s a meme on social media that states, “grammar saves lives”, which is true when it comes to your tone as well. The same way in which punctuation can change the entire meaning of a sentence, so can your tone or expression.

Vocal cues do not only include the words spoken, but rather the manner in which they are said. The expression “it’s not what you say but rather how you say it” definitely comes into play here. The same phrase repeated in different tones or emotions can relay completely different messages. If your tone does not match what you are saying, it can result in miscommunication and cause quite a bit of confusion.

The life coach’s body language and vocal cues are important

Having said all of this, your vocal cues and body language are just as important as your client’s when it comes to meetings or counselling sessions. Just as you are analysing them, they are analysing you too – and you will never know the extent to which this analysing will go. Some people will take it as it comes and nothing more, while others will be the complete opposite – overanalysing everything you say and do in search of a hidden meaning or agenda.

It is therefore important that you remain conscious of your appearance and the manner in which you portray yourself in order to establish a trusting relationship with your client. By taking note of their body language and vocal cues, you will get a good indication of the way in which you should portray yourself in order to better connect with them and further understand what is being said – deeper than the words spoken. This will also allow your client to become more at ease with you and more open to sharing their genuine thoughts with you.

A life coach should interpret body language and body cues with the same amount of effort and forethought as they would with the actual verbal conversation. It is also important to share these interpersonal skills with your client in order to enable them to assist them in further developing their relationship-building skills in order to progress successfully in all aspects of life.

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