A large part of coaching is reading the emotional field. When I sense a shift in the energy of a call, I will make note of it and ask, “What just happened?” Those moments are magical because they’re the ones that so easily get stepped over in regular life. It’s in those in-between spaces that the truth is held.
While most of my coaching is done one-to-one over the phone, in-person sessions offer a different advantage–visually seeing a change of expression or body movement. I told a participant in yesterday’s Mastermind Group that I wished I’d had a camera to record her facial expressions. As much as I could describe what I saw to her, there’s nothing like seeing it yourself to realize the impact.
During one of my Leadership retreats in California–one I was participating in, not leading–an assistant was constantly recording our activities with a video camera. When the discussion came around to a leader’s impact–intended or unintended–we were shown digital footage of ourselves when we weren’t aware of the camera.
It turned out that one of the biggest take-aways for me throughout the year long program was seeing the recording of myself and my default expression. Ugh! I looked angry, skeptical and confused. Henry Kimsey-House, one of the founders of the Coaches Training Institute, was a co-leader of this program. He said that he knows what his facial expression looks like when he’s checking out at the grocery store and when he’s arguing with his wife. He has made a conscious decision to take full responsibility for his impact on the world at all times starting with the awareness of his own facial expression.
Since that experience, I take stock on a regular basis of my expression wherever I am. It’s become part of my daily awareness, and I consciously note to myself, “Change your expression, Jane. Smile, relax, let go.”