Techniques for Helping Coaching Clients Express Emotions

    July 7, 2003

The first rule for helping clients uncover and express emotions is to be observant. Watch and listen for signs that indicate what is going on inside of your clients. This requires that you be in the moment with them, and that you listen at level Three, were you are aware of your client and yourself. You will need to trust your intuition at times, since some of these signs will be subtle. At other times it will be very obvious. In Hypnosis we refer to powerful emotions during a session as an abreaction, which sounds like a bad thing, but is actually very theraputic and a sign you are doing good work.

Here are some of the key signals to pay attention for, note that some of these require you to observe and may not be available when doing phone work.

1) Change in the rate of breathing

2) A heavy sigh

3) Face turning red

4) Tearing up

5) Quivering lip.

6) Facial tic or twitch

7) Trembling

8) Stuttering

9) Childlike voice

Here are some things you can say to help them open up. Some of these are power questions, some are to build rapport, and some are to help you keep the focus.

1) I sense that you are feeling uncomfortable talking about this

2) You look/sound sad (or which ever feeling) as you share that

3) What just happened?

4) I know that I’m feeling a little (feeling) as you share that

5) How does that make you feel?

6) Put and ending on this, “right now I feel” (or “this makes me feel”)

7) I know you don’t know. But if you did, what do you think you might be feeling?

8) If that feeling could speak right now, what would it say?

Important! Make sure that you never appear to judge your client negatively when they express a feeling. In fact, each time it occurs, make sure you reward them and praise it, this will not only make them feel better about opening up, but will increase rapport.

Some examples:

1) Wow! That was amazing!

2) That was really courageous. It takes a lot of guts to talk about your feelings like that.

3) I admire your ability to talk about that.

4) I appreciate that you were willing to share that with me.

Craig Eubanks is an Author, Trainer, and Communication Skills Specialist and is one of the Founders of Act Now International LLC. Sign up for the FREE Success Skills Digest newsletter at the Act Now website.