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Graham Hooper – Body Language

Driving Instructor Trainer Blog for Driving Instructors

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In the last article, I talked about intuition and was looking at body language, and how it emphasises our communication, but also how it is often used to mask our concerns.

I want to start this article by further listing how the arms and legs can also demonstrate how we are feeling:

• Arms crossed: defensive, feeling protective about the topic.

• Arms linked behind the head: superior, aggressive.

• Arms dangling behind a chair: disengaged.

• Stroking the shoulder: self-comforting, self-rewarding.

• Stroking forearms: self-comforting.

• Legs crossed: defensive, uncomfortable with the topic.

• Feet twisted around each other: anxious, uncomfortable.

• Stroking thighs: self-comforting.

• Feet swinging playful, feeling dependent.

• Legs bouncing up and down: anxious, impatient.

• Legs stretched out in front: feeling comfortable.


Body language is great for building rapport and matching body language can often work in making someone feel at ease. Using your intuition and being subtle are key factors when matching body language. If you blatantly copy you will smash any rapport to pieces.

Once rapport is gained you can use mismatching body language to manage the pace of the session, to either speed things up by putting energy into the session, or to slow things down by changing your breathing and tone of voice.


I suggest that a great way to be able to judge yourself and to raise your self-awareness is to video your coaching sessions; here are some rules.


1. Avoid watching it back straight away.

2. The first time you watch it look for what went well.

3. The second time start to think about how you could do something differently.

4. Watch the video with no sound and notice what you do – this is an amazing way to see you.

5. Ask yourself what the similarities and differences between you and the coachee.


Starting to recognise your body language is a step towards increasing your emotional intelligence as you can link how you feel with your body language. That is why videoing your sessions will help you understand your emotional intelligence (EQ) – the ability to monitor your own and others feelings. We should notice the emotions of others and then change our behaviour.


Graham Hooper

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