As a practicing life coach, you no doubt have many tools available to help people understand and reach their objectives. But do you really know how to get to these objectives?
As silly as it may sound, your client may not know what he or she wants! So how do you go about getting to the REAL cause of that person’s happiness? How do you read between the lines? How do you, in fact, determine when someone is actually lying in order to look good, save face, cover a feeling of impotence, or simply because they don’t trust you enough to really confide in you?!
You have to learn how to become a “Human Lie Detector.” But how?
For those of you familiar with The Logical Soul(R) technique, you already know that muscle testing is a great way to determine subconscious inconsistencies and self-sabotage in yourself and clients. But what happens BEFORE you get to the muscle testing part is often as important as the muscle testing itself. Also, if you don’t use muscle testing, this article can really help you get into your client’s head and help you help them.
Your client tells you, “I feel really passionate about writing this book!” Do you believe him? If your job is to help guide your client to finish his book, for example, wouldn’t it behoove both you and he both to KNOW his level of commitment before undertaking this project? Of course it would!
It’s easier than you think to become a human lie detector. Below are some of the things to look for during your interview(s) with the person. Remember, however, these signs are only useful if you know the person a little bit already, but here goes:
Look for Suspicious Behaviors
By themselves, behaviors can just be signs of stress, or even the reflection of a person’s natural mannerisms. One can occur by chance, but when two or more of these behaviors suddenly appear at a time, you should be skeptical and question him or her further. For example, when you ask a client how committed he is to achieving the goals he set for himself by, say, the next week, he may be lying if you notice the following:
- A change in his voice pitch: higher or lower.
- A change in the rate of speech.
- A sudden increase in the number of “ums” and “ahs.”
- A change in eye contact. Normally, one makes eye contact one-quarter to one-half of the time. If suddenly he is staring at you or looking away, this could be a sign of lying.
- A change in body positioning. Turning his body away from you, even if just slightly can be a sing of discomfort with a lie.
- A change in the eyes. If you are suddenly able to see the whites at the top and bottom of a person’s eyes, not just the sides, this may be their involuntary fib signal.
- A hand reaching to cover part of the face or mouth, even if only momentarily, and
- A fidgeting of the feet, legs, or hands.
Of course, none of these signs by themselves indicate lying. In order to notice a change, you will need a baseline. So observe the person for a time when talking about innocuous issues like the weather, and other pleasantries. If, say, a person is naturally fidgety, this symptom should be ruled out.
When someone’s telling the truth, his or her words, face and body language are all congruent. Lying, however, can trigger inconsistencies in one with the other.
For example, if a female client really believes she is ready to start her new fashion consulting business, her face will be relaxed and she will exhibit enthusiasm, smile a lot, laugh, and look at you with warm eyes. Her body will usually be open and actions solid.
If this same client, however, is prone to self-sabotage and fear of achievement, she will try to put on a strong face, but you will see the inconsistencies shine through, indicating her underlying doubts and fears. In the most obvious case, she may be saying she is ready to go, but she’s not smiling. She may even have a clenched fist.
This, by the way, does NOT mean that the person is intentionally lying. It may only mean they are so used to “faking it til they make it” they no longer know when they are lying to themselves! This is quite common, actually, and something that you, as a life coach, must be able to detect, point out, and hopefully remedy.
If the person is really good at lying to themselves or others, they can sometimes muster a smile, but it seldom looks natural. Even better liars can put on a convincing smile, but their eyes aren’t smiling. Still better liars can control their entire face, but their bodies seem closed or cold. Look for mismatches between words and body language.
When you’ve gotten a signal, i.e., a change in body language or a mixed signal that the person may be lying, keep asking for more information about the same topic. If the same lying signs are apparent, this could confirm your suspicions. Then it becomes your responsibility to call them on it . . . gently if possible.
Of course, there’s no foolproof way to detect lying or self-sabotage in a client. That’s why you may want to use the observation techniques given here, as well as use muscle testing or some other feedback, such as simply telling them, “what you’re saying doesn’t ring true to me. Are you SURE this is what you want?”
By the way, be sure to get permission up front from your client to speak frankly. Some people are actually terrified to know what lurks in their subconscious mind, and your feedback may send them crawling back into their shell, or you may even find yourself with a black eye! Obviously, you want to avoid confrontation whenever possible, but you also want to get them to see their inconsistencies or mixed messages. This is why permission is so vital – so your feedback doesn’t sneak up on them!
The best way to give feedback is to point out the signs or symptoms of the inconsistencies or mixed messages and NOT draw conclusions. You are not being paid to be a detective here, only to act as a mirror for their own actions. Let them volunteer their meanings.
By including “BS Detector” in your life coach training curriculum, you will quickly become a valuable resource for those genuinely seeking to find and live his or her dreams.
(Segments of this post borrowed from an article entitled “Become a Human Lie Detector” on Monster.com by Marty Nemko.)