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Please be cultured

By on January 21, 2015
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As a hypnotist and coach it is vital that you be aware of cultural differences. I was running a supervision class (where a more experienced coach assists a less experienced coach in a coaching session) a week or so ago. The student coach was coaching an individual who was not gesturing or showing any major body language shifts in the course of the change work. At one point I leaned over to the coach and pointed out that her client had just dropped into trance and she might want to take advantage of this to do some more directive change work (i.e. direct suggestion).

After the session I was asked by the observing students how I knew the client had gone into trance, after all she was “just sitting there the entire time, not moving”. I told them that the client’s lack of large gestures or body movement was likely a cultural phenomena (the client was orthodox). She still exhibited strong trance indicators through the tons or her facial muscles, and her blink rate.

The lesson is that different cultures have different behavioral markers. If a coach only watches gestures, she will have a problem working with someone from a non-demonstrative culture. You need to calibrate to your individual client, and watch for the signs that individual is offering.

You also need to understand what is socially acceptable for you to offer to your client in terms of unconscious (non-verbal) communication. As the study below indicates, for example, different cultures have very different interpretations of eye contact. When dealing with someone from Japan for example, excessive eye contact can come across as being aggressive.

Please be sensitive to cross-cultural communication in your coaching, and in particular when working with someone from a different culture.

Cultural differences in the eye contact effect were observed in various evaluative responses regarding the stimulus faces (e.g., facial emotion, approachability etc.). The rating results suggest that individuals from an East Asian culture perceive another’s face as being angrier, unapproachable, and unpleasant when making eye contact as compared to individuals from a Western European culture. These results suggest that cultural differences in eye contact behaviour emerge from differential display rules and cultural norms, as opposed to culture affecting eye contact behaviour directly at the physiological level. Autonomic Responses and Evaluative Ratings

Picture courtesy of Idea go and freedigitalphotos.net

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