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Self-awareness and regulation – 2 keys for a leadership coach

Self-awareness and self-regulation are two keys that a leadership coach can help you with to become a better non-verbal communicator

As a leader, effective communication is one of the most important skills that you can develop. While verbal communication is certainly important, non-verbal communication can be just as, if not more, impactful. Leadership coaches know that studies have shown that up to 93% of communication is non-verbal.

This means that the way you present yourself, your body language, and other non-verbal cues can have a significant impact on how your message is received. Two key components of effective non-verbal communication are self-awareness and self-regulation.

As a leadership coach, I often work with individuals to help them develop these skills and become more effective communicators. Let’s take a closer look at each of these components and how they can help you become a better non-verbal communicator.

“Know thyself.”

– Socrates



Self-awareness is the ability to objectively observe and recognize your own emotions, thoughts, behaviors, and values, as well as how they impact you and those around you. A leadership coach can help you to understand that self-awareness is the foundation of emotional intelligence and an essential aspect of personal growth, development, and success.

Self-awareness enables you to identify your strengths and weaknesses, understand your motivations and goals, and recognize patterns in your behavior and interactions with others. A leadership coach can help you gain a better understanding of yourself, you can improve your decision-making, problem-solving, communication, and relationships.

Self-awareness is critical in non-verbal communication because it enables us to understand and manage our emotions, reactions, and behaviors in different situations. It allows us to monitor our body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions to ensure they align with our intended message. A leadership coach can help you become more aware of your non-verbal cues, we can adjust them to better convey our thoughts, feelings, and intentions.

In the context of leadership, self-awareness is crucial for effective communication, collaboration, and decision-making. A leadership coach can help leaders to understand their own biases, strengths, and weaknesses, as well as the impact of their behavior and communication style on their team and organizational culture.

Leaders who are self-aware can build stronger relationships with their team, create a positive and inclusive work environment, and foster a culture of trust, respect, and accountability.

For example, imagine a leader who is delivering a presentation to their team. If the leader is unaware of their body language and facial expressions, a leadership coach can help them see how they may inadvertently communicate a lack of confidence, nervousness, or disinterest, which can negatively impact the team’s perception of the presentation and the leader’s credibility.

However, if the leader is self-aware, they can monitor their non-verbal cues, adjust them accordingly, and project confidence, enthusiasm, and engagement, which can positively influence the team’s engagement and receptiveness.

Self-awareness also helps us to recognize and manage our biases, assumptions, and limitations. A leadership coach can help us to identify our triggers and emotional responses to certain situations, which can influence our non-verbal communication.

For instance, if a leader is prone to anger, frustration, or impatience, they may unconsciously project those emotions through their tone of voice, facial expressions, or body language, which can create a negative and hostile environment. A leadership coach also knows that if the leader is self-aware, they can recognize their emotional triggers, manage their reactions, and communicate with clarity and composure.

“To be aware of a single shortcoming in oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in someone else.”

– Dalai Lama



Self-regulation is the ability to manage one’s own emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations. It involves the ability to control impulses, delay gratification, and manage stress and anxiety effectively. A leadership coach can help with self-regulation as an essential in non-verbal communication, allowing you to respond appropriately and thoughtfully in various social and professional contexts.

In non-verbal communication, self-regulation is necessary for controlling our non-verbal cues and ensuring they align with our intended message. A leadership coach can help you to avoid projecting unintended emotions or behaviors that may affect communication negatively.

For instance, if a leader is delivering a difficult message to their team, they may feel anxious, frustrated, or uncomfortable. A leadership coach knows that without self-regulation, a leader may inadvertently convey those emotions through their tone of voice, facial expressions, or body language, which can create a negative and hostile environment.

However, if the leader can regulate their emotions and behaviors, they can communicate the message with empathy, clarity, and composure, which can help to diffuse tension and build trust.

Self-regulation is also essential in managing interpersonal relationships. A leadership coach can help the leader to navigate conflicts, handle criticism, and respond constructively to feedback. For instance, if a team member disagrees with a leader’s decision, the leader’s ability to regulate their emotions and behavior can determine the outcome of the interaction.

If the leader reacts defensively or aggressively, it may escalate the conflict and damage the relationship. However, if the leader can regulate their emotions and respond with empathy and openness, it may help to resolve the conflict and build a stronger relationship.

When we are not self-aware, we may project emotions or behaviors that contradict our intended message, leading to confusion or misinterpretation. A leadership coach can help a leader convey a message of positivity and support, but their facial expressions, tone of voice, or body language may indicate frustration or disinterest, leading to a lack of trust or engagement from their team members.

A leadership coach knows that self-awareness also allows us to recognize and manage our biases, prejudices, and stereotypes, which can affect our non-verbal communication with others. For instance, a leader may hold a subconscious bias against a team member due to their race, gender, or religion, leading them to project negative non-verbal cues that can damage the relationship and trust.

By developing self-awareness, leaders can recognize their own biases and learn to manage them effectively, leading to better non-verbal communication and more positive interpersonal relationships. A leadership coach can help improve self-awareness enabling leaders to respond to feedback constructively and adapt their communication style to different contexts and situations.

“Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.”

– Elizabeth Gilbert


Leadership coaching is a valuable resource for developing self-awareness and self-regulation skills.

A leadership coach can help you recognize your behavioral patterns, identify your strengths and areas for improvement, and develop effective strategies for managing your non-verbal communication. So how can a leadership coach help leaders improve self-awareness and self-regulation?

Assessing your current level of self-awareness

A leadership coach can help you identify your level of self-awareness by using various assessments, such as the Emotional Intelligence Assessment or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This will provide a baseline for your self-awareness and help you identify areas for improvement.

Providing feedback on your non-verbal communication

A leadership coach can observe and provide feedback on your non-verbal communication, such as your tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions. They can help you identify patterns and tendencies that may be impacting your communication with others and provide strategies for improvement.

Helping you identify and manage your biases

A leadership coach can help you become aware of your biases and prejudices and work with you to develop strategies for managing them effectively. For example, if you tend to make assumptions about certain groups of people, your coach can help you recognize these assumptions and develop more open-minded and inclusive communication.

Teaching mindfulness practices

Mindfulness practices can be helpful for improving self-awareness and self-regulation. A leadership coach can teach you various mindfulness techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and mindfulness walks. These practices can help you become more present at the moment and better able to manage your emotions and responses.

Developing a self-reflection practice

A leadership coach can help you develop a regular self-reflection practice, which involves taking time to reflect on your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. This can help you become more aware of your patterns and tendencies and develop strategies for managing them effectively.

Challenging your assumptions

A leadership coach can help you identify and challenge your assumptions about yourself and others. For example, you may have assumptions about your own strengths and weaknesses or assumptions about how others perceive you. Your leadership coach can help you recognize these assumptions and challenge them, which can lead to greater self-awareness and improved communication.

Practicing active listening

Active listening is an important skill for effective communication, and it involves fully engaging with the speaker and focusing on their message. A leadership coach can help you develop your active listening skills by providing feedback and guidance on your listening habits. They may also teach you specific techniques, such as restating the speaker’s message in your own words or asking clarifying questions.

Encouraging regular self-assessment

A leadership coach can encourage you to regularly assess your own performance as a leader and identify areas for improvement. This may involve setting goals for yourself, tracking your progress, and adjusting your strategies as needed. Regular self-assessment can help you stay motivated and focused on your development as a leader.

Providing support and accountability

A leadership coach can provide support and accountability as you work to improve your self-awareness and self-regulation skills. They can help you set goals, develop action plans, and track your progress over time. They can also provide encouragement and motivation to help you stay on track.

Developing emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage one’s own emotions and the emotions of others. A leadership coach can help you develop your emotional intelligence skills by providing feedback on your emotional responses, teaching strategies for managing your emotions, and helping you recognize the emotions of others.

“The more reflective you are, the more effective you are.”

– Hall and Simeral



Self-awareness and self-regulation are critical components of effective non-verbal communication. As a leader, being able to read and regulate your non-verbal cues can help you build stronger relationships, improve communication, and create a more positive and productive work environment.

By working with a leadership coach, you can develop your self-awareness and self-regulation skills, gaining a deeper understanding of yourself and others and becoming a more effective communicator and leader. So, take the time to reflect on your own non-verbal communication habits, seek out feedback and guidance, and commit to ongoing growth and development in this important area.


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