Enhance Your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Through Coaching
Certified Professional Coach and Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach
Graduate of The Coach Training Academy
Emotional Intelligence is a critical component for your success.
Professional and personal success is driven by more than your IQ and motivation. Emotional intelligence (EQ) plays a crucial role in setting the stage for personal well-being, productive interactions, effective leadership, and fruitful relationships. Although some people seem to be born with a knack for understanding themselves, empathizing with others, and knowing what makes people tick, anyone can enhance their EQ with the proper coaching.
Why is EQ More Important Than Ever?
In a world that often seems to lack empathy, Emotional intelligence plays a vital role. In my own coaching practice, I often talk with people who lament all the miscommunications, misunderstandings, and interpersonal conflicts that occur on a regular basis in their lives. Our laments often stem from not understanding others’ positions. It’s as if we’re all shouting into a cave and all we can hear is our own echo.
On the other hand, when people have a highly developed EQ, they are better able to act from a place of empathy and work with others to reach a common understanding.
From a professional standpoint, EQ is essential for building successful inter-office relationships, as well as effectively engaging clients and potential clients. When you make an effort to explore others’ tendencies, needs, and desires, you’re more likely to deliver products, services, and support that they want, rather than what you think they want.
From a practical standpoint, this kind of professional empathy is good for the company’s bottom line. A few years ago, a national cosmetics company began hiring new sales members based on their emotional intelligence. After the new hiring process was implemented, the results were staggering. According to a study, “People hired under the new system have sold, on average, $91,000 more than salespeople selected under the old system. There has also been significantly lower staff turnover among the group chosen for their emotional intelligence.”
The “Just Born With It” Myth
I’ve worked with coaching clients who avoid digging into their own emotional intelligence because they believe it can’t be changed. They think some people are born with an innate understanding of emotions, and some are not. Not only is this belief a myth, I’ve worked with people who have been able to improve their EQ with the help of only one or two coaching sessions.
There are steps any person—no matter how emotionally out-of-touch they think they are—can take to enhance their EQ. If you are committed to changing your mental habits and making an effort to implement small, daily changes, you will likely see an improvement in your EQ within a short amount of time.
A few of the steps I advise my coaching clients to take are:
- Be observant
Pay attention to others’ body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions in addition to what is being said. Nonverbal cues can be powerful indicators of what a person is truly thinking. It’s also a good idea to observe your own thoughts and emotions as they pass through you—this is frequently an acquired skill and may require assistance from a coach.
- Practice active listening
Focus on setting aside your own thoughts and fully tuning in to what others are saying—as well as what they may be leaving unsaid. Be present and practice entering every conversation with an open, fully engaged mindset.
- Ask good questions
When you’re aiming for understanding, it’s a good idea to ask clarifying questions and listen closely to the answers. Without asking questions, you may not get a full picture of what others are feeling or thinking.
- Monitor yourself
Part of good emotional intelligence is being self-aware and practicing self-regulation. Check in with yourself. Are there any physical signs you are nearing a point of losing self-control? Are you becoming upset, which can impact the ability to listen well and have an open mind? If so, it may help to pause and collect your thoughts; take deep, measured breaths; or physically remove yourself from the situation for a short time.
How Can Coaching Boost Your EQ?
It’s one thing to read up on EQ-boosting tips online or in a book, which can be helpful, but successfully implementing those tips is a different kind of challenge. As a coach, I am well aware that everyone starts at a different EQ level and has different strengths and areas of opportunity. A coach can help maximize your strengths and unearth any trouble spots to develop a personalized improvement plan.
Remember, bolstering your EQ takes time and conscious effort. Thinking from an emotional or empathetic perspective may not come naturally to you at first, but with time and a strategic plan, you’ll soon be viewing others—and yourself—through a different lens, leading to greater success for you and those around you.
Juli Geske-Peer is a Certified Professional Coach and founded Peer Performance Solutions (PPS) in 2014, after 20 years’ working for others as a leader and consultant. PPS offers a unique blend of services that help to maximize strategic, leadership (including personal leadership in any role), and operational success. As the company’s principal consultant, coach and trainer, Juli’s aim is to enhance and maximize on strengths already in place, whether working with an individual, a team, a division, or an entire organization.