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Integrating Emotional Intelligence Into the Fabric of Our Lives

CEO Hanuman Goleman in his Home Office
Hanuman Goleman is seen at his desk with podcasting equipment, desktop computer and TV in the background.
Hanuman Goleman, Founder and CEO of 爱博体育网站, sits in his home office.

Dear Community,

I am pleased to announce a new chapter at 爱博体育网站: a podcast with Daniel Goleman on emotional intelligence!

Over the last few years, we turned our attention to widening access to practical emotional intelligence development by launching the training and coaching certification programs now housed under the company “Goleman EI” — programs which offer top notch EI programming for businesses and individuals.

Doing that work, we learned a lot: we reaffirmed the importance of EI; we watched hundreds of people benefit from concentrated EI training and coaching; and we connected to a deeper mission, which is to take this work as far as we can, well beyond the realm of leadership development and business.

This is why we are launching a podcast — First Person Plural: Emotional Intelligence and Beyond. Each episode will explore conscious and unconscious ways that our beliefs and ideas create the systems we are a part of. And in turn, we will look at the impact of those systems are on our daily lives. This podcast will go beyond EI theory, diving deep into the waters of how EI is lived and applied across cultures, industries, and communities of interest.

Why now?

From a growing annual fire season to widening income inequalities — from racism to a divided political landscape — the conditions we find ourselves in did not come out of nowhere. When I look at the world these days, much of what I see is the result of acting without self-awareness or regard for others. We are living the results of decisions, actions, and inactions that we, collectively, have either taken or tacitly endorsed.

This leads me to believe that now, more than ever, emotional intelligence must be integrated into the fabric of our life. If there is going to be change, we must first widen our understanding of ourselves and one another.

What’s the podcast going to be like?

My team and I are putting together a three-part podcast. In each episode you will hear from experts, game-changers and community members who will offer their thoughts on topics crucial to reinforcing EI in society. The structure for this podcast reflects my belief that it is imperative for us to have a clear conversation about the systems we are a part of — the networks and circumstances we live in willingly and unwillingly.

Systems dictate our choices. We must understand them and our role within them to create a more sustainable and just world.

When I reflect on the rise of an authoritarian mindset today in the US and around the world, I remember what my ancestors faced during the rise of fascism and Nazism in Europe.

I remember what marginalized communities have faced in the US all of their lives with the ongoing violations of their dignity and their rights.

Like so many others, I wonder “What can I do?” The scope of the situation is daunting.

Creating An Emotionally Intelligent Future

If emotional intelligence has taught me anything it is not to underestimate the power of shifting our mindset, even a little. From our mindset we begin to shift our behavior, allowing ourselves to take new actions in service of our deepest values — in service of our community!

Social change is a tall order for a podcast. But I do hope that First Person Plural can further the conversation, instill a sense of hope, and inspire action. I trust that, together, we can create a more emotionally intelligent future — one in which everyone is recognized and treated as valuable and given the resources to thrive.

I believe in humanity. I believe that we all want to thrive. When we pay attention, we can learn. We can find new ways to uplift us all.

As I write this I can hear my two children — home every day now — laughing in the background. Five and three, they bring tears to my eyes. I cannot do this podcast without thinking about the state of the world I want to see them grow up in.

There is hope. It is not over. We are still making decisions.

We are still creating the world that will become our future.

Thank you for being a part of this journey towards a wiser, kinder world.

Starting in November, keep an eye out for details about our podcast’s Kickstarter campaign. Scheduled to launch in early 2021, the first season will largely be funded by our incredible community supporters, like you. To learn more about the podcast, sign up for email notifications here.

With love,

Hanuman Goleman

爱博体育网站 Founder & CEO

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Adaptability: Change Your Relationship to Change

Scientists tell us the adaptive ability of any system is usually gauged by its response to disruptions or challenges. In the case of the human system, a.k.a. you and me, adaptive abilities mean you are a person who is flexible in handling change, juggling multiple demands, and navigating new situations with innovative ideas and approaches.  

Is This Me? 

Think about these statements, and choose A or B: 

  • A) I tend to think of change as bad. B) I tend to see change as an opportunity.
  • A) I dislike change. B) Some change can be worthwhile. 
  • A) I feel uptight when plans change at home or work. B) I find changes in plans energizing. 
  • A) I hate making adjustments in my routines. B) I make adjustments to routines easily. 
  • A) I feel threatened when a challenge arises. B) I like a challenge.
  • A) I often get “locked in” to an idea or approach to solving a problem. B) I’m open to new information when solving a problem.  

If you find yourself agreeing with most of the A statements, you may be someone who is uncomfortable with change. If you find yourself agreeing with more of the B statements, you may be more able to adapt as changes demand. 

Looking at your own beliefs and judgments can be an important first step toward greater adaptability. If you are fixed in your thinking, you may struggle against change rather than turning it into an opportunity. Learning to sit with discomfort amidst uncertainty is something every human can benefit from. 

An agile mindset is one that recognizes that adapting to change is the price of admission for living a meaningful life. Let’s face it, any time you try something new, you face uncertainty and there is risk involved. You never know exactly how things will turn out. For example, you may have to make a decision about whether to take a new job or stay where you are. There are no guarantees the job will be a good fit.  If it is, great! You took the leap and it paid off. If the new job isn’t great–you chalk it up to learning. You are wiser, you gain new skills, new connections, and you’re able to translate that into a better decision next time. The bottom line: change is difficult, uncomfortable, and at times downright painful. Our ability to effectively handle the discomfort of change improves through experimentation and repetition. 

Here’s how rigidity, the opposite of adaptability, can show up at work: Imagine an executive who quickly shuts down an idea suggested by a team member for a more tech-based system of project management that could increase productivity. The executive may not realize this “shut-down” reflex has become an unconscious habit, triggered by any suggestion of change, which results in his automatically coming up with reasons the new idea won’t work, rather than why it might. Such a habit keeps things as they are and squelches innovation. This lack of adaptability keeps inefficient practices in place, and, maybe worse, sends a message not to question the status quo. Over time, this results in stagnation, reduced passion, and energy and weaker financial results.

However, imagine if that executive had been more adaptable and asked the rest of the team how they feel about the new idea and whether it’s worth trying. If they express enthusiasm, the adaptable executive might give it a chance to see how it goes. If it works, progress is made. If it doesn’t, something useful could still be learned. There is acknowledgement that innovation and change carry emotional and financial outlays. And the emotional outlay can be lessened with an emotionally agile mindset. 

Adaptability is at the heart of innovation in any environment

People who demonstrate adaptability combine curiosity and problem solving skills to achieve their goals. Persistence leads them to try new behaviors or methods of getting things done. They are resourceful and creative, especially when budgets are tight. These key building blocks to adaptability–agility, persistence, and trying multiple strategies–are vital skills for success.

Increasingly, adaptability is a key differentiator of effective leadership in highly tumultuous industries, such as technology and finance. Leaders who show strong adaptability recognize that their industry is continually changing and are better able to evolve. They realize they can’t be stuck doing the same old thing over and over. They think creatively and take calculated risks. 

There are numerous case studies of once-thriving companies whose leaders were unable to embrace change, such as Blockbuster, Sears, and Kodak. Alternatively, we all know companies that make phenomenal examples of adaptability, including Apple and Google, who created new products we didn’t even know we needed. They were attuned to shifting trends and feedback from customers. 

Consider current workplace norms: teams are no longer fixed and steady, they form and disassemble; work is increasingly meted out in short-term contracts. And leaders are attempting to prepare a workforce for jobs that don’t yet exist. It should not be surprising then that employers are putting a high priority on the skill of adaptability.  

By staying adaptable and open-minded, you continue to reinvent yourself and experience significant growth along the way.

Keep in mind, there are times when there’s a good reason not to change, like preserving quality standards or time-tested effective strategies. The trademark of an adaptable leader, however, is the ability to balance core values with responsiveness in the face of a changing world.

Try this exercise for developing your adaptability

Think of a change in either your personal or professional life you have recently experienced or are currently experiencing. How do you feel about the change? How are you responding to the change? 

Here are some examples of situations that require adaptability:

We are launching a new service line. I’m excited about the possibilities it creates, but a little nervous about whether we’ve thought of everything. I’m doing significant research to position myself as an expert.

My daughter just turned 12 and is suddenly becoming moody and withdrawn, spending lots of time in her room and not talking to me or her Dad. I’m scared something might be going on that she’s not telling us.

Now, ask yourself a series of questions to help find a positive perspective on that change: 

  • What opportunities does this change represent? 
  • What positive outcome could I find in this change? 
  • What is outside of my control? 
  • What is within my control? 
  • What is the next (small) action I can take to move in a positive direction? 
  • What is the best outcome that might result?

Avoiding change is impossible. Instead we can change our relationship to change. We can learn to turn toward what scares us, and in turn, we gradually adapt and grow amidst uncertainty and discomfort in life.  

Want to develop your Emotional Intelligence in a supportive, virtual community? Over five, twelve, or twenty-four weeks, you can hone the skills that differentiate top-performers. Begin your learning journey this fall. You can learn more and register yourself or your team here.

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A Most Civil Dinner: Bridging Disagreement with Emotional Intelligence

Put two people together, and there will be disagreement. No matter how agreeable they are, even if they were part of the same zygote, each person will perceive the world differently, depending on their own experiences, assumptions, and filters. As one of the 12 Self-Discoveries of the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification program states, our Senses + Perception = Our Experience. Disagreeing is part of the human experience. And hopefully finding commonality as well. Our predecessors must have been quite successful at doing this; otherwise, they would have battled to the death over whether or not to use fire for cooking (No doubt many did. Thank goodness for those who decided, “yes, please.”)

Such natural disagreements have taken a different tone in contemporary times. The U.S. celebrates its freedom of speech for many, many good reasons. Yet it isn’t hard to see that we have entered into a space of uncivil discourse. Regardless of our political leanings, we have become prone to staying with our bubble of passionate peers, convinced the “Other” is wrong. Even if a possible disruption to our bubble arises, we might stifle that independent, wayward thought for fear of being ostracized or labeled as an enemy-from-within. We may stifle any urge to give the “Other” air time to share their misguided beliefs. Yet as Abraham Lincoln said, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”

History is full of lessons on the importance of self-awareness, and how it may allow us to have the wherewithal to critically examine ourselves, the situation, and others without letting our emotions snow us under. When we do that, we can better connect with others in more meaningful ways toward a common good, even with those with whom we have disagreements.

For example, Socrates, now revered as the Father of Western Philosophy, was not so popular in his day. His belief that “the unexamined life is not worth living” was not held in high regard, nor was his philosophy that one must use rhetoric to justify behavior, no matter how abhorrent that behavior. Today, the Socratic method, elenchus, of cooperative, argumentative dialogue is used in many settings, including classrooms, to get each party to draw out presuppositions. This requires critical thinking and the capacity to civilly make a case and challenge the other.

The examination of the self in order to regulate our emotions and behaviors, and to then show up for others, is part of a philosophical tradition that extends beyond Socrates to the likes of Confucius and many others. By doing this, we go beyond ourselves to impact others and the systemic and/or institutional realities around us.

The Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification (EICC) is grounded in a Self-Other-Systems approach. Self-Other-Systems relies on self-awareness and self-management (the foundation of the EICC model), enabling us to connect with others with curiosity and compassion and as a result shift organizations and systems.

One tool for civil discourse is the Jeffersonian Dinner, based on the dinners that Thomas Jefferson held during his time at Monticello. Jefferson wasn’t perfect, and perhaps his dinners were not as inclusive as they would (hopefully) be today, but we can learn from his goal of creating connection civilly.

An advocate and revitalizer of these dinners is Jeff Walker, author of the Generosity Network, who has been hosting modern-day Jeffersonian Dinners on topics ranging from global health, to anti-poverty, to education. The goal is to bring different people together to build real connection, challenge one’s perspective, open one’s bubble, and become motivated to take action. Innovative ideas arise from diverse perspectives; better relationships emerge from deeper connection; and progress happens when awareness moves us to action. During Jeffersonian Dinners, dinner guests are not allowed to only talk to the person next to them; rather, the point is to have a “one-mind conversatIon.” One table, one conversation. Everyone hears everyone.

In Walker’s TedX talk and article, he articulates the following rules:

  • The people: 12-15 at a table (consider ways to bring together people who might not otherwise find themselves at a table naturally)
  • The theme: offer a topic of interest
  • The narrative: set the progression of the discussion to go from ME to US to WE
    • Ask each person to connect with opening question on an individual level (ME).
    • Find commonality and connection with each other’s responses (US).
    • Take a pulse of what/who to follow up with (a pause).
    • Identify actions each person can take individually and together (WE).

This process can be used in a variety of settings, from board meetings to nonprofit gatherings. Recently, this method was used in a jury deliberation in which each member was asked to listen with an open mind, respect every opinion–no matter how much they disagreed–ask questions for clarification with curiosity and without judgment, share rationale based on evidence not speculation, and agree on the common goal of reaching the right decision. The judge lauded the jury for civilly coming to a decision quickly and with genuine curiosity, connection, and compassion.

This type of discussion requires self-awareness and self-management, so that we aren’t carried away by our own emotions or stuck in our own presumptions when someone else is speaking. With strength in these abilities, we can truly listen with curiosity and invite other perspectives that help us challenge and critically examine our own beliefs.

Civil discourse doesn’t require a dinner. Though filling the belly can be an added plus.

Recommended Resources:

We have only a few spots remaining for our personalized EI coaching and training package. You’ll receive year-long access to our online EI training courses, a range of EI assessments, one-on-one coaching sessions, and more. You can learn how it works and register here.

Are you interested in leading Emotional Intelligence transformations? Apply today for the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification. Whether you’re an established coach or new to the field, this intensive program offers the tools and first hand experience you need to coach for transformational growth.

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The Neuroscience Behind Habit Change

In her 2006 memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert writes about a friend who exclaims when she sees a beautiful place, “It’s so beautiful here! I want to come back here someday!”

“It takes all my persuasive powers,” writes Gilbert, “to try to convince her that she is already here.”

This story is an illustration of the two networks in our brain that we use to process thoughts–the narrative network and the direct experience network.

The narrative network is the default network from which we operate. We use this circuitry when we think about the past or the future. It is automatically triggered whenever we are not task-focused. And it is also our social network, where we focus on stories about ourselves, others, and situations.

The brain hardwires everything that we repeatedly do–this is how habits are formed. So the stories we tell ourselves over and over become default paths, the circuitry the brain naturally activates.

On the other hand, the direct experience network enables us to experience the present moment via our senses. It observes both outer and inner signals, but doesn’t judge them as good or bad. For example, you may do a quick body scan to observe how you are feeling in the moment before approaching a difficult conversation. Though many of us spend most of our time in the narrative network, you can benefit from the direct experience network with intentional practice.

From an organizational perspective, these networks are active during virtually all the work we do. From managing difficult conversations to organizing a team, these two networks are always at play. We constantly balance processing our external environment with creating an internal narrative about our experience.

So how might we use these networks to facilitate greater awareness?

Research has found that people who regularly practiced noticing their default and direct experience paths, such as experienced meditators, have a stronger ability to choose which path they were on. Daniel Siegel, a leading researcher in this area, says, “The greater the ability one has to be mindful in the present moment, the more ability one has to regulate one’s emotions.” That is where Self-Management, one of the four domains of Emotional Intelligence, comes into play.

Researchers at Duke University found that more than 40% of our actions each day are based on habit rather than conscious thought. When considering how to create a new habit, such as providing more meaningful feedback to your team, the brain has to override its default wiring and create a new response to triggering situations.

One method to overcome this hardwiring is to build an if-then plan, where you can cue your mind to behave in a certain way in a specific situation. By developing “implementation intentions,” we create the opportunity to rewire our brains in potentially triggering situations.

For example, a manager might have a habit of focusing on what his team did wrong instead of what they did right. In this situation, he might say, “If I want to give feedback during our 1:1 conversation, then I will pause and first ask a question about their thinking.” By reframing the behavioral event with an if-then statement–and follow through on the “then” action enough times–you can support the growth of a new, better habit.

Practice is crucial to rewiring the brain. It turns out that writing down our intention to change a habit greatly increases our chances of following through. A 2002 study found that 91% of people who planned their intention to exercise by writing down when and where they would exercise each week ended up following through. By linking an if-then plan to an existing habit, one is able to embed the habit more deeply.

Consider the following steps to integrate a new intention to your daily practice:

  1. Identify an unproductive habit that you would like to change. What is one change that would make your life more fulfilling?
  2. Reflect on the impact of this habit on your life to date. How has this habit served you? How has this habit harmed you?
  3. Make a personal commitment to change this behavior. What are the risks of not changing the habit?
  4. Now that you have identified the habit, create your if-then action plan. What will you do the next time that you are triggered? What will this new habit feel like one month from now? Make sure to write down your responses.

Recommended Resources:

Get Coached!

We have only a few spots remaining for our personalized EI coaching and training package. You’ll receive year-long access to our online EI training courses, a range of EI assessments, one-on-one coaching sessions, and more. You can learn how it works and register here.

Become a Coach!

Are you interested in leading Emotional Intelligence transformations? Apply today for the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification. Whether you’re an established coach or new to the field, this intensive program offers the tools and first hand experience you need to coach for transformational growth.

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Coaching for Emotional Intelligence: Gabriel Stüve on Transformational Growth

Interested in the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification? Gabriel Stüve–a participant in the first cohort–shares his experience, from his decision to join the program, to his advice for the second cohort.

Could you begin by sharing some insights into your story? Where are you from? How has your career progressed?

I was born in Argentina where I studied Industrial Engineering. Driven by a strong desire and curiosity to pursue my career abroad, I moved to France where I obtained a Master’s degree in General Engineering and a specialized Master’s in Supply Chain Management at HEC School of Management in Paris.

Over the years as a management consultant, I observed that successful and sustainable transformation happens when organizations empower people to bring their best by cultivating positive values like trust, kindness, and compassion. I began to engage with Emotional Intelligence to cultivate a more compassionate perception of myself, others, and every situation, which resulted in better outcomes throughout my life.

What led you to join the first cohort of the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification (EICC)?

Many times in my life I found myself triggered and overwhelmed by strong emotions like anxiety and stress, which impacted my overall performance. Moreover, I found myself living most of my life in autopilot, and sought fulfilment in external factors like titles, hierarchy, and money.

But I’ve found that beyond these external factors there is an internal place of ease, awareness, and fulfilment. When I find myself triggered by a strong emotion, I can come back to that internal place of ease with mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence.

I joined the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification to develop the capacity to help myself and other people along this journey of Emotional Intelligence transformation. With EI we can move toward our highest purpose and aspirations, align our values and motivations, and operate at our best.

Moreover, I wanted to expand my network and connect with inspiring individuals who believe that heart and compassion are key factors for the success and well-being of ourselves, organizations, and humanity.

You’ve lead transformation initiatives for organizations in a dozen countries. What is your impression of the interest in and value of Emotional Intelligence around the world?

To succeed their transformation journeys, deliver results, and sustain them over time, organizations need people’s engagement and commitment. Emotional Intelligence is inspiring leaders to upgrade their leadership style, their structures, and their approaches to transformation.

Around the world, today’s employees expect more than a salary. They look for meaningful opportunities, fulfilment, and well-being. They want to do purposeful work, contribute to a higher good, and fulfill the needs of society, customers, communities, and beyond.

What makes the difference within successful organizations are the leaders who care about their teams, and inspire them. Leaders who cultivate a conscious and genuine interest in helping people develop and achieve their own goals have a greater chance of obtaining positive outcomes than those who not have that genuine intention.

What aspect(s) of the program have you found most rewarding?

For me the most rewarding part of the program has been the self-discovery path and the connection with personal purpose throughout the methodology. While most coaching approaches work toward a desired organizational goal, the EICC approach first explores who we really are and what we really want.

When we begin an Emotional Intelligence journey we may not know what we really want, and what we can achieve. As we raise our level of Self-Awareness, shift out of auto-pilot, and learn to recover quickly from emotional triggers and obstacles, we begin to connect with our true nature. That aspect of ourselves is aware and fulfilled by simply being and existing. It enables us to become more compassionate and connect with a larger purpose. In short, we connect with our shared humanity.  

Has anything about your experience surprised you?

What surprised me the most was becoming aware of how our mindset, attitudes, and self-limiting beliefs impact results in our daily lives. In other words, our outcomes, our well-being, and the quality of our relationships depend on how we perceive and react to ourselves, to others, and to the world around us.

There is a quote from Carl Jung: “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” To achieve meaningful and lasting change, we need to understand and address the root causes of why we think and act the way we do. We need a lot of practice and effort to replace old habits and behaviors with new ones. But effort pays, and there will come a day when new habits become effortless.

In my Emotional Intelligence transformation journey, I decided to cultivate a new perception based on understanding and compassion for myself, for others, and for every situation. This has resulted in new behaviors that positively contribute to my goals and relationships.

How do you intend to use your EI Coaching Certification?

I would like to help individuals and organizations implement a more compassionate vision of leadership, and help them connect with a purpose that will generate passion, engagement, and higher levels of performance and fulfilment. The EICC is an amazing opportunity to expand our network of Emotional Intelligence change agents that will have a positive impact on organizations, society, and beyond!

Do you have any advice or wisdom you’d like to share with participants in the second cohort of the EICC?

The EICC program is an amazing opportunity to get inspired by a wonderful group of participants and coaches who will guide you all along this beautiful learning journey, and to join the network of Emotional Intelligence agents of positive transformation.

My advice is to put all your heart into a daily intention and commitment to acquire the Emotional and Social Intelligence competencies. In this way, you will achieve meaningful and lasting change, both as individuals and as future Daniel Goleman EI Coaches!

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Are you interested in leading Emotional Intelligence transformations? Apply today for the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification. Whether you’re an established coach or new to the field, this intensive program offers the tools and first hand experience you need to coach for transformational growth. And if you’d prefer to get coached in Emotional Intelligence, you can learn more here.

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Hesitant to Get Coached? The Benefits Might Surprise You

Joy Fulton is the Chief Operating Officer at Clearsense, a technology company based in Jacksonville, Florida. She has extensive experience within healthcare. As she rose through the ranks, Joy sought the guidance of a coach to effectively communicate as a woman in the male-dominated Health Information Technology (HIT) industry.

While Joy was initially skeptical about the benefits of coaching, she and Kelly Mannel, a participant in the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification, fostered a collaborative coaching relationship that has had a tremendously positive impact on Joy, both personally and professionally. Read on to learn more about her experience as a coaching client.

What were your expectations and goals when you first began working with a coach?

I’m going to be very honest; I didn’t have high hopes. Having been involved in leadership development throughout my career, I experienced many didactic programs. I was told, “read this book,” “fill out these worksheets,” or “do x, y, and z,” but it never resonated with me.

As a result, when I was approached about getting a coach, I was very transparent in my hesitation. While I appreciated the opportunity, my experience as a basketball player throughout my life taught me that coaching needs to happen in the moment for me to connect with it. Having an extra homework packet to do isn’t going to effectively help me grow.

I wanted a coach who understood the fast-paced environment in which I work and someone to bounce ideas off of. Someone who could help me prepare for important meetings or do a dry-run before a large presentation.

My employer was open to that feedback; that’s how I came into contact with Kelly. We went to lunch before the organization contracted her and we instantly hit it off. I shared with her what I wanted in a coach and those were the same qualities on which she has built her practice.

Kelly understood the mindset I wanted to develop–which requires tuning in to people on the frontlines while also thinking in terms of big picture strategy. And she understood my need for real-time feedback. That initial meeting made me very excited about the opportunity for personal and professional growth and enhanced my belief in myself.

Were you already aware of Emotional Intelligence and its role in leadership? How did EI assessments and a focus on competency development enhance or shift that understanding?

I was aware of it, but coaching brought the practical applications of Emotional Intelligence to my attention, both personally and professionally. As a career-oriented single mom and the caretaker for my parents, I mistakenly believed I had to separate personal from professional. Through coaching, I began to realize that we’re all the same at work and in our personal lives. The Emotional Intelligence skills I was learning were a foundational self-discovery to navigating all these aspects of my life.  

Assessing my EI gave me an opportunity to pause and reflect on the roles of Self-Awareness and Emotional Balance in my communications and reactions to others.  Kelly’s coaching style was strengths-based. She helped me see my growing edges as opportunities.

In what ways has being coached impacted your career?

I have to say, I draw on it every day. Particularly in my current role as COO, I use so many of the tools I learned to coach my own staff. It’s been a foundational opportunity for growth in my career as well as for personal growth.

Could you share some of the benefits of Emotional Intelligence coaching beyond your professional life?

Yes, so at the time I met Kelly, I was about six months post-divorce. The goal was to establish an effective co-parenting relationship for myself, my ex-husband, and our son. Coaching helped me utilize Emotional Intelligence to become a more effective communicator. I took those skill sets and applied them to my personal situation, to better navigate those uncharted waters.

Coaching taught me the value of mindfully pausing, so I could see the situation for what it was and not get swept up in negative commentary often associated with a life event such as divorce. I could remind myself we had a shared love for our son. Focusing on the fact we both wanted what was best for our son enabled me to have greater empathy, even in the midst of the rough patches. I learned I can control, or at least begin to modulate, the mindset I bring to situations. Honing a more positive mindset is a core benefit of EI coaching.

Did anything about your coaching experience surprise you?

I enjoyed it; that was a surprise. I went into it thinking, “Oh Lord, I don’t have time for this,” but I looked forward to it. To this day I keep an active relationship with Kelly; I consider her a good friend of mine. I know if I ever need to run an idea by her I can just call and we’ll have a productive conversation.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Recommended Resources:

Get Coached!

Want get coached in Emotional Intelligence? For a limited time, we’re offering a personalized EI development package. You’ll receive year-long access to our online EI training courses, a range of EI assessments, one-on-one coaching sessions, and more. You can learn how it works and register here.

Become a Coach!

Are you interested in leading Emotional Intelligence transformations? Apply today for the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification. Whether you’re an established coach or new to the field, this intensive program offers the tools and first hand experience you need to coach for transformational growth.

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Emotional Intelligence in Action: Team Transformation Begins

Do you despair when you read about the importance of Emotional Intelligence because you know you and your team lack it and you can’t see how to improve it?

You are not alone.

A leader who engaged me to transform her performance and that of her team told me that when she finished reading Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, she cried.

“As the importance of Emotional Intelligence dawned on me, so did the humbling realization that I didn’t have much of it. Worse yet, I had no idea how to improve. Positive outlook and inspirational leadership felt out of reach for me. I felt despair–destined to keep experiencing the stressful consequences of negative thinking, reactive communication, and working long hours to try and compensate for my poor collaboration and leadership skills.”

Today, this leader and her team have transformed.

They have gone from not wanting to go to work, not seeing eye-to-eye, disappointed in their performance, and embarrassed about being perceived by others as a dysfunctional team to feeling happy to go to work, collaborating harmoniously, and achieving better business outcomes. This transformation has been so profound others have noticed. Previously skeptical managers from neighboring teams are now seeking out Mindfulness training and Emotional Intelligence coaching to help their teams too.

In this and forthcoming articles in my series, “Emotional Intelligence in Action,” I’m going to take you on a journey in which I share the approaches that worked. In this article, I recount an activity from the initial training day that instigated immediate and inspiring increases in emotionally intelligent behaviors and that created the foundation for high levels of engagement in coaching and training over the next six months. By adopting (or adapting) the approaches I share, you can become an agent for positive change wherever you are, in whatever setting, right now.

An initial step to building Emotional Intelligence

I started by introducing the team to Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence framework. I did this playfully by having the team rate themselves from 1-10 for how capable they felt in each competency. I read aloud polarized and entertaining examples for the behavioral indicators of low and high skills in each of the twelve competencies (e.g., “If you have no idea what motivates your staff and no interest or idea in how to find out, then you currently have low competency in Coach & Mentor). During a 10-second pause between competencies, the team rated their capacity from 1 (low) to 10 (high) on a worksheet and then scored their current baseline level of Emotional Intelligence (out of 120).

Limitations of this approach

While the self-assessment approach has limitations and is not meant to replace the complete picture offered by a 360-style assessment, it can help teams become motivated to improve, build self-efficacy, and support collaboration. It is an approach that can be readily adopted by any consultant or leader.

Strengths of this approach

To articulate the value of this exercise, I highlight the literature that inspired it and the positive impact it made, below:

Connecting with the personal meaning of information fuels motivation.

Using relatable behavioral descriptors in the self-assessment of each competency helped individuals to connect with the personal relevance of Emotional Intelligence. Research tells us that when activities have personal meaning, we’re more motivated to get engaged. Making the descriptions of the competencies easily understandable and relatable drove high-level engagement on the first day and generated appetite to learn more in coming months.

Creating a fun environment diffuses tension and optimizes learning.

Making this activity fun was intentional and beneficial. This team entered the room stressed out, highly sensitive to negative feedback, and wary of the session. Emotions influence dopamine and impact the neural networks responsible for learning. Beginning playfully created a relaxed atmosphere that optimized the learning environment and visibly established great rapport for the upcoming coaching journey.

Setting up early opportunities for success builds self-efficacy.

Self-Awareness is the foundation of Emotional Intelligence. By highlighting how a simple 10-minute activity had already positively impacted their Self-Awareness (and therefore their Emotional Intelligence) the team experienced self-efficacy in developing Emotional Intelligence. This early win served as a source of inspiration for more positive change.

Emotional Intelligence literacy supports communication & collaboration.

The exercise established entry-level Emotional Intelligence literacy, enabling the team to communicate about the intrapersonal and interpersonal processes influencing their work. Having a framework to discuss struggles and aspirations opened up courageous communication and creative problem solving amongst the team.

Group-level awareness of our common humanity creates Empathy.

When everyone raised their hands to signal they had identified both strengths and areas for improvement across the suite of competencies, it changed the mood in the room. Many team members commented on what a relief it was to see how everyone, not just them, recognized that they have “things to work on.” Through this simple step, a greater sense of connectivity, comradery, and Empathy emerged. It was beautiful to witness, and it signaled the beginning of the individual and group-level transformation that was to continue.

Transformation takes places progressively, one step at a time.

There is much more that we did on that initial day and over the following months to progressively transform this team’s culture from toxicity to empowered productivity. I will share more with you in the next article to further equip and inspire you with simple yet powerful ideas to boost your own Emotional Intelligence and performance as well as that of your team.

Emotional Intelligence makes a difference in people’s lives.

The leader who cried after first reading about Emotional Intelligence emailed me after the training day to say it was the best training she had experienced. When I asked her why she said: “Because I left the day feeling empowered that I could change and that the team could change too. I started to think positively about our possibilities for the first time in a long time, and that is of great value to me.”

Are you interested in leading Emotional Intelligence transformations? Apply today for the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification. Whether you’re an established coach or new to the field, this intensive program offers the tools and first hand experience you need to coach for transformational growth.

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