Coaching and Emotional Awareness
Coaches have identified that there are three fundamental areas of coaching development. These are:
- Emotional Awareness;
- Accurate Assessment; and
This post aims to look at the first of these, emotional awareness emotional management). What is clear is that coaching and other forms of development of emotional awareness results in individuals being empowered to achieve their desired outcomes. A greater emotional awareness allows them to manage and use emotion to achieve such goals.
Conversely, those with a low emotional awareness will use their energies in fighting their emotions, often labelled as 'emotional' or 'stressed' or 'immature'.
It is not only individuals who benefit from emotional awareness, but teams benefit as well. Here, a high level of emotional awareness can result in high performance as the team understands individuals' emotions, resulting in a goal orientated focus. However, where there is a low level, teams can fall apart very quickly as they are unable to understand each others emotions resulting in the possible implosion of the team as a result of conflict.
From an organisational perspective, a high level of emotional awareness can result in positive cultural aspects. A positive culture and ethos can result in greater and better levels of creativity and the encouragement of innovation. Again, the converse is true, resulting in avoidable conflict, silos, employees' low self esteem, absenteeism, and a high staff turnover.
So, with greater emotional awareness, emotions can be managed, resulting unintelligence taking the fore. The alternative is for emotions to take the lead, resulting in more emotional decision making, with intelligence only rationalising the emotional thoughts.
So, what is emotional intelligence? In his book titled "Emotional Intelligence - Why It Can Matter More Than IQ" 1995, Daniel Goleman
an American psychologist, developed a framework of five elements that define emotional intelligence as:
- Self-Awareness – People with high emotional intelligence are usually very self-aware. They understand their emotions, and as a result of this, do not let their feelings rule them. They are confident – because they trust their intuition and don't let their emotions get out of control.They are also willing to take an honest look at themselves. They know their strengths and weaknesses, and they work on these areas so they can perform better. Many people believe that this self-awareness is the most important part of emotional intelligence.
- Self-Regulation – This is the ability to control emotions and impulses. People who self-regulate typically do not allow themselves to become too angry or jealous, and they do not make impulsive, careless decisions. They think before they act. Characteristics of self-regulation are thoughtfulness, comfort with change, integrity and the ability to say 'no'.
- Motivation – People with a high degree of emotional intelligence are usually motivated. They are willing to defer immediate results for long-term success. They are highly productive, love a challenge, and are very effective in whatever they do.
- Empathy – This is perhaps the second-most important element of emotional intelligence. Empathy is the ability to identify with and understand the wants, needs, and viewpoints of those around you. People with empathy are good at recognizing the feelings of others, even when those feelings may not be obvious. As a result, empathetic people are usually excellent at managing relationships, listening, and relating to others. They avoid stereotyping and judging too quickly, and they live their lives in a very open, honest way.
- Social Skills – It is usually easy to talk to and like people with good social skills, another sign of high emotional intelligence. Those with strong social skills are typically team players. Rather than focus on their own success first, they help others develop and shine. They can manage disputes, are excellent communicators, and are masters at building and maintaining relationships.
Having an understanding of the importance of emotional awareness and what it constitutes allows us to utilise it in our interactions with other people as well as to use it with coachees.
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