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Coaching for Emotional Intelligence: Wagner Denuzzo on the Future of Leadership

In the fourth installment of Coaching for Emotional Intelligence, Wagner Denuzzo, a Meta-Coach for the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification discusses adaptability, global leadership, and more. Previous installments of this series include interviews with Meta-Coaches Dot Proux and Kully Jaswal and Faculty member Michelle Maldonado.

 

As Vice-President of the Leadership Talent Transformation team at IBM, Wagner engenders a growth-mindset culture and has reinvented IBM’s leadership. Prior to this role, Wagner led IBM’s Leadership and Management Development global portfolio with a focus on the IBM signature leader experience, from aspiring managers to executive leaders. Wagner has been a Leadership/Organizational Development Consultant, Executive Coach, and HR strategist for over 20 years. Prior to joining IBM, Wagner had an Executive Coaching practice in NYC serving Fortune 500 clients nationwide.

 

 

 

Let’s start with a tough one, what do you see as some of the greatest challenges facing business leaders today?

Leaders are struggling to adapt to continuous change. I was at the Aspen Institute last year with many leaders from the best business schools in the world and it was clear to me that our educational system is also struggling to keep up with the demands of a new world. Experienced leaders are realizing that what worked in the past is no longer a viable option to lead the multigenerational, agile, and non-hierarchical organizations of today and tomorrow. Leaders who successfully navigate ambiguity and uncertainty are usually emotionally intelligent individuals who have been aware of their behaviors and had the courage to work on their emotional health. Business schools are not there yet…and as we enter the next phase of the super-competitive, super-human, and super-intense business era, we must prepare our leaders to share power, become more aware of their impact on others, and most importantly, maintain a healthy, sustainable high-performance while nurturing meaningful personal relationships in their lives.

 

What led you to begin coaching?

I was an Employee Assistance Program counselor when a group of us decided to introduce coaching as a service to our client companies in the late 90’s. It was obvious to us that many employees seeking our services could benefit from coaching, especially leaders who were struggling in their roles in management. It was exciting to begin the coaching practice as a team with my colleagues.

 

How does your background as a psychotherapist and social worker inform your work as a coach?

It takes courage for someone to begin a personal development journey. I believe my experience as a clinical social worker prepared me to treat others with empathy and respect for the vulnerability that’s intrinsic in the process of personal growth. I also find it helpful to have the tools to identify the best modality to help someone who might be requesting coaching services, when in fact they might benefit from mental health services. And lastly, I find extremely important to set and maintain healthy boundaries with my clients, and honestly, I don’t know if I would be good at it if I had not had clinical training to help me with this critical element of our coaching relationships.

 

 

What are your thoughts on Emotional Intelligence?

I often think about the saying: “One teaches what one needs to learn,” and that was true for me when I began my education on EI 20 years ago. I find it somewhat impossible to think about happiness and healthy relationships without referring to the elements of Emotional and Social Intelligence. I think that Daniel Goleman was brilliant in his ability to translate complex psychological constructs into meaningful and understandable concepts of our emotional lives. For me, EI provides guidance on how we can learn to enhance our experiences and achieve a sense of well-being as individuals and as members of society.

 

What drew you to become a Meta-Coach for the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification?

When I heard about the EI certification program created by Dan Goleman and Michele Nevarez, I was immediately drawn to it. I have been using Dan’s work in my work with clients and teams for so many years, and the opportunity to be part of a like-minded community of practitioners in the inaugural cohort of the program was just an experience I could not miss! I know I will enjoy helping participants grow their skills and bring their potential to fruition, and that’s the greatest reward for me in my career. I have been working in corporate environments for 10 years now, and this program will help me reconnect with a higher purpose in my professional life. And of course, it will be a lot of fun to be with amazing people in the program.

 

 

What is your approach to coaching leaders managing an increasingly global and technological workforce?

This is what I have been doing for many years now…and from the beginning, I have applied a social work principle: Start where the client is. It never fails! In many instances, global organizations have a business culture that supersedes geographical cultural norms. That provides a positive force in these organizations which have established values and beliefs that can guide their workforce. But of course, we need to focus on cultural intelligence with global leaders and help them become adept at communicating through multiple digital platforms.

It seems that the globalization of the business world has diminished the differences among groups of workers from different countries. I have an optimistic view of the positive impact of globalization and technology in our lives. Coaching global leaders requires a lot of sensitivity to their own fears of inadequacy and vulnerability that permeate global contexts.

I use a simple approach to help them overcome these fears that I call the “curiosity” approach. I often tell leaders that demonstrating curiosity about new cultures, new norms, new technologies, and new ways of relating and working is a way to connect with others and a proven strategy for building trust and fostering collaboration.

 

What does inclusive leadership mean to you? How do you cultivate measurably inclusive practices in a corporate environment?

Inclusion is one of those topics that is often discussed, but rarely observed in real organizational life. I am proud of being part of an organization that truly believes in inclusive leadership and has been a leader in creating a diverse workforce. I personally hope that one day we will not need to use this terminology any longer as inclusion becomes business as usual in corporate environments. Inclusive Leadership is the practice of leading with “soft eyes,” which I translate as leading with an ability to focus while observing your surroundings and being attentive to the value of differences that permeate our relationships. Inclusive leadership is the art of valuing others with a non-judgmental orientation.

It is difficult to measure inclusive practices, but it is evident when consistently adopted by corporate leaders. The composition of a team can tell you a lot about inclusive leadership. Creating an environment where all individuals feel valued and listened to is another characteristic of inclusive leadership. I believe the most useful tool for measuring inclusive leadership is an engagement survey that asks about leadership practices. Engagement results are reflective of these practices.

 

Do you have any advice for people who would like to become coaches?

Besides going through coaching themselves, I would say that it is critical for aspiring coaches to know how to set boundaries with respect and empathy. And to achieve that, you must practice mindfulness so you are aware of your own biases, potential issues, and prepare yourself to be the best coach you can be.

 

 

 

 

Interested in being coached by Wagner and becoming a certified coach yourself? Apply now for the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification. This in-depth program, akin to a professional degree, draws upon a range of evidence-based concepts and practices, including the Emotional & Social Intelligence framework. Coaches will gain meaningful new insights to impact their personal and professional lives through online learning, one-on-one guidance from a Meta-Coach, a coaching practicum, and more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Coaching for Emotional Intelligence: Kully Jaswal on Career Development

In the third installment of Coaching for Emotional Intelligence, Kully Jaswal, a Meta-Coach for the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification discusses becoming fully present as a coach, career development, and more. Previous installments in this series include interviews with Meta-Coach Dot Proux and Faculty member Michelle Maldonado.

Kully is an executive coach who helps individuals maximize their drive, resilience, and performance in both work and life. She has combined her 15 years of business experience with Deloitte and Andersen with her coaching skills to deliver coaching assignments and group workshops on Executive Coaching, Mindfulness, and Personal Resilience. Kully is a Certified Coach and a teacher in training with the Google-born Search Inside Yourself program. In 2011, Kully founded her own Coaching business in Hong Kong and is now based in New York, leading a global team.

 

What led you to begin coaching?

During my tenure at Deloitte, I experienced firsthand the transformational benefits of coaching. It boosted my confidence, reframed negative thoughts, and led me to be more open to new opportunities. It was a life-changing experience, which piqued my interest in coaching and its powerful role in helping individuals to create more meaningful lives.

 

In what ways has your background in accounting and finance influenced your current work as a coach?

My corporate background in accounting and finance enables me to understand the actual pressures that professionals face on a daily basis in global, complex, and high-pressured work environments. Having led global client accounts and worked with teams across different services lines and countries, I recognize the challenges leaders face when dealing with people issues, difficult clients, and negotiations. My skills and experiences are fundamental to my coaching style and enable me to build credibility and trust with clients in similar fields.

 

What drew you to become a Meta-Coach for the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification?

Having been an avid reader of Daniel Goleman’s research on Emotional and Social Intelligence for the past few years, I was thrilled to hear about the Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification. I’ve utilized various resources from Goleman’s research and applied them to my coaching and training programs, however this is a practical program focused on helping coaches and leaders discover an alternative way of relating to themselves, to others, and the world around them. The fact that it’s based on research from neuroscience and evidence-based frameworks of Emotional and Social Intelligence is particularly compelling. Coaches are provided with a structured process to help clients and teams develop their positive human qualities and leadership competencies, which is much needed in today’s world.

 

 

You were born in the United Kingdom and founded your own Coaching and Training business in Hong Kong. Are there any ways in which your approach to coaching internationally differs from the coaching you conduct in the United States? Do you find that differences in eastern and western professional environments necessitate different coaching needs?

I adopt a holistic approach to coaching, rather than focusing solely on obvious challenges a person may be facing. An individual may be looking for career coaching but to help them truly move forward, I would seek to identify what may be holding them back in the first instance. I would work with them to recognize any emotional blocks and reframe negative self-talk before even starting to explore career challenges.

Due to its holistic nature, my coaching approach hasn’t changed since moving from Asia to the USA. Recognising that every client has their unique challenges, I adapt my style to support them in line with their needs. Sometimes, I’m a sounding board and other times, I provide more tools, exercises, and assessments to deepen their awareness.

I do find the western world is more open to coaching and views the process in a positive light. High performers in organizations in the US and the UK understand the benefits of coaching to their increased success as do individuals simply looking for support whilst making difficult decisions. In Asia, however, there is still some perception of Coaches being ‘people doctors’ – we are there to fix people issues. This perception is gradually changing as coaching becomes more widely available.

 

Could you share a difficult experience you had with a client and how you handled it?

I had one difficult experience when working with a client in Asia. He felt his team was incompetent and disrespectful toward him by not following his instructions and fulfilling their responsibilities. In fact, issues were arising because he had a harsh style of communication and ultimately, a lack of EI. He had no idea that his annoyed facial expressions, tendency to cut people short, and his body language when communicating made his team feel highly uncomfortable around him.

As his coach, my role was to raise his self-awareness about the impact his behavior was having on team morale. Initially, this was difficult because as expected, he started out defensive and guarded. Accordingly, we gave him the space he needed to share his perspective, which allowed us to build trust and openness. He was then more willing to listen to the 360 feedback and acknowledge my observations.

Through various self-reflection exercises and mindfulness practices he was able to see the impact he was having on this team. He became aware of his own triggers and was able to pause before reacting, especially when communicating with his team. This had a positive impact on his own motivation and effectiveness as a leader and his team’s morale significantly improved. He continues to practice mindfulness to build self-awareness and has started journaling on a regular basis to reflect on his own behaviors, emotions, and frustrations.

 

How did you begin incorporating mindfulness into your coaching? In your experience, what are some of the unique benefits of mindfulness coaching?

When I initially started coaching, I would catch myself thinking: “What’s the next question I need to ask?”, “Is this helping?”, “Are we making progress?”. Through the integration of mindfulness in my role as a coach and facilitator, my inner voices are stilled. I am fully present for my clients, able to listen to not just what they are saying but what they are not saying through their body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice, for example. It’s an incredible journey and allows me to be an effective coach and facilitator.

The practice of mindfulness has also allowed me to make more conscious choices about my own business and vision, enabling me to align my work with my core values and key strengths. I feel comfortable with saying no to work that is unaligned to our vision, and instead invest time and money on relationships and services that accomplish our goal of helping individuals and companies to develop greater resilience.

 

 

You have also focused on career development in your coaching. How do you set about working with a client who feels stuck in their career or has yet to identify their passions?

When clients are stuck I typically use various assessment tools and self-reflection exercises to help them identify their strengths and passions. Harrison Assessment, for example, has a Career Assessment report that identifies ideal careers based on a person’s strengths and the things they enjoy doing. The Game Changer Index report enables individuals to identify how they can make the greatest impact to their team in terms of the type of role they are doing and who they are working with. Both reports can provide initial awareness of suitable next steps. Through coaching, we then further explore skills, strengths, peak performances, and a person’s most enjoyable moments to clarify potential roles or companies that could be of interest.

Often clients work with a Career Coach as they feel like they need a complete career change, but frequently a shift in mindset or making changes to their current role can lead to greater fulfillment. One client simply changed her mindset from saying ‘I don’t like my work and will never succeed,’ to ‘The challenges I am facing are great learning opportunities to help me develop and become a better leader.’ This shift in mindset helped her through the challenging period and later she was thrilled to lead a new and meaningful project on Corporate Social Responsibility, which aligned with her personal values and goals. She stayed with the company for 6 more years and was extremely grateful for the shift in mindset. It led her to focus on the impact she could make rather than looking for external factors to bring her success. This was a transformational shift from the way she previously approached life’s challenges and it all came from greater self-awareness and self-management.

 

What advice do you have for people who would like to become coaches?

If you naturally enjoy listening, problem-solving, and helping people, I would start by practicing your coaching skills on friends/colleagues to obtain honest feedback. If it feels like a natural fit, continue to research, find a niche market that aligns with your purpose, and ensure you obtain a professional certification before building a client base. Bringing consistent quality and credibility to the profession will help all coaches.

 

 

 

 

Interested in being coached by Kully and becoming a certified coach yourself? Apply now for the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification. This in-depth program, akin to a professional degree, draws upon a range of evidence-based concepts and practices, including the Emotional & Social Intelligence framework. Coaches will gain meaningful new insights to impact their personal and professional lives through online learning, one-on-one guidance from a Meta-Coach, a coaching practicum, and more.

 

 

 

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Leadership Training: Filling the Gap with Emotional Intelligence

The reality of the average worker is not improving, and the way people feel about their workplace relationships is a key contributor to the problem. Leaders at all levels struggle with issues of interpersonal interaction and employee engagement, many of which are likely tied to inadequate leadership training and support. Changes in the workforce further complicate the demands of leadership, challenging the effectiveness of the most widely accepted leadership theories. Fortunately, there is growing evidence that indicates what employees and leaders need to thrive, which includes a better understanding of the role of emotion.

 

Not the Trickle-Down Effect We Wanted

In 2017, CLO Media reported that U.S. companies invest as much as $24 billion annually in programs to develop leadership effectiveness, yet, during the same year, the Engagement Institute identified stressed leaders as a primary cause of employee disengagement, and linked this issue to an estimated annual cost of over $450 billion. A study by Steelcase reports that 1/3 of workers in 17 of the world’s most important economies are disengaged, and Gallup reported in 2015 that 50% of 7,200 adults surveyed left a job “to get away from their manager.” In addition, a Karolinska Institute study showed a strong link between negative leadership behavior and heart disease in employees, which further supports the claim that abusive supervisors are one of the most costly problems faced by businesses. (Additional references appear at the end of this article.)

 

The Role of Emotion in Performance

While it is impossible to link these problems to any single cause, the behaviors modeled by leaders in the workplace are clearly a contributing factor. This is often the context within which we hear about the importance of Emotional Intelligence in professional settings, recently identified as a core leadership requirement in Crack the C-Suite Code by former Cisco Global Executive Talent VP, Dr. Cassandra Frangos. Leveraging the role of emotions in workplace performance does not require alignment with any particular theory or school of thought in order to be solution oriented. We only need to acknowledge that employee and leader performance is influenced by emotions, and make that the starting point for interventions.

A Better Understanding of What Employees Need

It probably isn’t a stretch to say that most leaders are not adequately equipped to support the new demands emerging from the workforce. For example, introverts make up 30–50 percent of the workforce, but many organizations maintain workplace environments that introverts find counterproductive. Additionally, in the U.S. 31 percent of full-time employees report being unable to complete key tasks in their primary work locations, and 41 percent report lacking access to privacy needed for confidential workplace conversations. It is also estimated that as many as 20 percent of adults will develop PTSD at some point in their lives, and 18 percent suffer from anxiety disorders. This data raises the question of whether current and future generations of leaders are adequately prepared to provide for the emotional needs of employees.

We also continue to hear about “issues” with the millennial workforce, the significance of which is well-articulated in a story about cultural changes at PwC that describes the unwillingness of younger, key employees to give up quality of life in exchange for continued employment. This forced the organization to change on a fundamental level, and illustrates the point that leaders must be prepared to adapt to the needs of workers now more than ever.

 

A Call for Emotional Intelligence

Fortunately, studies identifying the negative effects of inadequate leadership often also shed light on possible solutions. For example, the previously mentioned Karolinska study showed that employees with inspirational managers reported less short-term sick leave. In addition, workers whose managers hold regular meetings are three times more likely to be engaged. Employees have also reported a desire for daily contact with their boss, and for their superiors to take an interest in their personal lives. Finally, a Gallup report states that “clarity of expectations is perhaps the most basic of employee needs and is vital to performance,” which further adds to the argument for leader EI training aimed at increased engagement, since some research reports that engaged employees outperform disengaged employees by 202%.

Coaching as an Effective and Vital Strategy

There has been no shortage of training materials generated over the years with the aim of developing Emotional Intelligence in leaders. Given the data highlighted above, these efforts have not been adequate. The solution lies in approaching the problem with greater accountability, structured learning, and evidence-based strategies for lasting, behavioral change.

Optimal learning and retention has been linked to Direct Instruction, which should include contextualized and hands-on learning of new skills, concepts, and processes. Mentor and/or coach support is also required to facilitate the transfer of new knowledge into more effective capabilities. This process includes attention to the difference between what a learner can do independently and what can be accomplished with the support of more experienced advisors. Dixon, Carnine, and Kameenui (1993) indicate that this type of development requires metaphorical “scaffolds,” created and maintained by more knowledgeable others, which are “gradually dismantled” in order to enable independent function.

These theories stress the importance of a third party to guide development, which is also a foundation of a scientifically supported psychological modality, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The CBT approach focuses on identifying thoughts, beliefs, and reactions that contribute to ineffective behavior, and learning how to manage this process. The adaptation of CBT for the specific purpose of addressing the requirements of leadership coaching has already been proposed, and the combination of this approach with more effective learning strategies is exactly what the next generation of workplace Emotional Intelligence development should be based on.

This means that coaches and mentors should be an integral part of EI training. It also means that programs will need to reach employees at all levels of organizations to begin creating internal networks of EI coaches and communities of EI practitioners. If there is one thing we can probably all agree on about EI, it is that the way people treat one another has a direct impact on workplace performance. From that perspective, workplace EI development should focus on creating environments where employees and leaders are fluent in a common language and theoretical framework for better understanding one another’s needs.

 

Recommended Resources:

 

The recently launched Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification serves to fill a gap in current executive coaching programs. Emotional Intelligence offers an evidence-based framework for executive coaching that draws upon the disciplines of Neuroscience and Cognitive Behavioral Science, while one-on-one guidance from a Meta-Coach and a coaching practicum offer opportunities for detailed feedback. We are now accepting applicants who would like to learn this specific methodology for coaching their clients. This fall, we will also be launching an online program for learning the fundamentals of Emotional Intelligence.

 

 

 

 

For more in-depth reading on leadership and EI, What Makes a Leader: Why Emotional Intelligence Matters presents Daniel Goleman’s ground-breaking, highly sought-after articles from the Harvard Business Review and other business journals in one volume. It features more than half a dozen articles, including “Reawakening Your Passion for Work.”

 

 

 

References:

1. “U.S. companies invest as much as $24 billion annually in programs to develop leadership effectiveness”

2. “the Engagement Institute identified stressed leaders as a primary cause of employee disengagement, and linked this issue to an estimated annual cost of over $450 billion”

3. “1/3 of workers in 17 of the world’s most important economies are disengaged”

4.”50% of the 7,200 adults surveyed left a job ‘to get away from their manager'”

5. “abusive supervisors are one of the most costly problems faced by businesses”

6. “as many as 20 percent of adults will develop PTSD at some point in their lives”

7. “18 percent suffer from anxiety disorders”

8. “Employees have also reported a desire for daily contact with their boss”

9.”scientifically supported psychological modality, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)”

10. “The adaptation of CBT for the specific purpose of addressing the requirements of leadership coaching has already been proposed”

 

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Coaching for Emotional Intelligence: Michelle Maldonado on Mindfulness Coaching

In the second installment of Coaching for Emotional Intelligence, Michelle Maldonado, a Faculty member and Meta-Coach for the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification, discusses her lifelong meditation practice, what it means to embody authenticity, and more. The first interview in the series, with Meta-Coach Dot Proux, is available here.

 

Michelle is Founder and CEO of Lucenscia LLC, a human capital development and business strategy firm dedicated to developing leaders and organizations with positive impact in the world. She is a Genos International Certified Emotional Intelligence Practitioner® and Master Teacher with the Google-inspired Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute® who leverages her more than 35 years of contemplative practice and two plus decades of business and legal experience to create relevant and practical solutions to transform how we “show up” as more compassionate, impactful and resilient leaders.

 

 

How did you begin coaching?

I am a teacher and facilitator at heart; one who serves as a seed planter and a gentle “way shower.” So coaching came very naturally to me in my early years of professional work. John Mackey, co-founder of Whole Foods Market and the Conscious Capitalism movement, once said that, “If you are a leader of an organization, you have a duty to evolve yourself or you are holding the organization back.” I take this to heart. In order for people in organizations to thrive, managers have an obligation to do their self-work and assist others to do the same which very often takes the form of coaching and mentoring their people. I found myself doing this as a young attorney in law firm life and also later as a business professional in the tech and online industries. Today, I consider it a privilege to share in the journey of others and to play a supporting role in helping them discover the wholeness that makes them who they are and aligning the vision and values they have for their work and their lives.

 

In what ways has your background as a corporate attorney and business leader influenced your work as a coach?

Across both the legal and business arenas, the most salient insights I gained were about people. I learned quite a bit about the quiet suffering that occurs in the workplace, about inspiration and innovation, about the need for people to feel heard, seen and valued, about culture, connection and engagement, and more. My legal and business experience deepened my understanding and appreciation of how people were showing up and their emotional drivers. This, in turn, helped build my capacity for compassion and support of their journey in a way that created psychological safety (regardless of role or title) and paved the way for meaningful conversation, exploration, self-discovery, insight, and change.

 

What are your thoughts on Emotional Intelligence?

Whether in my own self-work or those with whom I collaborate, I have found that Emotional Intelligence is a foundational skill set that makes the difference between those who truly thrive and are living a life in alignment with their values, passions, and optimized skill sets and those who are not. EI does not just help us with what we do. It helps create an inner and outer connectedness that creates a way of being that informs how we do what we do. This nuanced difference creates ripples of positive impact across diverse stakeholder communities.

EI helps us shift from “me” to “we” thinking. Although people tend to lump it into the category of “soft skills,” this terminology creates a misperception of being easy or less important. The reality is that developing Emotional Intelligence competencies is simple, but not easy. It is simple to understand the steps and components intellectually, but challenging to practice and cultivate because they require the creation of new, sustainable habits and shifting of mindsets. In our instant access, on-demand world, it is important to remember that developing these skills is a lifelong journey where they are honed over time with patience, persistence, and great self-awareness (which brings in its connection to mindfulness meditation).

 

 

What drew you to the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification?

Like many, I have followed Dan’s research on Emotional Intelligence, and more recently, its intersection with mindfulness, for quite a while. What drew me to the certification was its interconnected framework and the depth of the content coupled with time, spaciousness and support for self-reflection, application, and integration.

The Coaching Certification is experiential in many ways so that it affords the greatest opportunity for participants and coaches to connect on deeper levels and peel back the layers for meaningful transformation. I believe it is a model that will help coaches be more effective at supporting the client as a “whole person” and to facilitating personal revelations and impact across their spheres of influence.

 

How do you approach the topics of diversity and civility within the framework of your coaching practice? Do you have any advice for leaders who want to become more aware of the ways in which unconscious bias impacts their leadership?

Civil discourse and belonging are so important for our world community.

As a critical element needed to facilitate shifts of hearts and minds, I like to take a step back and first recognize that, perhaps even the language we use may be outdated and may unwittingly leave some people out of the conversation.

Historically, we spoke of “Diversity,” Then we evolved to “Diversity & Inclusion.” However, despite our best intentions we have not achieved a felt sense for all people – from LGBTQ, to women, to people of color, to white men – that they are valued, heard, and seen. While language alone will not fix the human connection gap we are experiencing, it is a start. Instead of looking at diversity and inclusion, I much prefer to call it “Belonging and Unity.” With Belonging and Unity, we naturally weave in civil discourse as a pathway to create the greater felt sense of a common humanity.

Another perspective I take is to understand how critically important it is to create safe space to allow for the difficult conversations and emotions that naturally arise during this type of work. Everyone has biases – some unconscious (or implicit) and some conscious. That, too, is part of the human condition. And, it is important for us to be open to what we see about our biases without beating ourselves up about it; to follow the lines of where the impact of these biases goes at work (who do you hire, give high profile projects to, promote, associate yourself with?) and at play (who do you interact with socially?). After all, we cannot transform what we do not see or will not acknowledge.

The discovery and awareness process is a great first step, but it is not enough. To truly make a sustainable shift, we also are called to move forward into action and impact where we put practices into place that help us see others as ourselves. This is the part that can be most challenging because it makes us step out of our comfort zone and asks us to extend empathy and compassion to others we may feel uncomfortable with or not understand. However, the good news is that we can leverage practices from wisdom traditions to assist us. To help build better connection, diminish the “us” and “them” mentality, I encourage clients to practice Loving Kindness and Just Like Me meditations. Over time, with sustained practice, these enhance self-awareness and cultivate our capacity to extend compassion to a broader spectrum of people and communities, stretching us beyond our biases.

 

 

What led you to your contemplative practice? How has it evolved over the years?

I was introduced to meditation the summer after first grade. As a child, I was raised in a Roman Catholic family in Cape Cod, MA. However, one summer, I spent several months with my Great Aunt in Wyoming where she introduced me to the cultural traditions of indigenous communities in the area as well as meditation. What was remarkable is that she did not use typical terminology with me. Instead, she simply invited me “to sit” with her as she gently placed her hands on my head saying, “Quiet here,” and then slowly moved her hands down to my heart saying, “so you can be here.” For some reason, at that age, I did not need any more than that. I knew that I felt good – different even – after sitting with her and regularly returned to my practice after my summer visit was over. As the years passed, I found myself sitting frequently feeling the ease of well-being, clarity, and replenishment that it provided. It was not until I was in college that I learned what I was doing was called meditation.

When I think about the inspiration behind my Great Aunt’s introduction of meditation to me, she explained that she did not use all the words associated with her Buddhist philosophy because I was seven years old and she wanted me to find a way to share it with others my age in our own language. I also remember her telling me that it was not enough to have a broader view beyond my own community or even to have a world view. Rather, she often emphasized the need for each of us to have a view of interconnectedness and humanity.

Over time, my contemplative practice evolved and expanded to include different forms of meditation such as walking meditation, gratitude meditation, loving kindness/just like me, retreats, and more. Additionally, my ability to understand the importance of language and how to use language that meets people where they are also was influenced by my early meditation practice and its evolution over time. Ultimately, my practice has shifted the lens through which I view myself and others enabling me to embrace the seeds my Great Aunt planted so long ago and that was so nicely summarized in a speech once given by Salma Hayek where she proudly proclaimed, “The world is my home and humanity is my family.”

 

Has mindfulness always been a part of your coaching practice? In your experience, what are some of the unique benefits of mindfulness coaching? 

Yes, I have found that mindfulness coaching is one of the most effective ways to cultivate self-awareness. As the foundational EI domain, self-awareness is uniquely developed through mental focus training which enables our capacity to construct a solid and sustainable foundation upon which all the remaining Emotional Intelligence domains rest.

Mindfulness also is an important part of coaching because it further develops our empathetic and compassion responses in a way that helps us shift to other perspective taking, understanding of a common humanity, and our shared connection. With this embodied understanding, we are better positioned to evolve our social and leadership skills that influence how we show up with others in our family, our community, and the workplace. When you step back and look at it, you can see how mindfulness enables the EI domains to help us more fully flourish as human beings with positive presence, intention, and impact.

 

 

What does authentic leadership mean to you? How do you develop authentic leaders?

Authentic Leadership has been studied, taught and talked about for decades. There is quite a bit of information and opinion out there on this topic. Whether recognized industry experts or an average Joe or Jane, what is believed to make an authentic leader is as varied as the people you ask. For me, similar to mindfulness, authenticity is one of those characteristics that infuses how you do what you do:

You don’t do authenticity, you are authentic.

Just as you don’t do mindfulness, you are mindful.

Authenticity doesn’t mean that you say whatever you want, whenever you want, to whomever you want, however you want. That is merely a way of not exercising self-awareness or self-management and it mistakenly places the responsibility for your words and actions on others around you. Rather, when we embody authenticity, we cultivate positive and healthy relationships and are comfortable being vulnerable in the room. Being vulnerable includes being accountable and moving through interactions with integrity, trustworthiness, awareness, compassion, and more – and if you don’t, immediately owning it and taking corrective action. Authenticity, like compassion and other EI competencies takes courage. When this courage rests on a stable foundation, authenticity nicely flourishes.

 

What advice do you have for people who would like to become coaches?

For people who wish to become coaches, I would offer that they must be clear on their “why” for this work and be committed to consistently doing their own inner work. Coaching places us in a sacred position of trust by others who share their dreams and deepest desires as well as their frustrations and deeply rooted fears. If we do not continuously do our inner work, when we coach we then risk personal projections on our clients and a potential level of disconnection that depletes us. The same is true if we are not clear on our “why.” Without this clarity of self and intention, we can come from a place of ego that could leave us blind to crucial information that is present for us to see and work with.

Ultimately, we have to remember that while this work can be tactical or functional in nature, like most of the EI and mindfulness work we do, coaching is a journey where we plant many seeds. By simultaneously being heart-centered, humble, and wise, we help people move from head to heart so they can re-align both in a most magnificent way.

 

 

 

 

Interested in working with Michelle and becoming a certified coach? Apply now for the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification. This in-depth program, akin to a professional degree, draws upon a range of evidence-based concepts and practices, including the Emotional & Social Intelligence framework. Coaches will gain meaningful new insights to impact their personal and professional lives through online learning, one-on-one guidance from a Meta-Coach, a coaching practicum, and more.

 

 

 

 

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3 Takeaways from Research on Executive Coaching

Executive coaching is a relatively recent profession. The first established accreditation groups for professional coaches were founded in the 1990s. Historically, coaching has often been used remedially, as an organization’s attempt to correct employees’ unwelcome behavior or perceived lack of competencies. Many conventional programs still use this approach, with few positive or lasting results.

Today, more progressive coaching programs focus on career advancement and personal development, and are ideally initiated by a coachee seeking self-improvement. The best and most effective programs support the overall growth and wellbeing of the person, taking into account things like habitual patterns of thoughts, emotional states, and underlying mental models that may keep someone stuck.

As executive coaching is growing in value and evolving in design, high-quality research has the potential to shape the discipline and move it forward. One of the challenges of arriving at such research is the existence of significant enough control groups, clear parameters and measurement tools, accounting for variability of data, and a coaching framework that fully supports the complete range of ways in which personal and professional development efforts can materialize – in real time, in the real world. That is one undertaking currently in progress at Key Step Media.

For now, the following studies offer the most meaningful, evidence-based insights into what we know is effective in executive coaching.

 

  1. Cognitive behavioral interventions for leadership development

Researchers adapted traditional clinical psychological practices into the context of executive coaching in a 2013 study published in Research in Organizational Change and Development. The authors used cognitive behavioral executive coaching (CBEC) in both helping to manage maladaptive thoughts and behaviors and in establishing a formal platform to support executive skill building, performance, and personal leadership agendas.

Findings show that the approach enabled executives to develop behaviors and competencies aligned with their ideal future state, due to the highly-customizable process of the program design. CBCE was particularly effective in improving adaptability in both thoughts and actions and has the potential to inform the future of executive coaching.

 

  1. Personalization based on values is key

A 2016 study in Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, examines the emerging approach to workplace coaching, which increasingly emphasizes “enhancing both the performance and the well-being of individuals and organizations in ways that are sustainable and personally meaningful.”

Simplicity and personalization lie at the heart of this methodology. Clear, practical language and models, rather than complex acronyms and jargon-filled texts, make training methodologies accessible and more likely to create lasting organizational change. Deep personalization, in which the coach seeks to understand the coachee’s personal values and goals in a holistic way, is equally vital. As good coaching is fundamentally a quality conversation based in trust, it follows that authentic, individualized coaching is vital to cultivating genuine organizational change and personal development. From an evidence-based perspective, this kind of personalization has been demonstrated as being highly effective in many peer-reviewed studies with randomized control groups.

 

 

  1. Trust and goal setting are critical to coaching effectiveness

A strong working alliance from the perspective of the coach and coachee predicted coaching effectiveness in a large-scale study of executive coaching conducted in 2016. Coachee self-efficacy, or belief in the benefits of coaching and their own ability to make lasting behavioral changes, was also critical in determining coaching effectiveness.

Coaches who built a foundation of trust with their clients, and established clear tasks and goals, were rated most highly for successful coaching outcomes. Even when the coachee had lower self-efficacy, a strong working alliance and clear goals were found to partially compensate for this disparity.

The ability to develop a foundation of trust with a coachee necessitates that the coach excels in relationship management competencies. Emotional Intelligence is also critical in the coach’s ability to identity appropriate tasks and goals for their client, to be receptive in understanding the coachee’s unique challenges, and to offer clear guidance in alignment with the coachee’s own values.

 

 

More research is needed

Due to a range of factors, including the wide umbrella of coaching and the absence of a standardized measure for successful or effective coaching engagements, there is minimal, peer-reviewed research on executive coaching. Some meta-analyses have established the overall positive effect of coaching on organizational outcomes, while surveys have sought to evaluate coaching effectiveness through factors such as coach training and background. Further efforts to establish universally accepted terms and research criteria for executive coaching have the potential to positively impact this growing field.

 

Are you interested in coaching for Emotional Intelligence? 

 

 

Emotional Intelligence offers an evidence-based framework for executive coaching drawing upon the disciplines of Neuroscience and Cognitive Behavioral Science. The new Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification is now accepting applicants who would like to learn this specific methodology for coaching their clients. This fall, we will also be launching an online program for learning the fundamentals of Emotional Intelligence.

 

 

 

 

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Mindful Diplomacy: The Case for Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

Mindfulness practices have traversed from the world of yogis to the C-suite. Notable leaders, such as Aetna’s CEO Mark Bertolini, LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner, and Google’s “Jolly Good Fellow” Chade-Meng Tan, are driving a sea change in corporate culture to develop employee engagement, wellness, and productivity not through bonus schemes, but yoga and emotional intelligence training. It’s almost impossible not to read about mindful eating, mindful schooling, mindful walking. An emerging field of research suggests that the state of being aware and present result in improved mental, emotional, and physical health, greater concentration and attentiveness, and increased productivity.

Only three years ago, mindfulness had yet to really make its way into the jargon of international diplomacy. For all that was written and taught about cooperation and getting to “yes,” little could be found about the role of mindfulness, despite diplomacy being a most obvious place to benefit. In 2014, former ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr noted that despite efforts to depend less on military might to shape foreign affairs, the U.S. approach of declaratory diplomacy and sanctions have only led to more entrenched, adversarial positions. He argues that this approach to “diplomacy,” whereby the U.S. cuts off dialogue, communicates disapproval, and exaggerates differences, seems predicated on the idea that diplomacy is only used when “the enemy lies prostrate before us.”

In other words, talk is for the weak.

Or is it? Much of the corporate world has embraced competitive collaboration as desirable, even necessary, in today’s interwoven, interconnected world. Leaders who have witnessed personal transformation from mindfulness and emotional intelligence training are transforming corporate cultures in which mutual inspiration and collaboration bring more profit, as well as more fun and possibilities to achieve greater societal good. While civilians break bread together and find more commonalities than not through citizen diplomacy every day, and businesses create partnerships to innovate and increase market share, international diplomatic efforts sometimes seem stuck fighting in the sandbox.

Valuable Lessons for High-Level Communication

What, if anything, can be learned from the world of mindfulness in a world of zero-sum tacticians? In an early article written about mindfulness and diplomacy, former South Korean ambassador Seok-Hyun Hong offers an alternative approach based on the Eastern philosophies of Daoism, Hinduism, and Buddhism that:

1) human relations are far more complex than good versus evil, and

2) harmony is a worthy goal.

Such an approach challenges the traditional hegemonic worldview of one winner. Starting from a different predicate establishes a foundation from which dialogue may be nuanced, respectful, and authentic, and diplomacy becomes a genuine effort to find balance of powers.

Perhaps in response to the backsliding on global decency as well as emerging scientific evidence, secular mindfulness is getting recognition as a necessary skill in nation building and negotiation. The notoriously colorful UK House of Commons committed over 100 parliamentarians to take an eight-week mindfulness course and articulated a national commitment to bring mindfulness to its health, education, business, and criminal justice systems. In 2017, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn led a meditation session there with dignitaries from Israel to Sri Lanka. Bhutan, the “happiest nation in the world,” has committed to training all 9,000 of its teachers in emotional intelligence. U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan authored a book on how mindfulness can “recapture the American spirit.” As the world watches U.S. and China play a potentially dangerous game of chicken amid many other conflicts, bringing mindfulness and emotional intelligence skills to diplomacy is critical.

With a practice of mindfulness, players enter negotiations with a beginner’s mind, bringing awareness and equanimity to avoid fixed thinking and aversion to unattended emotions.

 

 

With mindfulness, ego is set aside, as well as the obsession for one predetermined outcome or a battle between “us” and “them.” As lateral thinker Edward de Bono has found, the ability to view things from multiple vantage points increases constructive alternative solutions to problems.

Emotional Intelligence Provides a Clear Framework

With Emotional Intelligence, players refine their abilities to pause and control their thoughts before reacting, learn and grow from criticism, and demonstrate empathy and compassion. It even builds the courage to say “I’m sorry,” when appropriate. Although not traditionally taught in the training of diplomats, it can – and should – be. Dr. Daniel Goleman, who co-created the Emotional and Social Intelligence Leadership Competency Model, recently announced its Coaching Certification program to prepare more impactful and wise leaders.[1] The model articulates four primary domains to increasing efficacy and agency: 1) Self-Awareness as the foundational capacity of how emotions affect the self and others; 2) Self-Management as the balance of emotions towards goal attainment; 3) Social Awareness as the fostering of connection and understanding of others; and 4) Relationship Management as the interaction with others for the greatest impact.

By staying present and aware, players around the negotiation table can preempt impulsive reactions that often result in greater divides and create barriers for resolution. Consider this: two monkeys are fighting for a banana in a tree. Each has an iron grasp on the banana and pull and pull. Eventually, either one or both will tire and fall out of the tree, or the banana will slip from their hands and be lost forever. If instead, the monkeys paused before acting and were aware of their own emotions and that of their “foe,” they might let go of their tight grips on the desired fruit, gently set it down, and share in its delights.

Obviously, international diplomacy is more complicated than two monkeys and a banana. Yet progress in diplomatic efforts may happen far more quickly when both parties are more mindful of the present, impulses and reactions, and ultimate goals. Mindfulness and emotional intelligence prepare them to lead with authenticity and the mindset of “how to be of service.” As Hong notes, both sides can then stay true to the “deeper commitment to the common causes of humanity [and establish] a balance, not of power, but of perspective, and in the process aspire to a harmony among nations worthy of the name.”

[1] In full disclosure, author is both engaged with the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute and the Daniel Goleman Emotional and Social Intelligence Coaching Certification Program.

 

 

Interested in working with Belinda and becoming a certified coach? Apply now for the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification. This in-depth program, akin to a professional degree, draws upon a range of evidence-based concepts and practices, including the Emotional & Social Intelligence framework. Coaches will gain meaningful new insights to impact their personal and professional lives through online learning, one-on-one guidance from a Meta-Coach, a coaching practicum, and more.

 

 

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Coaching for Emotional Intelligence: Dot Proux on Women’s Empowerment

Welcome to the first installment of Coaching for Emotional Intelligence, in which we will interview Faculty members and Meta-Coaches from the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification.

 

Our first guest, Dot Proux, is an ICF-credentialed, Coactive-certified professional coach and leadership development facilitator, with 30 years of experience in the professional services industry. She is a certified public accountant, with a Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) certification from the Human Resource Certification Institute, and a Certified Master Facilitator (CMF) designation through the International Institute for Facilitation (INIFAC). Dot is also a member of the International Coach Federation. She is a Meta-Coach for the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification, which is currently accepting applications.

 

What led you to begin coaching? 

I was inspired by the impact that coaching had on me while I was a partner at Ernst & Young. Without the planned time to pause and the skillful questions and intuition of my coach, my life would have taken a different direction. That direction would have been one that was much more influenced by the hectic pace and demands of everyone around me, rather than on my clear understanding of where I was meant to go and what I was meant to do.

 

What are your thoughts on Emotional Intelligence?

I’ve had the opportunity to be exposed to a myriad of leadership, professional, and personal development frameworks; EI is the one that resonates most and has the broadest application across all dimensions of my life, and the lives of my clients. EI gives a framework to think about and words to discuss the importance of knowing yourself and the impact you have on others. And that’s what we all need to understand in order to live fulfilling lives as individuals, while minimizing the damage we do to others’ lives and the world around us in the process.

You have worked as an executive sponsor for Ernst & Young’s Professional Women’s Network and coach clients on navigating gender dynamics. Do you have any advice for women professionals, particularly in relation to the #MeToo movement?

I can answer that with a story, unfortunately. A young woman I’m close to recently experienced a #MeToo situation. The harassment came from outside the company she works for, in the form a lewd text from a much older executive who works for one of her employer’s largest clients. While ultimately her employer took action that was supportive of her, the discussions leading up to this decision caused her to doubt whether the emotions and reactions she was experiencing in response to the harassment were valid and justified. I gave her the same advice I’ve given in the past when women have come to me with similar situations, often expressing reluctance to pursue consequences. Know your boundaries. Know your values. Know yourself and what you are willing to tolerate in regard to how you are treated and the respect you are given. And then, act in alignment with what you know and what your values tell you.

It’s not easy, especially in situations where acting in alignment with the values that you hold for yourself has the potential to negatively impact other people. In situations where you feel like you should just tough it out or ignore it because the potential ramifications of speaking up feel overwhelming, I encourage women to think about their daughters, their little sisters, their nieces . . . and what advice they would give if that person came to them asking what to do. Be courageous, and make the decision you can be proud of years down the line, when that younger woman or girl asks you what you did when it happened to you.

What do you see as some of the benefits and challenges of a rapidly diversifying U.S. workforce? How do you approach coaching leaders for these changes?

It sounds worn out, as there is so much written and discussed on it, but clearly the more diverse the perspectives in the war room, the more robust the solution. I won’t wax eloquent on that point, as it is at this point pretty well discussed already.

I can, however, provide an observation on an unexpected benefit that I experienced personally. The firm I worked for was very forward thinking about the need to create inclusive work environments, so as a new partner I was required to participate in coaching, supplemented by an intercultural competency type assessment tool, to accelerate the growth of my inclusive leadership competencies. At the beginning of the coaching process, I was disappointed with where I came out on the assessment, as I pictured myself as pretty enlightened! I invested significant thought into my development plan, which we were encouraged to customize so that it authentically worked for us. As part of my quest to understand people different from myself, I joined our LGBTQ group as an ally, spent time with the firm’s Latino, African American, and AsiaPAC employee resource groups, and eventually became the lead “client thought partner” on inclusive leadership, presenting to clients and collaborating with them on their organizations’ Diversity and Inclusion journeys. I was engaged in the learning, and particularly intrigued by how vastly broad the differences in perspective become when you venture outside your comfort zone full of your normal “go to” people.

Many leaders have been put through diversity workshops or inclusive leadership workshops that teach skills and behaviors aimed at helping them successfully navigate the challenges of workforce diversification. Academically, the reasons why they should lead inclusively make sense to them. Intentionally, most leaders today truly want to lead inclusively. But it’s not as simple as that. The elements that I use in coaching for inclusive leadership include:

Building super-charged Self Awareness, including awareness of inequalities in their emotional commitment to various members of their teams. We explore that with questions that are more about how the leaders FEEL than about what the leaders DO. So instead of asking “Who are you spending time with? Who are you mentoring?” I would ask “Who of your protégés are you most comfortable giving work to in a crisis? To whom do you feel most drawn to encourage? With whom do you have the most transparent conversations? If your emotional commitment had weight, who among your protégés would have the heaviest backpack?” What this type of dialog tends to uncover is that leaders often feel the strongest emotional connection with, and therefore unintentionally put their most valuable attention and focus on, people who are most like themselves.

Once they become aware of these relationship behaviors, I focus on discovering specifics about their unconscious biases and preferences; helping them understand their current orientation to navigating differences that make a difference; and developing a plan to improve their competency in navigating those differences.

 

What advice do you have for people who would like to become coaches?

Do some soul searching to make sure it’s for you. It’s not the same as advising, and not everyone loves it! Talk with other coaches to understand what it is. Be coached to experience the value. Recognize it’s a craft and a profession that requires building specific competencies; you aren’t a skilled coach just because you have past experience mentoring and teaching people in a previous position. And if it feels like a good direction, get certified and credentialed. Building consistency, quality, and credibility into the profession will benefit all of us and our clients.

 

 

Interested in working with Dot and becoming a certified coach? Apply now for the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification. This in-depth program, akin to a professional degree, draws upon a range of evidence-based concepts and practices, including the Emotional & Social Intelligence framework. Coaches will gain meaningful new insights to impact their personal and professional lives through online learning, one-on-one guidance from a Meta-Coach, a coaching practicum, and more.