A new study in Human Resource Management Review assessed the effect of training for Emotional Intelligence through a meta-analysis of 58 studies. A meta-analysis combines the results of multiple scientific studies into a comprehensive statistical analysis. This yields more robust results than is possible from the measure of any single study.
The 58 studies analyzed in “Can emotional intelligence be trained?” had to include an Emotional Intelligence training program with adult participants, a measure of EI pre- and post-training, and sufficient statistical data. Participants included graduate and undergraduate students, business managers, nurses, police officers, teachers, and retail staff.
Researchers found that training has a positive impact on Emotional Intelligence scores. They also “noted a trend in the studies reviewed that suggested training is more effective when lectures are avoided, and coaching, practice, and feedback are included.” Holistic and personalized training, which accounts for a participant’s unique goals and motivations, enhances the effectiveness of EI training. It is also important that EI training bridge the knowing-doing gap. Programs that primarily use lectures and passive learning are less likely to improve EI. Experiential learning, including practice exercises and real-time feedback from a coach, enables lasting and effective development of Emotional Intelligence.
Emotional Intelligence can also transform outcomes in coaching engagements. A recent study in the Journal of Experiential Psychotherapy found that Emotional Intelligence is beneficial for executive and life coaching. Researchers identified key elements of an effective coaching relationship and sought to enhance that relationship – for both coach and coachee – with Emotional Intelligence concepts and practices.
Researchers surveyed 1138 coaches and coachees from 88 different countries. Among the coaches, they compared the responses of emerging and professional coaches based on hours of professional training. They found that several of the most powerful coaching methods include asking highly personalized and goal-oriented questions, active listening, and a focus on cultivating mindfulness and Self-Awareness.
Both coaches and coachees agreed that Emotional Intelligence concepts and practices – including EI assessments – enrich coaching engagements by fostering personal insight, connection, and clear purpose.
Researchers concluded that incorporating EI into training and practice for professional coaches often enhances the coaching experience for both coach and coachee. Emotional Intelligence offers a clear framework for developing a range of skills, including Self-Awareness and Relationship Management competencies, and yields sustainable change rooted in purpose.
Organizations interested in implementing EI training programs can now find high-quality evidence for the positive impact of these programs. Increased job performance, employee health, and diminished stress all make training for Emotional Intelligence a solid investment.
Ready to develop your Emotional Intelligence? Reserve your spot for the Foundational Skills of Emotional Intelligence. During twelve, two-week online experiences, you’ll explore the Foundational Skills of Emotional Intelligence through facilitated, group learning. You’ll discover the science behind each competency, why they matter, and how to apply them to positively differentiate yourself.
For a taste of the Foundational Skills, join our two-week Emotional Balance experience. In this portion of the Foundational Skills of EI, you’ll build your resilience, self-awareness, and focus.
The Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification is accepting applications on a rolling basis, with only a few seats remaining. 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.
Matt has been developing school leaders for 13 years and teaching and leading in the K-12 education sector for 25. Matt currently designs and facilitates Achievement First’s adaptive leadership coaching and professional development model grounded in Emotional Intelligent Leadership theory. This work includes coach training for regional superintendents and senior leaders, direct coaching of senior leaders and principals, and adaptive professional development sessions for cohorts across the leadership pipeline. He received his executive coaching training from the Teleos Leadership Institute.
What led you to begin coaching?
“Coaching” was part of what I thought I did as a school principal. What made sense to me was that, at a basic emotional level, I was teaching adults just like I had taught my middle school students before becoming a school leader. It wasn’t until I received my coaching training at the Teleos Leadership Institute that I realized most of what I was doing as a principal was direct teaching of instructional skills. I did some consulting with my assistant principals, but I did very little actual coaching.
I was running a principal development program focused on change leadership when I got my training. It opened my eyes to an entirely different level of development that I could engage my leaders in. Their internal obstacles that had previously seemed like fixed traits to me suddenly seemed movable. I shifted my focus from teaching skills to building self-awareness and managing triggers, emotions, and beliefs that were leading to self-limiting behaviors. Suddenly I was helping people to not only grow in their biggest leadership obstacles, but also their biggest obstacles as human beings. It felt like the most important work that I had ever done.
My training in an EI-based coaching methodology shifted my leadership development philosophy and changed the trajectory of my 25-year career as an educator. Five years later, I am on a new path to spread this EI leadership development approach across the charter school sector and beyond.
In what ways has your background as an elementary and middle school teacher informed your current work in leadership development?
I have taught grades 2-8 in just about every kind of learning community in our country, from inner city neighborhood schools to private, international, magnet, and charter schools. I have taught English, math, social studies, science, Spanish, and dual language immersion, and I have taught just about every kind of learner there is. There is a good deal you learn in graduate school about how to teach content, but very little they teach you (in my experience) that prepares you for the human side of the craft. Great teachers tend to figure this side out on their own, using their innate emotional intelligence. What they figure out, in a nutshell, is how to create the emotional conditions for learning. They know that if they want their students to take the emotional and intellectual risks to learn—to make themselves vulnerable to struggling in a group—they have to build a container of shared trust and a relationship that creates a foundation of safety.
Great leaders must do the same things for their teams as teachers do for their students. They must be attuned to emotional needs and meet those needs to create the safety their teams need to take the risks inherent in striving for excellence. Helping leaders learn how to create these conditions is, I believe, the end goal of leadership coaching.
In light of the March for Our Lives, do you envision any ways in which coaching of school leaders could improve student safety and mental health in American schools?
A part of my vision for this work—my dream, really—is that principals learn how to develop their teachers through coaching, and that teachers will then incorporate emotional intelligence, focus, and coaching-quality relationships into their work with students. I deeply believe this will have a profound impact on student safety and mental health, as well as academic results.
In many of our schools right now young people are on their own, really, when it comes to figuring out who they are and where they fit into the world. They are more isolated from true communities and mentors than ever, and they are finding meaning, without guidance, on the Internet. Deep personal connection is at the heart of coaching. Its core purpose is to build self-awareness so people can access new growth paths and deepen their identities. Imagine the impact of this kind of relationship and self-exploration on troubled adolescents. Imagine also how emotionally attuned an adult would be to that adolescent. If every teacher incorporated some level of this type of relationship with every student, schools would be much safer places to be in many ways. I think we would solve many of our larger social problems this way.
Schools would also become much more effective facilitators of transformational growth. After years of teaching, I deeply believe that students fail not because of their lack of intellectual capacity, but because we as educators haven’t created the conditions they need to reach their potential. One of those conditions is the opportunity to build identity as learners and as members of a caring community. So much of what I do in coaching leaders is building a leader’s competencies to create these conditions in their schools. When school leaders deliberately coach teachers in these competencies, I believe we will see transformative growth from our most challenged, most disengaged students.
You’ve written for Key Step Media about the differences between coaching, teaching, and consulting. How did you develop the ability to effectively switch between these varied approaches?
Being able to switch back and forth between coaching, teaching, and consulting was a real struggle for me. I come from an education organization with a robust curricular and instructional development model. What we call coaching is really teaching. As a school leader, I became good at developing teachers and instructional leaders through observation and feedback and a gradual release model of 1-1 teaching. And that is really important! Our students significantly out-perform their counterparts in the same districts because of this teaching. However, that skillset did not serve me well when developing people-focused leadership competencies. You can’t teach people self-awareness or self-management. I gradually realized this, and I needed some coaching myself to shift some assumptions and values of my own to get there.
There are some things I look for now to help me determine which approach to take. Early on in a conversation with a leader about their growth areas I ask myself these questions:
Does this sound like a will or a skill issue?
How long has this person been struggling with this “skill?”
What role do emotions (especially fear) play in this challenge for the leader?
Once I am confident that we’re dealing with a challenge that calls for coaching, I have a couple of ways that I remind myself that I can’t do the work for my leaders. When I feel the impulse to tell—which is really the impulse to teach—I take a breath and turn my thoughts into a curious question.
You have a multi-faceted role in the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification, for which you are a Faculty member, a Meta-Coach, and a member of the content development team. Could you speak to your involvement and aspirations for the program, as well as what you think this program uniquely has to offer?
Yes! I have been working with the KSM team for almost a year. Selfishly, it has been an incredible professional growth experience for me to work with this team on content development. Now that I have met the Meta-Coaching team, I know that my own learning with KSM has just started. The collective wisdom and expertise of this group is off the charts.
I really love the way this program marries the EI dimensions into a holistic approach to supporting transformative learning and long-term behavioral change. This methodology is, I think, one of the things that makes this program unique. I also know that the residencies will be best-in-class, given the talent of the Meta-Coaching team and the deliberate way we intend to create the learning space for the felt practice of the coaching. However, I am particularly excited about our program’s digital learning platform. To be honest, I am not always a proponent of digital learning, and have not until now embraced the idea that it had a place in training coaches. Now that I have both experienced the Everwise Platform and started building learning pathways, I am a believer. The Everwise component will turn the spaces between residencies and coaching meetings into impactful self-guided learning opportunities. I’m finding there is something really powerful about getting a manageable “daily dosage” of learning, micro-practice, and reflection. Further, Everwise creates a community where learners can opt into ongoing conversation with their cohort—another opportunity to keep the momentum going. This self-guided learning may be the most unique thing about our program.
Could you share a difficult experience you had with a client and how you handled it?
The most difficult experiences that I have had with clients all come back to the same challenge: their unwillingness to do the “below the surface” work with me.
The greatest gift of coaching is that people learn about the assumptions, values, fears, motives, and traits below the surface of their awareness that either get in their way or are the source of their power. To get there, though, they need to make themselves vulnerable with their coach, and allow the coach to guide them in reflecting on parts of themselves that may feel scary; the parts of themselves connected with intense emotion. People who keep their guard up can’t do the work.
I have tried three things when this happens. First, I back up and double down on the relationship. This starts with having honest conversations about trust and what we need from each other. It also includes conversations where we share our personal selves and build common ground. If the resistance persists over time, I step away from the work and lean into high-candor conversations about what I am experiencing, and connect it to the lack of progress I am seeing in the coaching. This conversation tends to raise self-awareness in itself for clients, and can lead us in new productive directions.
When these two approaches haven’t worked over time, then I go to my final strategy: terminating the relationship. This starts with a version of the high-candor conversation I just mentioned, but continues with the proposal to end our coaching. Part of the message is that it may just be a personal chemistry thing, and I might not be the right person. Once this conversation led to a breakthrough for a client. The other times it has led to an ending. That has never been easy for me. I question my ability when this happens. But, at the end of the day, the time is wasted for the client if they aren’t willing to do the work with me.
What advice do you have for people who would like to become coaches?
If you want to be a good coach, you must first experience coaching. If you have not experienced the transformative growth that comes from real coaching, you will not be able to make it happen for others.
Interested in working with Matt 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.
Starting her career as a Speech/Language Pathologist, Kathy learned firsthand the importance of listening to understand and the power of communication. In the 30+ years since, she’s had numerous executive roles at Banner Health and was the founding CEO of a hospital. Kathy has coached hundreds of high potential leaders and has become convinced that though some may be born leaders, most of us continuously learn to become so.
You recently retired from a thirty-nine-year career in healthcare, during which you held several executive roles and implemented coaching as a core competency among your leaders. In what ways has the role of coaching evolved throughout your career?
Coaching has been part of my career – even before I knew anything formally about coaching. My career began as a Speech/Language Pathologist. It was during those years, from my patients, that I really came to understand how isolating it is to not be heard, not be able to give voice to thought, opinions, and requests for simple, basic needs. Those years truly refined my active listening – but I still didn’t know anything about coaching.
I began a search for greater tools when I was in my first CEO role. I had decent self-awareness – knew what I was good at and what I wasn’t – but I found myself accountable for leading a very bright team of equally competent and ambitious people. I wanted more and better tools. It was then that I began my research and I can remember the day I discovered there was a science/art of coaching. I read Dan Goleman’s work on Emotional Intelligence and I was on fire to learn. I selected Hudson Institute (Santa Barbara, CA) for my training. During the program, you must coach and be coached. I gifted my C-Suite team members (now in my role as a CEO at a different hospital) six coaching sessions from my student coach colleagues. I wanted them to learn for themselves how transformative this could be. I was relatively new as this team’s CEO so though I was sharing all my learnings, I knew it would be more powerful if they could experience coaching for themselves. We then had a shared language. The conversations began to change and we collectively committed to being vulnerable and bringing “Coaches Corner” down to the front line of the organization.
What are your thoughts on Emotional Intelligence?
I truly believe EI is a required competency for life. On the professional side, I have seen it make the difference for many very talented people. I grew intrigued early on by the various definitions of EI used by my executive colleagues. Some focused on professional dress. Some focused on extroversion or introversion (depending on their preference). Some believed they “knew it when they saw it.”
By that time, I was coaching many high potential leaders in our organization and I was committed to providing something more actionable for my colleague clients. When I began my study of EI, I focused on a very practical level, on self-awareness. I learned that it can be developed in a potent way. I recall a specific moment in time when I was asked to coach a “bottom 10% leader” (she lacked leadership effectiveness and the ability to engage her team). I can still remember my raw reaction: “Coaching is for high potential people that have strong self-awareness and a true commitment to achieve their goals.” Boy, did this colleague prove me wrong quickly. Though embarrassed, she was on fire to learn, was so very prepared to dig deep, to practice, and became a Top 10% leader that next survey cycle. She taught me that we can all improve.
On a personal level, EI competency just makes every relationship more rewarding. I only wish I knew these skills at the beginning of my 38-year marriage!
You played a critical role in the successful transition of the former University of Arizona Health Network hospitals to Banner as well as Banner Health’s $300 million acquisition of the Sun Health medical system. What advice do you have for leaders guiding mergers and acquisitions? Can coaching improve outcomes in these situations?
Oh, good grief, yes. Any merger, acquisition, partnership of any kind is first and foremost all about culture. Shortchange that and you will shortchange the desired outcomes. There is no shortcut and there is no getting around getting down to the basic values and purpose of each stakeholder. Until those are known, respected, and woven into the new culture, very little of substance gets done. In many ways, my last 4-year assignment was a mega coaching assignment. There were clearly MANY tactical things to get accomplished, and I had a great time with that focus. I was part communication disorders professional, part coach, part cheerleader, part bull-dog as failure was not an option. Never before in my career have I relied on and improved my coaching effectiveness. I encourage anyone in this situation to seek professional engagement of masterful coaches.
Could you share a difficult experience you had with a coaching client and how you handled it?
Very early on, I was asked by a young professional to engage in a coaching relationship. We met for the first time and it was clear to me that he was seeking more of a mentoring engagement as he desired to learn how to achieve the CEO role I held. As he spoke, I found my mind drifting and judging his words. I recall specifically feeling like a very old person as I listened to my mind say, “this kid is 24 years old, he has no idea what it takes to get here.” In the end, I suggested a colleague that would in fact be a better mentor for him. I learned two things from that experience: both parties of a mentoring or coaching relationship must be right for each other, and even more importantly, I made it all about me. I’ve since coached many young, ambitious colleagues and found a way to get out of my own head to support some amazing career journeys.
While women continue to break glass ceilings in the corporate world, these gains may be diminishing. After an all-time high in 2017, the number of women in the boardroom of Fortune 500 companies is estimated to have dropped by 25% this year. As a former executive and founding CEO, how do you envision the future of women in leadership? What can women leaders do to set themselves up for success in a world in which the gender pay gap persists?
Don’t make it about gender.
I was recently reflecting on what it was like to be the first female hospital CEO in my organization. I was in a boardroom with fellow CEOs and physician Chiefs of Staff. When the Physician Executive leading the meeting got to me for introduction, he said “whose assistant are you?”. I very clearly remember standing up and introducing myself as the CEO of my facility – to which he, surprised, replied, “Oh.” I look around my organization (and healthcare as an industry) and see just how much that has changed. I acknowledge that many industries have not made the progress made in healthcare.
At the end of the day, I firmly believe that the leadership team should reflect the constituents of that organization. For me that speaks to diversity of all kinds – to include diversity of thought and style. Anybody leading an organization or a team should look around his or her table and see those that make up the company. If not, there is work to do to ensure that all perspectives are being considered.
I have seen male executives with very strong EI and female executives with very little. I never want to stereotype by gender – in either direction. That said, females comprise at least half of the workforce and as such should be represented at every level.
Lastly and very importantly, women executives must turn around and bring the next generation forward. I have witnessed amazing examples of this and sadly, I have also witnessed female executives working against one another and the greater good. We need to begin these investments in our millennial women. I am so very proud of my 28-year-old daughter that is doing just this with her business. They are not us and we are not them. But – we clearly have things to learn and teach.
What advice do you have for people who would like to become coaches?
Act on it. Research options. Find a program that matches your interests.
Ensure that your desire is not therapy for yourself. IF that’s the need, invest in yourself first and then pursue your interest in coaching.
Interested in being coached by Kathy 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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.
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.”
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.