The growing landscape of online learning programs enables people across the globe to develop their knowledge and abilities in countless disciplines. Online learning is increasingly incorporated into traditional K-12 education and can offer an alternative to homeschooling. In higher education, reputable, accredited institutions offer the option to earn degrees–from the associate’s to doctorate level–online. And beyond typical degrees, online education is also ideal if you want to dive into a new hobby or develop professional skills for a career change.
Online learning makes it easier for people who can’t commit to full-time, in-person learning to further their education. People working full-time jobs and parents raising young children often benefit from the flexibility of online education. Adult students with disabilities also frequently “prefer and excel in the online environment.”
While online courses typically lack opportunities for conventional in-person contact, learning platforms increasingly offer features that bridge this gap. Cohort-based courses, in which students learn as a group, cultivate a strong sense of community. Multi-media interfaces can further strengthen these connections.
For instance, an online learning experience may begin with a video conference call in which students introduce themselves and share their motivations for participating in the course. This also allows the teacher or facilitator to set the tone for the group and the material they’ll learn. And once students begin to engage with the material, a built-in chat feature makes it easy to connect with peers and motivate one another.
Multi-media interfaces also create a high-level of learner control, which has been shown to increase student engagement. Students can not only control when and where they learn, but also how they complete assignments. With integrated technology, you may have the choice to share your responses to material by recording audio or video, through digital journaling, or by uploading images of handwritten responses.
By streamlining these responses within the online course, students can engage with each other’s work and ask thought-provoking questions. This also makes it easier for a teacher or facilitator to track your progress and to provide personalized feedback.
The benefits of multi-media capabilities also extend to the content of the online course itself. Varied resources, such as animations, instructional videos and audio, and interviews with experts in a field can make it easier to understand complex information. And since these resources live in the online course, you can easily return to them as you cultivate your skills or prepare for assessments.
Online learning also offers a unique opportunity to close the knowing-doing gap. Many courses favor intellectual learning–such as reading textbooks and attending lectures–over experiential learning. Intellectual learning is sufficient in some disciplines. History, for example, largely requires that we read and analyze primary sources as well as other’s interpretations of those sources. But when we want to develop ourselves and enhance our skills, intellectual learning alone is insufficient.
Experiential learning includes actively practicing the skill we want to develop and reflecting on our progress. It can also be beneficial to have a teacher or coach to keep us on track and offer us guidance throughout our experience. Online education is particularly suited to this process. Brief instructional videos and audio make it easier to practice a new skill or technique daily and fit it into our busy schedules. And a variety of methods for self-reflection offer ample learner control as well as a streamlined process for sharing and interacting with a community of peers and teachers.
While classroom learning will always have a place in education, online learning enables a vast array of people from across the world to learn and grow together. With flexible scheduling, multi-media resources, and innovative learning platforms, students who may be unable to attend traditional classes can continue their education within a supportive community. Particularly for adult learners, who often prefer self-directed, experiential learning, online education serves as an ideal format.
Want to cultivate 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.
Enrollment is now open for courses that begin September 24th.
For further reading, our series of primers focuses on the twelve Emotional and Social Intelligence Leadership Competencies, which include Emotional Self-Awareness, Adaptability, and Empathy.
The primers are written by Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis, co-creators of the Emotional and Social Intelligence Leadership Competency Model, along with a range of colleagues, thought-leaders, researchers, and leaders with expertise in the various competencies. Explore the full list of primers by topic, or get the complete collection!
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.
Emotional Intelligence, the ability to tune in to our feelings and those of others, and to effectively manage emotions in ourselves and our relationships, is key to high performance and outstanding leadership. As it is often difficult to recognize our own weaknesses, and to take steps for lasting change, the guidance of a coach can make a fundamental difference in improving Emotional Intelligence competencies.
By harnessing the energy of a client’s passions, a coach can develop practical applications for achieving specific goals and aspirations. A coach is also in a unique position to notice patterns in a client’s behavior, and can share these perceptions in a thoughtful and non-judgmental way, enabling the client to become more self-aware and to “unstick” unproductive habits.
Already Familiar with EI? Elevate Your Knowledge & Begin Coaching Others
Becoming a coach begins with fully understanding Emotional and Social Intelligence (ESI). The twelve Emotional and Social Intelligence Leadership Competencies, developed by Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis, are derived from an evidence-based structure. After analyzing the competency models of nearly 100 organizations, they distilled the fundamental competencies that distinguish outstanding leaders. This framework is essential to enhancing your own knowledge, as well as coaching clients in ESI. Keep in mind that these competencies are never fully achieved or mastered, rather they are a part of your overall Emotional Intelligence profile, which fluctuates based on circumstances and how much attention you provide to developing various skill sets.
What Makes a Great Coach?
A great coach fosters a safe and confidential environment for clients. They bring a clear point of view, offering guidance while being flexible and responsive to the needs of each individual person. They are kind, calm, direct, and respectful. They have impeccable listening skills and perceive patterns in a client’s behaviors that they articulate in a way that helps the client address them with positive intention.
A great coach helps clients discover/rediscover their passions and values, and channels these in practical applications. Under the guidance of a great coach, a client realizes the impact of their habits and learns how to spot and break unproductive patterns. Long after formal coaching is complete, the client of a great coach will be able to find and channel their own inner coach.
Practice is Essential
As with any skill, becoming a great coach requires practice. Coaching clients, reflecting on your progress and effectiveness, and receiving feedback from a Meta-Coach are the most valuable ways to practice coaching for Emotional Intelligence. In our Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification, students coach clients through two 12-week blocks of the Emotional Intelligence Training Program: Foundational Skills and Relationship Skills. During this time, a Meta-Coach will be available to provide guidance and observe some coaching sessions. In this way, student coaches will have the benefit of an outside perspective on areas that need improvement, fully preparing them to pass their certification exam and coach clients for lasting and effective development of ESI.
Take a moment to consider which of the above is most prudent for you to explore.
Expanding your personal understanding of the full suite of Emotional Intelligence competencies.
Developing your interpersonal capacity as a coach.
Gaining the training, experience, and practical application of these skills so that you can make a bigger positive impact with others.
“Don’t let the voice of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”- Steve Jobs
When it comes to making difficult decisions, how do you hear “your inner voice,” that your heart and intuition somehow already know?
Listen to your body’s signals.
Making Difficult Decisions: Gut Feelings
Dr. Dan Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, explained the complex process of how our minds and bodies formulate and respond to a hunch for our video series Leadership: A Master Class.You can read the excerpt here.
There’s wisdom in the body. When you’re self-aware, you get a gut feeling. You have a heartfelt sense. Our gut feelings are messages from the insula and other bottom-up circuits that simplify life decisions for us by guiding our attention toward smarter options. The better we are at reading these messages, the better our intuition.
Yet sometimes, if we have been traumatized, for example, the gut feeling we get can lead us astray. If you’ve been bitten by a dog or hurt by someone who had red hair, when you see a dog or a person with red hair, your gut may say “bad, bad, bad”, and may create a tone of negativity that is based on past traumatic experience. So bodily input doesn’t always mean you should respond to it directly. You should analyze it.
Making Difficult Decisions: Somatic Markers
Somatic markeris neuroscientist Antonio Damasio’s term for the sensation in our body that tells us when a choice feels wrong or right. This bottom-up circuitry telegraphs its conclusions through our gut feelings, often long before the top-down circuits come to a more reasoned conclusion. The ventromedial prefrontal area, a key part of this circuitry, guides our decision making when we face life’s most complex decisions, like who to marry or whether to buy a house. Such choices can’t be made by a cold, rational analysis. Instead we do better to simulate what it would feel like to choose A versus B. This brain area operates as that inner rudder.
Making Difficult Decisions: Sensing
Erica Ariel Fox spoke with Daniel Goleman in his Leadership: A Master Classvideo series about “direct knowing”: I know this, but I don’t know how I know it. I didn’t read it in a book. Nobody told it to me. I didn’t have an Excel spreadsheet that laid it out for me. Nonetheless, I know it. She argues that we have a set of skills that coaches and leaders who work with teams might call “reading the room.” Others call it attunement or discernment. It’s not data processing and thin-slicing, and it’s also not having an emotional evaluation of decisions. It’s a sensing. When she works with a team in crisis, she recognizes that tuning in to the group’s feelings and emotions helps her ask the right questions about what’s happening.
Making Difficult Decisions: Use Your Body
When we’re under pressure, we become narrow minded and tense. We aren’t able to tap into our body signals. But we also forget to use our body to help us refocus. Taking a time out also allows us to hone our self-management skills. Paying attention to the mental and physical signs and experiences that occur during stressful situations gives you an opportunity to practice composure.
Breathing is often abandoned or compromised when anxiety arises. A few conscious deep breaths will oxygenate your brain and improve the clarity of your thinking. Here is a simple exercise you can do: Breathe in and count one… then breath out and count one. Breathe in and count two… then breathe out count two. Breathe in and count three… then breathe out. Keep repeating this in a steady rhythm.
To ground yourself further during the process, place your hands on your abdomen or chest and observe the sensation of your abdomen or chest rising and settling. Learn to relax in the experience.
Master the Art of Making Difficult Decisions
Registration is open for the Mindful Leadership Breakthrough System, a live webcast series with executive coach and senior meditation instructor, Dawa Tarchin Phillips. The program is designed to help executives and leadership development professionals apply mindfulness principles to overcome common internal and external barriers to presence, productivity and performance.
In this brief video clip, Daniel Goleman and Daniel Siegel discuss the value of understanding brain science behind effective leadership.
Understanding equals power – the power to recognize ineffective behavior and to choose actions that work. For leaders, this means having access to a range of styles suitable for different situations. Coaches and other leadership development professionals can use knowledge of brain science to target their work, and enhance their credibility.
The Key to Understanding Brain Science: Brains Can Change
A key message from neuroscientific research is that the brain is plastic, changing with repeated experiences, practice, and learning. In Brainpower, Dr. Goleman and Dr. Siegel share insights from leading researchers about how to change your brain through specific training programs.
SuperSoul Sunday with Daniel Goleman and Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey uses what she has learned from Daniel Goleman every day. And, she thinks everyone can learn from Dr. Goleman’s work. That’s why she sat down with Dr. Goleman for an interview on SuperSoul Sunday. Here’s a taste of what they covered in their wide-ranging conversation:
What is the difference between IQ and emotional intelligence?
Technical and intellectual knowledge can get you in the door for a job, but emotional intelligence is what keeps you there and successful. Oprah shares examples of how she has seen the power of emotional intelligence.
Oprah asks Dr. Goleman about his book, A Force for Good,his friendship with the Dalai Lama, and his work to help spread the Dalai Lama’s vision for the world. In the face of what seem like overwhelming challenges, we can each take steps to be a force for good. Dr. Goleman shares the greatest lesson the Dalai Lama has taught him.
Why does the media focus on negative news?
Dr. Goleman explains the brain science behind our fascination with news that is threatening or scary and how the media capitalizes on that fascination. Oprah and Dr. Goleman discuss how to manage the barrage of negative news.
What is the impact of the stories we tell ourselves?
Emotional intelligence allows us to change our relationship with our own thoughts and feelings and have more choice.
Dr. Goleman looked at the fallacy that intelligence is a predictor of success and shared research that shows the importance of emotional intelligence. Angela Duckworth at the University of Pennsylvania has done extensive work on grit – the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals. Duckworth and her colleagues have found that some students who don’t necessarily have the highest IQs in their classes get high grades because they keep plugging away despite setbacks.
A 30-year long longitudinal study of children in New Zealand found that the kids with the best cognitive control had the greatest financial success in their 30s. Cognitive control refers to the ability to delay gratification in pursuit of your goals, manage upsetting emotions well, and hold focus. Those skills mattered more to future success than the children’s IQ or family wealth.
Grit and cognitive control are examples of self-management, a key part of emotional intelligence. Self-management shows up in competence models – studies done by companies to identify the abilities of their top performers. Beyond grit and cognitive control, what sets apart stars from average workers are abilities across the emotional intelligence spectrum: self-awareness, self-management, empathy, and social effectiveness.
“IQ and technical skills matter, of course: they are crucial threshold abilities, what you need to get the job done. But everyone you compete with at work has those same skill sets. It’s the distinguishing competencies that are the crucial factor in workplace success: the variables that you find only in the star performers – and those are largely due to emotional intelligence.
These human skills include, for instance, confidence, striving for goals despite setbacks, staying cool under pressure, harmony and collaboration, persuasion and influence. Those are the competencies companies use to identify their star performers about twice as often as do purely cognitive skills (IQ or technical abilities) for jobs of all kinds.
The higher you go up the ladder, the more emotional intelligence matters: for top leadership positions they are about 80 to 90 percent of distinguishing competencies.”