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Discover the Importance of Self-Empathy

The Empathy competency enables us to interpret unspoken emotions and to understand a range of perspectives. With empathic concern, our understanding of others extends to caring deeply for them. But it is also important that we practice Empathy towards ourselves.

When we experience empathic concern or feel compassion toward others, we become the first to benefit. Empathizing with another person activates our brain’s salience network, enabling us to experience our compassion first-hand. In this way, compassion is beneficial for others as well as for our own well-being. It creates inner happiness independent of receiving compassion ourselves.

We can also practice Self-Empathy by treating ourselves with kindness. Many of us have been conditioned to be highly critical of our mistakes. We may be far tougher on ourselves than on our friends and coworkers.

Strengths in Emotional Self-Awareness can enhance our understanding of how we treat ourselves. We recommend you take a moment to reflect on these statements and also ask someone who knows you well whether they think these statements are true for you.

 

  • When I make a mistake, I tend to be very critical of myself.

 

  • When I look back, I tend to remember the mistakes I have made rather than the successes I have had.

 

  • I can be really heartless toward myself when I feel down or am struggling.

 

  • When it comes to achieving my goals, I can be really tough on myself.

 

  • I am driven to achieve my goals and set very high standards for myself and those around me.

 

If you found yourself agreeing with most of these statements, and the significant people in your life also agreed, you are not alone. Many of us were raised to believe that being brutally self-critical was necessary in order to achieve the highest standards. Indeed, you may still believe that if you aren’t hard on yourself you will become lazy, aimless, or complacent.

In some instances, practicing Self-Empathy can make it easier to expand our circle of caring and to extend compassion toward others. But if you identify as extremely self-critical, it can be helpful to begin with compassion for others. Caring for others makes it easier to love and forgive ourselves.

When we take responsibility for forgiving and caring for ourselves, the compassion we extend to others also becomes more genuine. Self-Empathy enhances our confidence and inner strength and opens us up to connection and shared purpose. This enables us to inspire others with our vision and articulate common goals.

Self-Empathy can also make it easier to forgive people in our lives. When we replace self-criticism with self-understanding and accept that as humans we will inevitably make mistakes, it becomes easier to extend this understanding to others.

Practicing empathic concern doesn’t mean that we allow others to walk all over us. Rather, we can act strongly when necessary and remain open to helping everyone, including ourselves. By combining Empathy for ourselves with Empathy for others, we can find our inner strength and make meaningful connections with people from all walks of life.

Recommended Resources:

 

 

For further reading, our series of primers focuses on the twelve Emotional and Social Intelligence Leadership Competencies, which include Emotional Self-Awareness, Empathy, and Coach & Mentor.

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!

 

 

 

 

Want to cultivate your Self-Empathy? 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.

 

 

 

 

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Coaching for Emotional Intelligence: Belinda Chiu on Global Awareness

In the seventh installment of Coaching for Emotional Intelligence, Belinda Chiu, a Meta-Coach for the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification, discusses the role of diplomacy in coaching, global awareness, and more. Previous installments of this series include interviews with mindfulness coach and CEO Michelle Maldonado, educator and executive coach Matthew Taylor, and retired healthcare CEO Kathy Bollinger.   

 

Belinda has 20 years of experience in university admissions; leadership development & training; career and executive coaching; and strategic consulting. She is a mindfulness trainer, certified yoga instructor, and a Search Inside Yourself Certified Teacher. Belinda has worked with clients ranging from the U.S. Department of State, to GlaxoSmithKline, to Maersk, to the University of Denver. Belinda holds a Bachelor’s from Dartmouth College, a Master’s from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, and a doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University.

 

 

 

What led you to begin coaching?

Great question! I can’t say I had some of epiphany, but if I really had to think about the roots of what led me here, I suppose it had much to do with my growing up in the “in-between”–cultures, interests, etc. Not belonging anywhere yet belonging everywhere offered a sense of comfort and capacity to see things from multiple perspectives–even if those perspectives weren’t lived experiences. This orientation to the world has helped me to support others to explore and connect from a divergent, yet inclusive space.

As an undergraduate student, I earned an internship at my university’s career center. At the time, it was simply meant to be a great experience about the inner workings of higher education, not a future career. I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy helping my classmates be more purposeful with and prepared for their post-grad plans. I remember when my director told me that one day I would be in some sort of profession helping others find alignment in their careers and lives, I dismissed him. Well, Mr. Sturman, you might have been right.

That experience, along with my direct approach (perhaps early debate training?), became useful as peers and friends reached out for advice. What I discovered was not that I was particularly wise (I’m not), but that I had the privilege and honor of their trust. From this place of trust and nonjudgment, I could then ask them direct, oftentimes uncomfortable questions. Coaching isn’t about me; it’s about helping others connect and explore.

 

In what ways has your background in education and diplomacy informed your current work as a coach?

Diplomacy and education are far simpler as theories. Just listen to each other and arrive at a speedy resolution. Just know the student’s learning style and teach to it. Simple, yes? We can talk all we want about tactics or models, but the second you throw a human being in the mix–with all their quirks and human-ness, it gets messy. Having the capacity to enter into any situation, whether a negotiation or classroom, with greater self-awareness of one’s own triggers and biases, the ability to recognize and manage others’ emotions, and seek commonalities is therefore critical. In diplomacy and education–and in fact, almost anything, I keep two questions in mind: what is the highest intention, and how can we act to be of service?

My work as a coach requires me to bring this perspective to help my clients, who I believe hold the answers. It is my responsibility to help facilitate and serve as a catalyst to help them uncover the deeper hidden answers to more surface-level issues. A diplomatic approach is required to raise tough-to-hear, often uncomfortable questions. For example, if a client has a tough relationship issue with a boss or peer, the skills of mindful diplomacy may help them navigate their conversations for more positive and productive outcomes. I also get to indulge my research side by bringing psychology, educational, and neuroscientific research into practical, user-friendly techniques that they can apply in real life. I assign homework!

 

 

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

As I study mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence, as well try to incorporate these concepts into my daily life, work, and coaching, it’s impossible not to know of Dr. Goleman’s work. As he serves as an advisor for the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute on Emotional Intelligence leadership, I became even more familiar with how he understands applied research. Going to the “root” source, if you will, for the most up-to-date research that is also done with a critical eye for validity and reliability, as seen in Altered Traits, was appealing to me as a researcher and writer. Importantly, being part of a community to help make broader improvement on how we live and work with peers from whom I could learn and grow seemed like an invaluable part of my own development. Being around others with a purpose and higher intention of how to make the world a kinder, healthier place seemed like a no-brainer (pun intended) to me.

 

You have a Doctorate of Education in International Educational Development, are a Mindful Leadership Coach for Ignition Coaching LLC, which has an international presence, and also co-founded Zomppa, a global education nonprofit for children. What is the role of global awareness in your work as a coach?

Global awareness impacts my work as a coach on multiple levels. On one level, it’s the personal. I have worked with clients from all different backgrounds, nationalities, and experiences. My own personal background also informs a level of nuance as to different cultural variances in workplace behavior, concerns, and issues relevant to an immigrant or underrepresented individual, or upbringing that impacts current behavior and mindset. On another level, it’s the wider societal and geopolitical forces that impact the approach. It requires that I stay attuned to global forces, local context, and group and individual biases–unconscious or otherwise, as all of this may impact their work so I might serve as a conduit to help them thrive.

 

Do you have any advice for those leading an increasingly diverse and virtual workforce?

Diversity has become almost an overused and often misused phrase. Fellow Coaching Certification Faculty Michelle Maldonado offers a wonderfully appropriate and more expansive phrase, “Belonging & Unity,” to bring recognition of a broader invitation for everyone to have a seat at the table. Whether we’re geographically dispersed or separated by tribe, there is no scarcity in science that shows that diversity of cognitive and experiential representation boosts creativity, and that diversity alone is insufficient. It is irresponsible to simply say “we have X, Y, Z” without doing the far tougher work to ensure a psychologically safe environment where people from multiple backgrounds can challenge, be challenged, and thrive. With an increasing virtual workforce, the lack of face-to-face and its corresponding critical body language communication can exacerbate any pre-existing biases or blockages.

We know that psychological safety is important. We also know that lip service to diversity or inclusion is insufficient. It is important to raise an individual-, team-, and organization-level of awareness to recognize biases, mental shortcuts, and behaviors informed by unconscious thinking to build such a safe environment. It is also important to provide time and space for in-person meetings, and at the very least, consistent and robust communication. There is much technology to use at our disposal to increase connectivity, but it cannot be at the expense of human-to-human relationship building. These approaches require training to relate to others in a deeper way that builds trust, supports vulnerability, and invites and gives voice to all around the table.

 

 

What does living an authentic life mean to you? How do you develop authentic leaders?

An authentic life is being aware of one’s North Star and having the wherewithal, skills, and tools to stay true to it. It is having the wisdom of discernment, self-compassion for growth, and courage to act. Authenticity requires a level of self-awareness and willingness to be honest with oneself and others. A little gumption, irreverence, and sense of humor doesn’t hurt.

This is not to say that we live authentic lives without consideration of others around us. It does not give license to excuse poor behavior as “being true to oneself” nor from our role and responsibility to be a positive force in the world. Self- and other-awareness become critical because we do not live in isolation.

There is the saying we have on the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile pilgrimage across Spain: one walks alone, but one never walks alone. We can only abide by our own pace and cadence. How fast or quickly or beautifully one walks in comparison to others makes no difference. Yet we cannot walk without consideration for others around us, to not litter and harm the earth along the way, or to bypass a fellow injured pilgrim without stopping to help.

 

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

What is your highest intention for doing so? Keeping that in mind can help discern if coaching is the most appropriate way to make the kind of impact you want. Perhaps it is; perhaps it is not. Reflect on your philosophy and approach. Reflect on your own working preferences and styles. Reflect on your own biases and triggers. Do you have find fulfillment and get energized from coaching relationships? Do you have fun?

 

Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience as a coach?

My own mindfulness practice continues to be a work in progress. I try to bring that into my work, although I fully recognize I am a neophyte. One reason I have always loved connecting with people is being inspired and energized by those who seek to intentionally live their authentic selves. The great thing is that there are so many incredible people out there with a shared sense of purpose to help the world be a better place by helping people to thrive, be kind, and serve a greater good.

 

 

Recommended Reading:

 

For further reading, our series of primers focuses on the twelve Emotional and Social Intelligence Leadership Competencies, which include Emotional Self-Awareness, Empathy, and Coach & Mentor.

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!

 

 

 

 

*Please note: While the first cohort of the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification is now full, you can click here to sign up for updates on future cohorts.

 

 

 

 

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Can You Train for Emotional Intelligence? {New Research}

Emotional Intelligence (EI) has become increasingly valuable in the workforce, from executive leadership to entry-level hires. The model of Emotional and Social Intelligence Leadership Competencies is derived from an evidence-based framework. Yet quality research on training and coaching for Emotional Intelligence – part of our current undertaking at Key Step Media ­– has only recently burgeoned.

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.

Recommended Resources:

 

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.

 

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Coaching for Emotional Intelligence: Matthew Taylor on Transforming Education

In the sixth installment of Coaching for Emotional Intelligence, Matthew Taylor, a Faculty member and Meta-Coach for the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification, discusses the potential of coaching to improve safety in schools, the ability to switch between coaching, teaching, and consulting, and more. Previous installments of this series include interviews with Meta-Coaches Dot Proux, Kully Jaswal, Wagner Denuzzo, and Kathy Bollinger as well as Faculty member Michelle Maldonado. 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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Coaching for Emotional Intelligence: Kathy Bollinger on CEO Mentorship

In the fifth installment of Coaching for Emotional Intelligence, Kathy Bollinger, a Meta-Coach for the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification discusses the future of women in leadership, coaching during mergers and acquisitions, and more. Previous installments of this series include interviews with Meta-Coaches Dot Proux, Kully Jaswal, and Wagner Denuzzo as well as Faculty member Michelle Maldonado.

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!

[Interested in an in-depth coaching certification with practice coaching? Learn more about the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification]

  

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.

 

 

 

 

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Take Smarter Risks with Emotional Intelligence

Whether you want to become a more effective leader, advance your career, or achieve goals in other parts of your life, the ability to take smart risks is essential to productive growth. A range of Emotional Intelligence competencies can help achieve goals and bring our ideas to life.

 

What Does It Mean to Take Smart Risks?

People who take smart risks are highly attuned to their own abilities and limitations. They set goals that are challenging, yet attainable. They communicate their message in a compelling way, which people they want to influence can engage with. While some of their choices may appear highly risky to others, they are confident that the potential benefits will be worth it.

People who take smart risks excel across a range of the twelve Emotional & Social Intelligence Leadership Competencies. Some of the competencies most essential to taking smart risks include Emotional Self-Awareness, Achievement Orientation, Influence, and Inspirational Leadership.

 

How to Develop Emotional Self-Awareness

As the foundation of the Emotional and Social Intelligence competencies, Emotional Self-Awareness is essential to taking smart risks. People who are emotionally self-aware have an accurate knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as a solid understanding of what they can realistically achieve. Leaders with Emotional Self-Awareness can be present with people in a candid and authentic way, enabling them to speak with conviction about their vision.

Developing Emotional Self-Awareness begins with self-reflection, including recognizing how your emotions impact you and your job performance. It can be helpful to ask for feedback from people with whom you regularly interact. Simple questions, such as asking others what they see as your strengths and weaknesses, can be critical in recognizing a disparity between how you see yourself and how others see you. Ideally, this feedback would be anonymous, so that people feel comfortable being honest. Either way, be prepared to accept feedback with an open mind and the intention to take steps toward improvement where necessary.

If you find it difficult to recognize the areas where you struggle, or if you discover through feedback self-other gaps you aren’t sure how to improve, you may benefit from the guidance of a coach. A coach can help you develop a plan of action for improvement and give you feedback along the way. Coaching for Emotional Intelligence is particularly critical if you struggle with Emotional Self-Awareness, as it lies at the heart of EI.

How to Develop Achievement Orientation

Achievement Orientation is vital to taking smart risks and effectively setting goals. People with strengths in this competency set challenging goals for themselves, yet remain realistic in what they can achieve. As too much of a focus on Achievement Orientation can become toxic, particularly for leaders, it is also important to balance it with other competencies, including Inspirational Leadership, Empathy, and Teamwork.

A meta-analysis of research at Cornell demonstrates that highly successful entrepreneurs possess an elevated drive to achieve. In “Achievement Orientation: An Introduction,” Daniel Goleman writes:

“These entrepreneurs take smart risks. They’re sure the risk is minimal, though to others it may seem like a very high risk and that it is unlikely they’ll reach that goal.”

As with Emotional Self-Awareness, it is important to continually seek and learn from feedback to improve performance in Achievement Orientation. Cultivating a clear picture of positive goals and knowing what you can realistically accomplish are simple steps you can take to begin improving your performance. Working with a coach can also help to explore a vision of your ideal self and develop steps to reach your goals.

 

How to Develop Influence

As part of an organization, influence is key to bringing your great ideas to life. People with strengths in the Influence competency establish trust through a respect for and sensitivity to office culture (which also incorporates the Organizational Awareness competency). They know how to communicate their message in a way that appeals to others, particularly the key people they want to influence.

If you want to develop influence within an organization, it is important to start small. Begin by sharing your ideas informally, with people that you trust. Pay attention to their concerns and feedback and incorporate them into your vision. It is also critical that you understand what matters to the people you want to influence. By understanding their perspective, you can create a compelling case for your idea that will be beneficial to key people. This will enable you to start an engaging conversation, in which all sides feel invested.

How to Develop Inspirational Leadership

Inspirational Leadership, particularly the ability to articulate a shared vision, is central to taking smart risks. Inspirational leaders understand the vision of their organization inside and out. This enables them to craft ideas that fits seamlessly into the bigger picture. They also use the organization’s mission to create a sense of common purpose, yielding resonant relationships with others that are essential to identifying shared aspirations.

Becoming an inspirational leader is a gradual and ongoing process; as in any relationship, building trust doesn’t happen overnight. Inspiration also requires a degree of vulnerability. Leaders that share some of their apprehensions and fears related to work and leadership cultivate an atmosphere of authenticity, yielding a solid foundation of trust.

You can work to develop Inspirational Leadership on a daily basis by attuning yourself to what people care about. Identify the beliefs and aspirations you share and make an effort to articulate this common purpose. In this way, the ability to inspire can become a critical asset in building commitment and enthusiasm for a new business venture, or developing an idea that perfectly aligns with your organization’s mission. For further reading on Inspirational Leadership, we recommend Ann Flanagan Petry’s article “How Leaders and Coaches Cultivate Purpose at Work.”

 

Utilizing these Competencies to Take Smarter Risks  

By developing Emotional Intelligence competencies that span the four domains, you will have the skills to transform your ideas and goals into reality. A foundation of Self-Awareness allows us to understand our strengths and weaknesses and solidify our values. Paired with Achievement Orientation, under the Self-Management domain, we can develop ambitious yet attainable goals. The Social Awareness and Relationship Management domains enable us to garner support for these goals. While Organizational Awareness and Influence help us recognize and utilize networking opportunities and key power relationships, Inspirational Leadership ensures that our initial support doesn’t fade.

Recommended Resources:

 

 

Interested in helping others strengthen their Emotional Intelligence and achieve their goals? The new Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification is now accepting applications. 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 while elevating their expertise.

 

 

 

If you would like to learn more about the fundamentals of Emotional Intelligence, our series of primers focuses on the twelve Emotional and Social Intelligence Leadership Competencies, which include Emotional Self-Awareness, Achievement Orientation, and Influence. 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!

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

What led you to begin coaching?

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

 

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

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

 

 

What are your thoughts on Emotional Intelligence?

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

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