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True Compassion Takes Action

The number of programs and certifications and courses on mindfulness, compassion, and Emotional Intelligence seem to grow each year. In a time in which the pressure to chase externally-induced goals is heightened, people are increasingly desperate to rediscover meaning and purpose in their lives. Whether through an app or at a retreat, people often feel encouraged and energized to incorporate greater awareness, balance, and empathy into their lives.

Yet after the buzz of time spent amongst like-minded, well-intentioned, deeply-passionate peers wears off, how many actually practice regularly?

Not many of us, at least not always. In one famous study, psychologists John Darley and Daniel Batson told seminary students to prepare to deliver a talk on the meaning of a calling in the ministry. Half the group were told to incorporate the story of the Good Samaritan. As the students were preparing their remarks, the researchers told groups they had to walk to another building to deliver the talk. To half the group, they told them “hurry up, you’re late!;” to other, “take your time.” On the way to the other location an actor slumped in a doorway, coughing and evidently ill. Did the students, particularly those talking about the Good Samaritan, stop to help? Only if they weren’t in a rush. It didn’t matter the subject of their talk. In fact, students would literally step over the evidently ill man in a rush to deliver a talk about the Good Samaritan.

Recently, I was headed to dinner with three friends. Three of us have been immersed in the work of mindfulness, Emotional Intelligence, and compassion. The fourth, my friend’s wife, Gwen, listened patiently and quietly as we talked about our shared passion for creating a better world through self-awareness.

At a red light, as I was admiring a frozen yogurt shop, Gwen blurted out, “Stop the car!” She bolted out of the running car. We couldn’t figure out why until we saw Gwen chatting with an elderly man, who looked like he had been living on the streets for quite some time. We then saw her flag down a delivery truck driver and slowly accompany the sick man to a nearby drugstore. When we finally reached her at the drugstore, Gwen was chatting with the store manager while the truck driver was on the phone with emergency medical services. After the CVS store manager assured Gwen the man would be watched over until the ambulance arrived, we left the store.

In a community where homeless folks were not uncommon, Gwen noticed that this elderly man needed help. “NBD,” she said. No big deal. She simply saw someone in need and did something about it. Calling on an unsuspecting UPS driver and staying by this elderly man as he urinated on the short way to the CVS was just something anyone would do.

Except that not everyone would.

Here we were, teachers of mindfulness chatting away about yogurt shops without noticing the people quietly calling for help. Here Gwen was, noticing and acting.

In A Force for Good, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Daniel Goleman share how each of us can take action like Gwen: 1) check into and manage our own emotional states; 2) practice compassion towards self and others; and 3) help those in need. In other words, it’s not enough for our inner world to feel calm and collected. We can talk and share all the research behind compassion and Emotional Intelligence we want. But if we don’t practice it, it remains words on a page. We need to muscularize compassion.

Easier said than done. The good news is that EI is something we can train and cultivate. Practicing the EI competencies, such as empathy, can help us to recognize those in need, whether obviously visible or deeply submerged. Influence can help us motivate others to live more intentionally. In the immersive EICC program, participants are coached first so that they can experience and build empathy for their clients, as well as gain insights into their own barriers. Above all, the EI competencies give us more tools to bring compassion to life as a force for good.

Want to develop your Emotional Intelligence in a supportive, virtual community? Over twelve weeks, you can hone the skills that differentiate top-performers. Begin your learning journey on September 9 or October 7. You can learn more and register yourself or your team here.

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Tired of Counting Breaths? Try Open Awareness

Our personal agency—that over which we have direct control—comes into play when we change our relationship to our thoughts and our emotions. This allows us to fine-tune our reactions to our own emotions as well as those of others. Developing the capacity to relate differently to our internal experience first requires we become cognizant of our mental phenomena (i.e. our thoughts and emotions) as they unfold in the moment. Once we hone our awareness, we can begin to react to our emotions in a more productive way.

Learning to notice our own patterns of thought and emotion can be difficult, but thankfully it’s not impossible. That is where meditation or mind training comes in. The word for meditation in Tibetan, gom, literally means “getting used to” or “familiarizing oneself with.” Getting used to what? Familiarizing ourselves with our own minds and how our thoughts and emotions unfold within our experience.

There are many ways to train the mind through meditation. One way that I’ve found helpful for familiarizing myself with my own patterns of thought and emotions is to sit up in a comfortable, yet upright position in which my spine is straight. Instead of closing my eyes, I often leave mine open. I prefer this because it better prepares me to be able to employ these practices in day-to-day circumstances. I’m not closing myself off to sensory input, rather I’m training in circumstances that more closely resemble our waking reality.

Instead of focusing on an object, I let my mind settle into its natural, wakeful quality, allowing myself to become aware of awareness itself–sometimes referred to as meta-cognition. I gently notice my mind’s capacity to be awake, clear, and spacious; I don’t intently focus on this or that. I just allow my mind to rest in a natural state of openness. I don’t have to imagine or conjure up anything in my mind’s eye, nor do I get involved with what is taking place visually in front of me or what I may hear happening around me, or even with what is unfolding within my own experience (i.e. my thoughts and emotions).

When I do get distracted by sensory inputs, by a thought or an emotion, or any movement of mind whatsoever, I gently notice this with an attitude of openness, like the experience of passing through beautiful scenery while on a train ride. We see the beautiful scenery, if only for a brief moment, and then it’s gone. Instead of getting caught up with the thought or the emotion, I let it pass. Like waiting on a platform for the subway, we may notice the trains as they come and go, but we let them pass, knowing, “this isn’t my train to catch,” and so we don’t get on.

You can also imagine your thoughts and emotions as clouds moving through the sky. Clouds don’t make a big deal about themselves. They just come and go rather unceremoniously. They might produce rain or lightning or thunder and then they are on their merry way. 

By the time you notice you’ve been distracted, you’re already back, meaning your awareness is already poised and ready to perceive whatever unfolds next within the space of your awareness and perception. It’s like riding a well-trained horse, you don’t have to yank at the reins, you lean and the horse senses what you want it to do by the shift in your body’s weight. Our minds are like this, gentle touches are all that is needed. If you start trying to yank around your mind, scolding it each time it moves, be prepared to watch it act out.

Other times our awareness can take on the quality of a cat lying in wait, tail switching back and forth, ready to pounce on whatever comes into its path. When we notice that our awareness is lying in wait for the next thought or emotion to appear we give that up too, letting go of any urges we might feel to become expert noticers. Instead, try taking a deep breath, one that’s slightly deeper than usual. Let this be a gentle reminder to let your mind relax. Then, as you breathe out, release the urge for any mental doing. Your only job at this moment is to be aware, allowing the mind to settle into its natural capacity to be clear. For that instant, the mind clears right up and isn’t preoccupied with anything.

The bright and fresh quality of mind is similar to the experience of taking in a breath of crisp, cold air when you first step outside on a cold winter’s day or how the mind feels after a brisk run when we collapse on the couch when we get home.

I find, for myself, having something that isn’t tangible, yet can still be experienced–like the awake and aware quality of my mind left untampered–is more helpful than intently focusing upon an object, such as the breath. In the space of open awareness, I am able to change my relationship to my thoughts and emotions in the moment. It’s easier to let go when you’re not holding on so tightly to begin with. 

Want to develop your Emotional Intelligence in a supportive, virtual community? Over twelve weeks, you can hone the skills that differentiate top-performers. Begin your learning journey on September 9 or October 7. You can learn more and register yourself or your team here.

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Social and Emotional Learning in Post-Conflict Situations

Photo of Chantha by Thibault van der Stichel

For the past five years, I’ve volunteered at the Cambodian-based NGO Pour un Sourire d’Enfant. Since its foundation in 1996, Pour un Sourire d’Enfant has turned Cambodian children away from defeatism and a vicious cycle of drug addiction, prostitution, gambling, and violence. These children grew up amid severe hardship in which many of them were abused, prostituted, or orphaned in the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge genocide, which occurred during the 1970s. Almost 2 million people were murdered. Ethic minorities were targeted as well as students, doctors, lawyers, and business leaders. There was widespread abduction and indoctrination of children, and many were persuaded or forced to commit atrocities. Now, those kids have grown up, and their kids have inherited the extreme violence their parents suffered. This has created a desperate cycle of violence and poverty, and has made scavenging, prostitution, and drugs the main options that these children have to survive.

The Lasting Impact of the Cambodian Genocide

After the Khmer Rouge regime collapsed, the psychological repercussions were enormous, yet mental health care was ignored for many years. With their harrowing past, a significant proportion of the Cambodian population were inevitably afflicted with a variety of mental illnesses, most commonly depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Cambodian parents nowadays drink to forget, consume drugs to alleviate the pain, and use violence as a way to educate their children, communicate their needs, and express their emotions. Poverty, desperation, and a lack of empathy make Cambodian parents force their children to work on the streets, search for plastic at dumpsites, or prostitute themselves. These parents abuse their children and often sell them to child traffickers.

I observed that Pour un Sourire d’Enfant does a fantastic job of providing medical care, nutrition security, and education to more than 6,000 Cambodian children. Yet as the students get older, many of them consume drugs and alcohol, gamble, have suicidal thoughts, drop out of school, and struggle to understand and manage their emotions. I didn’t understand why this happened until I read Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman.

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Post-Conflict Situations

Thanks to Emotional Intelligence, I learned that family life is our first school for emotional learning and that everything a child sees, feels, and experiences will shape their sense of self. During the first three or four years of life a toddler’s brain grows to about two thirds its full size and evolves in complexity at a higher rate than it ever will again.

The areas of the brain affected by trauma are usually those associated with the regulation of emotion, as well as those that control learning and memory. Studies from the Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute, L.L.C. show that other brain regions related to the control of impulses and reasoning, problem-solving, and judgment are also impaired and, therefore, have less influence on an individual’s behavior. Victims of conflicts often have difficulty with bonding and attachment and thus developing stable and trusting relationships. Young children who experience trauma also show cognitive and language delays that place them at risk for early learning difficulties and later academic challenges. Traumatized children often suffer significant mood swings, anger, irritability, and profound depression. 

I soon understood that Cambodia was the perfect example of what could happen to an entire generation if mental health wasn’t taken into account after a country experienced war or conflict. Victims of extreme violence, human trafficking, and abuse, according to Dr. Goleman, “have had an early and steady diet of trauma, but seeing how the brain itself is shaped by brutality—or by love—suggests that childhood represents a unique window of opportunity for emotional lessons. The massive sculpting and pruning of neural circuits in youth is the reason why early emotional hardships and trauma have such enduring and pervasive effects in adulthood.” As a result, the sooner schools embed emotional learning, the greater likelihood that children can develop the skills to manage complex emotions.  

The post-conflict cycle of violence and poverty that occurs within families, communities, and entire countries can be lessened through Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) education and reintegration programs. Research shows that SEL programs reduce fighting and bullying and increase academic achievement. Implementing SEL in post-conflict countries can accelerate their social and economic recovery and provide the foundation for a brighter future.

Beyond having the basic needs of food, safety, and shelter met, all people benefit from gaining a basic understanding of their emotions and how to manage them. Emotional Intelligence is key to leading a happier and more fulfilling life. It enables us to understand ourselves and forge meaningful relationships with others. Developing and cultivating EI in education, therefore, creates a foundation for success and helps kids develop emotional balance, self-esteem, and the ability to adapt to life’s challenges.

SEL for the Future of Post-Conflict Countries

There are several ways children can be affected during and after a conflict, such as becoming child soldiers, refugees, or victims of child trafficking. According to the Child Soldiers International’s World Index, in 2017, 203 cases of “suicide bombers” in Nigeria and Cameroon (by Boko Haram) were verified, “more than 3,000 cases of recruitment by armed groups in DR Congo were reported” (46 States militaries around the world continue to recruit children), “at least 19,000 under-18s are believed to be participating in the conflict in South Sudan,” and 240 million children live in countries affected by conflict.

We need to teach children not only how to do math and read English, but also how to understand and navigate their emotions, how to focus and adapt, and how to build positive connections with others. SEL should be incorporated into post-conflict child protection, education, and reintegration programs to help kids who suffer from child trafficking, extreme violence, and war injustices.

Recent research gives us reason to be hopeful. A large meta-analysis of SEL programming showed positive impact up to 18 years later on academics, conduct problems, emotional distress, and drug use. And, higher social and emotional competencies among SEL students at the end of the initial intervention was the best predictor of long-term benefits, demonstrating how important it is to develop these competencies in students. Ending the cycle of conflict, violence, and trauma is critical to advance civil society and it is within our reach. 

If you would like to learn more about SEL, check out these resources:

Want to develop your Emotional Intelligence in a supportive, virtual community? Over twelve weeks, you can hone the skills that differentiate top-performers. Begin your learning journey on September 9 or October 7. You can learn more and register yourself or your team here.

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Adaptability: Change Your Relationship to Change

Scientists tell us the adaptive ability of any system is usually gauged by its response to disruptions or challenges. In the case of the human system, a.k.a. you and me, adaptive abilities mean you are a person who is flexible in handling change, juggling multiple demands, and navigating new situations with innovative ideas and approaches.  

Is This Me? 

Think about these statements, and choose A or B: 

  • A) I tend to think of change as bad. B) I tend to see change as an opportunity.
  • A) I dislike change. B) Some change can be worthwhile. 
  • A) I feel uptight when plans change at home or work. B) I find changes in plans energizing. 
  • A) I hate making adjustments in my routines. B) I make adjustments to routines easily. 
  • A) I feel threatened when a challenge arises. B) I like a challenge.
  • A) I often get “locked in” to an idea or approach to solving a problem. B) I’m open to new information when solving a problem.  

If you find yourself agreeing with most of the A statements, you may be someone who is uncomfortable with change. If you find yourself agreeing with more of the B statements, you may be more able to adapt as changes demand. 

Looking at your own beliefs and judgments can be an important first step toward greater adaptability. If you are fixed in your thinking, you may struggle against change rather than turning it into an opportunity. Learning to sit with discomfort amidst uncertainty is something every human can benefit from. 

An agile mindset is one that recognizes that adapting to change is the price of admission for living a meaningful life. Let’s face it, any time you try something new, you face uncertainty and there is risk involved. You never know exactly how things will turn out. For example, you may have to make a decision about whether to take a new job or stay where you are. There are no guarantees the job will be a good fit.  If it is, great! You took the leap and it paid off. If the new job isn’t great–you chalk it up to learning. You are wiser, you gain new skills, new connections, and you’re able to translate that into a better decision next time. The bottom line: change is difficult, uncomfortable, and at times downright painful. Our ability to effectively handle the discomfort of change improves through experimentation and repetition. 

Here’s how rigidity, the opposite of adaptability, can show up at work: Imagine an executive who quickly shuts down an idea suggested by a team member for a more tech-based system of project management that could increase productivity. The executive may not realize this “shut-down” reflex has become an unconscious habit, triggered by any suggestion of change, which results in his automatically coming up with reasons the new idea won’t work, rather than why it might. Such a habit keeps things as they are and squelches innovation. This lack of adaptability keeps inefficient practices in place, and, maybe worse, sends a message not to question the status quo. Over time, this results in stagnation, reduced passion, and energy and weaker financial results.

However, imagine if that executive had been more adaptable and asked the rest of the team how they feel about the new idea and whether it’s worth trying. If they express enthusiasm, the adaptable executive might give it a chance to see how it goes. If it works, progress is made. If it doesn’t, something useful could still be learned. There is acknowledgement that innovation and change carry emotional and financial outlays. And the emotional outlay can be lessened with an emotionally agile mindset. 

Adaptability is at the heart of innovation in any environment

People who demonstrate adaptability combine curiosity and problem solving skills to achieve their goals. Persistence leads them to try new behaviors or methods of getting things done. They are resourceful and creative, especially when budgets are tight. These key building blocks to adaptability–agility, persistence, and trying multiple strategies–are vital skills for success.

Increasingly, adaptability is a key differentiator of effective leadership in highly tumultuous industries, such as technology and finance. Leaders who show strong adaptability recognize that their industry is continually changing and are better able to evolve. They realize they can’t be stuck doing the same old thing over and over. They think creatively and take calculated risks. 

There are numerous case studies of once-thriving companies whose leaders were unable to embrace change, such as Blockbuster, Sears, and Kodak. Alternatively, we all know companies that make phenomenal examples of adaptability, including Apple and Google, who created new products we didn’t even know we needed. They were attuned to shifting trends and feedback from customers. 

Consider current workplace norms: teams are no longer fixed and steady, they form and disassemble; work is increasingly meted out in short-term contracts. And leaders are attempting to prepare a workforce for jobs that don’t yet exist. It should not be surprising then that employers are putting a high priority on the skill of adaptability.  

By staying adaptable and open-minded, you continue to reinvent yourself and experience significant growth along the way.

Keep in mind, there are times when there’s a good reason not to change, like preserving quality standards or time-tested effective strategies. The trademark of an adaptable leader, however, is the ability to balance core values with responsiveness in the face of a changing world.

Try this exercise for developing your adaptability

Think of a change in either your personal or professional life you have recently experienced or are currently experiencing. How do you feel about the change? How are you responding to the change? 

Here are some examples of situations that require adaptability:

We are launching a new service line. I’m excited about the possibilities it creates, but a little nervous about whether we’ve thought of everything. I’m doing significant research to position myself as an expert.

My daughter just turned 12 and is suddenly becoming moody and withdrawn, spending lots of time in her room and not talking to me or her Dad. I’m scared something might be going on that she’s not telling us.

Now, ask yourself a series of questions to help find a positive perspective on that change: 

  • What opportunities does this change represent? 
  • What positive outcome could I find in this change? 
  • What is outside of my control? 
  • What is within my control? 
  • What is the next (small) action I can take to move in a positive direction? 
  • What is the best outcome that might result?

Avoiding change is impossible. Instead we can change our relationship to change. We can learn to turn toward what scares us, and in turn, we gradually adapt and grow amidst uncertainty and discomfort in life.  

Want to develop your Emotional Intelligence in a supportive, virtual community? Over twelve weeks, you can hone the skills that differentiate top-performers. Begin your learning journey on September 9 or October 7. You can learn more and register yourself or your team here.

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Equality Starts with Emotional Intelligence

For over 40 years, governments have come together under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) to discuss how to build and sustain a healthy and productive environment for all. In that time, they have made great strides; for example, the number of people living in extreme poverty (income below the international poverty line of $1.90 per day) and maternal and child mortality have declined, while primary school enrollment figures have increased since the 1990s. But the work is far from finished. In 2015, the UN adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to mobilize a global effort to end poverty by 2030. However, achieving these 17, from inclusive and quality education for all, to gender equality, to inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable cities, requires more than policy–it necessitates understanding how human beings make decisions and work together.

Logically, few people would dispute the values of equality, justice, and security for all. Yet many express strong emotion when it comes to how to achieve these values, what those values actually mean, and who they serve–particularly if any actions may impact our individual well-being. Achieving world peace and equality might be impossible, but that improbability hasn’t stopped many from trying.

On May 19, Daniel Goleman and Head of Leadership Programs at Goleman EI, Michele Nevarez, took the stage at the UN alongside a group of passionate individuals to speak on the role of emotions and Emotional Intelligence (EI) in achieving the UN’s 2030 SDGs. This momentous occasion marked the first time emotions were the focal point of discussion on the floor of the UN–a result of the efforts of an unsuspecting intern, Fernando Restoy Rodriguez, whose own experience working with youth in Cambodia prompted an interest in EI. (Restoy is joining the second cohort of the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification.)

While EI is not a one-stop solution to global peace (if it were only that simple), it is a critical component of leadership, relationships, and getting things done. In fact, the second Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld created a Quiet Room at the UN in the 1950s because he understood the vital importance of self-reflection, a key part of EI, in the heavy work of achieving global equality. However, this room stayed relatively unknown until meditation became part of the “cool” vernacular.

The reality is that we haven’t historically heard the word “emotions” used when it comes to geopolitics and treaties–other than it serving as a barrier. The training of diplomats and mediators typically involves learning how to unpack hidden agendas and unspoken needs for shared goals, but not the training of emotional regulation and awareness. If impasse and conflict, or worse, war, is presumably a result of emotions running high, the answer must be to remove them.

Yet we know from emerging science that emotions are inextricably connected to how we make decisions, how we communicate with others, and how we make sense of the world. Nobel Laureate scientist Herbert Simon notes that our emotions can skew our decisions and play a critical role in decision making. Our brain wants to keep us alive, and so we’re constantly trying to figure out whether what is happening around–and inside–us is going to hurt us. And when we try to make decisions that impact millions of people, it becomes even tougher to “remove” emotions. As a result, our intentions may not translate into the wisest decisions or desired goals. As Daniel Goleman notes in The Brain and Emotional Intelligence, “in order to make a good decision, we need to have feelings about our thoughts.” With Emotional Intelligence we learn to understand the feelings we have and their impact on decision making.

Individuals tasked with achieving world peace and equality come with the biases and agendas of their governments, their constituents, and their personal experiences. They are human, after all. The work is not easy, however, and we cannot begin to address world concerns if we are not aware of our own power and responsibility. A key component of EI in the efforts for global peace and equity is the work one must do internally first. As Nevarez noted, “at the heart of EI is personal agency, which leads to global agency.” It is like the oft-used metaphor of the butterfly. One flutter of a tiny butterfly can have massive reverberations.

But if there is no opportunity to pause amid the cacophony of discord and disagreement, we become more susceptible to making decisions that may unintentionally harm others. That is precisely why Hammarskjöld created the Quiet Room to bring back “the stillness which we have lost in our streets, and in our conference rooms, and to bring it back to a setting in which no noise would impinge on our imagination.” If we aren’t introspective enough to know what is happening inside, it is that much harder to do good for others. The EI competencies, such as self-awareness, equip individuals to approach global challenges with greater openness and curiosity, and to make more ethical decisions.

Moreover, to achieve our goals, we have to truly connect with others. To do that, we have to offer our full attention–even when we disagree. As Goleman emphasized, “One must be able to go deep inside to be able to give back to others … There has to be a purpose that resonates with the heart.” EI enables us to deepen our connections with others.

In other words, emotions will always play a role in achieving global peace and equality. When we acknowledge emotions and are mindful of their impact, we have the ability to make better decisions as well as a greater likelihood of success. Cultivating EI helps us manage the complexity of negotiation and conflict about what equality means on a global stage. As University of Toronto professor Stéphane Côte found in her research with Wharton professor Jeremy Yip, “People who are emotionally intelligent don’t remove all emotions from their decision-making. They remove emotions that have nothing to do with the decisions.”

EI is a renewable resource we need to cultivate and nurture. If we are to truly work toward universal peace and equality–no matter how improbable–we must approach ourselves and others with greater awareness and appreciation.

Want to develop your Emotional Intelligence in a supportive, virtual community? Over twelve weeks, you can hone the skills that differentiate top-performers. Begin your learning journey on July 22, September 9, or October 7. You can learn more and register yourself or your team here.

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Coaching for Emotional Intelligence: Patricia Figueroa on Executive Development in Mexico

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Interested in the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification (EICC)? Patricia Figueroa–a participant in the first cohort–reflects on her background as a psychotherapist, Emotional Intelligence in Mexico, and her experience in the EICC.

Could you begin by sharing some insights into your story? Where are you from? How has your career progressed?

My name is Patricia, I’m Mexican, and after over ten years of experience in private practice as a Psychotherapist, my story in Executive Development begins at SuKarne, a Mexican company with a large presence in the global market for animal protein. Along with two other colleagues, I created a Human Development Program for employees, based on the hypothesis that happier employees perform better.

My desire to specialize more led me to attend training in Leadership Coaching at Harvard. From there I began working with clients, and later made the transition from a private coaching practice to Executive Coaching and Facilitator of Executive Development workshops.

In what ways does your background as a psychotherapist inform your current work as a coach?

The main reason I became a psychotherapist was to help people become a better version of themselves: improve their well-being, quality of life, take better control of their lives. I realized that I could serve those same goals with Emotional Intelligence (EI) coaching.

My career as a psychotherapist has given me the tools and experience to be a better coach. Connecting with people, empathizing at a deep level, guiding them to find their own answers, staying curious, listening well, being comfortable with silences, and trusting the wisdom of the client are essential tools for both psychotherapists and coaches.

Do you find that Emotional Intelligence is typically valued and utilized by organizations in Mexico?

Yes, definitely. In these times when everything is changing rapidly, and with Artificial Intelligence beginning to exceed us exponentially in the cognitive field, Emotional Intelligence skills are a very important differentiator.

For all these reasons, smart and ambitious Mexican businesses are taking a closer look at human performance and motivation. EI is at the core of the successful management of human dynamics—something that for now, remains uniquely human and necessary for organizational success. 

What led you to join the first cohort of the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification?

Working with companies, I came to realize that Emotional Intelligence defined successful leadership and successful companies. The ability to listen, the ability to communicate effectively, and the ability to build relationships­–all those skills were at the core of success, but companies weren’t always hiring for or aware of them.

I came across companies with very smart people who lacked some of these skills. So, from there, I committed myself to learning more about EI because I wanted to be as effective in my coaching as possible.

What I found most interesting about Emotional Intelligence is the biology behind neuroplasticity–the fact that our behavior can be changed. I constructed a real emphasis in my own practice on helping clients develop EI.

Since I was excited about Emotional Intelligence and saw first-hand the effectiveness of EI coaching, I decided to go to the source of EI, and apply for the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification.

What aspect(s) of the Coaching Certification have you found most rewarding?

The Twelve Self-Discoveries have been amazing. I cannot fix what I am not aware of. Transformation starts within, and the possibility of helping others transform themselves using a scientific based methodology is really rewarding.

The micro-techniques and journaling have also been very beneficial. The micro-techniques help you integrate the new learning, and writing about in the journal helps you anchor it. Mindfulness exercises or mental training helped me to be more intentional with my approach and, therefore, more efficient and productive.

Is there a particular Self-Discovery that resonates with you?

“You don’t have to believe everything you think.” Learning to silence my internal dialogue has helped me immensely, because it is in those moments of silence and mental stillness that answers arrive.

What EI competencies and/or coaching techniques you’ve cultivated in the Coaching Certification have been most beneficial in your work with business leaders?

In this hasty world where we all agree that time is a scarce resource, teaching people how to invest in time to pause and be intentional with their focus leads to greater productivity.

It has helped my clients in many ways: to focus, reduce procrastination, improve their work performance, reduce work stress and anxiety, develop cohesion and a sense of belonging in their teams, be more adaptable, and of course, better manage their emotions and control their impulses.

What has been your experience as an international member of a largely international cohort?

It’s been incredibly rewarding. Sharing such diverse points of view is extremely enriching and also demonstrates how we all converge in our humanity. We not only learn about our differences, but about our similarities. We are not as different from others as we might believe.

Do you have any advice or wisdom you’d like to share with participants in the second cohort of the EICC?

Enjoy this journey of transformation and learning, where you will be nourished by the experiences and knowledge of your learning partners and facilitators. At the end of the program be ready to find in the mirror a much stronger, more resilient, aware, positive, inspired, and compassionate self.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

There are only a few spots remaining in the second cohort, which will take place just outside of Vienna, Austria this summer. You can learn more and apply here.

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Coaching para la Inteligencia Emocional: Patricia Figueroa Desarrollo Ejecutivo en México

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Estás interesado en la Certificación de Coaching en Inteligencia Emocional (CCIE) de Daniel Goleman? Patricia Figueroa, participante de la primera cohorte, reflexiona sobre su experiencia como psicoterapeuta, la Inteligencia Emocional en México y su experiencia en la CCIE.

¿Podrías comenzar compartiendo algunas ideas sobre tu historia? ¿De dónde eres? ¿Cómo ha progresado tu carrera?

Mi nombre es Patricia, soy mexicana, y después de más de diez años de experiencia en la práctica privada como psicoterapeuta, mi historia en Desarrollo Ejecutivo comienza en SuKarne, una empresa mexicana con una gran presencia en el mercado mundial de proteína animal. Junto con otros dos colegas, creamos un Programa de Desarrollo Humano para empleados, basado en la hipótesis de que los empleados más felices tienen un mejor desempeño.

Mi deseo de especializarme más, me llevó a asistir a un entrenamiento en Coaching de Liderazgo en Harvard. A partir de ahí comencé a trabajar con clientes, y después hice la transición de la consulta privada, al Coaching Ejecutivo y facilitador de talleres de Desarrollo Ejecutivo.

¿De qué manera su experiencia como psicoterapeuta ayuda en su trabajo actual como Coach?

La razón principal por la que me formé como psicoterapeuta fue porque quería ayudar a las personas a ser una mejor versión de sí mismas: mejorar su bienestar, su calidad de vida, tener un mejor control sobre su vida; y al conocer el proceso de entrenamiento de la IE, me di cuenta de que como Coach en Inteligencia Emocional podría servir a estos mismos objetivos.

Mi carrera como psicoterapeuta me ha dado las herramientas y la experiencia para hacer un mejor trabajo de coaching. Conectarse con las personas, empatizar a un nivel profundo, guiarlos para encontrar sus propias respuestas, mantener la curiosidad, escuchar activamente, sentirse cómodo con los silencios y confiar en la sabiduría del cliente, son herramientas esenciales en un proceso de Coaching.

¿Considera que la Inteligencia Emocional es usualmente valorada y utilizada por las organizaciones en México?

Sí, definitivamente creo en la importancia de la Inteligencia Emocional dentro de las empresas. En estos momentos en que todo está cambiando tan rápido, y con la Inteligencia Artificial que nos supera exponencialmente en el campo cognitivo, las habilidades de Inteligencia Emocional son un diferenciador muy importante.

Por todas estas razones, las empresas mexicanas inteligentes y ambiciosas están observando más de cerca el rendimiento y la motivación humana, y consideran que la IE está en el núcleo de la gestión exitosa de la dinámica humana, algo que sabemos, es indispensable para el éxito organizacional.

¿Qué te llevó a unirte a la primera cohorte de la Certificación de Coaching en Inteligencia Emocional de Daniel Goleman?

Trabajando con compañías, me di cuenta que la Inteligencia Emocional definía el liderazgo exitoso y a las compañías exitosas. La capacidad de escuchar, la capacidad de comunicarse de manera efectiva y la capacidad de entablar relaciones: todas esas habilidades medulares para el éxito, sin embargo, las empresas no siempre contrataban a su personal con estas competencias en mente.

Encontré empresas con personas muy inteligentes pero que carecían de algunas de estas habilidades. Entonces, desde allí, me comprometí a aprender más sobre la IE porque quería ser lo más efectiva posible en mi trabajo como coach.

Lo que me pareció más interesante acerca de la Inteligencia Emocional es la biología detrás de la neuroplasticidad, el hecho de cómo nuestro comportamiento puede cambiar. Cimenté un gran énfasis en mi práctica para ayudar a los clientes a desarrollar  IE.

Al estar tan entusiasmada con la Inteligencia Emocional y ver de primera mano la eficacia del coaching en IE, decidí ir a la fuente de la IE y aplicar para la Certificación de Coaching en Inteligencia Emocional de Daniel Goleman.

¿Qué aspectos del programa ha encontrado más gratificantes?”

Los doce auto-descubrimientos han sido increíbles. No puedo arreglar lo que no sé. La transformación comienza en el interior, y la posibilidad de ayudar a otros a transformarse a sí mismos utilizando una metodología basada en ciencia es realmente gratificante.

Las micro-técnicas y las reflexiones en el diario. Las micro-técnicas te ayudan a integrar el nuevo aprendizaje y escribirlo en el diario te ayuda a anclarlo.

Los ejercicios de atención plena o entrenamiento mental me ayudaron a ser más intencional con mi enfoque y, por consiguiente, más eficiente y productiva.

¿Cuál ha sido su mayor descubrimiento de los Doce Auto-Descubrimientos? ¿Hay alguno en particular que resuene con usted?

“No tienes que creer en todo lo que piensas”. Aprender a silenciar el diálogo interno, porque es en esos momentos de silencio y quietud mental donde llegan las respuestas.

¿Qué competencias de la IE y / o técnicas de coaching que ha cultivado en la Certificación de Coaching han sido las más beneficiosas en su trabajo con líderes empresariales?

En este mundo tan apresurado donde estamos de acuerdo en que el tiempo es un recurso escaso, enseñar a las personas cómo invertir en una pausa y ser intencional en su enfoque conduce a una mayor productividad.

Las Competencias de IE han ayudado a mis clientes de muchas maneras: a enfocarse, a reducir la procrastinación, a mejorar su rendimiento en el trabajo, a reducir el estrés y la ansiedad laboral, a desarrollar cohesión y un sentido de pertenencia en sus equipos, a ser más adaptables y, por supuesto, a una mejor gestión de sus emociones y control de impulsos.

¿Cuál ha sido su experiencia como miembro internacional de una cohorte mayoritariamente internacional?

Completamente gratificante. Compartir puntos de vista tan diversos es extremadamente enriquecedor y, al mismo tiempo, corroborar cómo convergemos todos en nuestra humanidad. Aprender no sólo de nuestras diferencias sino también de nuestras similitudes; al final del día, no somos tan diferentes a los demás como creemos.

¿Tiene algún consejo o sabiduría que quiera compartir con los participantes de la segunda cohorte del EICC?

Disfruta de este viaje de transformación y aprendizaje, donde serás nutrido por las experiencias y el conocimiento de tus compañeros de aprendizaje y facilitadores. Al final del programa, prepárese para encontrar en el espejo una persona mucho más fuerte, más resiliente, consciente, positivo, inspirado y compasivo.

Esta entrevista ha sido editada y condensada para mayor claridad. Traducido por Patricia Figueroa.

Solo quedan pocos lugares en la segunda cohorte, que tendrá lugar a las afueras de Viena, Austria, este verano. Puedes aprender más y aplicar aquí.

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