Posted on

The Power of Vulnerability in Leadership

Sarah is a young, talented leader who rose quickly to an executive role. As a part of her professional development, she went through a 360 assessment and worked with a coach. In her feedback, she was surprised to discover that her colleagues and direct reports perceived her as distant and aloof. They struggled to connect with her, and consequently didn’t trust her. This feedback was shocking and upsetting for Sarah. She resisted it as “just not true.”

However, within her coaching relationship, Sarah uncovered a mindset which didn’t serve her well, and had, until now, been a blind spot. The mindset: being more authentic and vulnerable is bad. It developed long ago in response to a string of childhood tragedies, including her Dad’s death when she was in second grade and her Mom’s breast cancer diagnosis around the same time. Since Sarah’s mom was consumed by her husband’s death and facing her own mortality, she was not emotionally available to Sarah and her siblings. Being the oldest, Sarah became the surrogate parent to her siblings. And as she believed she needed to hold it together for the family, she never shared the depth of her grief and loss with anyone. This set her on a course to become the stoic, high achieving leader she is today. Sadly though, by walling off a part of herself, she struggled to build trusting relationships and was reluctant to let others into her world. Indeed, this mindset and its impact surfaced when she was forced to consider how her self-perception vastly differed from how others perceived her.  

While she believed being objective, unemotional, and aloof made her appear as a more competent leader, just the opposite was true. Her unwillingness to be real and connect with others held her back from becoming the relatable, engaging leader others would be inspired to work with and for. And unsurprisingly, the teams she led all struggled with interpersonal trust.

Sarah’s story illustrates a commonly held mindset not discussed enough in leadership circles (and in life)–that we should avoid being vulnerable. Like Sarah, many of us think we need to maintain the veneer of “having it all together.” If you share this mindset, consider these two points.

First, a willingness to open up about our humanity and imperfections with colleagues, direct reports, and even our bosses, humanizes us and attracts respect. And this learnable skill often correlates with exceptional teamwork and results. If jumping into this seems way too daunting, consider sharing with a trusted colleague first. Pushing through the initial anxiety of having the first few conversations pays off for most. By letting others in on both your imperfections and your discomfort with sharing them, you will experience a decompressing effect whereby you feel lighter and more confident.  

Second, by sharing your real self with someone, you can connect more easily with others. Brené Brown, noted researcher in social connection, has increased understanding of the role of vulnerability in relationship-building. Vulnerability doesn’t mean being weak. The best leaders have learned it indicates the courage to be your real self. It means replacing “professional aloofness and an air of having it all together” with the ability to experience ambiguity and model Emotional Self-Awareness. Opportunities for vulnerability present themselves to leaders all the time. For example, admitting you don’t know the answer to a question, asking for help, and offering stories of times you made mistakes. Openness builds trust and deepens relationships, which makes for great performance, both individually and organizationally. Research shows that when people intentionally build social ties at work, their performance improves.

After Sarah recognized her fear of vulnerability, and acted to challenge this mindset, her progress and motivation to become a better leader exploded. As she discovered first-hand, there’s power in expressing our struggles and accepting that we all have blind spots. Sarah’s new behavior was contagious. She observed her colleagues on the executive team starting to openly acknowledge others’ good ideas and perspectives in meetings rather than staying entrenched in their original positions. Sarah had, in fact, started her own movement!

Try this:

Teams need to connect and collaborate to become high-performing and successful. However, when your team includes a diverse mix of cultures and generations, achieving this level of cohesion can be challenging.

How can you bring people together? Try this exercise to help your team build deeper relationships.  

  1. At your next team meeting, ask everyone to find one partner and answer the following three questions in just 60 seconds each.
    • Where did you grow up?
    • How many kids are in your family and where do you fall in the order?
    • What current challenge are you facing?
  2. Have people share with the larger group what the experience was like for them–both as the listener and speaker.
  3. If you want to take it a step further, you can exemplify openness and vulnerability by sharing your responses to the questions with the entire team.  

The takeaway: Openness builds trust and deepens relationships, which makes for great performance, both individually and organizationally. Research shows that when people intentionally build social ties at work, their performance improves.

Recommended Resources:

 

 

Want to cultivate your Emotional Intelligence? Reserve your spot for the Foundational Skills of Emotional Intelligence. During twelve, two-week online experiences, you’ll explore the Foundational Skills of Emotional Intelligence through facilitated, group learning. You’ll discover the science behind each competency, why they matter, and how to apply them to positively differentiate yourself.

For a taste of the Foundational Skills, join our two-week Emotional Balance experience. In this portion of the Foundational Skills of EI, you’ll build your resilience, self-awareness, and focus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

The primers are written by Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis, co-creators of the Emotional and Social Intelligence Leadership Competency Model, along with a range of colleagues, thought-leaders, researchers, and leaders with expertise in the various competencies. Explore the full list of primers by topic, or get the complete collection!

 

 

 

 

Posted on

Give Negative Feedback with Empathy

Seth, the regional manager of an insurance agency, had a reputation for enforcing the rigid guidelines sent down from upper management, while doing the bare minimum himself. When one of his newest employees, Jason, failed to record customer information in accordance with guidelines, Seth arranged a meeting to set him straight. After talking Jason’s ear off about the importance of playing by the book, Seth handed him a few examples of correct customer reports and told him to study up or find work somewhere else.

Jason, who had never received detailed training on the customer reports, became instantly and thoroughly discouraged. While he still made an effort to get by, he felt increasingly apathetic about his job. He was not alone: Other members of the team felt the same disengagement. They avoided Seth and kept their heads down, trying to do their work without having to deal with him. No surprise that Seth’s reputation for intractability also prevented people from sharing their ideas with him. Result: sales plummeted.

Last I heard, Seth had been replaced by a new regional manager, tasked with revitalizing a floundering business. It’s no surprise – Seth was not just difficult to work with, but an ineffective leader as well. Looked at through the emotional intelligence lens, what Seth lacked was empathic concern.

Empathic concern is one of three types of empathy. The first type, cognitive empathy, lets us understand others’ perspectives. The second, emotional empathy, allows us to experience others’ emotions in our own body, giving us an immediate sense of what they feel. And the third, empathic concern, moves us to action. We care about other people’s well-being and feel motivated to help them. This is where empathy extends into compassion.

Consider results from a study of how empathic concern matters when we give negative feedback. Researchers found that leaders who gave negative feedback with empathetic concern got better responses from their employees, who also rated them as more effective. And this caused higher-ups to view these leaders as more promotable.

People respond more positively to criticism and are more likely to take feedback to heart when they feel their leader cares about their well-being and wants them to improve. Empathic concern makes feedback more effective, kickstarting positive change in employees and rippling throughout organizations.

Instead of grilling a new hire like Jason over an understandable mistake, Seth could have empathized with Jason’s need to learn how to perform his new job, and maybe also nodded to the tediousness of the task. Most important, he could have expressed his desire for Jason to succeed and offered to give him further guidance if needed. But by resorting to scripted lectures and unwarranted threats, Seth prevented a new employee from becoming engaged and motivated to do his best.

A leader’s emotional intelligence (or lack thereof) can make or break an employee’s performance for an organization. The benefits (or toll) can be seen in indicators like employee engagement, creativity, and turnover. EI – being intelligent about emotions – includes ways to manage our own emotions and help shape emotions in others. This includes the ability to give feedback effectively, to inspire and motivate, and to consider employees’ feelings when making decisions.

So, a lack of empathy in a manager or executive creates dissonance. Leaders who don’t consider their employees’ perspectives when delivering feedback foster a tense environment in which trust and collaboration cannot flourish.

EI training can help leaders get better at the range of people skills they need, such as recognizing their employees’ emotional reactions and communicating their understanding and concern. By attuning ourselves to others’ emotions, performance feedback becomes an opportunity to create positive change and cultivate engagement. And when employees experience this positive resonance, leaders – and their organization – can gain a range of value-added benefits.

 

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 and 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!

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on

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.

 

 

 

 

Posted on

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.

 

 

 

 

Posted on

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.

 

 

 

 

Posted on

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on

Leadership Training: Filling the Gap with Emotional Intelligence

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

 

Not the Trickle-Down Effect We Wanted

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

 

The Role of Emotion in Performance

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

A Better Understanding of What Employees Need

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

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

 

A Call for Emotional Intelligence

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

Coaching as an Effective and Vital Strategy

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

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

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

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

 

Recommended Resources:

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

References:

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. “18 percent suffer from anxiety disorders”

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

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

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