Research Paper By Judith KovÃ¡cs
(Life Coaching, GERMANY)
The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.
My research paper will be looking at Emotional Intelligence and its connection to coaching.
From my perspective there are various reasons why more and more people have become interested in Emotional Intelligence. One of them – according to Daniel Goleman – is that there is evidence which “testifies that people who are emotionally adept […] are at an advantage in any domain of life.” Being “emotionally adept” means to know one’s own feelings and having the ability to manage them. Furthermore, one subsequently becomes aware of other people´s feelings and is in a position to deal with these feelings effectively. People who command Emotional Intelligence are more likely to be “content and effective in their lives, mastering the habits of mind that foster their own productivity.”
Annabel Beerel – a Professor of Social Ethics at the Southern New Hampshire University – writes in her book “Leadership and Change Management” that:
emotional intelligence competencies enhance a person´s social awareness, and this improves his or her adeptness at grasping the complexity of human situations.
One can say that Emotional Intelligence could be viewed as a key to living a happier and more fulfilling life and this is why, from my perspective, Emotional Intelligence has a place in coaching as an increasing number of clients are looking for ways to live such lives.
One way that could support developing Emotional Intelligence is Marshall B. Rosenberg´s concept of Nonviolent Communication. In his book “Nonviolent Communication. A Language of Life” he states that:
Life-alienating communication […] obscures our awareness.
From my perspective, by addressing life-alienating communication patterns in coaching we are in fact supporting our clients in developing Emotional Intelligence competencies.
2. What is Emotional Intelligence ?
In his book “Emotional Intelligence. Why It Can Matter More Than IQ” Daniel Goleman – an American “author, psychologist, and science journalist“ – looks at the role of Emotional Intelligence in our lives.
Let us start by looking at emotions.
According to Goleman, “all emotions are, in essence, impulses to act, the instant plans for handling life that evolution has instilled in us.” Goleman points out that the Latin verb “motere” – which is “the very root of the word emotion […] plus the prefix “e-“ to connote “move away,” suggest[s] that a tendency to act is implicit in every emotion.”
Later on in his work Goleman goes one step further and states that “every strong emotion has at its root an impulse to action” and that “managing those impulses is basic to emotional intelligence.“
It is so crucial for us to understand our own emotions as they can “get in the way of or enhance our ability to think and plan, to pursue training for a distant goal, to solve problems and the like.” Emotions “define the limits of our capacity to use our innate mental abilities” and therefore play a major role in determining “how we do in life.”
So what is Emotional Intelligence ?
Goleman writes that key elements that constitute Emotional Intelligence are “self-control, zeal and persistence, and the ability to motivate oneself.” Furthermore, Goleman states that the development of expertise in “self-awareness, identifying, expressing and managing feelings; impulse control and delaying gratification; and handling stress and anxiety” are extremely important.
Based on the work of Goleman, Annabel Beerel has divided Emotional Intelligence into four key competencies:
- “Self-knowledge attained by having access to one´s own feelings, an ability to discriminate between them and to draw on one´s feelings to guide one´s behavior.
- Self-awareness and emotional self-management, being the ability to know one´s own emotional tendencies and show appropriate emotion that is proportionate to the circumstance.
- Self-motivation, which is the ability to marshal one´s emotions to motivate oneself.
- Empathy, which is the ability to step inside others’ shoes and to understand their emotions from their perspective.“
According to Goleman, the ultimate goal of Emotional Intelligence is being able to enter a state of flow, as “flow is emotional intelligence at its best.” It is when we find ourselves in this state of flow that our emotions are “positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand.” Flow – which “occurs in that delicate zone between boredom and anxiety” – is described as “a state of self-forgetfulness” where people are no longer “lost in nervous preoccupation.” Goleman states that those that find themselves in flow “exhibit a mastery control of what they are doing, their responses perfectly attune to the changing demands of the task.”
What motivates people who are in flow is the “sheer pleasure of the act itself.” In this state, people are able to use their skills and abilities and are not concerned “with how they are doing, with thoughts of success or failure.” As we all know, we also learn best if we are passionate about the subject matter and the simple act of learning not only gives us pleasure and joy but indeed is highly energizing.