With the complexities of today’s world it is imperative for coaches to have Emotional Intelligence along with the other coaching competencies. It is often noticed that there are Coaches who are excellent in navigating the coaching process however they find it difficult to connect with the client emotionally. This paper throws light on the importance of emotions and concludes it with some recommendations for coaches or anybody dealing with people to be able to connect with them effectively.
This paper focuses on different aspects of emotions. It starts with explaining in brief what are emotions? Since coaching process involves decision making approach, the paper focuses on the role of emotions in the decision making process. Post that explains the benefits of emotional decisions.
The second part of the paper revolves around the relation between emotions and coaching process. It starts with importance of Emotional Intelligence and the research statistics around the same and then dwells into the role of emotion in decision making process. At the end the paper focuses on some of the methods to help coaches deal with emotions.
I hope you find the research interesting. Happy reading!
Phase 1: How does emotion work?
What is emotion?
As per Oxford English Dictionary emotion is defined as
Any agitation or disturbance of mind, feeling, passion; any vehement or excited mental state.
Research continues to argue over precisely which emotions can be considered primary-the blue, red, and yellow of feeling from which all blends come-or even if there are such primary emotions at all. Some theorist proposes basic families, though not all agree on them.
The main categories are Anger, Sadness, Fear, Enjoyment, Love, Surprise, Disgust, and Shame.
There are hundreds of emotions, along with their blends, variations, mutations, and nuances, Indeed, there are many more subtleties of emotion than we have words for.
The picture shows some of the emotions defined.
How does emotion help in decision making?
Dr. Antonio Damasio, a neurologist known for his work on the relationship between emotions and decision making, suggests that emotions may be fundamental to dealing with equal options and decisions that do not have a clear rational basis for choosing. Decision-making is a cognitive process where the outcome is a choice between alternatives. We often have different preferences as to our preferred, approach, varying between thinking and feeling.
Video by Antonio Damasio
When Emotions Make Better Decisions
When we use logic to make decisions, we seek to exclude emotions, using only rational methods, and perhaps even mathematical tools. The foundation of such decisions is the principle of utility, whereby the value of each option is assessed by assigning criteria (often weighted).
A totally emotional decision is typically very fast. This is because it takes time (at least 0.1 seconds) for the rational cortex to get going. This is the reactive (and largely subconscious) decision-making that you encounter in heated arguments or when faced with immediate danger.
Common emotional decisions may use some logic, but the main driving force is emotion, which either overrides logic or uses a pseudo-logic to support emotional choices (this is extremely common). Another common use of emotion in decision is to start with logic and then use emotion in the final choice.
Advantages of emotional decision making
Research has revealed a number of positive elements of emotions in decision making.
- A totally emotional decision is very fast in comparison to a rational decision. This is reactive (and largely subconscious) and can be useful when faced with immediate danger, or in decisions of minimal significance.
- Some studies suggest an emotional insistence to respect the life of another human being.
- Emotions may provide a way for coding and compacting experience, enabling fast response selection. This may point to why expert's "gut" level decisions have high accuracy rates.
- Emotions are possible signals from the subconscious that provide information about what we really choose.
- Decisions that start with logic may need emotions to enable the final selection, particularly when confronted with near equal options.
- Individuals care about the emotional features of decision options.
- Emotions often drive us in directions conflicting with self-interest.
Emotional decision making also come with a word of caution.
- We make quick decisions without knowing why, and then create rational reasons to justify a poor emotional decision.
- Intensity of emotions can override rational decision making in cases where it is clearly needed.
- Immediate and unrelated emotions can create mistakes by distorting and creating bias in judgments. In some cases this can lead to unexpected and reckless action.
- Projected emotions can lead to errors because people are subject to systemic inaccuracy about how they will feel in the future.
Phase 2: Emotions and the Coaching process
In Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman helped redefine what it means to be smart. He asserted that EQ (a combination of self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and interpersonal skills) is more important than IQ in corporate success — and subsequent research backs this up. In Developing Management Skills, David Whetten and Kim Cameron summarize this research.
A study of UC Berkeley Ph.D.’s over 40 years found that EQ was four times more powerful than IQ in predicting who achieved success in their field – even for hard scientists. A McBer study comparing outstanding managers with average managers found that 90 percent of the difference was accounted for by EQ. In a worldwide study of what companies were looking for in hiring new employees, 67 percent of the most desired attributes were EQ competencies. In a study of highly emotional intelligent partners in a consulting firm … the high EQ partners contributed more than twice as much revenue to the company as did the low EQ partners.
If you as a coach have a high emotional intelligence you can recognize the emotional state of others and engage in a way that draws them towards future thinking process to be able to think into multiple directions to learn about their potential. As known the underlying principle of coaching process is to support client in thinking forward by minimizing the underlying beliefs which might be blocking to seek directions, the emotional Intelligence can do wonders in the coaching process. There are already many tools used to leverage the emotional mind to take decisions like visualization, visioning, wheel of life, success life line etc.
Video by Daniel Goleman
Daniel Goleman Explains Emotional Intelligence
Why is emotional intelligence (EQ) so important?
Emotional intelligence affects:
- Performance at work. Understanding and managing the relationship dynamics is an important part of the EQ at work place absence of which can impact on performance of an individual.
- Physical health. If the individual is unable to manage stress levels, it can lead to serious health problems. Uncontrolled stress can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, contribute to infertility, and speed up the aging process. The first step to improving emotional intelligence is to learn how to relieve stress.
- Mental health. Uncontrolled stress can also impact mental health, making an individual vulnerable to anxiety and depression. If an individual unable to understand and manage emotions, they would also be open to mood swings, while an inability to form strong relationships can leave them feeling lonely and isolated.
- Relationships. By understanding emotions and how to control them, Expression and understanding of feelings becomes better. This also allows communicating more effectively and forging stronger relationships, both at work and in personal life.
- Four Key Skills for Coaches to be Emotional Intelligent
- Reduce Stress
- Emotional Awareness
- Non-Verbal Communication
In order to permanently change behavior in a way that stand up under pressure, coach need to learn how to leverage the powerful emotional parts of the brain that remains active and accessible even in times of stress. This means that you can’t simply read about emotional intelligence in order to master it. You have to experience and practice the skills in your everyday life to be able to deal with it.