Research Paper By Keely Capel
(Business Coach, PORTUGAL)
In a very real sense we have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels― Daniel Goleman, EmotionalIntelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ
Why Do Business Mums’ Need to Feel Empowered?
As a mum in business and specifically picking this niche as I embark on the journey of launching my coaching practice. It has become apparent that most business mums require assurance in the course of action they are choosing to take.
These women are exceptionally talented, often highly educated, and skilled. They juggle a multitude of tasks and mothers often have to make difficult or challenging parenting decisions daily. However given the pressures, they are placed under, both externally by society, to either achieve everything effortlessly or to forego the ambition to operate a successful business in light of motherhood or internally through the self-doubt, nature of second-guessing their abilities and both self-judgment and the judgment of others. They are often found in a place of disempowerment when it comes to their businesses.
In a study by Simmons, (2001), women were found on average to be more aware of their emotions, show more empathy, and have a higher proficiency interpersonally. Whilst men were more self-confident, optimistic, adaptable, and handled stress better. Meaning that whilst women performed equally to men in their overall Emotional Intelligence scores, they lacked the elements required to provide them with the ability to communicate how they feel about things and the confidence to take action as required, both of which are necessary for business.
What Role Does Emotional Intelligence Play in Empowering Them?
In the context of this research, where empowerment refers to the ability of the individual to empower one’s self, then the role of Emotional Intelligence plays an integral part.
When in a state of uncertainty, overwhelm or indecisiveness, the inability of a mum in business to identify the emotions associated, result in them being unable to control them and thus feeds their thinking, feelings, and behaviors in a manner that continues to undermine their self-empowerment.
It is through the exploration into their thoughts, emotions, desires, and experiences that they may learn to trust and recognize their positive and negative characteristics and begin to evaluate and set goals to work towards improvement.
Since Salovey and Mayer first coined the term “emotional intelligence” there has been a growing body of evidence, that supports the fact that it provides positive results for achieving a fulfilled and happy life, equipping us to manage stress and change more effectively.
It involves personal and emotional growth, never-ending changes for continuous improvement, and is entirely self-initiated by the individual.
Several areas contribute to creating empowerment through emotional intelligence.
Primarily, self-awareness is the foundation of Emotional Intelligence and essential if a business mum is to be focused on the right mind-set required to empower them. It is through self-awareness, that they can come to identify the emotions they experience, be aware of them as they present, learn to understand what triggers certain emotional responses in them and how those responses can impact both themselves and those around them. It is having the ability to look at ways to give to others first. This is something that could almost be considered an inherent trait of mothers. However, what they lack within self-awareness is their ability to see what triggers them or the impact these emotions have on themselves.
Another important factor to be considered is that of self-esteem and how this can empower or disempower the business mums. It is closely linked with self-belief, for if they do not believe in their ability, skill or that they can succeed at their goals; they will spend a lot of time, questioning their judgment, applying little value to their worth and being consumed by worries about how others will perceive them.
This in turn then causes them to question their self-worth, directing blame inwardly and contribute to business mums being left with feelings of powerlessness and frustration.
However, self-esteem, self-belief, and self-worth can all be changed over time based upon the actions that business mums choose to take.
All three of the above-mentioned elements feed in and support the self-confidence of business mums, which ebbs and flows throughout their lives, or even in specific areas of it. They do not control it entirely from within, external factors such as sleep quality, stress levels, and the people that they spend time with can all play a part. However, by working on the internal areas, then a mum in business is capable of providing a stronger foundation from which they can manage their levels of self-confidence in a variety of settings.
Note here: Self-confidence can be easily mistaken as empowerment. However, the key difference is that when empowered a business mum will be in action, doing, changing, or improving.
How Can Strengthen Emotional Intelligence Keep Business Mums Empower?
By utilizing the self-awareness that comes with emotional intelligence, business mums can work on improving their decision making power, by harnessing the resources and information that they have access to concerning their emotional intelligence.
Through the recognition of what emotions are at play, they can evaluate a situation without being pulled by any particular set of emotions and make decisions that are independent, free of irrational emotion, and not reliant on others’ opinions. These decisions are wholly formed around them having control throughout their own lives and the outcomes they desire.
This change in perspective can give them the positive mindset required for them to believe they can change, learn new skills, or change perceptions. It is through this realization of their potential, that they can shape out a more positive internal monologue, which will help strengthen their self-image and quieten the voices of self-doubt. Thus improving the thoughts and feelings of their worth or value. This also allows them to reframe the way they perceive themselves when handling stressful events, by having acknowledged what they are good at, they can become better equipped at stress management through the identifying of the emotions associated with such events and their ability to process those aside of the incident.
This awareness shapes how they can begin analyzing themselves. Allowing them to look at what makes them feel happy, unhappy, or even both simultaneously. Through this knowledge, they are then able to recognize the emotions attached to each set of feelings and have the ability to begin to take control of them.
Having such, control will only further support them in increasing their self-image and the thoughts and feelings of their worth or value.
As the research undertaken within the field of Emotional Intelligence suggests, women, in general, tend to naturally display stronger results overall in their communication skills than their male counterparts. However, there is one of the communication areas in particular where women tend to display poorer scores and that is when it comes to their own needs, It is within this area in which emotional intelligence can make an impact in helping them make improvements that can lead to empowerment, especially when it relates to business mums.
Through strengthening their emotional intelligence and the self-awareness that follows, they can create the freedom and confidence required to express their feelings comfortably. With the understanding of what emotions are involved and any triggers that may present, they can practice assertiveness in communication without being aggressive or too passive. Providing them with a channel in which they can feel heard, confident in their voice, and comfortable in the information of which they are sharing. Something that many business mums struggle with.
Can People Develop Their Emotional Intelligence and What Role Can A Coach Play in This?
Emotional Intelligence can be improved by any individual so long as they have the want to do so. It may not be the surface issue, which the individual is seeking to address when they begin their journey however it may well be a contributing factor to what it is they were seeking to achieve.
For business mums themselves, self-awareness is only the start. Developing their emotional intelligence comes through practice and the creation of daily habits. By spending time evaluating their emotions within particular business situations, they can begin seeking out new ways in which to further improve by asking questions themselves that will explore and open new ways of thinking.
The practice of daily mindfulness by business mums is all that is required for them to continue to improve their emotional Intelligence. Spending as little as 5 minutes a day in making themselves aware, reflecting upon the emotions that are experienced and what may have triggered them.
For those truly seeking to empower themselves through emotional intelligence then hiring the services of a coach to work with them on an on-going basis will also help uncover and focus on the growth within areas of Emotional Intelligence that they need to improve to remain empowered within their businesses.
Therefore, the focus, as a coach, should be around helping the client in creating self-awareness. To help support a business mum to achieve empowerment through Emotional Intelligence, self-awareness plays a major role in the individual’s ability to become mindful of their feelings and emotions.
It is these very areas that through facilitating the individual to express their feelings fully, the coach is positioned to enable a business mum to clear out the inner emotional, mental, and energetic clutter allowing them to make space required for the individual to reflect upon themselves more objectively.
By offering a safe space for an individual where these feelings can be brought to the surface, reviewed and released, the coach helps to strengthen a business mum’s Emotional Intelligence. This will also further facilitate them in rebuilding their self-esteem.
With the use of powerful questioning, the coach can ask challenging questions of the individual that support them in the process of assessing themselves.
Overall women show equal if not higher Emotional Intelligence levels than their male counterparts. However, their areas of strength whilst making them stronger leaders, which is great in the realm of managing staff within a business, does not assist them in feeling empowered. Yet, through working to address the areas of self-confidence, assertiveness in communicating what they truly feel or want; areas in which women tend to show weaker scores. Emotional intelligence can then really help to empower business mums.
Kewalramani, Soni. (2014). WOMEN EMPOWERMENT THROUGH EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE.
Joel E. Winston. (2019) Emotional Intelligence for Entrepreneurs.
Simmons, Kathy (2001), Emotional Intelligence: What Smart Managers Know
Daniel Goelman, Bloomberg Publishing (1996), Emotional Intelligence. Why it matters more than IQ