Research Paper By Nisreen Sadek
(Youth Coaching, EGYPT)
A “Welcome to my World” Note
The world has shrunk to become a tiny little place, given all the technology and the booming world of social media that has made distances shorter. Today getting in touch with people is simple and quick, which draws them together virtually, but they are pulled apart physically. I have to say I have learnt so much from the coaching experience, it is indeed a path less travelled and taking that path enlightened me to keep moving forward and working on bringing people together as human beings, face-to-face, or even have one-on-one conversations.
To do that I believe a coach should have high social quotient as well as high emotional quotient to achieve healthier results with their clients. And this is what my paper discusses, so please sit back, relax, grab a hot drink as I welcome you to my world…….
What I learnt as a Client
As a client it was easy to talk to a complete stranger, knowing you are not being judged. I learnt to visualize my goals, and commit to follow them through so I’d be able to report back to my coach. I was nervous at first but my first coach Mic, was extremely lenient with me and was able to oversee my feelings over the phone. My second coach Stephanie was very patient and listened very carefully making sure she gives me the space to think about what I say and if I want to add anything, that short period of silence taught me to deeply think about the words coming out of my mouth. My belief is that all these learning are because of the intelligence my coaches had; be them emotionally intelligent or socially intelligent.
What I learnt as a Coach
As a coach, the challenge is exciting. When you are on the other side of the frontier it’s a different story. Being a coach taught me to be patient with clients, especially with those who have difficulty expressing themselves with a different language from their mother tongue. I learnt to listen actively and used social and emotional intelligence to maneuver around the state the client is in; so that I could coach them in the correct direction. My tolerance has increased and has been positively driven towards understanding the cultural and language differences in addition to the different belief systems that every client has.
What is Social Intelligence (SQ)?
Social and Emotional Intelligence is basically understanding yourself and others, and using this awareness to manage your behavior and response to challenging situations as well as relationships with others. My belief is that our people skills matter more than just our technical skills. Therefore, coaches should consider SQ one of the major pillars in coaching.
How SQ supports the Coaching process
SQ can be enhanced and developed in our coaching career. Coaches are always advised to be coached every once in a while to make sure they are on the right track. On the one hand, studies have proved that coaching enhances SQ faster than any other profession. On the other hand SQ also improves our coaching skills with the time spent with one client, and after dealing with different clients. SQ develops fulfilling relationships and manages the emotional responses more successfully. If we use this during our coaching process, it will ease the path to manage clients. SQ also allows us, as coaches to read other people’s emotions more effectively, hence have smoother interactions with clients which will lead to an easier route to creating trust, it will allow powerful listening to the emotions unsaid. Clients can be feeling fear, resistance, passion, commitment etc but are unable to put them in words, hence SQ allows the coach the ability to foster interpersonal communication to better steer the relationship with the client. Coaches can create action and help overcome the barriers faced by the clients by managing conflicts and promoting resilience to the client.
Core Competencies of SQ and relation to Coaching
Social intelligence works with two major areas; Social Awareness and Social Facility.
There are 4 core competencies in Social Awareness:
- Primal Empathy – the ability to perceive nonverbal behaviors. With this competency comes creating awareness, where the coach thinks without judgment, and benefits from clarity and gaining knowledge of verbal and nonverbal feelings in addition to body language of the client and hence the ability to respond and make better decisions. The coach will have a 3-way awareness plan; awareness of him/herself, awareness of the client and awareness of the process.
- Attunement – the ability to be fully present, mentally and emotionally. With this competency comes accountability, which is the key to success to any coaching process. This can be broken down to 4 steps; see it and acknowledge the task, own it and lead the charge, solve it but figuring it out and analyzing the situation, and finally do it and actually ensure the task is done. Coaches should be committed and action oriented with their clients by assuring that the client takes ownership of his goals and tasks by agreeing to a structure and following up with the clients according to what the coach has heard mentally and emotionally from their clients.
- Empathetic Accuracy – the ability to perceive and understand nonverbal feelings and behavior of others. With this competency comes powerful listening to be able to understand the client and empathize with him/her while hearing and learning from them. This will build rapport with the client and understanding of the patterns the client uses through repeated words and statements. Coaches should be engaging on what’s being said and what is not and allowing the space to the client whilst letting go of control or the need to be in control, therefore we as coaches need to be comfortable with the silence. In the end our role is to clarify our clients’ thoughts and not to understand what the client is saying and try to correct them.
- Social Cognition – how we process and apply social information determine how one behaves in social situations. I chose values and purpose for this competency since my belief is this the most noble module of all programs as it guides our principles in life as human beings hence determine our social behaviors. Every time we make a decision we must align it with our values, and we must keep our values on track since they define the outcome we desire. From the client’s side, if we see and understand their values we will be able to coach them better, we will be able to determine their priorities and what they stand for and this will make it a lot easier for them to improve their social behavior in different situations.
There are 4 core competencies in Social Facility:
- Synchrony – The ability to read nonverbal cues and act on them smoothly. To be able to do that one should have skillfully mastered the Social Awareness With this competency come powerful questions to be able to follow through the nonverbal emotions, by asking questions that will bring insight and awareness to you as a coach and to the client. This will facilitate the thinking process and allow the client to know themselves better. We as coaches are required to be mindful to be able to create a strategy for questions according to the words we don’t hear from the client, but feel them and read them through their body language.
- Self-Presentation – the ability to present oneself effectively. Here is where self-management comes in and compliments this competency neatly with integrity, humility and gratitude. As coaches, we must acknowledge ourselves by valuing and respecting ourselves first before we value and respect others. Once this is accomplished, then we can enrich the lives of others around us and create clarity of awareness. Coaches can present themselves with accountability, tolerance, patience, acceptance and vulnerability, only then the clients will feel at ease to be coached.
- Influence – the ability to shape the outcome of social interactions. Needless to say that this competency works well with coaching influences since people are motivated by control, they have answers to their questions according to experiences, and that’s why a coach should let their clients know that they are in control. Coaches should support clients identify and achieve their goals and help them gain clarity to accelerate the process. When this is succeeds, clients will move forward, they will have improved their performance in every aspect and they will have an attitude for gratitude. Coaching empowers the client to unleash their own powers hence influence them to achieve their goals.
- Concern – the ability to care about others needs and acting accordingly. For this competency I choose to commend it with underlying beliefs. What causes a person to smile? And what do we, as coaches, or as normal human beings, do to make others smile? Beliefs are the core of who we are and they exist subconsciously. Beliefs are there to protect us, but we mature, we evolve and we change. Coaches need to identify and uncover the underlying beliefs of their clients so that they have a better understanding of their needs. When the understanding is there, coaches will reinforce the clients’ beliefs and then create strategies to replace negative beliefs with positive ones.
SQ in Action ….. While Coaching
To be able to put SQ in action while we coach, we should build Emotional and Social Effectiveness (ESE), and work on 5 key areas (according to the book; A Coach’s Guide to Emotional Intelligence by Terrell & Hughes 2008):
- Valuing Self – any client has a personal definition of who they are and they enter coaching with a need for significantly adjusting the way and extent to which they value themselves, therefore coaches should use approaches for guiding their clients to develop a strong sense of their own value.
- Valuing Others – we should coach our clients to build their skills in effectively valuing others. We as coaches need to be flexible, optimistic and genuine as we acknowledge our clients and help them understand their own preferences.
- Responsive Awareness – Coaches should be aware of what’s happening and respond to the information they gain from their awareness by observing and practicing empathy. Coaches can make a change by gaining knowledge and having the ability to respond.
- Courage – is a strong emotion that allows one to act on what matters most, therefore we must have motivation and optimism and take one step at a time. With this, we can easily handle our clients during coaching sessions.
- Authentic Success – We have always learnt that success in a decision, it’s a self-managed decision. A coach must know his/her purpose, vision and constantly train themselves to be positive. It’s important for us coaches to recognize the need to be accountable, tolerant, patient and responsible so that the success path is smoothed and paved in the correct possible way.
According to three major assessment tools: EQ-I (Emotional Quotient Inventory), MSCEIT (Mayer, Salovey, Caruso, Emotional Intelligence Test) and ESCI (Emotional and Social Competency Inventory) the results were as follows:
Coaching our clients to change or grow requires understanding, commitment, practice and feedback. The above table can assist any coach to select which capabilities to focus on to help their clients.
In conclusion, my belief that social intelligence is a major pillar to the success of any coach, may be subjective to some people. However it has helped me excel in my coaching career and has motivated me to move forward and to expand my knowledge and awareness about nonverbal emotions and feelings.
On a separate note, coaching has truly changed my life with paradigm and today my tolerance, patience and self-management have come such a long way.