A Coaching Case Study on Emotional Awareness In Coaching
by V.S.Kumar, Success Coach, INDIA
Learn strategies and tips on Emotional Awareness In Coaching in this Coaching Research Paper by V.S. Kumar as part of his studies in the Professional Coach Training Program at International Coach Academy
Emotional Awareness & Its Impact In Coaching The Cochees
Our emotions are the driving powers of our lives. When we are aroused emotionally, unless we do something great and good, we are in danger of letting our emotions become perverted.
William James used to tell the story of a Russian who sat weeping at the tragic fate of the hero in the opera while her coachman froze to death outside – Earl Riley
Emotional awareness about coachees and of self is of paramount importance in coaching.
As coaches, we facilitate our clients to discover themselves, re-validate their beliefs, and tune their Actions matching their values aligned to their purpose. The more we understand the verbal and nonverbal clues of the clients; the deeper can be our understanding and exploration for providing a broad perspective to the clients to choose from and to design their actions to reach where they want to reach.
There were 3 incidents where I witnessed the emotional burst outs and on introspection, I realized that
In resolving the Life issues of people it’s highly important for person to person understanding others’ verbal and nonverbal cues so that one can provide a comprehensive response to their situation. Awareness about themself and the behavior of clients is much more important for the Coach since he is going to support the client in finding their solutions for reaching their goals.
As a Sales Professional, when performance was not as expected there was a lot of stress and procrastination. Despite engaging a personal coach (For building competencies to meet job requirements and taking a career shift) the client was not moving forward due to his underlying beliefs & unwillingness to execute the action plans that arrived. I understood that the emotional balance of a client is a must for reaping the coaching benefits and as a coach, it’s vital to know A) From Where the client is coming? B) What is the level of the client’s awareness?
one of my clients has shown great interest in taking coaching supports. He was going through tough times in his career and Job. During the coaching sessions, he was focusing on his procrastination and wanted to stick to his action plan in overcoming procrastination. Not even once he did implement his action plan and subsequently discontinued coaching due to his guilty feeling of nonexecution. All that I could do is, I could create awareness and how not addressing the problem can further complicate the issues for him. Knowing a bit more about what is going on at home, finance, health, etc certainly supported me to address the issue due to my self-awareness and active listening during coaching sessions.
My client was undergoing severe health discomfort. After a few coaching sessions, the client opened up out of trust and intimacy created; she shared her mental stress and trauma experienced. However, the will towards completing the goal was strong and the goal was linked to a Major Purpose drafted by the client.
Despite the odds, the client used to complete all the assignments and was making a big leap in achieving the goal successfully.
In all the 3 cases I have witnessed myself as a coach and on the analysis, I found that behavior expresses underlying emotions, and knowing it for one’s oneself and capturing it as a coach in a coaching engagement is critical.
The above understanding of mine leads me to research on the following hypothesis: Hypothesis:’
No real coaching can happen unless the coach ascertains the present emotional being of self and the client’
The research paper mainly focuses on the following aspects of coaching.
- EQ: its importance during coaching
- Emotional Awareness: it is important for the coaches
- Various EQ assessment tools are available; what exactly they measure
- Findings of the survey carried out among coaches – their suggestions in improving coaching awareness
- Summary and Suggestion
EQ and Its Importance
Emotions are the signals in life and one needs to know how to derive meaning out of their emotions.
Emotions to be understood in a right perspective & neither to be obeyed nor to be ignored Our trust & fear on things, the way we perceive, triggers and generates a sequence of actions and we set the stage for dancing of emotions which ultimately takes the role of a villain than being a director (one who directs with a strong purpose and meaning which will add value to accomplishment of our goals)
Game of 6.2 seconds & its relevance:
In the normal course, the analysis and action to be taken take place through the cortex (rational thinking) part of our brain. When there is stress, fear, etc. the “amygdale’s triggered and pressed into action for survival (ensuring the safety) from the danger as perceived. The normal time taken is 6.2 seconds for the thalamus to give feedback to amygdale. Hence it’s of paramount importance to mention here that allowing 6.2 seconds before initiating our actions or response to the event is extremely critical and needs to be learned with awareness.
Elements of emotional intelligence
An element of Emotional Intelligence consists of:
Knowing one’s internal states, preferences, resources, and intuitions
2. Managing emotions
Managing one’s internal states, impulses, and resources.
Emotional tendencies that guide or facilitate reaching goals.
All three above aspects facilitate the coach proportionately towards facilitating their clients during the coaching process.
Awareness of others’ feelings, needs, and concerns.
5. Social skills
The adeptness to induce desirable responses in others.
Emotional Awareness: it’s important for the coaches
Emotional awareness is about knowing one’s self and of others is the key to unlock the true potential of the person. Our emotions & feelings affect the way we behave (i.e.) what we say and do All human relationships are based on our behavior towards each other “Behaviour portraits” “The visible part of an iceberg it’s just the visible part of what’s going on inside the head “ Understanding the emotions, feelings, actions (behavior) will help us to understand our self and others as well
High self-awareness refers to having an accurate understanding of how you behave, how other people perceive you, recognizing how you respond to others, being sensitive to your attitudes, feelings, emotions, intents, and general communication style at any given moment, and being able to accurately disclose this awareness to others.
- Know when you are thinking negatively
- Know when your self-talk is helpful
- Know when you are becoming angry
- Know how you are interpreting events
- Know what senses you are currently using
- Know how to communicate accurately what you experience
- Know the moments your mood shifts
- Know when you are becoming defensive
- Know the impact your behaviour has on others
- Do you recognize your feelings and emotions as they happen?
- Are you aware of how others perceive you?
- How do you act when you are defensive?
- Are you aware of how you speak to yourself?
Coaching tips: Success Key
Care: In the coaching scene watch for signals such as fear and anxiety expressed/echoed by the clients which will give a clue how currently they process their internal clues. Is there any short circuit resulting to prompt and aggressive response
Consider: Try & identify why the way they respond? Be aware of their trigger source. Take your time out before arriving at conclusions so that the processing takes place through the thalamus. Broaden your perspective. Respond rationally with a powerful question such as
A)Why do you think and say so? Consider asking questions related to their body’s responses, feelings. B) How did you feel?
Caution: Don’t allow your emotions to supersede your reasoning power
Coaching benefit to clients: “I survived before… I will survive again”
Having said the behaviors are just an external signal and clues of the individuals it’s important to know a little more on the following.
- What is the source of the emotions?
- How one takes a position based on beliefs and values
- core need &emotional connect guiding behavior (actions)
Authentic needs & authentic wants of an individual’s influences emotions and the quotient of self-esteem (i.e.) confidence in their ability to cope with the challenge of life & confidence to be successful and happy.
It also influences the feeling of being worthy, deserving, entitled to assert the needs and wants for enjoying the fruits of self-efficacy and self-esteem Now, the positions that we take on the emotions that we created through our thoughts depend on the values and beliefs on those values. When the emotions are in connection with our values; stronger will be the guiding behavior and actions.
Thoughts (values) +emotions (pleasant 0r unpleasant) ——-> words, expressions, actions (behaviour)
As per “Candace pert thesis “(2000) the body is your subconscious mind & has everything to do with the level of our emotional self-awareness. Consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or reactively our body has everything to do with the level of emotional self-awareness.
- Sensory awareness
- Emotional awareness
- Symbolic awareness
(Translating our experiences into words and ideas & telling what we want much more specifically)
“Joshua Freedman” has discussed 8 basic emotions, a description of its focus & motivation provided.
Permission obtained through email – on record. (Integrated emotion- rethinking the
way we evaluate our feelings: Jul 26th, 2011, EQ life. 6seconds) Plutchik proposed a model of 8 emotions which has a physiological response. Each of these could be More or less intense and could be combined as well.
Permission obtained through email – on record. (Integrated emotion- rethinking the
way we evaluate our feelings: Jul 26th, 2011, EQ life. 6seconds) Each of the physiological responses serves for a survival need and focuses our attention on a threat or opportunity & motivates a response.
BEQ: Berkeley Expressivity Questionnaire Is a Tool That Assesses 3 Facets of Emotional Expressivity
- Negative expressivity
- Positive expressivity
- Impulse strength
ERQ: Emotion regulation questionnaire
Positivity expressivity scale: 3 items of expressions
Affection 2. Happiness3. Laughter
Negative expressivity scale: 4 common items of expressions
Anger 2. Fear 3Sadness 4 negative emotions
Socially Desirable Responding:
The tendencies to deceive oneself (self-deceptive enhancement) & the tendency to deceive others
Hence understanding the emotions in an integrated manner is a key to self-awareness.
An emotion regulation questionnaire can give clues about individuals on how they tend to regulate their emotions.
Emotion regulation questionnaire (ERQ)
Emotions play a role in decision making subtle or more apparent, practical and not so practical Hence, an indispensable player
Emotional awareness facilitates facing difficult and unpleasant situations arising out of important issues on time and helps to avoid the tendency to postpone.
Stephen covey speaks about the inner space and the four powers which we all possess:
- Independent will
- Creative imagination
- Inner conscience
To the extent we neglect these four inner powers, we become reactive and bitter.
Signs: we blame others. We criticize ourselves. We look for problems with every solution. We become blind to the options available to us to solve the problems. We get trapped in our internal dialogue due to the influence of irrational thinking
Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies the freedom and power to choose an individual’s responses. In their response lies an individual’s growth and happiness
Coaching Tip and Success Key:
Care: when the client is under stress with ambiguity he or she is not able to see this inner space available between stimulus and response hence not able to exercise their power of self-awareness and being proactive with their creative imagination and independent will to choose from options, the right responses to the events.
Coach: Lead them to this space where their freedom & power lies; Facilitate them to see & feel.
Ask questions that will lead the client to ask themselves:
- How I am feeling?
- Why I am feeling this way?
- How do I want to feel?
- What facts are supporting me to feel the way I want to feel?
Support the client with metaphors, analogy, sharing of personal experience with permission, generating enthusiasm, confidence, optimism, excitement about the positive picture they are seeing now. Using the reframing of perspectives and visualization, creating affirmations methods will be of great value.
Asking powerful questions are beneficial
- Why are you feeling this way?
- What can I do or say to help you to reach your goal?
Caution: Remain non-judgmental as well as refrain from directing actions to be taken by the client.
Coaching benefit: now the client can see, feel create options that will take them forward & say I can do the following by this time in alignment to my goal to reach a win-win situation that matches with my belief and values
[Play Gail Wilson‘ passion’ – compassion game ‘(leadership challenge page 375 kouzesposner)]
- The capacity to soothe oneself, to shake off rampant anxiety, gloom, despair, or irritability.
- The ability to be able to keep an emotional perspective
- Able to identify shifts in physiological arousal
- Be able to relax in pressure situations
- Act productively in anxiety-arousing situations
- Calm oneself quickly when angry
- Associate different physiological cues with different emotional states
- Use self-talk to affect emotional states
- Communicate feelings effectively
- Reflect on negative feelings without being distressed
- Stay calm when you are the target of anger from others
- Do you use anger productively?
- Can you manage your anxiety in times of change?
- Can you put yourself in a good mood?
the following is a summary of the most widely used EQ Assessment tools.
Coaching has been around since ancient Greece. Socratic dialogue shows us that Socrates, as described by Plato was the first true coach. His questioning style was designed to examine self-awareness and in doing so allow the person being questioned to discover the truth about themselves
Research on self-awareness (its importance, current, and tools used by coaches)
A survey conducted among 25 coaches resulting in understanding the following
- The importance of assessing their emotional awareness while coaching
- Influence of one’s emotional awareness on coaching outcomes
- Whether conscious assessment has been practiced currently before the coaching session
- Tools that are being used by individual coaches for assessing their emotional awareness
- Whether simple Emotional Awareness inventory will be useful if made available
Findings of the research
Their feedback confirmed the following
- 80 % of coaches have agreed that the assessment of emotional awareness is always important. 12 % responded often. 8% responded not important
- 76 % of coaches agreed that emotional awareness does impact the coaching outcome of their clients. 20 % responded often. 4% responded not important
- 48% of coaches responded that they assess their emotions always. 40% responded often. 12 % responded not important
- 76 % of coaches are currently using one other tool to assess their emotional awareness
- 48 % of coaches have responded that they will be using simple inventory is made available. 44% responded will use it often. 8% responded not important
The above survey revealed that the need for one emotional awareness checklist is very much in need of coaches
The survey also lead me to understand a certain type of barriers faced by the coaches which influences what they do and indicates that they do not undertake emotional awareness assessment regularly
If Both the client and coaches undertake a simple emotional awareness inventory that can benefit the Coaching session towards fulfilling the coaching agenda diligently and would facilitate the coaches to use their coaching tools and Professional expertise to a greater extent leads to effective coaching Exploring the meaning of emotions and using that knowledge to help self and others will continue to remain as the hallmark in coaching.
Research has provided enough supporting data to convince that no true/effective coaching is possible without the coach assessing their emotional state as well as their client’s emotional state of being.
The Research thus conducted proves the hypothesis is correct. For successful coaching, the coach needs to be aware of his and his client’s present emotional being; Without this emotional awareness no coaching can take place effectively.
I’m conscious of the fact that this research paper is neither perfect nor comprehensive. It’s a humble endeavor to reflect on my learning during this course of the coaching agenda.
Note My individual experience I find the following resources helped me to enhance my Self Emotional awareness during coaching. The readers are requested to use their self discretion.
Harvard manage Mentor coaching tools: Active Listening self Assessment
Limit Erasing Technique – Dissolve any Limiting belief, Negative pattern, or energy-sucking habit magically disappears in 10minute or less – Jonathan Mead.
I hereby acknowledge the great support extended by the following eminent coaches who have facilitated this survey with their valuable participation and sharing of their insights and tools. My special thanks to Dr. Subha Rajan, Ms. Katrina Jones, Ms. Sunita Chhibar & Mr. Bhaskar Natarajan for their wholehearted support extended to me.
Acknowledgment to the coaches
Important Coaching Glossary:
- Agenda: The coach, we Interact with the Clients all the time their choices and their actions related to fulfilling their live purposes
- Belief: Faith Or Trust
- Challenge: A Request stretches the clients way beyond their self-imposed limits and shakes up the way they see themselves
- Dancing in the Moment: Being completely present with the client and holding the clients’ Agenda, accessing their intuition. Willing to go in the client’s Direction and allowing the client to lead them
- Emotion: Feeling of any kind: Joy, Anger, Fear, Love, jealousy are all emotions
- Failure: Failure is the lack of achievement of a goal or activity to which one committed oneself. It is an opportunity for reflection and correction then forward the action toward success
- Goal Setting: Goals keep clients focused and on track toward the people they are becoming. Goals should be specific, measurable, accountable, resonant, thrilling
- Holding the Focus: The coach consistently reminds clients of their focus and helps redirect their energy back to their desired outcome and life choices
- Intuiting: Is the process of accessing and trusting one’s inner knowing. Intuiting involves taking risks and trusting your gut
- Listening: The coach listens with Consciousness, with a purpose and focus that come from the contract alliance designed with the client. The coach is not thinking about his/her agenda for their clients.
- Listening Level 1: The coaches listen to their thoughts, Judgments, and opinions about their client’s story.
- Listening Level 2: Listening that focuses on the client
- Listening Level 3: Global listening
- Metaphor: Metaphors are used to illustrate a point and paint a verbal picture for the client
- Perspectives: This is simply the other point of view. Providing different angles to clients to see possibilities and change
- Powerful Questions: Open-ended questions that can evoke Clarity, action, discovery, insight, and commitment. Creates new learning, clearer vision, and greater possibility
- Reframing: The method by which the coach provides clients with another perspective by taking the original information and interpreting it in a different way
- Structure: The devices that remind the clients of their Vision, goals or purpose, or actions they need to take immediately
- Taking charge: The coach chooses the path and directs the path of coaching towards supporting the client’s agenda. Coach makes it meaningful When the clients become lost in their circumstances and forget what matters most to them.
- Values: The Principles we hold to be of worth in our life. Values are intrinsic and distinctly unique to each individual
- Witnessing: Being authentically present with the client providing the space for the client to fully express themselves. When the coach witnesses the client’s learning and growth, the client feels at a very deep level.