Emotional Intelligence: Why It’s Good Business Practice
No matter how much expertise, knowledge, and instinct a businessperson has, success is ultimately built on human relationships. From the top down—managers to employees to suppliers to customers—the tenor of everyday interactions will determine how an organization is perceived, and those who can consistently deliver a positive experience will reap the business benefits. One way to measure how individuals act and react in everyday situations is by looking at their Emotional Intelligence (EI). By working with individuals to strengthen their EI, business coaches can improve trust and communication, and decrease conflict.
“Emotional Intelligence is learning to define and understand your own emotions in the moment and what drives them, and then managing those emotions,” explains Christene Cronin, Certified Coach and owner of Discovering You, a business consulting and coaching firm. “Secondly, Emotional Intelligence is learning about becoming more aware of the emotions of others, and how you can manage your relationship with them effectively.”
What is EQ?
Using the Social + Emotional Intelligence Profile (SEIP) created by Dr. Laura Belsten from the Institute of Social + Emotional Intelligence, coaches like Cronin measure an individual against 26 competencies that fall within the awareness or management skill set, as they relate both to the self and to others. Examples include integrity, empathy, creativity, and communication. This results in an individual’s “EQ” or Emotional Quotient, and gives the coach a more granular look at a person’s strengths and weaknesses.
As it relates to a person’s ability to communicate and relate with others, EI is beneficial in business, but, as Cronin points out, it’s especially crucial for leaders. “Their knowledge and behavior is what filters down to the people they lead,” she explains. EI training can help individuals be self-aware and in-the-moment; to manage emotions and be more effective; to think before speaking; to manage conflict; to manage stress; to build self-worth; to increase resilience; to practice effective communication; and, to build trust and bonds within an organization.
Typically, a coach will meet with organizational leadership to identify challenges or concerns. Next, the coach will ask everyone in the organization or group to take the SEIP. This serves to educate individual employees about Emotional Intelligence, and to give the coach information to help create personal development plans. These results, Cronin points out, are confidential between the coach and the individual. From there, the coach will provide sessions, either individually or in small groups, depending on the competencies that need to be developed.
Cronin recalls working with one individual, an intelligent, ambitious, and knowledgeable employee who was being considered for a promotion to a leadership position, but who had been displaying anger and frustration in the form of outbursts. “She showed signs to me of burning out,” Cronin says. With only two sessions of coaching, the employee displayed a noticeable improvement in behavior and demeanor—a change felt also by the employee. “After the first or second session, [the employee] asked me, ‘Why are we not taught these things earlier in life?’”
“Most times, people want to feel heard and understood. That is one of the strongest results we as coaches bring to the table. Most people are not comfortable opening up totally to their leader as that person has the power to demote or fire them. We are there to draw out the client’s true feelings, fears, challenges, and goals, and then help them plan a way to manage the challenges and obtain those goals.”
It’s difficult to find and retain quality candidates. Interpersonal relationships can be complicated, and work environments can be stressful. Rather than changing personnel or allowing negative situations to go unresolved, organizations can turn to a business coach with an emphasis on Emotional Intelligence to get at the heart of the matter.
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