The Emotionally Intelligent Coach

Exceptional Leadership comes from developing emotional intelligence. Exceptional coaching comes from tapping into your emotional intelligence strengths as both a coach and client. Emotional Intelligence (EI) begins with self-awareness and expands to management of emotions of oneself, others, and groups.  At each phase of the coaching engagement, there are opportunities for the coach to influence the client in building EI competency by modeling the behavior.

Phase 1: Discovery

In phase 1 of coaching you and your client become acquainted; identify roles and responsibilities; establish a goal; and gather data. The self-awareness dimension is the foundation for all other EI competencies and is critical at the onset of the coaching relationship. You cannot change something of which you are not aware. Both coach and client must take responsibility for self-awareness. The client, to set the foundation for change, and the coach to model the competency by recognizing her own worldview influences her assessment of the situation.

Phase 2: Choice

During phase 2 a course of action is chosen; and a structure is put into place to support the change implementation. The coach helps the client to recognize that our actions and behaviors are a result of what we feel, what we think, and what we choose. Being emotionally intelligent means you take responsibility for your actions, results, and outcomes. This is the EI dimension of self-management.

Phase 3: Action

While in phase 3 the focus is on execution of the action plan; assessing the ongoing results; and identifying necessary course corrections (returning to Discovery). An understanding of self-management and self-awareness dimensions are deepened as the coach brings experiential learning into the process. The coach will be utilizing the relationship management dimensions of EI including those of communication, influence, and developing others. The client will begin to expand into the social-awareness and relationship management dimensions as she experiments with new behaviors in her real-world environment.

With each cycle through the 3 phases of coaching, the coach and client move closer to the emotional intelligence tipping point – a point at which strength in a competency makes an impact on performance. Change in behavior is difficult for even the most adaptable professional. Utilizing emotional intelligence within the coaching process provides a framework to mark the journey.

How have you observed the emotionally intelligent professional in action? How have you used emotional intelligence to coach a client, employee, or peer? Please share your thoughts and ideas. We are here to learn from each other! Thanks for reading.

Note: This post appeared in the ASTD North Alabama Quarterly Newsletter (October 2010) with the title ‘Coaching Using Emotional Intelligence’