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LOGO for Workforce Enhancement Program  / Coaching, Evaluating and Delivering Constructive Feedback – Learning Series We are pleased to bring you “What is your EQ? Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace;” the tenth in a series of communications that discuss the value that coaching brings to your management practice and team leadership. The content presented will provide an overview of the importance of Emotional Intelligence in coaching.  In addition to this message, this topic also includes a Reflection Points Worksheet to help you recognize the uses of emotional intelligence in the workplace, and an Emotional Intelligence Job Aid to support you in your practice. 

To reference previous topics, please click on the Coaching Series Home link located in the Quick Links section of this web page. 

Thanks for all you do.

Overview: Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence – also referred to as “EQ” – is the ability to perceive and manage emotions in yourself and others.  Part of your growth in your role as a coach will be an increased recognition of how large a part emotion plays in even our professional lives.

As with active listening and providing feedback, employees will look to you to model the management of emotion in the workplace.  Your attitude, body language and tone of voice reflect your emotional state and communicate positive or negative messages to those around you.

Additionally, your ability to perceive the emotional states of others will help your employees navigate and manage their own emotions, understand their reactions to situations and ultimately pursue more tempered approaches to workplace challenges.

Becoming emotionally intelligent requires reflection on your past and current coaching practice in management or supervision, particularly following challenging interactions or new situations.  What worked, and what didn’t in those scenarios?  How did you feel, and how do you think the other person felt?  Were you able to accurately reflect the emotions of the other person?  How well was the situation resolved to mutual satisfaction?  How well were you able to “park” your own emotions and remain focused on the goal?  How might you handle the situation differently based on your latest experience?

Emotional intelligence isn’t limited to the workplace.  You can raise your emotional awareness in all situations by reflecting on your interactions with family members, friends, neighbors, and new acquaintances.  Put yourself into situations where you must interact with different kinds of people in different ways.  Do what it takes to increase your opportunities for testing your emotional intelligence, and those skills will come with you into the workplace.


Benefits of Emotional Intelligence

The benefits of Emotional Intelligence are outlined below:

  • Encourages effective management of emotions in the workplace
  • Helps employees stay focused on team goals
  • Encourages more open conversations, and builds trust among coworkers


Keys to Emotional Intelligence

When having a coaching conversation:

Account for your employee’s emotions in your interactions: When planning a conversation, explicitly consider the emotional state of your employee, and during the conversation, actively listen and observe attentively to track how your employee is reacting.  Be aware of the emotional impact your words can have; look for phrasings that you feel will be well-received and non-argumentative.  During follow-up, remember how the emotional state of your employee has evolved, and then speak to him/her in a way that acknowledges those emotional changes and builds from them.

Account for your own emotions in your interactions: Emotions aren’t directly caused by events.  An event happens, and then subconsciously, you “decide” how to react emotionally.  This happens quickly and instinctively.  When you have an emotional reaction, take a step back and ask yourself why that emotion is surfacing – it may be the result of an underlying assumption or a deeply-held belief that should be openly discussed. 

Be constructive: Let your own emotions influence the outlook of your employee and build his or her confidence and optimism.  Don’t be dishonest about your feelings, but realize that pessimism will spread through your team.  Use your tone of voice and demeanor constructively; they can impact the employee’s attitude just as much as, or more than, your words..     


Next Steps

Activities: For additional information on emotional intelligence, please take a moment to review the knowledge check and job aid below:

Coming Next: Remote Coaching (e.g., the coaching of remote and field-based employees) presents some additional challenges and is the next topic in this series. It will provide you with strategies for coaching this population.