The dynamic of self-awareness is what executives most often talk about in their coaching sessions – not their business strategy, but themselves and their emotion management. Helping executive coaching clients become more self-aware in order to improve their performance by enhancing their emotional intelligence (EQ) involves science and heart, not what many fear or think is nothing more than a“touchy-feely” approach. The ultimate purpose is for the client to increase their understanding of how emotions define leaders. The experience of their emotions creates for others (negative and positive) the ways to influence the bottom line and high performance and what they should seek feedback on from stakeholders. The concept of an executive coach varies and, thankfully, the perception of “having a coach” has become more generally accepted and positive. I attribute some of that attitude to sports. I came to appreciate the value of coaching more fully when I started playing golf and studying it and realized that no matter how well these players practice, no one can sustain their best performance on their own. In fact, most professional golfers have multiple coaches for various areas of improvement or sustained performance. That is where coaching comes in. And for the business leader, it is equally true. My goal is to determine what routines and practices will best support my client’s personal performance.
So What Happens?
Clients complete varied assessments and receive valuable personalized data to help them identify the gaps between what they are doing and where they want to become more self-aware (i.e., more emotionally intelligent) and they create a plan of action to enhance specific behaviors. The best part is that executive coaching is carefully paced to meet each executive’s developmental needs and busy schedule and it is uniquely personalized to reinforce new behaviors and allow them to see the benefits of enhanced EQ over time. As a former CEO, I have a perspective on topics such as what constitutes great leadership and from my experience as a coach and educational psychologist, I work with each client as an individual to help them discover and take ownership of the solutions that are right for them.
One of the highlights of my coaching approach is to demonstrate what emotional intelligence IS NOT in order to make a lasting impression of whatEQ IS. We study their EQ facets and use exercises to demonstrate the importance of potential areas for improvement in assertiveness, empathy, emotional expressiveness, independence, flexibility, stress tolerance, emotional self-awareness, social responsibility, self-regard, self-actualization, impulse control, interpersonal relationships, problem-solving, reality testing, and optimism.The elements we select to enhance are based on feedback and insights from the client, as well as those they have identified that have a stake in the client’s professional development. Primary attention is focused on relevant exercises where self-awareness of behavioral tensions may safely and confidentially surface and through effective guidance. Those stressors can be clarified and better understood and, ultimately more healthy and sustainable leadership behaviors develop. Executives positively comment on this approach to helping them flex hidden, tired, and/or atrophied psychological muscles through entertaining and educational low ROPES (problem solving) exercises, as well as watching carefully selected soundbites from TedTalks and YouTube, which help clients visualize blind spots of what their approach to EQ IS and IS NOT.
Can You Really Improve through Executive Coaching?
Yes. Rich scholarly evidence concerning the return on investment (ROI) of enhanced EQ is available from companies who advocate its value such as American Express, Center for Creative Leadership, L’Oreal, and the United States Air Force, to name a few. Key emotional intelligence characteristics that define high-performing leaders and their results have demonstrated that ROI significantly increases in direct proportion to enhanced EQ performance. Participating in executive coaching as an individual or in peer groups through team coaching is a rewarding investment of time to help sustain your best performance. How about you . . . are you up for some EQ conditioning?