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EQ central to self-mastery

Posted 1213 Days Ago in: Life Coaching Articles, Coaching Articles

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I believe that every person has the ability to learn, change and adapt. We are not static personalities, reactive to our environment and the challenges we might face. We are dynamic beings with multiple intelligences, able to fulfil our unique potential.

I believe that every person has the ability to learn, change and adapt.

We are not static personalities, reactive to our environment and the challenges we might face. We are dynamic beings with multiple intelligences, able to fulfil our unique potential. That is why the concept of emotional intelligence really resonates with me. It is a skillset that can be learnt and developed, which means no matter where you start, with dedication to personal development, this can become a strength.

As a coach I have seen this happen time and again. With an effective balance of challenge and support clients can transform from socially awkward and interpersonally conflicted, to capable networkers astute at building meaningful relationships. However, I have also worked with clients at the ‘darkside’ of the emotional intelligence spectrum, where emotional, social and communication skills have been mastered to an art of manipulation. The recent blockbuster ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ comes to mind. Although this can be effective in getting your will in the short-term, it is unsustainable in the long run, often leading to conflict and alienation. That is why empathy, another key element of emotional intelligence is so important, particularly in the leadership and organisational context. Leaders with empathy have the ability to value others’ perspectives. They earn respect and loyalty by listening, developing people and giving constructive feedback. Research also suggests that emotional intelligence is highly correlated with self-actualisation, as conceptualised by Abraham Maslow in his Hierarchy of Needs. That is because motivation and self-efficacy, (one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed) are central to emotional intelligence.

Emotionally intelligent people are self-motivated to work consistently toward goals and set high standards for themselves, adopting an optimistic mindset to really stretching goals or challenges. So emotional intelligence can be developed and encompasses emotional and social skills as well as empathy and motivation. However, the precursor to all of this and the foundation of emotional intelligence is self-awareness as you can’t change what you are not willing to confront. The influential psychologist Carl Jung, really captures this with the quote ‘Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate’.

How can you recognise others’ emotions and empathise with them, if you aren’t aware of your own feelings?
How can you influence others if you can’t control your own responses and actions?
How can you adjust communication if you are naive as to how you come across?
How can you set and achieve meaningful goals if you are blind to your strengths, development areas and drivers?

In that sense self-awareness is not only fundamental to emotional intelligence but also to personal development. As I mentioned earlier emotional intelligence can be developed. Keeping a journal on your thoughts, feelings and actions in particular situations can be helpful in identifying themes and growth areas. Asking for and being open to feedback is another effective strategy. There are also a variety of tools like the Johari Window, which can deepen insight. However, I think working with a trained professional like a coach, is still most valuable. Effective goal setting is at the heart of coaching and through incisive questioning, probing and reflection; a coach can quickly raise self-awareness and personal insight. Coaching has also been proven to be particularly helpful in building emotional and social skills, as well as in strengthening motivation and resilience.

Regardless of how you choose to build this skillset, developing emotional intelligence is central to self-mastery and career success.

I hope this is as valuable as I have found it!

Nikki Streatfield

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