What distinguishes great leaders from potentially good ones is not IQ or technical ability, it’s emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to monitor your feelings and those of others to guide your thinking and behaviour. Leaders with emotional intelligence are sensitive to others’ emotional state and can influence people. There is a direct link between the way people feel and the way they perform at work.

Coaching helps leaders bring out the potential from their people. “Coaching is too important to be left to coaches,” quoting Jo Own from the book ‘How to coach’. Leaders who coach their people encourage their team to learn from and be challenged by their work. This is done by closing the gap between an individual’s or team’s present level of performance and the desired performance.

Daniel Goleman identified five components of emotional intelligence. By developing these qualities, you can be a successful coach.

1. Self-awareness – is knowing one’s strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and impact on others. Self-aware leaders’ welcome feedback, admit to their mistakes, are confident in their abilities and aren’t afraid to ask for help. Self-aware leaders know how they feel and how they are likely to react. They know that anger caused by an incident in one meeting can affect the next meeting, so they need to let go of that bad feeling before it can hijack the situation.

2. Self-regulation – is the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods. Emotionally intelligent leaders work well within teams, are thoughtful, comfortable with uncertainty, and honest. They are in control of their feelings and create an atmosphere of fairness and trust. 

3. Understand motivational needs – linking people’s desire to succeed and appreciate achievement. Great leaders have a passion for work, a desire to raise the bar, a compelling commitment and optimism. Their drive to excel is often contagious. Leaders learn from setbacks rather than be defeated by them, as well as focusing on remaining positive and ahead of the game.

4. Use empathy – by understanding other people’s emotional qualities. The ability to read between the lines, such as picking up if body language is in sync with verbal communication, as well as with group dynamics. Studies show that coaching and mentoring pay off not just in performance but also in increased employee satisfaction and reduced turnover.Organisations with emotionally intelligent leaders achieve a sustainable competitive advantage, a high-performance culture and customer loyalty.

5. Social skills – is building rapport with others to move them in desired directions, also referred to as influencing people. Being friendly by fine-tuning your communication to suit the people you are influencing.

Leaders with emotional intelligence can connect, influence and inspire others. Therefore, emotional intelligence is a need to have. Through coaching, your people benefit from personal and career development, the team is strengthened by having motivated and skilled people, and the coach-leader has more time to be result-focused.

Karl Grech is an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) with the International Coaching Federation (ICF). Helping his clients enhance how they connect, influence, and inspire others. Karl can be reached at [email protected] or visit www.karlgrech.com  to learn more.


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