Have you ever felt like you just can’t seem to fit in at work? Or, have you felt like a colleague just isn’t understanding the company culture? It likely had nothing to do with work performance but rather something that isn’t talked about in the workplace: emotional intelligence. This article will explain what emotional intelligence is, how it shows up in the workplace, its impact on career growth, and how a coach can work with a client to improve their emotional intelligence.

What is Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?

Emotional intelligence is defined as “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”

There are five components to EQ:

  1. Self-Awareness: Knowing how you feel and how your emotions and actions can affect the people around you.
  2. Self-Regulation: Staying in control despite experiencing varying emotions.
  3. Motivation: The general desire or willingness of someone to do something.
  4. Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
  5. Social Skills: The skills we use to communicate and interact with each other, both verbally and non-verbally.

How do these components translate to the workplace? EQ shows up in just about everything that we do.

Some signs that someone is using emotional intelligence in the workplace include:

  • Considering the feelings of others,
  • Reflecting before acting,
  • Praising others,
  • Giving helpful feedback when asked,
  • Keeping commitments and delivering projects on time,
  • Helping others,
  • Striving to improve communication skills, and
  • Working to improve listening skills and active listening skills.

The unique thing about EQ, as opposed to IQ, is that it can be learned. Currently, there isn’t a clear understanding of the link between genetics and someone’s emotional intelligence, however, it has been shown that individuals can develop emotional intelligence.

Different techniques can be learned and practiced to help develop the core aspects of emotional intelligence, including self-control, motivation, persistence, and empathy.

How Does Emotional Intelligence Show Up in the Workplace?

It isn’t often that we hear of someone being let go from a company because they can’t do the job. Rather, we hear it is because of a “bad fit” or a “culture issue.”

As coaches, this tells us that companies aren’t understanding the benefits of helping employees fit in to the workplace culture.

You will see EQ, or a lack thereof, show up in the workplace in different ways.

For a leader, high EQ will show up as:

  • Having a clear picture of strengths and weaknesses,
  • Being able to self-regulate when stressors arise,
  • Acting out of intention instead of emotion,
  • Having consistent, calm conversations,
  • Supporting the team, and
  • Reasoning.

As an employee, high EQ will show up as:

  • Being able to handle stressful projects,
  • Getting along with co-workers,
  • Monitoring your performance and being aware of goals,
  • Communicating with management, and
  • Staying motivated.

Regardless of your position, EQ helps us all let go of the desire to be “right” in favour of finding the best possible solution. So how do we do it?

Can You Be Coached on Emotional Intelligence?

Since EQ can be learned, it can be coached. EQ can be developed through didactic instruction, role modelling, and direct experience. Feedback and repetition are critical in emotional intelligence development. If someone struggles with relationships in the workplace or handling the stress that comes with it, there is another option other than turn-over. This is where a coach has an enormous benefit for employees of any role.

A coach’s goal will be to help clients perform better in the workplace and go home at the end of the day in a better mood; instead of feeling emotionally exhausted.

A coach will sit down with their client, do a 360 review about them, and make recommendations based on what they have observed. For example, they may find that a leader frequently interrupts during presentations and doesn’t allow employees to finish their thought. Thus, causing frustration and strained relationships among the team.

Then, a coach will start assigning homework. If we stick with this example, that may look like having the leader sit through meetings as a silent observer, practicing active listening, and waiting to ask questions until the end of the presentation. In turn, the employee presenting will feel listened to instead of frustrated.

Coaches can help with a variety of interpersonal skills, including:

  • Body language,
  • Slowing down,
  • Understanding values,
  • Accountability,
  • Staying calm,
  • Empathy,
  • Conflict resolution strategies,
  • Communication,
  • And more.

By improving these skills, the client develops the skills needed to maintain better relationships in the workplace, have a greater awareness of their use of interpersonal skills, and can help develop others. In turn, clients may see career growth, reduced stress, and a deeper appreciation for the work they do. If you’re looking to strengthen your career impact, getting an un-biased look at your emotional intelligence is a great place to start.

Are you ready to help guide and nurture your high potential leaders? Cenera’s leadership and job management coaches are experts in supporting individuals as they transition into the next level with leadership.

Contact Cenera today to book your consultation!