I just read this great blog contribution a few minutes ago on LinkedIn from my good friend Daniel Goleman.
It resonates beautifully with the observational behavioral research my good friend Dr. Janet Curran and I did at Huthwaite International for over half a decade observing what high performance sales coaches do differently.
I wrote a blog here on how coaching will help you become a trusted sales leader that walk alongside their team members helping them hone their skills and strategies winning more profitable business.
But have a read below on Daniels great insights:
By Daniel Goleman
I’d like to begin with a story I’ve adapted from a real situation.
Imagine a Leader Who is Struggling
Oren was successful in sales, and ended up heading a regional sales team in the investment industry. But while he had done so well as a salesperson, he was flopping as a team leader. His team consistently fell short of their sales targets, and there was tension.
Oren’s Emotional Intelligence diagnosis: deadly weakness in managing conflict and disagreements – he avoided any and all tough discussions and contentious conversations. Along with this avoidance he had a blindspot for this very problem. He also lacked self-awareness, which meant he not only did not see how this aversion to conflict held him back, but also was perplexed by his own failure, blind to the cause.
He did some reading about Emotional Intelligence, and went to a seminar on the topic, both of which helped his intellectual understanding of self-awareness and managing disagreements. But he failed to connect this understanding to how he operated with his team – and the same problems continued.
Coaching Helps Create Self-and-Social Awareness
Then Oren’s company suggested he start working with a coach. For six months Oren and his coach focused on helping him improve. They started with a 360-degree assessment, which made it all too clear that Oren lacked self-awareness, and was poor at managing conflict.
The coach had Oren keep a journal of key moments in his day, especially when he had to handle disagreements. He and his coach role-played how he might intervene to resolve conflicts in ways that were mutually beneficial. His coach watched him in action in “real life,” and gave him further feedback.
Slowly Oren became less anxious and avoidant in the face of conflict and more adept at helping his team find win-win resolutions. And the act of monitoring his actions so he could put them in his journal boosted his self-awareness.
When Oren did another 360-degree, the feedback from folks he worked with day in and day out confirmed that he had boosted both his self-awareness and his conflict management skills. An indirect benefit: morale, motivation, and sales all went up.
An Integrated Approach to Developing EI
There are a multitude of Emotional Intelligence programs these days; the field has grown into a mini-industry. The big question: What’s the best way to improve on an EI competence?
I’m unenthusiastic about information-only programs (and even the speeches I give on EI) as a way to cultivate these competencies. Those programs – and my talks – may be motivational and upgrade your mindset. That’s a start.
But once you want to improve you need some help. I’m quite dubious about cookie-cutter EI development programs that treat everyone the same. We all have a unique personal profile in the EI competencies, stronger in some and limited in others. So cookie-cutter programs will be off-target for what would actually help any given person.
In the HR world, these programs are called “spray and pray” – you spray people with a weekend about EI, and pray some of it sticks. It doesn’t.
The best approach, I’ve found, tailors help to a specific person’s needs. We all have our own set of goals, of motives, and of what moves us – what we are passionate about and love doing. So harnessing this energy, and aligning it with your sense of purpose, gives EI improvement the optimal boost.
For all that, working with a coach will have the most impact. There are several reasons coaching helps install lasting improvements in EI competencies (and a thank-you to Michele Nevarez, the seasoned coach who leads my own Emotional Intelligence programs, for these points):
1. We don’t know what we don’t know. A coach helps us see what is not readily apparent to us, and can also help us learn practices to become more self-aware, like noticing triggers and emotions in our day-to-day interactions.
2. A coach can remind us to continue to apply and experiment with new mental models and ways of acting that are outside of our habitual patterns. We can expand our repertoire.
3. A coach can help us spot when our mindset and actions are not aligned with our aspirations – and how our thinking and beliefs can get in the way of executing well toward our goals.
4. You can have the best development plan in the world that you understand with great mental clarity, but if our beliefs or habits derail the tactics and plans we have, then we remain stuck. A coach can show you how to “unstick” habits that don’t work.
5. On high-pressure days when you fall back on the old way of acting – what you’re trying to change – a coach can be sure you don’t give up. Instead you can use a failure to better prepare mentally for doing the right thing the next time around.
6. A coach can help us take the competencies we need to be more successful from the realm of good ideas into practical applications targeted to fit our goals and aspirations.
For such success, we need more qualified coaches.
That’s why I’m happy to announce my own EI programs, to launch this fall: an online EI learning for understanding the basics; online learning with coaching, for EI competence improvement; and – the capstone – a Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification (registration for the coaches now open).
I welcome anyone who feels they might benefit.