Coaching Emotional Intelligence – The Business Case for Human Capital

December 10, 2012 | By

Emotional Intelligence (EQ): How to Manage an Asset that Emotes

Would a leader put ‘empathy’ on their resume? The old, Working Strategy focused on manipulating the environment or altering resources. To energize and service an asset that is characterized by emotions, memories and its own volition, leaders must first master their own human and social capital from which to build an authentic foundation of trust, respect and inspiration that engages others. John Kotter, Ph.D, of Harvard, and author of the book Leading Change, recently released its sequel, The Heart of Change. In it, he invokes the same eight-step change theory with one important message: emotion. He speaks to the need to invoke an emotional response in people to inspire change. Emotional intelligence is a core leadership competence and integral to the Winning Strategy. Anthony D’Amasio, Department Head of Neurology at Iowa Medical Center, in his book Descartes tells us that emotions are seated in the brain and inform our intellectual processes. Through studies of the brain he proves that factual data and intellectual knowing are not enough because we need emotions to create context, discern, process and make qualitative decisions with objective criteria. If leaders are to inform an individual’s subjective decision to stay with an organization, leaders must be able to tap their emotional influences as well as those that are rational (D’Amasio, 1994). Empathy is a core competence of emotional intelligence (EQ) that creates a bond of Affiliation.

Emotion comes from the French emouvoir, meaning the energy of motion. As the definition explains, it is a physical moving, stirring up and agitation extended to any action. Professional service firm partners who have mastered themselves through self-assessment, another core EQ competence for leaders, generate more profit for their companies (Buckingham & Coffman, 1999). Emotional intelligence doesn’t come from sixteen years or more of formal linear education. It’s a wisdom that is gained over time. Emotional Intelligence is defined as perceiving, using, managing and understanding one’s own and others’ emotions.
At its foundation is self-awareness, which research has shown is the variable that drives 87% of all successful change. (P. Jordan) There is much debate in scholarly circles about the impact EQ has on successful change, yet, according to the Institute for Health and Human Potential (IHHP; see Pauliw-Fry, 2000), it can impact the outcome of change as much as 87%)

Mastery of the self and the ability to modulate the stress response and one’s own behavior is predicated on successfully navigating level one being aware. Each level has its own unique set of competencies and skill. For example, on ‘Level 1,’ we’d find competencies for self-awareness that might include assertiveness, self-motivation, innovation and self-regard. For Self-Mastery, Level 2, leaders evolve to self-mastery, resiliency, initiative, intuition, personal power and perseverance. Effectiveness in the third, interpersonal level, where the engagement and Affiliation skills such as communication, conflict resolution, relationships and high performance teams reside, depends on the leader having mastered the two levels below. The ultimate goal is authentic leadership, where the leader’s behavior is aligned with organizational goals and is demonstrated consistently with others. Arriving at the pinnacle of authentic leadership requires traversing all the other levels (Pauliw-Fry, 2000). As such, leadership is ‘won’ or achieved and this underscores the contention that leaders can be made. Coaching is a real time learning modality that accelerates purposeful learning to achieve business outcomes. As such, it is the link that drives leaders toward the pinnacle of their personal and professional success. Coaching leaders to model the way leaders be and do, accelerates learning in a sort of bio-mimicry.


Brenda Smith, Executive Coach and CEO of Peoplesmith Global, Inc., an international coaching firm applying the science of emotional intelligence and the art of coaching for leadership performance. She is a former Wall Street executive with direct P& L accountability for achieving results through people. . Working on her Human Capital Strategist Designation with the Human Capital Institute, she views coaching in organizations strategically as the means of transforming executives from their Working Strategy into their Winning Strategy because businesses don’t succeed, people do!

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Filed in: Coaching, Leadership, Personal Development

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