Developing Emotional Intelligence
Positioning Emotional Intelligence (EQ or EI) as a key leadership trait
The key competencies in succesful leadership are
Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
Spiritual Intelligence - Vision and Values - (SQ)
Rational or Thinking Intelligence (IQ)
A succesful leader would seek to obtain personal mastery in these competencies, thus enabling the highest level of leadership performance.
Once you have mastered your ability to lead yourself, you are the most effective in leading others.
By identifying (through assessment) leadership development areas, you can, with your coach, design a coaching programme to fast track the development of your leadership ability by focusing on high leverage competencies.
The first step in this process would be to grow awareness of what these competencies entail, and how they relate to each other. The competencies of IQ, EQ and SQ can be represented on a continuum of increasingly powerful abilities and competencies.
The first ability is our cognitive intelligence, or our intelligence to think logically, rationally and analytically, commonly measured as IQ (Intelligence Quotient). This includes the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience.
This is a vital skill, especially for leaders, who have to consider increasingly complex variables to formulate policy or design business strategies.
Although this ability is largely set at birth, it can be enhanced by applying our innate ability to various thinking frameworks and philosophies. These could include, amongst others, applying systemic thinking, as per Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline, and critical thinking, applying the Critical Thinking Framework as Justin Menkes’ Executive Intelligence.
Having a coach as a thinking partner can help to provide perspective, to clarify and refine thinking, to maintain objectivity, and to help eliminate blind spots. The coach is also able to "tell the truth" that is so often withheld or "sugar coated" by team members in order to promote themselves or avoid negative responses.
This is especially relevant at higher levels of corporate leadership.
People Ability (Emotional and Social/Relational Ability)
This is the next stage in our growth and development, and the speciality of Claude Warner as an Executive Coach. Our ability to master our own emotions and our ability to relate to other people will determine how successful we are in our personal and professional relationships, and will, as already expressed, significantly influence our impact and success as a leader.
Unlike cognitive intelligence (measured as IQ), which is set at birth, research shows that emotional intelligence (measured as EQ or EI) can be learned. What’s more, the research shows the best way to enhance emotional intelligence is to work with a coach.
Working with a coach creates the space where emotions and response can be explored in a private, confidential and supported space. Using the client's own scenarios involving emotional and relationship dynamics, these scenarios can be deconstructed and examined. An emotions-based action planning and problem solving process is utilised, which examines:
• Current relational and emotional reality - who the key people are and what they are feeling.
• Preferred reality or vision - what feelings and relational standing would best achieve the desired outcome.
• Understand - examine motives (of all key parties), perceptions, personal abilities, power relationships etc. to determine why there is a gap between the ideal scenario and the current reality.
• Evaluate - what alternative ways could there be of achieving the desired outcome. A choice is made from possible approaches and emotional responses.
• Preparation - this could involve writing and rehearsing scripts for the chosen responses, which may include different expressive words, tone, body language, power positioning, introducing other emotional role players etc. The coach and client can role-play these in preparation.
• Execution - the chosen responses are executed, with the client maintaining a high level of awareness to the outcome. These are reviewed by the coach and client and modified as needed.
Often the mere increase in awareness that is created through the focus on emtional intelligence is a huge stimulus to be more aware of emotional and relational dynamics. I often speak of "being aware of being aware".
The intentionality, objectivity, confidentiality and containment offered by the coaching process serve to enhance and accelerate this process.
Motivation (Meaning and Purpose) Ability
One of the domains explored within emotional intelligence is self-actualisation, in which we start asking questions about our lives such as “Why am I here?”,”What do I really value?”, and “What provides meaning and significance in my life?”.
Knowing the answers to our What’s and our Why’s is called our spiritual intelligence, which is the 3rd stage in the developmental process. (Danah Zohar in her work on Spiritual Intelligence calls it "The Ultimate Intelligence".)
Working with a coach enables you to examine your personal values and identify key values, examine corporate values (espoused and/or in-use), assess alignment, and deal with non-aligned areas. Doing this will increase motivation, energy, passion, engagement, and all-round authenticity. Your example will also inspire, energise and motivate others.
Within the coaching relationship you can examine what provides meaning or "inner signficance" in your life. As Victor Frankl says in Man's Search for Meaning, quoting the philosopher Nietzsche, "He who has a why to live for can cope with almost any how".
By being clear on the "what" of your life you are better able to manage the "how" as it is lived out in your leadership context.
High Performance Leadership
A visionary leader who has achieved leadership mastery will enable those whom he leads to operate at their highest potential.
Their high performance will enable the business to operate at maximum effectiveness, creating a competitive edge that is likely to lead market leadership in their market segment, generating maximum value for customers, shareholders and the communitiy at large.
This is a goal worth pursuing!