Why I became interested in Emotional Intelligence

In today’s blog post I want to share why I became interested in Emotional Intelligence.   I was a painfully shy and sensitive child (still sensitive, not as shy!)  My father was a surgeon in Zambia and as the education system there would only take me so far, I was sent to boarding school in Northern Ireland at the age of 9.  I was thrown into a situation where I was not only surrounded by other children and teachers, but I had to live in a dormitory with 12 other girls.  There was no escape! So I began to develop my resilience pretty quickly.  My Dad used to say about me that I may have been very quiet, but I had an inner strength that few people were aware of.  He was right!

I began to watch people and learn, and what began to fascinate me was the eclectic personalities of the children and teachers I encountered.  Despite all my fears, after a few weeks, I found my tribe and made friends.

People’s behaviour fascinated me.  Especially the teachers.  How some could connect with us and some just shout all the time.  Why did they shout so much?  Did they think that was effective?  It baffled me.   This fascination with human behaviour and how people displayed their emotions continued into my adult life.

When I decided to train as an executive coach, I noticed there would be a weekend of training on Emotional Intelligence.  During that weekend, I had such a eureka moment when we received the following definition of EI:  ‘‘The ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action.’’ Later this definition was refined and broken down into four proposed abilities that are distinct yet related: perceiving, using, understanding, and managing emotions (Mayer & Salovey, 1997).

This was it! This was what I had been pondering, watching and experiencing, but I didn’t have the means or the language to express what it was.  I had witnessed managers who I worked with who were sorely lacking in Emotional Intelligence, and other inspirational people who seemed to have it in abundance.

Fast forward thirteen years from my coaching diploma in 2007, and my knowledge and expertise in the subject has grown year on year.   The learning may be one aspect, but helping leaders and employees develop their self-awareness is what I love to do, because it brings results – to individuals, to teams and to organisations.

In my view it should be part of the strategy of every organisation – why? Well if your Senior Management Team are not self-aware with regards to themselves or the culture of the organisation, employees may not be given the opportunity to fulfil their potential, and the culture will not change if it needs to. Those are two very general reasons, but I could list dozens more specific reasons.

For Example: leaders with high EQ are empathetic, motivated and are aware of how their emotions and behaviours impact on their team and visa-versa.  They bring out the best in their employees and those around them.

But if I haven’t convinced you, pick up the Harvard Business Review or McKinsey Insights and you won’t have to look too far to find evidence of the above, in articles written by those with far more knowledge than me!

If you are interested in taking the psychometric assessment in EI with a 90-minute follow on consultation, I am currently offering this at 50% reduction.  Usual price €350 but for the next three months, the price is €175.   For a free one hour consultation to discuss your requirements, please contact me at justine@proactivecoaching.ie

You can find out more about the assessment at https://proactivecoaching.ie

Thank you and please stay safe.


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