EMOTIONAL SKILLS LEADERSHIP AND COACHING EFFECTIVENESS 9
In any leadership position, there comes a time when one’s emotionsaffect the way they execute their duties. Human emotions such asanger, empathy, self- awareness and self- motivation are natural andnormal. However, they can come between a leader and the people belowhim. Emotional skills is the ability to identify and manage one’semotions, and those of people around them, effectively withoutletting them alter their judgment or the execution of their roles andduties (Caruso & Salovey, 2004). For effective leadership, aleader needs to master the art of emotional intelligence. However,those leaders that do not have the skills can always take lessons onhow to control human emotions and improve emotional intelligence.This paper seeks to describe emotional skills and coachingeffectiveness and provides an implementation plan for the concept.
The modern learning environment has changed from tutoring to puttingmore importance on coaching. Coaching involves both listening,observation and practice on the part of the learner. For a leader tobe more effective, coaching on emotional skills is necessary.According to Daniel Goleman’s theory of emotional intelligence,there are five key elements (Dulewicz& Higgs, 2000). They areself- awareness, self- regulation, motivation, empathy, and socialskills. All these elements determine how a leader handles themselves.For a leader to be good, their emotional skills have to be good aswell.
Self- awareness is the ability for one to establish how they feel andhow their emotions can affect the people around them. The ability toknow whether you are angry or sad is critical when leading otherpeople (Dulewicz & Higgs, 2000). It is dangerous when someone isangry and he/she cannot tell. Self- regulation entails the ability ofa leader to restrain them from making hurried decisions in the wakeof a major emotional breakdown. Such leaders rarely abuse theirjuniors verbally, do not stereotype or compromise their values. Aself -motivated leader works steadily towards their goals withoutgetting distracted with minor sideshows. The idea that the leadersare empowering someone should be motivation enough.
According to Cooper (2000), a leader with empathy is able to putthemselves in the position of the people they are coaching. Throughempathy, a good leader will be able to see things from the positionof her followers and make informed decisions thereafter. A leaderwith magnificent social skills will make a good coach and mentor.Social skills involve the ability to interact well with people aroundyou. A leader with good communication skills will be effective incoaching. It is therefore imperative that leaders enhance theircommunication skills and consequently, social skills.
Psychological interventions that strengthen Emotional Skills
According to Ciarrochi and Mayer (2007), the first psychologicalintervention to enhance emotional skills is the technique to identifyemotions. It is commonplace to find angry people who sincerely denythe allegations that they are angry. It could be that they are lyingto save face or they honestly do not know when they are angry. Thepsychologists propose a method of coaching leaders to notice theiremotions and those of people around them. The managerial emotionalcompetence intervention subjects the learners to a series ofactivities and then they answer questions at the end. Some of theactivities include waiting in line for long or staying for hours pastlunchtime. The mindfulness-based training helps leaders identifyemotions as they occur. During this training, learners are asked toimagine floating on a river and then notice any emotions, thoughts orimages as they emerge.
The technique to enhance emotion to facilitate thought is anotherpsychological intervention for this subject (Damasio, 1994). Everysituation requires a different state of mind. The emotional state ofan employee when she is taking care of her newborn should not be thesame when issuing instruction to her juniors. The ability to identifywhich emotion is appropriate for a particular situation is the key toleadership. This intervention coaches people how to condition theirmind to adopt the appropriate emotion for a particular situation. Theintervention also teaches people how to change the emotions of thepeople around them for the benefit of all. However, this interventiondraws criticism because it encourages the generation of emotion tosuit a particular environment. Since emotions develop naturally, thistechnique may have a low success rate.
As Downing (1997) writes, the technique to enhance emotionalunderstanding is another intervention to instill emotional skills.This coaching exercise teaches the comprehension of emotions inoneself and others. The learners learn to identify the causes ofemotions and how they develop overtime. During the intervention, theparticipants engage in activities that help them to identify theenvironment that elicits particular emotions. Once learners identifywhat situation triggers emotions in them and others, they can work ona plan to avoid or enhance such situations. This intervention helpspeople to identify who they are and what they feel during certaincritical situations. The intervention is only effective for avoidablesituations. However, some situations people have to encounter mayhave an impact on their emotions. The intervention does not coach onhow to deal with such situations.
These interventions have varying levels of efficacy depending on thesituation and the intended purpose of the coaching. For instance, thefirst intervention trains people to identify their emotions. However,some emotions, especially those that a person has never felt before,are not identifiable. There is also no scale to measure the magnitudeof human emotion- no device can measure the starting point of theemotion called anger. The second intervention is ineffective forpeople that cannot generate emotions to facilitate thought (Damasio,1994). For instance, it may prove hard for some people to feelempathy towards others. Finally, the third intervention is onlyeffective in situations that the learner can identify with. Newsituations elicit different emotions that might not be part of thecoaching.
Why the concept needs attention in the workplace
The modern workplace has become more diverse than ever. Diversitymeans that each individual does things in a slightly differentmanner. Some forms of diversity, such as social skills, are likely toelicit emotions between people from different backgrounds (Kiarrochi& Mayer, 2007). Depending on the nature of the emotion, it mayaffect the employees positively or negatively. It is thereforeimportant that the concept of emotional skills finds its way to theworkplace. Elements such as self- awareness will ensure that theemployees are mindful of the feelings of their colleagues. Goodsocial skills will enhance communication in the workplace andtherefore foster teamwork (Dulewicz & Higgs, 2000). As itcurrently stands, the modern workplace is insensitive and lackssocial skills. Employees make fun of each other without taking intoconsideration the kind of emotions their actions could elicit. It isfor these reasons that the concept of emotional skills and coachingneeds attention in the workplace.
Emotional Skills plan at the workplace
To bring the concept of emotional skills to the organization, thereis need for coaching by psychologists on certain elements of theconcept. The first step would be to coach employees about self-motivation (Kiarrochi & Mayer, 2007). Self- motivation is thestate when an employee obtains motivation to do act or achievesomething from their inner being. During this coaching, the employeeswill be asked to take the following steps when addressing their self-motivation. Re- examining why they are in this particular job,knowing where they stand, and being hopeful to find somethingpositive. Self -motivation is not a hard concept to achieve. Oncethey have answered the three questions, they will be on the path ofredefining their purpose in the workplace.
Coaching on empathy will be another task on the list. Empathy is theability to put oneself in the shoes of another. Most workplaceconflicts arise due to lack of empathy (Cooper, 2000). During thiscoaching exercise, participants will learn a few concepts as follows.Learning to put oneself in the other’s position by trying tounderstand how they feel. Paying attention to the body language ofothers will help notice their emotions. Unlike words, body languageportrays the true feelings of a person towards something or somebody.Responding to feelings of other people is a good display of empathy.Some people may agree to do a task, but deep down they feel angryabout it. Effective coaching on empathy will help to reduce conflictsin the workplace.
Social skills coaching will be instituted for people holdingmanagerial and supervisory roles (Cooper, 2000). This kind ofcoaching will involve aspects such as conflict resolution.Surprisingly, many leaders do not know how to handle conflictswithout making them sound petty. Leaders will also receive coachingon the importance of communication skills. They will learn what tospeak, and what to avoid speaking. Finally, they will receivetraining on how to praise their juniors.
Incorporation of the concept to local organizations
The concept of emotional skills could work well in localorganizations for a number of reasons. Employees lack self-motivation, leaders have no empathy or social skills and the clientshave no self- regulation. Psychological interventions to instillemotional skills on the members of an organization are long overdue.Such interventions are imparted through training. The interventionwill ensure that employees become self- aware of their emotions andthose of others (Dulewicz & Higgs, 2000). People in leadershippositions will learn how to communicate with their juniors and solveconflicts as well.
Employees and managers alike need emotional skills coaching.Employees need to create a self- awareness tool to establish theirweaknesses and strengths. After that, they can formulate a plan toenhance their strengths and improve their weaknesses (Dulewicz &Higgs, 2000). Keeping a journal can be a good self- awareness tool.Coaching on self -awareness will also help the employees to be awareof their emotions and control them too. Quite often, employees actout of strong emotion thereby interfering with their ability toexecute work duties. Managers also need coaching on how to mastertheir emotional skills, so that they can improve their social skillsand build better relationships with juniors. Leaders that learn toregulate themselves rarely attack others verbally. In order for aleader to have self- regulation, they need coaching on knowing theirvalues, holding themselves accountable and practicing to be calm.
From the literature, I have learnt that emotional skills are veryimportant for the prosperity of any organization. Most conflictsarise due to lack of emotional skills. Employees and leaders alikelet strong emotions to cloud their judgment. The result is a negativeimpact on the organization teamwork and a drop in employeeproductivity. It is for this reason that organizations shouldincorporate the concept of emotional skills coaching among theiremployees.
I have also learned the art of emotional skills. Emotional skillsinvolve knowing what the others are feeling, displaying facialexpressions that match the underlying emotion, and speaking outregarding how one feels (Caruso & Salovey, 2007). On the otherhand, people that lack emotional skills misread other people’semotions, do not talk about their feelings, never show theirfeelings, and do not know how to express their feelings.Additionally, emotionally unskilled people misunderstand their ownfeelings, fail to identify how others fail, and maintain neutralexpressions.
In conclusion, emotional skills, leadership is the ability toidentify and manage the feelings of an individual and those aroundhim. Some people are born with emotional skills while others needcoaching. Psychologists have come up with interventions to impartemotional skills in people. Organizations need to embrace emotionalskills coaching to maintain a peaceful working environment.
Carruso R.D., Salovey, P., (2004). The emotionally intelligentmanager. San Francisco, Jossey- Bass.
Ciarrochi, J., Mayer J.D., (2007). Applying emotionalintelligence 270 Madison Avenue, New York. Psychology Press.
Cooper, R.K., (1997). Applying emotional intelligence in theworkplace. Training and Development journal51(12) 31‐8.
Damasio, A., (1994). Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason and theHuman Brain New York Gosset Putnam.
Downing, S.J. (1997). Learning the plot: emotional momentum in searchof dramatic logic. Journal of Management Learning 28(1)27‐44.
Dulewicz, V., Higgs M., (2000). Emotional intelligence – A reviewand evaluation study. Journal of Managerial Psychology 15(4)341 – 372.