Marilyn Atkinson is the Founder of Erickson Coaching International and originator of the Solution-Focused Coaching methodology. A former Registered Organizational Psychologist, Marilyn is an NLP Master Trainer and specialist in Ericksonian Communications. Since 1980s she has been helping leading global companies and leaders through Solution- Focused and Outcome-Oriented Coaching. Marilyn has authored eight books, including The Art & Science of Coaching trilogy (Inner Dynamics of Coaching, Step-by-Step Coaching & The Flow of Coaching).
How Emotional Intelligence Makes You a Stronger Leader
As business owners, entrepreneurs, managers and leaders, it is our job to bring people together to work towards one goal. So what differentiates a good leader from a great leader? Why do those with an average IQ outperform those with the highest IQ over 70% of the time (Simonton, 1999; Simonton, personal communication, July 5, 2003)? The answer, we believe, is Emotional Intelligence, or EI.
In this competitive market, knowledge of your field and management skills are often not enough; today's great leaders are often required to have high Emotional Intelligence skills as well. Emotional Intelligence (“EI”) relates to flexibility, planning, communication and relationship skills. These skills can be necessary to influence and energize employees and assist them to adapt to rapid change. Although tools such as objective assessments and candid feedback can be essential to executives’ development in these areas, they are still not widely practiced because candour generates emotion, and emotion can be scary.
Emotional Intelligence is a skill that can be learned and developed with the help of Solution-Focused coaching as it has the capacity to deepen the understanding of internal dialogue habits. It is always the context that sets the quality and type of internal self-talk that we find ourselves listening to. We live inside of these internal conversations and for most of us, context is random and therefore our internal dialogue is beyond our own control and subsequently, ‘moods happen’.
Solution-Focused coaching is designed to shift this pattern. With coaching, such patterns can be shifted radically with simple, contextual tools that promote the kind of appropriate internal talk that leads to creativity, power, and success. With these tools, internal dialogue and leadership abilities can be redesigned quickly so that leaders can show up in their power to embody effective leadership. They also show up in their capacity to listen well. What would a carpenter be without a measuring stick? If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to treat the world like a nail!
The Solution-Focused approach assists both leaders and managers to set a powerful context for doing any job. To accomplish this, most benefit from having a regular coaching meeting, (typically once a week for 30 minutes and often by phone), to help support their expanding Emotional Intelligence. This is necessary because most individuals have not learned how to design an internal, integral “coach position” for many of life roles. Secondly, most cannot see their own ‘blind spots’ in their interactions with others. Emotional Intelligence approaches used by a skillful coach can assist in moving beyond roadblocks.
Coaches assist managers through continual conversations and agreements to link together the most effective time and relationship conversations with the most effective environmental practices to the job at hand. Coaches help such persons create powerful, internal mental movies as masterful leaders with the key capabilities they need in their current contexts. Coaches assist to clarify motivation where it counts so that the manager or leader can set out to learn what needs to be learned as quickly as possible. Through effective questioning, solution-focused coaches link this motivation to the leader’s professional frames and teamwork values. This is done habitually and often, with little "fuss or muss" and all get to experience the awesome authenticity involved.
Payoffs skyrocket when we start approaching our working relationships by using simple coaching models that align us to our focus like a carpenter's levelling tool. We can achieve real mastery and develop the kind of leadership that might be called ‘mastery of context.’ This allows us to develop relaxed team relationships and precision leadership, situation by situation. It also develops our capacity to conduct deft, diplomatic and powerful presentations on the spot.
Managers and leaders can use the tools provided by Solution-Focused coaching and Emotional Intelligence programs to develop a positive culture change in the workplace. These technologies help to accelerate learning, enhance creativity and constructive tools for employee assessment and growth.
Skill-based coach training is essential for managerial effectiveness in these turbulent times. While it accelerates Emotional Intelligence and effective workplace communication, it also unleashes untapped creativity and innovation, which causes motivation and commitment to soar. This adds up to billions of dollars annually to the bottom lines of organizations choosing to take the coaching plunge.
Are you interested in developing your Emotional Intelligence? In Erickson's Expanding Emotional Intelligence course, you will learn 9 simple ways to develop your Emotional Intelligence and create better relationships in all aspects of your life. These nine habits will help you to shift from feeling guarded and entangled to feeling centered, open and self-empowered.