I am often asked about the best way someone can develop their own or another’s emotional intelligence (EI). Understanding the role coaching and mentoring can play in habit change can make a difference in this situation. Most of us realize the benefits of coaching when we reflect on how our values, beliefs, and even reactions were influenced by parents, teachers, and friends during childhood. Their modeling, or direct and indirect feedback, helped us understand how to make our way in the world. This universal experience can be a powerful reminder that we do not develop our interpersonal abilities without the help of others—and that opens the door to coaching.
When it comes to strengths in EI, the foundation is self-awareness. One behavioral indicator of self-awareness is sensing if others receive your words and actions in the way you hope, which a coach or mentor can help with by giving you objective feedback. Coaching, of course, tends to take a more formal approach. I recommend that coaching be combined with 360-feedback from an EI assessment to help the coach and the learner focus on the most productive development goals.
Mentoring is typically less formal and more interactive—for example, when a leader you respect gives you regular input on how to improve your communication during meetings. The learner will benefit from consistent, improvement-oriented feedback from people who can help them understand how they present themselves in their relationships.
EI development can be faster and more effective if it includes coaching and mentoring (rather than trying to go it alone) for various reasons, from greater accountability to feeling valued and motivated by those who invest time in your growth. If you lack the resources to hire a coach, there are several other ways to get key coaching and mentoring services.
Creating team norms around constructive feedback, for example, offers a simple way for you to turn your workplace into a training environment. This strategy requires only that you encourage people to share feedback with you on specific topics. You may need to remind them a bit at first, but that can build a more trusting (and mutually beneficial) relationship.
By asking for feedback and expressing gratitude when you receive it, you can demonstrate a humble commitment to self-improvement. This can create even more opportunities for honest feedback. In this way, you can cultivate strong, honest relationships focused on mutual success.
I further explored how coaching enhances EI development and increases performance during my July 8 webcast hosted by ATD. Check out the recording to learn more. My team has developed a series of scalable EI coaching strategies with leadership coaches that you can learn about at Goleman EI Coaching and Training.