Excerpts from Harvard Business Review Blog by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic.
Who wouldn’t want a higher level of emotional intelligence? Studies have shown that a high emotional quotient (or EQ) boosts career success, entrepreneurial potential, leadership talent, health, relationship satisfaction, humor, and happiness. It is also the best antidote to work stress and it matters in every job – because all jobs involve dealing with people, and people with higher EQ are more rewarding to deal with.
Most coaching enhances some aspects of EQ, usually under the name of social, interpersonal, or soft skills training. The underlying reasoning is that, whereas IQ is very hard to change, EQ can increase with deliberate practice and training.
Key points to consider:
Your level of EQ is firm, but not rigid. Our ability to identify and manage our own and others' emotions is fairly stable over time, influenced by our early childhood experiences and even genetics. That does not mean we cannot change it, but, realistically, long-term improvements will require a great deal of dedication and guidance. However, no human behavior is unchangeable.
Good coaching programs do work. Various meta-analyses suggest the most coachable element of EQ is interpersonal skills - Research also shows that the benefits of EQ-coaching are not just confined to the workplace – they produce higher levels of happiness, mental and physical health, improved social and marital relationships, and decreases levels of cortisol (the stress hormone).
You can improve if you get accurate feedback. While many ingredients are required for a good coaching program, the most important aspect of effective EQ-coaching is giving people accurate feedback. Most of us are generally unaware of how others see us – and this especially true for managers.
It is a well-documented fact that, in any domain of competence, most people think they are better than they actually are. Thus any intervention focused on increasing EQ must begin by helping people understand what their real strengths and weaknesses are.
Many employee engagement surveys, such as Gallup’s and Sirota’s, have shown that managers are the major cause of employee disengagement and stress, and disengagement and stress have been shown to be major inhibitors of productivity and retention. In line, the American Institute of Stress reports that stress is the main cause underlying 40% of workplace turnovers and 80% of work related injuries. Although EQ-coaching will not solve these problems, it may alleviate the symptoms for both managers and employees.
So, with or without a coach, working on your EQ does pay off.
You will enjoy the benefits and rewards of increasing your Emotional Intelligence not only at work but also in your day to day personal life.