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The Critical Role of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership Growth and How Executive Coaching Can Help

By Numly - Leadership Coaching Group
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The world of business has become more complex, dynamic, and volatile. We are living through the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the era of hybrid workplaces, where technology and digitalization are changing the way we conduct business and engage with our teams. In this new world, leadership growth can only happen when, amongst other skills, leaders display high levels of emotional intelligence. 

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, is perhaps one of the most critical skills for leaders in today’s business environment. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognize the emotions of others while capably managing one’s own emotions. 

While technical skills help people climb up the corporate ladder into leadership positions, emotional intelligence is the secret sauce that allows them to become good leaders and then become great ones. 

It is emotional intelligence that allows leaders to create psychologically safe work environments and lead successful, high-performance teams. It is an essential leadership skill that drives impactful influence and improves workplace relationships. 

Emotionally intelligent leaders can recognize their feelings and how they impact others. These leaders utilize this emotional connection to influence positive outcomes and manage teams without conflict. 

Emotional intelligence rests on the following pillars:

  • Self-Awareness: The knowledge of how you feel and how this impacts others.
  • Self-Regulation: The capacity to manage and control individual emotions and maintain a positive outlook in times of stress and strife. 
  • Social Awareness: The capacity to understand and empathize with others and differing points of view
  • Social Skills: The ability to communicate with respect, empathy, and understanding to drive collaboration, resolve conflicts, and navigate difficult situations
  • Self-Motivation: The ability to remain motivated and excited about personal and professional goals as well as the organizational goals as a whole to maintain high levels of productivity and efficiency. 
  • Relationship Management: The capacity to lead, inspire, and influence, successfully build work relationships, and manage conflicts and change at a personal and professional level

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership Growth

A four-decade-long study of PhDs at UC Berkeley discovered that emotional intelligence is a 400% more powerful predictor of success than IQ. Executives lacking emotional intelligence showed poorer performance outcomes. Their teams underperformed by an average of 20% as well. 

Teams with emotionally intelligent leaders were four times less likely to leave the organization. The focus on this skill is also increasing as more than 70% of employees believe that the organizational climate of a company is a direct result of their leaders’ emotional intelligence.

Improving existing leadership skills and developing high levels of emotional intelligence are essential for influencing employee morale, driving employee engagement, and creating a thriving workplace that is free from fear and judgment. 

Why Does Developing Emotional Intelligence Need Executive Coaching?

As the world of work becomes more complex and dynamic, effective leadership goes beyond technical expertise and strategic acumen.

Leaders who have the strongest impact on job satisfaction have high levels of emotional intelligence and leadership effectiveness. Leaders lacking this skill have more stressed teams, experience more burnout, and witness higher attrition. 

Organizations need to invest heavily in executive coaching to develop emotionally intelligent leaders who are fit to lead in today’s dynamic world of work. 

Context Enables Change

Emotional intelligence involves recognizing and labeling emotions accurately and understanding their causes and consequences. It helps to use this knowledge to navigate social interactions and make informed decisions. It is about harnessing the power of emotions to develop strong relationships, drive effective communication, and elevate overall well-being.

Developing this key skill requires context. Without context, there is no transformation since the leader cannot recognize the need to change. Executive coaching is a transformative process that helps leaders become more familiar with themselves by building greater self-awareness and insights into their triggers, biases, and points of emotional failures.

Creating Space for Exploration

Executive coaching is a collaborative partnership that provides leaders the space to explore and develop the key skills that make up emotional intelligence and helps them unlock new levels of leadership effectiveness. 

Since executive coaching is a co-creative process, leaders get to explore their thought processes and biases in a non-judgment space and discover pathways that bring change along with their coach.

Identifying Leadership Gaps  

Coaches, for example, can help leaders identify their unconscious biases or their leadership styles. Leaders might consider themselves empathetic because they are available for everyone or are very flexible with the employees. 

However, if such leaders are unable to get their team performing, can they be called effective leaders? A coach is in the perfect position to point out these actions that keep leaders from becoming assertive and impactful. It helps them recognize whether they are becoming authoritarian or too passive in their styles. 

Drive Behavioral Change 

The coach also plays an important role in exposing leaders to their blind spots. He/she provides the space for leaders to express themselves fully, be vulnerable without fear of judgment, and experience emotional intelligence firsthand through their coaches. 

Since executive coaching is a contextual exploration and is rooted in moving forward, it becomes the most appropriate strategy to help leaders identify what is preventing them from becoming highly emotionally intelligent and empathetic. It is also a continuous process. This feedback loop reaffirms the correct set of actions and helps implement behavioral change.  

Thus, with executive coaching, people can develop their leadership language and lead their teams and their organization to success. 

Winning with Executive Coaching

There are enough examples of leaders who have not been able to lead because of wanting communication skills. Steve Jobs, for example, was fired from his own company in 1985 because of his lacking communication skills. 

When he returned to the company in 1997, he succeeded as a transformational leader. The one thing that had changed was that he had developed his emotional intelligence. This change helped him communicate more impactfully, exert more intelligence, build more trust, and drive better organizational outcomes. 

Executive coaching makes the process of transformation easier and helps today’s leaders develop the vocabulary needed to communicate emotional intelligence. It permits leaders to break away from the state of homeostasis (the reason people stay stuck in old habits despite these not serving them) and provides the context, actions, support, and feedback needed to execute lasting change. 

Connect with us to see how our AI-powered executive coaching platform can help your organization build emotionally intelligent leaders and help them in their growth stories.

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