Although one’s IQ, or intellectual intelligence, is certainly important in life, their EQ, or emotional intelligence, can be equally if not more important. Emotional intelligence has been defined as the ability to monitor and interpret one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions and use this information to guide one’s actions and behaviors.
Our emotional intelligence can affect all areas of our lives including our relationships, our self-esteem, our health and our work performance. As Christian Life Coaches, understanding, managing, and expressing our emotions can keep our bodies healthy, make us more productive and help us to support our clients in these areas.
But if we get our intellectual intelligence from books and education, how do we develop our emotional intelligence?
Most importantly, we need to learn how to connect to our emotions. You can connect to your emotions by allowing them to happen and acknowledging them, rather than pushing them down inside or denying them. You can also learn to connect to your emotions by acknowledging the physical symptoms that accompany or preface them, for example, a fast heartbeat or shallow breathing.
Emotional intelligence also involves being able to understand and control your non-verbal actions like body language, hand gestures and eye contact. Being aware of how your actions affect others and how to read others’ body language is important in effective communication. For instance, if you are speaking to someone with your arms crossed across your chest, you may appear as being closed off to them. Or if someone tells you they are fine but their shoulders are slumped and their brow is furrowed, they may be experiencing difficulty but are too shy or afraid to share it with you.
Another way to develop your emotional intelligence is to effectively manage stress and remain positive. It is important to not only be aware of your stress triggers and the symptoms you experience when you (or others) are stressed, but also to develop effective stress-reducing techniques. Likewise, an emotionally intelligent person can always find a peaceful resolution to conflict and always views hardships or setbacks from a positive perspective rather than a defeating one.
As a coach and leader, how would you rate your emotional intelligence?