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Achieve Your Goals by Boosting Your Emotional Intelligence

May 5, 2020

By Carl Nielson
#leadershipdevelopment #EQ #EI #executivecoach #HR #leadershipgoals

As the concept of emotional intelligence has gone global, we’ve watched professionals flounder as they try to improve their emotional intelligence (or EI or EQ) because they either don’t know where to focus their efforts or they haven’t understood how to improve these skills on a practical level. An EQ assessment looks at a person’s emotional intelligence, which is the ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions to facilitate higher levels of collaboration and productivity. An understanding of EQ provides personal insight into two broad areas: Self and Others.

Self LeadershipResearch shows that successful leaders and superior performers have well-developed emotional intelligence skills. People with well-developed EQ work well with a wide variety of people and respond effectively to the rapidly changing conditions in the business world. In fact, data suggests a person’s EQ may be a better predictor of success performance than intelligence (IQ).

In my work consulting with companies and coaching VPs, directors, managers and high-potentials, I’ve found that if you’re looking to develop particular EI strengths, it helps to consider areas for improvement in context to the goals you want to achieve — and then to actively build habits and skills focused to support those goals.

To that end, start by asking yourself three questions:
1. What are the likely differences between how you see yourself and how others see you?
2. What matters to you? What goals do you have? (i.e. become a better leader, grow the business, successfully step into a managerial role for the first time, increase organizational influence without position power)
3. What efforts are you willing to invest to achieve these goals?

The first step, as with all learning, is to get a sense of how your self-perception (how you see yourself) differs from your current level of development and reputation (how others see you).

This is especially true for the development of emotional intelligence because we can be blind or biased to how we express and read the emotional components of our interactions. Assessing your talents and receiving feedback can provide the specifics for learning and shifting behaviors with laser focus.

What Lies Before You EmersonEmotional intelligence can’t be boiled down to a single score, as is done with IQ. You can’t just say that you’re “good”, “average” or “bad” at emotional intelligence. There are five distinct aspects of EQ, and we’re all better at some than others: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, social awareness, and social regulation.

To give you the best sense of where the differences lie between your self-perception and your reputation, we recommend the TriMetrixEQ 360, a 360-degree feedback assessment that takes into account the multiple facets of EI. We then combine the 360º feedback with the TriMetrixEQ Talent (DISC, Motivators, EQ) and the Personal Talent Skills Inventory for Leaders (Acumen/Cognitive Thinking Skills), a powerful talent assessment suite that you complete online. By assessing your talents and receiving the 360º feedback, we have a total view of your talents and EQ makeup.

EQ More Important Than IQ in LeadershipThe assessment results are delivered to you in a confidential setting (remote or onsite). You receive an independent outside perspective on how your actions impact your relationships and your work. As your coach, I help you delve under the surface and look at how your assumptions and personal narratives may be working against you. I also introduce concepts and methods for EQ and leadership skills to develop new habits with relative ease.

What matters to you? What goals do you have? (i.e. become a better leader, grow the business, successfully step into a managerial role for the first time, increase organizational influence without position power)

When you receive the assessment results and 360º feedback, the information will certainly inform you on areas to focus. We consider your current situation and associated goals — i.e. how you want to get better at what you do now, or where you want to go for the future. When it comes to cultivating strengths in emotional intelligence, you’ll be at a huge disadvantage if your only interest (goal) is to put it on your resume (leadership and high-potential coaching is highly valued in the job market for all industries), or appease a boss or someone in HR. Your emotional intelligence is so tied up in your sense of self that being intrinsically motivated to make the effort matters much more when changing longstanding habits vs simply learning a skill like budgeting, Agile or project management.

Eliminate Roadblocks to Team PerformanceThat means the areas that you choose to actively work on should lie at the intersection of the assessment results and the areas that are most important to your own aspirations. Ask yourself: Do you want to grow your capacity to take on a leadership position? Be a better team member? Exert greater positive influence? Get better at managing yourself, or keeping the goals that matter in focus? Or — your goals need not be only professional — do you want to have a better connection to your spouse or teenager? Understanding the impact of your current EI habits relative to your goals will keep you going over the long haul as you do the work of strengthening your emotional intelligence.

For example, let’s say you get feedback that you are not a great listener — but you think you are (usually associated with habits tied up in your talent design). Instead of interpreting the feedback as an attack, or simply dismissing it, step back and consider your goals: Perhaps you’ve said that you want to better connect, understand and communicate with impact. How could better listening skills and communication strategies help you to do those things? Seeing the feedback in this light can help you position it as an opportunity for developing toward your goals, rather than a threat.

What changes will you make to achieve these goals?
Once you’ve determined which EI skills you want to focus on, identify specific actions that you’ll take. If you’re working on becoming a better listener, for example, you might learn and practice a whole new approach to conversing peers, superiors, or subordinates in a way that enables you to significantly increase engagement with that person. By focusing and staying committed, you will change the target habit.


As your coach, I help you take every naturally occurring opportunity to practice the skill you’re developing, no matter how small. You’re trying to train your brain to react and behave differently in common situations, and the principle of neuroplasticity tells us that as a given brain circuit gets used more often, the connections within it become stronger. And the brain does not distinguish between home and work when it comes to changing your habits: Practice at home as well as at work, with your partner or teenager as you would with your boss or direct reports.

Spotting these opportunities to trot out your new habit requires a bit of extra awareness. At first this will take effort (and actually doing it might feel strange). But each time you do it, these new pathways in your brain strengthen their connection, making your new approach easier and more habitual. Soon you’ll find it more natural to pause and listen for a reply, for example, than to cut off the person you’re talking with in your excitement to respond. One day you will reach a neural landmark: The new habit will kick in automatically, without you having to make any effort. That means your new habit has replaced the old as your brain’s default circuit.

I am explicitly trained in helping leaders and executives develop their EI strengths. From accessing the right kind of evaluation to observing you in action, I work with you to identify personal narratives or habitual patterns of mind that undermine your ability to get out of your own way, and instead talk you through those days when life’s pressures force you back into your old, not-so-good habits.

By answering the three questions and starting to change your routine reactions, you’ll be well on your way to figuring out the old habits that aren’t serving you well and transforming them into new, improved ones that do.

Want to learn more about Carl Nielson and The Nielson Group’s services? Complete the inquiry form below.

To schedule an information call with Carl Nielson, go here.

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 5, 2020 6:13 pm

    The new-normal of the world after COVID-19 is going to be very different. One of the critical skills in the new normal would be EQ. The heightened awareness of how fragile businesses are against calamities will drive people and businesses towards understanding and working better with people at home and work. The need of the hour will be EQ. The great news is that Emotional Intelligence skills are teachable and learnable.

    Every one who is keen on being successful in the new-normal of business world post covid-19 will need to master emotional intelligence skills. It is a great time to get a head start and start mastering these skills.

    Liked by 2 people

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