Brilliant division president stagnates …
Bernard, division president of a large financial institution, achieves excellent results. Yet his assessment is not positive. His Executive Board member Chris believes he is insufficiently looking for connection with his people and manages too hierarchically. Bernard quickly makes judgments, without asking too many questions. Chris suspects that Bernard is no thandling his emotions very well. He does not want to cooperate with him if this continues.
It is clear to Bernard that his career is under pressure. He got this kind of signals before and needs to do something. Bernard decides to consult an executive coach.
During the intake it becomes clear that Bernard wants to work on the problem, but does not fully grasp it. He believes his emotions are well under control and is convinced he can justify why his people are not sufficiently competent. According to him, more information is not necessary: isn’t it logical that he should give clear direction?
The coaching starts with Bernard’s recent call with staff director Peter. He called Peter from his holiday address and shared his concerns about an urgent, complex issue. Bernard had a clear opinion on how to deal with this. His company should not break the financial ratios. Nevertheless, Bernard keeps an uncomfortable feeling after the interview: does Peter really understand the issue? How does the game play out at HQ? Chris has little knowledge of the issue and not much influence. Bernard is worried about his company’s future, but now feels dependent on others.
This is how many executives end up. You know what needs to be done, but you get stuck somehow. You can’t put your finger on it. What would it be like if you could realize a breakthrough? If you would understand the root causes and would know what to do? That is what Executive Coaching offers.
Judgments trigger emotions
Emotions are the key. People interpret a difficult situation (is this a threat or a joke?), form themselves an opinion (a threat, danger!), which triggers emotion (fear) and results in action (I get angry). Only then do we start thinking (what exactly did she say?).
In prehistoric times there was no time to think. Emotions needed to trigger an immediate response and to shut down our thinking temporarily. This mechanism was automated during evolution and moved to our subconscious. This is how emotions influence our behavior to this day.
As the short video -the interview with Damasio- on our homepage Emotional Intelligence demonstrates, our brain stores the emotional memory or emotional charge together with the event to which it is attached. Our brain all the time compares present situations with past situations. If they are comparable, then the brain automatically gives the present situation the same emotional charge as the past one. If it is negative, our alarm goes off.
Our brain is mouldable
New insights from neuroscience and biology show we can thoroughly change our behavior. Not by learning tricks, but by placing our unconscious beliefs under a magnifying glass. Then the automatic chain interpretation – judgment – emotion – action can be cut. This requires help because the processes take place unconsciously. That is the heart of our Executive Coaching.
Back to Bernard
Bernard cannot access his feelings very well. He never learned that at home and his work environment didn’t appreciate it. Bernard is a fast learner and after some practicing with his coach, he unlocks his feelings. Bernard discovers a rich variety of emotions and learns to name them.
He notices that he helps his colleagues when he gives insight into his feelings and that, as a result, more connection is created. He observes that this connection grows further when he pays attention to the emotions
of his colleagues.
A real eye opener is that his colleagues often want to (which he sometimes doubted), but simply are not able to or do not know how to address their feelings. Bernard gradually learns that an open attitude gives him a wealth of information and grinds many of his judgments. What really helps him is that he gains more insight into his inner processes and that this knowledge is supported by the scientific evidence that his coach provides him. That way he really knows that he is doing the right thing.
Gradually, Bernard’s behavior changes. He starts to receive compliments spontaneously. After 6 coaching sessions Bernard and his coach conclude that the coaching objective has been realized.
“It is now a year later, but the coaching still works. I still harvest the benefits every day.”
We have developed the InSight Dialogue method© in recent years, based on Goleman and Argyris. This method enables us to quickly recognize the underlying core patterns, usually after 3-5 questions.
“We help Executives to cut through unconscious blockades: they become more effective and feel better. is practical emotional intelligence.”
Together we work on a sustainable behavioral change by identifying underlying issues and providing insight into your emotional response system in real-life situations. Jointly we explore meaningful alternatives, give many tips & tricks, but also ‘homework’ for exercise in work situations.
“Rarely has someone looked so piercing, yet positive and understanding, at me. With clear advice that really matters to you. Many pennies dropped.”
Benefits for the coachee
You learn to address emotions much better and to remain effective in uncomfortable situations. Your performance improves and your family and colleagues experiences you as a more pleasant person. Uncomfortable feelings decrease. Reviews are improving.
“Sometimes you coach for 10 minutes, the other time for 1.5 hours. And then the coachee suddenly gets an insight moment. You can see that from the twinkling that appears in the eyes. You know she has changed a bit. For good. That’s what you do it for.”
Bernard’s next review is excellent. He is now seen as one of the most senior division presidents. The Executive Board strongly involves him in corporate projects. Promotion is near.
Benefits for the employer
A lot. Research shows that emotionally intelligent people achieve higher financial results than their peers (turnover, productivity, profit and stock price) and improve their well-being. They also arrive faster to good, more creative solutions and they speak out earlier. Conflicts are reducing; integrity gets an impulse.