Developing emotional intelligence (EI) through executive coaching is a powerful approach to enhance leadership effectiveness, interpersonal skills and overall professional growth. 

But what is EI? In essence, it’s the ability to understand, manage and influence both your and others’ emotions. This is a critical skill for leaders in the workplace as it allows you to build stronger professional relationships and inspire your team.

Executive coaching enhances emotional intelligence skills by teaching you new ways of thinking, perceiving and behaving. This shakes you out of old habits and forces you to become more self-aware, empathetic and open to change. 

The importance of emotional intelligence in leaders

Keeping a cool head during a stressful situation or showing humility when exploring new ideas is a powerful tool in the workplace. These 2023 statistics highlight the effects and importance of emotional intelligence in leaders:

  • 87% of millennials are motivated by the emotional intelligence of their leaders
  • Employees who have managers with a high EI are 4x less likely to leave
  • When employees are treated with respect, they are 55% more engaged, 63% more satisfied and 58% more focused on their jobs

Despite knowing the effectiveness of strong emotional intelligence skills, it is still severely lacking. Out of 155,000 leaders, only 22% had strong EI skills

This statistic should urge organisations to invest in executive coaching and enhance their leaders’ EI. With demands for these skills projected to grow by 22% in the EU and 26% in the US by 2030, executives should start refining them now if they want to enjoy career advancement opportunities.

How developing EI skills improves employment prospects

Emotional intelligence is important for your own employment prospects and career growth. According to those earlier statistics, EI accounts for 90% of the factors that set leaders apart.

Additionally, executives who have empathy skills perform 40% higher in coaching, engaging staff, and decision making. Those who have high emotional intelligence also make USD $29,000 more annually than people with low EI.

Certainly, EI is becoming an increasingly sought-after skill. 36% of business executives believe that it will soon become compulsory to have, while 75% of surveyed HR respondents say they value an employee’s EI skills over their IQ. In fact, a leader’s IQ only accounts for 20% of success, leaving emotional intelligence as the major determinant. 

The bottom line is this: possessing strong emotional intelligence is highly valuable in today’s collaborative and people-oriented workplaces, making individuals with a high EI more attractive candidates for employment and advancement opportunities.

8 techniques used in executive coaching for EI

Executive coaching employs various techniques to enhance emotional intelligence skills. While some rely on the presence of a coach or third party, such as in role playing, many EI techniques can also be practised at home. 

If you want to know what to expect from EI executive coaching, or if you want to start improving your EI skills by yourself, here’s an overview of some popular techniques:

1. Motivation: This involves helping executives connect with their intrinsic motivations and align their goals with their values. This creates a sense of purpose and resilience, enabling them to stay motivated in challenging situations.

2. Assessments: Emotional intelligence assessments, progress tracking, 360-degree feedback – all of this provides executives with insights into their current EI competencies and areas for improvement, as well as tangible evidence of progress.

3. Self-reflection: Executives are encouraged to engage in regular self-reflection to understand their emotions, blind spots and patterns of behaviour. Journaling or guided self-assessment exercises can help develop this self-awareness.

4. Mindfulness: Executive coaching can use mindfulness practices, deep breathing exercises and relaxation techniques to help executives manage stress, stay focused and enhance self-regulation.

5. Role-playing: This allows executives to practise responding to emotionally charged scenarios in which they are most likely to be triggered. This enhances their ability to manage emotions and handle challenging situations.

6. Empathy techniques: Executive coaching involves techniques like active listening and questioning practices, as well as nonverbal communication awareness, to enhance empathy skills and ensure the individual understands others’ perspectives.

7. Stress management strategies: Executives should learn practical strategies for managing stress, such as time management and prioritisation techniques, and how to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

8. Conflict resolution techniques: Executive coaches teach conflict resolution tactics and collaborative problem-solving methods that consider emotions and interpersonal dynamics, and foster healthier and more productive conflict resolution.

Improve your leadership effectiveness by improving your EI

In the end, if you improve your EI skills, you’re paving the way to improving your leadership effectiveness. The two are intrinsically bound. When embarking on an emotional intelligence journey, consider where it will have the biggest impact on your leadership style and relationships.

By adapting EI techniques to the specific strengths and challenges of your leadership style, you can enhance your effectiveness, build better relationships with colleagues, create environments that promote growth and garner better employment prospects.

The biggest advantage of developing emotional intelligence through executive coaching is that you get real-time, expert support from a coach who is a specialist in your industry. Your coach will provide invaluable guidance on how to approach specific situations and apply EI skills effectively. 

We offer executive coaching for individuals looking to develop their emotional intelligence skills and be the best leader possible. We also offer corporate executive coaching for businesses looking to bring EI into the heart of their operations. To find out more about how we can help, contact our friendly team.