Coaching insights 3

Coaching Insights (Volume 3) Great Leadership Is A Balancing Act


One of my favourite psychometric tools is the EQ360. An Emotional Intelligence test which analyses 15 qualities when emotions are involved. It’s one of the most comprehensive and insightful tools on the market.

One of the many reasons I rate it so much is that it makes it clear EI is not all about high scores. A bailiff wouldn’t want a high empathy score, for example! It’s situational as this implies, but also it’s about balance.

I talk a lot about balance in my coaching sessions. The balance required between being task-focussed and relationship-focussed, the need to balance business needs and individual needs, the importance of focussing on feelings as well as facts and so on. This is where the EQ-i self-assessment and EQ360 really comes into its own highlighting potential challenges in our behaviour.

I was working with a senior leader yesterday who had a high assertiveness score paired with a very low empathy score. He was a bit shocked by his empathy score as he said he “had been working hard at it over the last couple of years.”

However, when he saw this pairing the lightbulbs evidently went off in his head!

“That means I come across as too overbearing doesn’t it?”

“Potentially” I replied. “Possibly even aggressive rather than assertive?”

“Yes it makes eminent sense” he said looking a bit horrified. “Under extreme stress, I go into siege mentality. I hunker down and determine that the only person who can get us out of this mess is me. So I become very directive and order people around. I’m even a nightmare at home.”

“So what can you do differently?” I asked in classic Coach style!?

“I need to chill out a bit,” he responded, “recognise it’s not life and death we’re dealing with here and talk to my line manager more. After I’d shared how I was feeling with him last week I felt so much better.”

Three brilliant strategies. Let’s hope the stark reality highlighted by the EQ360 is the trigger this guy needs to make some behavioural changes which will benefit himself, his team and his family. In my experience, it often is!

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