Emotion Management and Executive Coaches

By April 18, 2012 Leadership No Comments

The need for better executive coaches in the use of psychological methodologies to better manage emotions in the workplace.

(Adapted from the Coaches Learning Centre includes extracts from new text book ’Behavioural Coaching’ by Zeus and Skiffington – published and copyrighted by McGraw-Hill, New York)

Emotions do not just effect organizations but contribute to their structure. In fact executive coaches mostly realise that a great deal of leadership is actually about emotion management. Organizations are emotional places, organizations and businesses use emotions to motivate employees to perform and customers to buy. Various events in organizations create emotions and affect an employee’s sense of satisfaction or outrage. Our sense of organizational identity is connected to how we feel. Rules about the display of emotions act as organizing forces within organizations and are used to create organizational structure and shape behaviour.

Emotion management is essential to inspirational coaching and mentoring programs. However, emotions can harm employees, affect how they react to pressures and be the cause of low productivity and poor results. Moods and emotions affect our selection and the quality of our actions. Emotions are a part of our everyday existence as they move through the body, affecting our state-of-mind, performance, health and energy. Some recent research even suggests that all decisions are emotionally based, and that logic is used to provide a rational explanation for whatever decision is taken. It is important that executive coaching and mentoring professionals distinguish between moods and emotions. Emotions are responses to specific events however moods are long term emotions people can find themselves in, such as pessimism, optimism, melancholy, resentment and anxiety. Moods have a major bearing on a person’s emotional response to what is happening around them. They underpin a person’s morale, their desire for improvement, their commitment to the process of change, their ability to problem-solve and their creative and innovative thinking.

Emotional management skills are necessary to reach an optimum productive state. Current research shows that by acquiring emotional management skills and techniques managers and leaders can more readily create positive and productive results in every aspect of their lives. Coaching and mentoring programs can help.

Emotional responsibility and emotional leadership.
Executive coaches engage people from a workplace dominated by the emphasis on rational and logical thinking, the role of emotions in decision-making and effective action has been often neglected. Many managers and leaders become victims of their emotions and regard their moods and emotions as things which just ’happen’. So how does management expect their employees to manage their emotions in the workplace? According to new research at the University of Missouri-Columbia, management and many employees do not want their co-workers to express any type of strong emotion — positive or negative. The new research found that the only ’appropriate’ way to manage negative emotions at work was for employees to hide or ’mask’ their emotions. Positive emotions also needed to be expressed in moderation, according to those surveyed. This factor inhibits emotional openness from the employee in an coaching and mentoring conversation.

Employees expect others to hide negative or positive emotions in order to maintain what they call ’professionalism’. This type of ’masking’ behavior was typically found in customer relation occupations but not as much in the employee to employee jobs. The researchers also found that emotion management is not something that is typically taught at work and something that executive coaches usually focus. Most organizations have traditionally focused on teaching logical and rational thinking and have neglected emotional learning in their development programs. As such, to learn what is and is not appropriate, most employees learn to manage their emotions by observing others in the workplace. However, in the last few years many executive coaches (trained in the use of psychological-based methodologies) have been increasingly called upon to develop specialist programs in this arena.

These executive coaches are typically coaching and mentoring leaders to: a) help them better understand the impact that their moods and emotions have on their behaviour, relationships and performance and, b) providing them with techniques to better manage them and create productive emotional spaces. It follows that other coaches are now seeking a better understanding of how to work with emotions in the workplace.

Some aspects of emotion that Executive Coaches need to understand:

  • How to help individuals better balance the physical, mental and emotional aspects of their working and home life
  • Characteristics of emotional health
  • How to help people maintain emotional composure on the job and maximize work relationships
  • How to help people better express emotions through assertiveness and communication skills – communicating or controlling?
  • Understanding assertive communication
  • How to better create work environments where emotional honesty and emotional energy are accepted
  • How to help people control emotions and achieve positive interaction in teams and work groups
  • The connection between emotion management and workplace stress

Understanding Stress:

  • How to identify Causes of Stress from Personal Experiences
  • How to interpret the Psychological and Physiological Effects of Stress
  • Categorize Stressors and Common Symptoms, and Distinguish Acute Stress from Episodic Stress
  • Recognize the Ways a person may be Unintentionally Contributing to their Own Stress Levels through Perceptions of Excessive Demands
  • How to identify Aspects of Personal and Professional Lifestyles in Relation to a person’s Management of Emotional Well-Being

Better understand feelings and emotional management:

Perception and defence mechanisms at work:

  • Self-awareness and what triggers reactions
  • How to assess What a person is Feeling and Why they are Feeling That Way
  • How to identify Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviours Associated with Stressful Situations
  • How to analyze Behaviour Patterns associated with Stressful Events

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