The Secret To Being A Great Coach

When you look back on the culture that has been developed throughout 2023 at your current place of work, how do you feel it ranks in comparison to others in your industry? I’m asking for two reasons. First, because I care. Second, because at Braintrust, we know a key ingredient to creating a healthy Coaching Climate™ is Emotional Intelligence. 

Over the few years, I have had the opportunity to watch first-hand how this concept fundamentally changes the entire landscape of communication within companies, great and small.  It has become even more apparent to everyone that it isn’t simply enough to understand what Emotional Intelligence is. We as leaders must understand our competencies, get a 360-degree view of these competencies, and most importantly, execute on a strategy to develop those that are strengths and build upon those that need growth. The more we understand, and stronger our intensity of belief about emotional intelligence, the more consistent will become our behaviors and ultimate habits in how leverage emotional intelligence in our personal and professional relationships. For me, it is a constant focus on adaptability and conflict management. How about you?

It seems like yesterday (it was actually 1995,) that Time Magazine published an article titled – “What is Your EQ?” The most interesting phrasing appeared in the subtitle, which read: “It’s not your IQ, It’s not even a number. But emotional intelligence may be the best predictor of success in life, redefining what it means to be smart.” 

In 2001, the groundbreaking leadership book Primal Leadership was published. Over twenty years later, I still continue to have both undergraduate and graduate students read this book as a requirement in their leadership journey. A subsequent article in Harvard Business Review stated that, “high levels of emotional intelligence, our research showed, create climates in which information sharing, trust, healthy risk-taking, and learning flourish. Low levels of emotional intelligence create climates rife with fear and anxiety.” Since then, decades of research have been completed supporting the importance of Emotional Intelligence, while even famed leadership and coaching expert Dr. Richard Boyatzis, stated that we should be referring to emotional intelligence and emotional competencies or capabilities. 

In a recent October 2023 article, published in The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, the title says it all, “Competencies of Coaches that Predict Client Behavior change.” In the article, it was stated that, “competency models developed on expert opinion were about 50% accurate in terms of predicting managerial effectiveness in prior studies. To address this gap, we tested behavioral emotional and social intelligence competencies of coaches, not self-assessed, that predicted client behavior change over 2 years. The sample was 240 coach-client dyads involving 60 different coaches. Effective coach competencies were achievement orientation, adaptability, emotional self-control, empathy, organizational assessment, and influence.” All of these are core competencies within Emotional Intelligence. 

This data is important because emotional competencies can be learned. It should also be a warning that all Emotional Intelligence training isn’t created equally. In 2023, we decided as a company that if we were going to train Emotional Intelligence, we desired to utilize an approach that was both reliable and valid. 

That is why at Braintrust, we decided to certify in ESCI. If you don’t know what ESCI is, it stands for the Emotional Social Competency Inventory created by the same thought leaders mentioned above, Dr. Richard Boyatzis and Dr. Daniel Goldman. As of our last report, this tool has been studied in thousands of organizations and across ~100,000 individuals. 

The ESCI clusters highlight four distinct areas of ability along with their corresponding competencies. 

  1. Self-Awareness – recognizing and understanding our own emotions (Emotional Self-Awareness)
  2. Self-Management – effectively managing our own emotions (Achievement Orientation, Adaptability, Emotional Self-Control, Positive Outlook)
  3. Social Awareness – recognizing and understanding the emotions of others (Empathy, Organizational Awareness)
  4. Relationship Management – applying emotional understanding in our dealings with others (Conflict Management, Coach & Mentor, Influence, Inspirational Leadership, Teamwork)

It is amazing that continued research and practical application in all areas of leadership continues to grow. However, we as current or future leaders need to do more. Leadership and coaching training that includes emotional competencies requires investment, commitment, focus and a certified coach to drive growth to create a world-class Coaching Climate™. If you want to learn more about how to enhance your individual development or team leadership-coaching skills, please reach out at We are confident that it may be the best gift you can give yourself or your team in 2024. Leadership matters and it is fueled by master coaching.

Related Posts