Emotionally Intelligent Leadership: Self-Awareness and Emotional Expression
Coaching Article

Emotionally Intelligent Leadership: Self-Awareness and Emotional Expression

By Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., MCC

Learn more about Emotionally Intelligence and Coaching and EQi 2.0 and EQ360 Certification

You probably have heard the compelling statistics on the value of emotional intelligence. For example, a study of over 40 Fortune 500 companies found that sales professionals who had high emotional intelligence outperformed those with medium or low EI by 50%. Another Fortune 500 company found that by assessing emotional intelligence levels and then delivering training and coaching to improve emotional awareness, social skills and stress management they boosted retention by 67% and saved $30 million. Over 50 studies found a positive relationship between emotionally intelligent leadership and employee satisfaction, retention, and performance.

Emotionally Intelligent Leadership: Self-Awareness and Emotional Expression

Here are two key factors which are crucial for emotionally intelligent leadership with corresponding coaching strategies:

Emotional Self-Awareness

The core of emotional intelligence is awareness of our own emotions, what causes them, and how we react to them. Leaders who are more aware of their emotions find it easier to regulate their behavior and control the impact of their emotions on their co-workers and family members. Leaders who are in tune with the physiological signs of their emotions use those clues to help them identify emotional information and use that data to their benefit.

Coaching Strategies for Emotional Self-Awareness:

  • Individuals who have well-developed emotional self-awareness often ask themselves: “How do I feel about this direction?” “What is my gut telling me about this decision?”
  • When you are coaching a colleague who wants to work better with others you can ask, “What seem to be the causes of your co-worker’s emotions?” “How do those emotions seem to affect their buy-in?”
Download the Free Report

The Top 6 Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Executive or Life Coach Training

Privacy: we do not release contact information.

Emotional Expression

Individuals who effectively express emotions use body language and words to convey their feelings in a way that is not hurtful to others. If you are relatively strong in emotional expression you likely can bring your true feelings to the surface easily and usually can find ways to express positive emotions like happiness as well as more uncomfortable emotions like sadness or anger without difficulty and in a way that is respectful of others.

Emotional expression is the action oriented part of one’s emotional experience. Successful personal and work relationships are related to the leader’s ability and comfort with openly exchanging thoughts and feelings. When the leader clearly expresses their feelings in a comfortable manner others will feel more open also which often leads to greater interpersonal connection, understanding and teamwork.

Coaching Strategies for Emotional Expression:

  • When coaching an individual in fine-tuning their emotional expression this may be a useful homework activity: “The next time you express what you feel, pay more attention to how the other person is reacting. Notice their facial cues, the tone of their voice and their body language. For example, do they seem happy about your promotion or do they appear to be threatened by the news?”
  • This type of homework activity helps the leader learn that expressing their feelings is not just about them, it also about being sensitive to other people’s reactions when you share how you feel.
College of Executive Coaching trains coaches to utilize emotional intelligence assessments.

Learn More

A Member of

  • ACTP: Accredited Coach Training Program
  • APA-approved sponsor
  • BCC: Board Certified Coach
  • PHR, SPHR, GPHR Approved Provider
  • IOC: Institute of Coaching