Skip to content

Coaching and emotional intelligence

Being coached or learning to coach others increases the emotional and social competencies of leaders. Discover how coaching and emotional intelligence connect.

– 5 mins read –

The personal behaviour of leaders impacts business results. We regularly ask workers around the world to recall someone who had a positive impact on their younger self. Our surveys show the common factor shared by those influential people is always a natural ability of emotional intelligence. It comes naturally to some but thankfully we can all develop emotional and social competencies through learning to coach.

Research shows that high emotional intelligence confers a significant performance advantage on managers. In fact, emotional intelligence is twice as important as cognitive ability in predicting outstanding performance. And studies show that emotional and social intelligence accounts for more than 85 per cent of “star performance” in top leaders (Daniel Goleman and Hay Group).

emotional intelligence competencies coaching leadership style

Transformational Coaching Skills increase Emotional Intelligence

Organizations large and small are waking up to the profound effect that a coaching culture has on the “triple bottom line” – people, planet and profit – and are rushing to send their managers on any number of generic coaching courses. All too often, there is little or no return on investment because the basic coaching skills they learn do not translate to results back in the workplace. They remain uninspired and unmotivated to change.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Sir John Whitmore combined the concepts of high-performance sports coaching with the primary components of transpersonal psychology to develop a performance coaching approach that is transformational rather than transactional. In his bestselling book Coaching for Performance, Sir John explains that true coaching is the practice of emotional intelligence; it is a behaviour not a skill set. And he reveals that the essence of good coaching is to build awareness and responsibility. It takes just a quick read of this seminal book to understand that coaching is more than coaching. It is a way of being – an emotionally intelligent style of management.

executive coaching accreditation executive-coaching certification
performance consulting leadership-development-consulting

Join one of our webinars to find out more about a coaching leadership style

To influence and work confidently with others and to contribute successfully to the growth and performance of an organization, leaders need to know what is happening around them, understand what they are experiencing in the moment and recognize what it might be like to be in someone else’s shoes. Crucially, leaders need to learn how to tune in to their inner signals and understand how their emotions affect them and those around them and the impact on performance.

Awareness is the foundation of Emotional Intelligence

For the past 50 years organizations have been operating in the Age of Information, where intellectual capital is prized as the key to profit. However, the most advanced organizations are moving beyond information and intellect into a new operating reality, the Age of Consciousness. At this exciting frontier of competitive advantage, cultural capital counts and high emotional and social intelligence are the game changers. In the Age of Consciousness, managers and leaders behave like that emotionally intelligent individual who helped us to feel special, valued, confident and, above all, believe in our self. They have what we call a “coaching style of leadership”.

At Performance Consultants, we believe the purpose of coaching is to unlock people’s potential to maximize their own performance. Training leaders to adopt a transformational coaching approach is the single most powerful way to develop the four fundamental emotional intelligence components proven to impact high performance: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management (Forbes, 2001). It all starts with awareness:

AWARENESS OF SELFunderstand why you do what you do. Learn to recognize your human tendencies, internal interferences and biases in order to self-manage emotions, judgements and reactions. Improve performance by self-managing and overcoming inner obstacles to potential.

  • AWARENESS OF OTHERSsee the person behind the performance. Learn to spot people’s strengths, interferences and motivations in order to manage relationships and inspire and collaborate successfully with individuals and teams. Improve social skills by getting curious about, listening to and partnering with those you work with.
  • AWARENESS OF ORGANIZATIONcreate a positive impact on the culture. Learn to align individual, team and organizational goals and develop a coaching approach which leads to high performance, learning and enjoyment.

The importance of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

In 1998 Daniel Goleman, the author of bestselling book Emotional Intelligence, asked “What Makes a Leader?” in the Harvard Business Review. Goleman had identified that traditional leadership qualities such as intelligence, toughness, determination and vision were not the full story of successful leadership. His research showed that high-performing leaders are also distinguished by a high degree of emotional intelligence. And he showed direct ties between emotional intelligence and measurable business results.

Goleman’s article caught the interest of the world’s largest healthcare company Johnson & Johnson who decided to assess 358 managers globally against their leadership competency model, the J&J Standards of Leadership, and the Emotional Competence Inventory based on the work of Richard Boyatzis and Daniel Goleman. Each manager selected at least 1 supervisor and 4 other raters to assess them. A total of 1,415 employees in 37 countries completed the survey. The performance rating and potential rating for each manager were determined from regional human resource data for the previous 2 performance years.

The Johnson & Johnson study confirmed that high-performing managers scored higher ratings in the social, emotional and relational leadership competencies that relate to emotional intelligence. The highest performing leaders had significantly more “emotional competence” than their peers.

Coaching Leadership Training for Emotional Intelligence

Performance Consultants are the leading training company in developing authentic, emotionally and socially intelligent managers and leaders through coaching workshops and 1:1 coaching. Emotional competencies are not analytical or “hard” skills and cannot be taught through traditional didactic instruction methods. They are best impacted by rigorous experiential facilitation methods and honed during the training through practising real-issue coaching, not role play.

Leaders Can Learn Emotional Intelligence

Our inspiring Coaching for Performance leadership programme is built on the two pillars of awareness and responsibility. The training allow leaders to develop emotional and social competencies that give them greater agility, gain their people’s trust and create Vision that connects and inspires their organization. Participants gain the confidence to achieve their potential and to become catalysts of change and high achievement across their organization


Cavallo, K and Brienza, D “Emotional Competence and Leadership Excellence at Johnson & Johnson: The Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Study“, Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations (EI Consortium)

Goleman, D Working with Emotional Intelligence, ‎Bloomsbury Publishing

meeting your needs

How can you increase emotional intelligence into your organization?

Sir John and his colleagues at Performance Consultants were the first to take coaching into the workplace and coined the term “performance coaching” in the early 1980s. We continue to lead the field in performance improvement through coaching leadership training.

Select one of the options shown. Or get in touch and one of our world-class leadership development consultants will work with you to create a tailored programme that meets your specific needs.

  • Attend a Coaching Course – experience the benefits of coaching first hand. See our Global Training Calendar to find the right course for you
  • Transformational Leader Pathway – learn how to be a leader–coach with a coaching leadership style that creates a culture of high performance for you, your team and entire organization
  • Performance Coach Certification – become a coach or take your coaching skills to the next level so that you can practise transformational leadership coaching
  • Individual Coaching (1:1) – take your leadership to the next level with a tailored, fast-track professional development coaching programme
  • Team Development – unlock the next level of potential in your team with team coaching