Emotional intelligence has been linked to everything from leadership talent and career success to health, happiness, and relationship outcome.
Who wouldn't want to boost their emotional intelligence or EQ, especially considering that it lowers stress levels as well?
While coaches offer ways to boost emotional intelligence, is this a soft skill that can be learned?
Can emotional intelligence be taught?
Research shows that everyone possesses an innate level of EQ. Factors that affect EQ include genetics, disposition, and childhood experiences. Some people are naturally hot-tempered–out of personality, learned patterning from home, or a combination of factors–while other people tend to be calm under pressure.
While everyone's innate EQ is firm, it can be changed. Change takes perseverance and understanding, although most people naturally increase their EQ as they age. That's one reason why teens may be sulky or shy, then mature into pleasant adults.
The process of raising emotional intelligence consists of understanding the circumstances, changing your behaviors, and changing your internal landscape. With yelling, this means recognizing anger triggers, taking steps to remain calm in front of others (say, deep breathing), and managing rather than suppressing the internal stressors.
Coaching for EQ
Coaching programs can improve emotional intelligence and other soft skills by up to 25 percent.
However, since some amount of EQ is innate, change is most attainable when people want to change. Coaching can have the biggest impact when it comes to interpersonal skills. Through open-ended questions, modeling, and skills development, coaches can help individuals manage emotional states to enjoy a positive peer reputation.
A coach will help you see the bigger picture of human interactions and understand how they are seen by their peers. Considering that most people have no idea how they come across, open feedback from coaches can be invaluable in planting seeds to change behavior.
Stress management for emotional intelligence
Given the correlation between stress and emotional intelligence, it's no surprise that learning stress management improves EQ - by up to 35 percent.
Stressed individuals are highly volatile and unlikely to adopt a flexible attitude when things do not go as planned. Psychological flexibility - or the ability to go with the flow - is linked to a high EQ.
By lowering stress, people can improve their mindset and EQ.
Meditation for EQ
Emotional regulation is one of the main tenets of EQ. If you can't control strong emotions, you are more likely to act on impulses and be swayed by feeling.
While the process can be uncomfortable, learning to sit with uncomfortable feelings, look at all the options, and decide on the best reaction is a skill that will serve you well in your personal and professional life. It's also something that's learned well through the stress-relieving process of meditation.
In meditation, you learn to stay present despite thoughts and feelings - to stay in the moment even when it can be unpleasant to do so. This maps over perfectly onto managing unpleasant emotions, such as jealousy, anger, or resentment.
The benefits of improving EQ
Given the hard work it takes to build your emotional intelligence, is it worth it?
Yes, especially for your career.
Individuals with higher EQs are better able to manage their emotions and communicate with others. They hold onto stress and anger less than individuals with lower EQs, have more empathy for others, and are better able to cope with challenges.
Within the hospitality profession, where many roles are customer-service facing, it should be clear that individuals with demonstrated emotional intelligence will be better able to do their jobs - and may take more enjoyment from the work. The evolution of the hospitality industry towards "affective hospitality" will make these skills essential.
As a result, these candidates are more likely to be hired, promoted, and find career success. They're also more likely to be happy and fulfilled in their personal lives!
Whether you are blessed with a high EQ and want to become more emotionally resilient or whether you know you tend to be emotional and want a better handle on anger and stress, taking steps to improve your EQ not only helps you, it improves interpersonal relationships, mindset, and health outcomes.
There's no reason not to try.