In my last blog I introduced you to the concept of Emotional Intelligence (EI) and how it is important for coaches to understand it and how they can achieve it. Recall that Daniel Goleman defined EI as “a set of skills, including control of one’s impulses, self-motivation, empathy and social competence in interpersonal relationships.”


In the first of this two-blog series I took a look at John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey’s five main domains of emotional intelligence and broke them into two communication systems, with domains 1-3 being intrapersonal in nature, and domains 4-5 as interpersonal.

The first blog provided six ways that coaches can be emotionally intelligent through intrapersonal communication. In this second blog I emphasize the interpersonal skills, recognizing emotions in others and handling relationships, which coaches need in order to become an effective coach. Here are six ways that coaches can become emotionally intelligent through the interpersonal domains:

1. Allow your players to know you believe in them. – Not allowing our players know we think highly of them in fear that we will let our guard down and they will become complacent is a thing of the past. Tell your players you believe in their abilities as players and, especially, as people.

2. Praise them. – This may be difficult at times but research shows that people are more successful when they receive more praise than criticism. Positive leadership expert Jon Gordon suggests leaders deliver three positive affirmations to every negative criticism.

3. Reveal that sports build character while revealing it and displaying it. – We have all heard the first part of that statement but in order for coaches to see character development in their athletes they must model it and talk about what it looks like. We can’t expect them to have it if we don’t have it ourselves and we must assume they don’t know what it is.

4. Determine what is important in coaching your sport and emphasize it. – The developmental stages and competitive levels of the athletes, as well as the quantity and quality of time you have with them, are factors that need to be considered when defining priorities for your coaching. Your league, sport, and you as the coach need to establish what you want your athletes to gain from their athletic experience.

5. Understand the world of your athlete. – In order to be able to communicate effectively with them, we have to know what is going on in their lives. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their family, their academics, and their “significant others.” Also, provide empathy every opportunity you have. Walk alongside them.

6. Communicate! – The root of all social intelligence is the ability to communicate. You have many important people with whom you need to communicate – athletes, staff, administrators, and parents, to name a few. Communicate with people and not at people.

Resources Mentioned in This Blog
Article: Emotional Intelligence http://www.unh.edu/emotional_intelligence/EIAssets/EmotionalIntelligenceProper/EI1990%20Emotional%20Intelligence.pdf

Book: Emotional Intelligence http://www.amazon.com/Emotional-Intelligence-Matter-More-Than/dp/055338371X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373885556&sr=1-1&keywords=Emotional+Intelligence

Question: What experiences have you had as a coach where you have been successful recognizing emotions in others and/or handling relationships?


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