Into “the realm of emotions”: Executive Coaching in Emotional Intelligence – Developing of Leadership Behaviours


By Yasen Dimitrov (Bulgaria)


The growing popularity of Coaching can be explained in different ways. Some clients find that it helps them to overcome and” tackle” their fears. Others share that through coaching they unlock some parts of their potential, or find a way to experience happiness of living- building up relationships. For many Coaching paradigms such as Life Coaching or Confidence Coaching that could be enough – goal achieved, mission completed.

Speaking of Business Coaching we have to narrow some of these benefits. More than that, as coaching professionals we have to stay focused on the specific goals and outcomes determined by the business perspective. This applies even stronger speaking of Executive Coaching – approach often viewed as the ”crown jewel” of Business Coaching.

The change of Leadership models used within the organisation can be a very big determinant of both strategy (effectiveness), and organisational culture. That’s why developing leadership behaviours is often the” cornerstone” of the Executive Coaching.

The topic of leadership can be limitless. There are many books, and even more studies focused on different leadership models. Starting from Gordon Allport’s “Trait theory1 ,followed by many psychology based theories such as Hersey & Blanchard’s “Situational Leadership ”2 and Lewin’s “Participative leadership ”3 in addition to the ones based on financial results and statistics such as level 5 leadership 4 of J. C. Collins.Yet, after all that big work and data the leadership phenomenon seems to be far from complete understanding.

All of those paradigms as different as they are having some similarities, and that is the missing ingredient – the emotional part of the leader. That part can be irrational, impulsive, and unpredictable as only a human being can be!

Owing to the developing concept of Emotional Intelligence (EI)5 for the last 20 years the emotions are getting its place among on the Academic shelves in the book stores. More and more authors and practitioners are attracted to use this paradigm in their work. Today we all know how important is the synchrony between two main determinants of human behaviour- the cognitions (the thinking) and the emotions 6. Now one argues anymore that in order to achieve mature, inspirational leadership the leader should operate and lead with both- the emotional reactions, and the logical thinking. This is the main premise for the increasing need of coaching practices developing Emotional Intelligence and all associated with it behaviours, within the framework of Execute Coaching.

Very often the Executive has not place to speak or share the emotional part in a business context. He is doing so only by relatives or friends, but because of their reactions very soon he accepts the principle “Do not speak of his work at home”.

The type of leadership model that suppresses emotions and focuses only on tasks, numbers, targets, this type of leader cold and “stone faced” proves to be highly unproductive in long term perspective7 . Unfortunately for some managers this is the only behavioural model they ‘v seen and they know, and because Executive is a role, a position loaded with so much a power- it changes the whole organisational culture. Changes it towards fear, demotivation, ignorance of the employees.

Executive Couching in Emotional Intelligence is one of the ways to support such clients in their attempt to use emotions in leading people. To apply some of it, in managerial and guidance processes in the organisation and as a result to expect motivated, dedicated, inspired followers.

Working on the balance and integrity of emotional expressions, or building empathy and trust are areas that easily become the focus of the Coaching process. Viewing work experiences in that context, integrating the emotional part of the personality in the whole” Self –Image8 “ and his professional identity as Executive could open a space for whole new” set of roles”. Could aloud more spontaneous , authentic, “human” behaviours for the “stone faced CEO”.

Overcoming hastiness, changing permanent petulance, or edgy/,severe style of communication can be the working area on the other spectrum of emotional imbalance .Getting control over emotion and impulsiveness is yet another challenge for Executive Coaching. Supporting the client to learn and find some control techniques , or even to change his, habits, attitudes, values. Changing that models of irrational behaviour can encourage the followers in the organisation to more participative, to share ideas , to engage in constructive discussions , why not even in constructive conflicts. That could be the escape from the “false harmony” and the dysfunctions of the teams11 in many organisations.

Only for the last couple of years respected experts conducted many surveys proving the importance of Emotional Intelligence for successful leadership. Finding the importance of EI of the leader for feelings of engagement, or the ability to motivate and inspire their subordinates to work towards common goals9 , or even for Increasing performance in sales teams10. Not so many are the solutions or techniques that develop the EI level. But of course that is going to change – that is the marked principle “The demand determines supply.


In the world of increasing need I think the Executive Coaching can be the one solution that is suitable for the organisations and Executives- both, because as any Coaching method, it nourishes the constructive parts of the client’s personality, supporting him towards the development of leadership behaviours. Behaviours that have all the needed aspects of both – the client’s comfort in Executive role, and creating an organisational culture that leads to increased effectiveness and higher work motivation. In case of Executive Coaching – This should be “mission completed.”


Allport G.(1975) ”The nature of personality”, Greenwood Press

2 .Blanchard K ,& Hodges P. (2002), “Lead like a Jesus” , Thomas Nelsen INC

Lewin, K (1999). “Resolving social conflicts and field theory in social science.” Bertram Books
Colins J. (1996)“Good to Great” Random House
Goleman D. et all(2004).” Primal Leadership”, HBS Press
Cooper K..& Sawaf A.(1997) “Executive EQ Emmotional Inteligence in Leadership “Grosset/Putnum, New York
Cholamzera J. et all ’’Comparing Transformational Leadership in Successful and Unsuccessful Organisations’’ Journal of International Social Research volume2/6 2009
Leary M.& Tangney J.(2012), ’’The handbook of Self and Identity’’, The Guilford Press, London
Bass M. B.(1985), ‘’Leadership and Performance Beyond Expectations’’, Free Press, New York
Mehnert W. & Mehnert G.(2011), ’’Developing Emotional Intelligence in Sales’’ , Strategic Learning INC

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