I’m a coach, consultant, trainer, and wikinomics facilitator. Over 17 years I have worked to help 1000‘s of individuals and organizations, delivering 1000’s of hours of consultation on career choices/transitions and workplace performance I combine expertise in careers, training, branding and social media strategy with psychology, personality and emotional intelligence to provide those seeking to learn more about themselves and their options with the best advice and consultation. Visit me on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter @CareerChatter.
Tell us about emotional intelligence.
When I talk about EI (emotional intelligence) I say the following.
“Emotional Intelligence speaks to your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your own behaviour and relationships and manage the behavior of others.”
In 1995, Daniel Goleman’s work, “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter more then IQ” (recently named by Time Magazine as one of the 25 top influential business management books) brought a popular awareness of the value of Emotional Intelligence. Goleman’s research in leadership and business demonstrated that for individuals of similar abilities and education as much as 80% of success in business can be connected to the development and ability to use emotionally intelligent skills. Research on performance success factors in over 200 companies demonstrated “that about one-third of this difference is due to technical skill and cognitive ability (intelligence) while two-thirds is due to emotional competence” and in “top leadership positions, over four-fifths of the difference is due to emotional competence” (Goleman, 1998).
Recent research has demonstrated that for individuals with similar ability and Intelligence (IQ) emotional intelligence becomes a better predictor of success in school, business and personal relationships when compared to other factors.
Goleman’s 5 domains include:
- Knowing your emotions.
- Managing your own emotions.
- Motivating yourself.
- Recognizing and understanding other people’s emotions.
- Managing relationships (emotions of others).
The Bar-on Eq-i (that is the specific instrument I have certification on) includes the constructs of Self-perception, Self-Expression, Stress Management, Decision Making and Interpersonal skills.
I believe that your ability to read your own and other peoples underlying emotions contributes to your ability to make better choices and decisions and build better relationships. Of course, it is much easier said then done. One of the nice aspects of EI is that, unlike IQ, EI can grow over time. As you age and gain more experiences you can increase your EI skills. Not everyone does and it is not always easy to control your emotions in every situation. However, the more awareness you have of your own and others emotions the better able you are to make successful choices and decisions.
I find Emotional Intelligence an important awareness for career selection, management and performance and more recently, I have begun to explore it’s application within social media.
Why can’t some people make positive changes in life?
That is a good and complicated question.
Some people do not seem to have the capacity to see their best options, others do not seem to have the capacity to act on what they do see and for others it is a combination. I believe that there are many variables which impact on ones ability to make positive changes in life. Among these are a lack of self-awareness and emotional intelligence. People are not always aware of what they need to make a change, they lack insights into their own underlying motivations and needs and may lack experience and knowledge and support, to make changes.
I say it is complicated and I really do mean that. Many people, including smart and accomplished people and people with fewer accomplishments struggle with understanding and following through on their best options. I do not know if you have read any of Malcolm Gladwells books – (they are always interesting if sometimes a little selective in their interpretationsand inclusions), but I enjoyed reading his book ”Outliers”. What makes some people successful is a combination of many factors, among them timing and opportunity but also ones ability to take advantage or recognize opportunities for success. As a career coach I often talk to people about the Planned Happenstance model of career planning. That involves putting oneself in a position to see opportunities and take advantage of them when you do. The opportunity for positive change is often waiting for people but they do not recognize it and are not prepared to take advantage of it when it comes. Sometimes that is because they can not recognize it – they can not see it, they do not understand what they see or it’s relevance to them or they do not know how to act on what they see. That is why sometimes it is useful to work with someone who can facilitate awareness and actions.
Being stuck in a pattern can be difficult to change. Recent research does demonstrate to us that our brains are not hard-wired and we can ‘change’ our brains and develop new patterns of behaviour and thought. But, that is a very difficult thing to do (have you heard about neurofeedback – a fascinating emerging area of study on the brains ability to re-wire). Once your brain is accustomed to a certain path it takes additional and sustained efforts to make a change. If you lack the insight, skills, opportunities and supports during the time you seek to make changes the positive change can be very difficult to sustain. It is important and necessary for most people seeking to make positive change that they line up as much awareness, opportunity and support during the process as they can. I think that social media can play a role in this -providing opportunity for insight, connection and support as a small step in the process of making change.
Have you seen the blog 1000 Awesome Things or the TED video featuring Neil Pasricha? I think this is an example of the way social media can have an small impact on peoples ability to re-think and make positive change.
What difficulties do you run into as a career coach. Do people always listen?
Aa a career coach it is difficult to stay on top of the huge variance in career and education options available to the diverse range of career seekers. That is coupled with the rapid change in the economy, technology, skills and needs and the increased competition in the job market.
It is very difficult to get the message out that always, from the beginning, consciously choosing and managing your career is important. People spend a significant amount of time in their careers and most people report they are only ‘somewhat satisfied’ or ‘somewhat content’ with their careers. I do not think everyone will find their “passion” in a career – for many their career can not or will not be a passion – and that is okay. I think most people want and need to make a contribution with their lives and for some that happens in their career, but not for everyone. If your career is not your passion you still want to spend time doing what Fits well with who you are – your abilities, interests, preferences. It helps, then, if you know what these are. If you choose to forgo a job or career that best Fits and seek one that meets other needs like financial that is okay – as long as you go into that with an awareness of this choice.
Do people always listen – often they do hear what I am saying. Perhaps that is because when they find me they were already looking for a change – either a self-imposed change or one imposed by others (such as a job loss). My process focusses on self-awareness. If they embrace the idea of self-awareness then they can listen to themselves and I just facilitate that process. The relationship with a client is about working through the insights, ideas and options until we arrive at potential solutions for the future. Then, in a planned happenstance way ,the client moves forward able to see and decide what options to pursue as they arise. Being open to possibilities and able to recognize and embrace them is a core message I hope people hear.
How does blogging help to get your message into the public?
Blogging allows you to share your ideas and insights in a non-invasive way. You put it out there and others can choose to listen if it has relevance to them. It enables me to reach more people and talk to them directly – if and when they are interested and willing to listen. And, it is easy for them to share with others.
I consider comments I write in Quora, Linkedin and even facebook to also be blog posts. In his book Crowdsoursing Jeff Howe talks about the rise of the amateur expert. I think that blogs have given a voice to those with something to share who may not have had a platform for sharing – but they have value to add to the conversation. Not everyone of course adds value to a conversation, but that is up to the listener to decide on what resonates with them. I share my blogs directly with my followers as a way of telling them what I am recommending and why so they can take what they want in their own time and on their own terms. It is a way of connecting people to a community if they are interested in joining.
I think you need to be thoughtful and demonstrate EI within your blogs and within your approach to promoting and disseminating your blog posts. You can impact on people, even unintentionally and it is important to remember to measure and consider the quality of what you have to say.
What do you do with spare time?
I have very little spare time – I have two special children so that occupies most of my time, watching gymnastics, soccer, swimming – my 10 year old daughter just ran her 1st 5 k a while ago – she was in at 26 min and 57 out of 500 women of all ages. Reading a good book, learning a new technology or giving advice to someone on social media occupy most of the few hours I have left in a given week.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by people who struggle every day and still keep going. I see people (clients) who have come to Canada seeking a better life for their children. They may have been professionals or had good jobs and educations back in their home countries and here they may have almost nothing. Yet they keep going. Both of my children are adopted and come from very difficult backgrounds. They will struggle their entire lives with many issues. Many families struggle to raise children with huge barriers to life and most of them keep moving forward, taking the small victories where they can. People who try to do what they can and make the small changes and small differences each day are inspiring to me.
Careers are often volatile. How does one “stabilize” a career?
I do not think careers will stabilize in the foreseeable future. I think the stable career was a temporary – although long running temporary – byproduct of the industrial revolution. In the post-industrial revolution - A phrase I first heard from Seth Godin – I believe constant career change and reinvention will be the new norm.
I have been talking and blogging about the Protean Career. I worked with US author Jay Block and a small team to develop the 12 Protean career Principles earlier this year. The protean career – which is not really a new concept as it really also describes the pre-industrial revolution career – is all about constant adaptation and reinvention. I have talked about the pioneering spirit – doing less with more, seeking new grounds and opportunities. I believe that a ‘stable’ career in the future is one where you always see yourself as your own employer – even when working for someone else. You are in charge of your skills development, staying on top of the trends, making changes and managing your own constantly shifting career path. I do think that the millennia’s are better prepared for this career path – once they have the opportunity to get started on it. The struggle I see at this time is for the +40 year older Gen X’s and Younger baby Boomers to make the transition to the post industrial career world where ‘wikinomics’ (have you read Don Tapscotts Wikinomics and Macro-Wikinomics books?) – Openness, sharing. collaboration. Peering and acting globally are part of the emerging business model and where just in time hiring (not permanent but project, contract based employment) is becoming more common (of course we will have to see in a few years once this great recession passes what career path will emerge – though i believe the Protean Path will be around for some time).
Do you like to dance?
I only dance with my children.