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Building Emotional Intelligence

The concept of “Emotional Intelligence” may not be familiar to most coaches, but it can provide valuable insight into your effectiveness as a coach and how you interact with others. Emotional intelligence is a measure of how a person manages themselves and their relationships with others, both of which are essential to coaching. An article is a breakdown of emotional intelligence and how to recognize your strengths and where you might need to improve.

Emotional intelligence is broken into two categories: personal and social. The personal side deals with how you manage yourself, such as your self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation. The social side has to do with the way you handle relationships with others, which involves empathy and social skills. Mental intelligence or IQ has no bearing on emotional intelligence, and although no one is perfect, coaches who have a higher emotional intelligence are more likely to have success working with others.

Personal Skills:

“Self-awareness is the skill of being aware of and understanding your emotions as they occur and as they evolve,” according to “It is wrong to think of emotions as either positive or negative. Instead, you should think of them as appropriate or inappropriate.”

Assessing your own emotions and understanding if they are appropriate or inappropriate for the situation will help you as a coach. Athletics are often full of emotion, but it’s important to stay in control of these emotions instead of letting them control you. When you are able to honestly assess yourself, you will have more confidence in your ability to make decisions.

When things get tough, it’s essential that coaches are able to maintain their composure and trust their ability to work through any situation. Be ready to adapt and innovate based on the challenges in front on you. As a leader, you will often need to self-regulate without the guidance of others. 

Similarly, you will also have to self-motivate. This often comes naturally to a lot of coaches, but there will always be times when it’s harder to find motivation than others. Try to remain optimistic during these times and tap into the initiative that has driven you towards your goals.

Social Skills:

“Interpersonal skills are the skills we use to interact with other people,” according to “They enable us to communicate appropriately and build stronger, more meaningful relationships. Emotional intelligence includes how we understand others and their emotions, and our actions and behaviors towards them.”

Empathy plays a major role in how you interact with others. When you are able to empathize you are more likely to understand others, which will help you build positive and productive relationships. This is clearly important for how you interact with athletes and help them develop, but it also relates to your relationship with other coaches and administrators.

There are also a variety of other social skills that can play a crucial role in your effectiveness as a coach, most notably, communication. When you can communicate your own ideas and constructive criticism while also being able to listen to the ideas and constructive criticism of others, you are already fulfilling one of your primary responsibilities. Communication is always a two-way street, and it is a skill that can constantly be worked on.

Other skills such as conflict management, leadership, and working within a team dynamic are essential to your success as a coach. Being able to work closely with your fellow coaches, delegate responsibilities, and create a positive culture and learning environment often comes down to how you interact with others. And when conflicts do arise, you are often the leader that will need to know how to find a fair resolution. 

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