Self-awareness and understanding is a key starting point for all that we do at Sport and Beyond.
We particularly like this phrase from Robert Dilts: “Before you can be someone you need to know who you are.”
But, and this is a big but, we don’t just leave it there – we encourage and help you to use that knowledge to fulfil your potential.
We use three main assessments in our business, and the one where we really ‘open up the bonnet’ is the one focused on emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is a phrase that gets defined in many different ways. Understanding emotions and preventing them from swamping the ‘ability to think’; empathising with others; understanding one’s behaviours.
We like to think of it as the springboard to fulfil your potential. Or, in longer form, the ability to understand yourself and other people, and the capacity to use this knowledge to achieve your goals.
Breaking it down, what different facets go into our emotional intelligence? The construct that we use splits out four main areas, and then individual facets within each of these.
- Happiness: how are you feeling at the present time?
- Optimism: Are you the sort of person whose glass is always half full?
- Self-esteem: Do you see yourself as successful and self-confident? Someone who others would look up to?
- Emotion regulation: How good are you at controlling your own emotions?
- Impulsiveness: Do you think things through first before acting?
- Stress management: How good are you at remaining calm in difficult situations?
- Empathy: Are you able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see things from their perspective?
- Emotion perception: How good are you at perceiving emotions in yourself and in others?
- Emotional expression: Are you the sort of person who can express how they are feeling to others, or are you perhaps a bit more aloof and buttoned up?
- Relationships: How good are you at starting, building and maintaining relationships?
- Emotion management: How good are you at influencing someone else’s feelings? If someone is feeling miserable, do you have an urge to make them feel better?
- Assertiveness: How willing are you to stand up for yourself, or do you back off in certain situations?
- Social awareness: Are you good at picking up on social cues? Can you walk into an environment and work out what the atmosphere is like in the room?
There are two ‘independent facets’ that are also relevant, adaptability and self-motivation.
The behavioural assessment that we use acts as a great starting point for a conversation around these areas. With the important premise, as ever, that it’s about the right tools, in the right hands, for the right purpose. The right purpose being generally in this situation the outcome of increasing one’s effectiveness as a coach, and helping in the progression from good to excellent.
From this starting point, we focus on the concept of behavioural agility. We go to the gym to get physically agile, so why do we not focus as much on becoming behaviourally agile? What do we mean by this? Well, let’s take empathy. There might be situations where, as a coach, ‘dialling up’ your levels of empathy might be appropriate to get the best out of a particular situation. However, there might be other times where this would not be appropriate, and in fact you have to ‘dial down’ your levels. Similarly, there might be situations where expressing my emotions is a positive thing to do, and other situations where it would not lead to the best outcome.
So, to conclude, it’s about:
- understanding where you ‘sit’ on the emotional intelligence scale;
- being able to recognise others’ emotional intelligence; and
- developing an ability to ‘dial up’ or ‘dial down’ depending on the circumstances in order to be as effective as you can be.
Luckily, there are a huge amount of tools that can help you to develop this behavioural agility and so aid your progression as a coach from good to excellent.
Bio: Catherine Baker is the founder of Sport & Beyond. Catherine’s first job was as a tennis coach, supplementing her law studies. She trained and qualified as a solicitor at Linklaters (an international law firm) and spent 13 years as a corporate lawyer. We have forgiven her for this. She then moved across into training and education, and on to facilitation and a focus on helping organisations get the best out of their people. Catherine has recently been appointed as an Independent Director of Parkour UK.
All of Catherine’s experience in the working environment, in addition to her family life (she has three boys) has taught her one simple rule: understanding and self-awareness is key. Once you have this, you can achieve more than you thought possible.
Catherine is motivated by helping others, in tangible and measurable ways. She believes that what we do at Sport and Beyond is simple, effective, even straightforward, but with the potential to make a huge difference to people’s professional lives.