How important is emotional intelligence to your effectiveness as a coach?


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Each week pose a topic every Wednesday for you to join in and send us your thoughts via twitter, Facebook or our online  forum.  Since it began back in October 2014,  thousands of coaches have taken part and shared their thoughts about everything from gender stereotyping, coach education and even sports bras!

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This week we are focusing on emotional intelligence, and its relevance to success as a coach.  Emotional intelligence gets defined in many different ways, but ultimately we are talking about the ability to understand and control your own emotions and the emotions of those you work with, and manage your relationships accordingly.  If we take as a given that a coach has the correct technical skill set and knowledge, how much of a difference does a good level of emotional intelligence make to someone’s effectiveness and success as a coach? How important is it that a coach understands the need to adapt and modify their behaviour, depending on the situation and the people involved?

For a more detailed discussion on what emotional intelligence actually means and consists of, read Catherine post called: The Springboard to fulfil your potential; Emotional Intelligence

With this in mind, we want to ask you

  • How important do you think emotional intelligence is to your effectiveness as a coach?
  • Do you think it’s something that can be worked on?
  • Do you think it’s an area that gets easier with experience?
  • Do you think it’s as important at the participation end as it is at the high performance end?

FCN & Sport and Beyond



Answers from twitter, Facebook and the FCN Forum


Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie – Coaching men not important, Coaching Women very important.   I agree with the article however in coaching women I prefer to be 100 honest in any confrontational -ve/+ve when it’s in best.  interest of athlete. It hurts in that moment but in the long run as a coach u are better off being respected for truth.   than for favor. I have my athletes best interest at heart so when they can’t see I have to b the eyes for them#integrity#honesty

Sophie Edwards – Getting the best from your team comes down to managing relationships, its all about EI #knowyourplayers

Ruth E. Nicholson – Critically important!

Monique AJ Smith – Extremely can’t reach all pp the same way must use soft skills to know where they are to move them to action

Int. Speed Coach – I think most coaches don’t understand their own emotional intelligence, let alone their athletes!!

N. Hanna –  very important both for the coach and the athletes – can define your culture.

Michelle Cowan –  v important! Build positive relationships, motivate, collaborate and inspire athletes to reach their potential #leadership

Paula George –  try first to understand then be understood.

Sarah Dwyer-Shick  -Very important! Provides perspective & better ability to navigate, handle & thrive in potentially stressful environments.

Bianca Thomas –  it is vital! We deal with humans and the issues of performance, motivation and wellbeing. Everybody is different!

Carmen P – ” Do you think it’s an area that gets easier with experience?” Definitely with age! Timely topic, I have issues on my own team now.

Kelly Adams – it is THE most important thing- without question! u r working with people, people! #skills

Lauren Selby – it’s about building positive relationships, understanding your players and getting the best out of them. #simple

Ren Caldwell – Pretty darn important! I’m so much more effective when I can read the energy of the team n adjust!

Melissa Hyndman – So important – you need to make the hardest calls under pressure with limited time. #lovethatchallenge

Real Girl Sport – Mental toughness is the key one, nothing hurts like losing in front of a huge crowd 😉

Jackie Muller –  emotional intelligence is key for all successful #leaders & particular important in #sport since its a highly #emotional environm.

Ute Scholl – Emotional intelligence is most important in both my work as coach and physician and I think it comes with experience and the ability to listen to it.
And yes, it is as important as grass roots as in elite sports as I would like to retain people in sports at both ends and help them to reach their full potential.


sport and beyond



  1. Emotional and esteem support are critical for a good athlete to coach relationship and emotional intelligence is vital for this. It’s a skill that can be and should be improved and is equally important for both male and female athletes!


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