EQ = ML + (A+P) + CC

The Trifecta of emotional intelligence, known for short as EQ, is a combination of Mindful Leadership (ML), Awareness and Presence (A+P), and Conscious Communication (CC).

Success in life depends on a few factors; if you don’t have a rich parent or spouse, didn’t win LottoMax or American Idol, or you don’t look like a movie star, then you are going to need some great EQ. Brains can get you so far but without the skills required to create and sustain good relationships, the awareness to manage your own emotions and the feelings of others, and if you don’t have some pretty decent communication skills then life may be more of a bowl of pits than cherries.

I am old enough to remember the time the when people were hired for their unique skills, intelligence, or education. They didn’t necessarily have to be good speakers and presenters. They didn’t have to get along well with others on their teams. They might not even be likable! Yes, honesty and a good work ethic were important but once hired into their slot, they were likely to be with the company for their entire career, perhaps moving up the ladder into more senior positions as a result of length of service. People were not expected to be multi-talented career managers who could double as social conveners. It was generally accepted that people were not perfect; they had warts and you put up with them as long as they could do their jobs.

Somewhere along the line in the last 50 years things changed. Probably a combination of economics, technology and politics evolved the social contract that had long existed between employer and worker. Nowadys people have to dress for the job, have to succeed in behavioural interviews that prove they were savvy in their previous jobs, have to have the right sense of humour, the right vocabulary, and have to give off the right ‘vibe’. They have to possess the right amount of formal informality, know how to golf/skateboard/cycle, and pass several interviews even to get onto the short list. A very tall order for most of us people who get up and put on our pants one leg at a time!

In the 21st century we must be our own leaders, our own talent recruiters, our own marketers and our own PR person. We are lucky indeed if we have mentors and good leaders who model and guide us on the route to success. The waters can be shark-infested or prone to bad typhoons. The so-called “soft skills” are actually the hardest skills to master and the easiest at which we fail.

In workplaces where great communication skills, awareness, and presence are important, how do you know how well you are doing? Do you get feedback that you can actually understand and use in the moment? What can you do to motivate your under-performing teams? How can you explain to your leader what you need without feeling less than competent? How do you get your needs met in a workplace that doesn’t recognize that humans are emotional beings? These questions are often the juicy material that frequently form the meat of coaching conversations. Succeeding in one’s career while managing these kinds of questions requires a high degree of emotional intelligence.

Leadership is a mysterious commodity, highly variable, and often elusive. The qualities that make a leader great in one situation may not pertain in another. Leading over time and across personnel changes is ephemeral. Few indeed are the great leaders that shine through and stand out over time. Leading ourselves can be just as difficult. As circumstances change, colleagues, managers, and leaders come and go, we can find ourselves being challenged in our ability to stay fully resourced internally and able to navigate the stresses of our careers and the personalities we don’t get to choose but must work closely with.

Awareness of ourselves and our presence is one of the most challenging things to know and to manage. Self awareness and the ability to gauge how others experience us is almost impossible in the workplace. People are not normally prepared to be so intimate and risk tolerant that they will be frank and honest and give us feedback about our impact and how our presence is felt. Nevertheless, having this knowledge is like having access to a great secret – powerful and of strategic importance.

Conscious communication is that third soft skill that is hard to teach, learn, measure, and grade but oh so important. Being unconscious of that 80% of what- we-are-saying-especially-when-we-don’t-know-we-are-saying-it can be deadly to our careers. Becoming conscious of what we say with our bodies and internal emotional states is another powerful secret weapon.

The reason I call these things the Trifecta is, as you might have guessed, because it is such a great segue into talking about horses and how perfect they are at emotional intelligence training. Working with horses is such a powerful coaching modality. I continue to get such incredible feedback from people who experience the work. It is hard to explain in words yet people always get it when they come out and experience it. I work with horses in a unique way. Fundamental to the model I use is that you learn the basics of speaking Equus, the language of the horse. The power of the work comes from having a real connection. You can come out and experience the winning ticket either one-on-one or by attending a workshop. The first workshop for 2015 is coming up on May 15. http://bit.ly/1BTQwH8 The transferable skills are worth it and the learning stays with you forever.