I have been working with Emotional Intelligence (EI)* for many years. During my 3 decades as a sales executive I found it to be an invaluable asset, and more recently, in my role as a business and life coach, I have encouraged my clients to harness its huge potential.

Put simply, EI enables us to know how we tick. With it we become experts at being aware of our thoughts and emotions as they are forming and therefore being able to control how we interface with our world. This ability, or lack of it, can impact decisively on every aspect of our lives but most acutely in business. Whether we are in an executive post, responsible for managing teams and departments, or a colleague in an organization, our level of EI will determine just how successful we are by determining how effectively we can bring our main skill-sets to bear in our given role.


1. Recognising our stress triggers & those of people around us.
2. Increase our clarity & focus when under pressure
3. Helping us to communicate effectively
4. Greater empathy with our colleagues
5. Resolving conflict – we are ‘ahead of the game’ when emotions are raw
6. Giving out positive body language & also being aware of the physical cues from others

As has already been intimated, as we gain a greater understanding and skill in managing ourselves, with increased levels of EI we also enjoy greater positive influence with colleagues and customers - in fact anyone with whom we come into contact.

....that EI is a skill and as such can be taught. Like all skills, some will have a greater predisposition than others but all can acquire this essential asset from learning the theory, putting it into practice & having the desire to see it happen.


Self-awareness – Becoming acquainted with our own emotions & the effects they have on us physically, in our thinking and how we behave. Understanding our emotional strengths and limitations.

Self-Management - Once we have the self-awareness we are a good position to better control our behaviour and reactions to people and events. We also become more flexible during changing or challenging circumstances

Social awareness - Understanding the emotions, wants and needs of those around us. Being more attuned to other’s body language and moods, be it individually or in a group dynamic.

Relationship Management - Be at the centre of developing and managing good relationships and communications. Being a more effective manager or team player, and pick up early signs of potential friction and conflicts.

Our Emotional Intelligence is every bit as important as the capabilities and skill sets we need to fulfill the requirements of our jobs. There has been much academic research in this subject since the mid 1990s and one study illustrated that, in business, up to 90% of the difference between high-flyers and average performers can be attributed to EI. Emotional Intelligence, therefore, is an essential element for anyone who is determined to perform at their very best.

*While the popular abbreviation for Emotional Intelligence is EQ, Dr Daniel Goleman prefers EI as it is less confusing and keeps the focus on the message.

Alan Keyse

Author's Bio: 

Alan Keyse has a coaching business called Keys For Living. Alan specialises in enhancing his client's Emotional Intelligence skills though traditional life coaching methods and also using mindfulness techniques pioneered and promoted through the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn.