It’s common knowledge that athletes must have trainers and coaches. It’s a long tradition, not even questioned. The results of the coaching are also obvious … athletes engage in physical actions, and one can easily see the results. They are using what’s called “gross motor skills” – hitting balls, pole vaulting, knocking opponents out, or running touchdowns. Athletes are by definition in win-lose situations, where the outcome is verifiable.

And the rest of us? We, too, are engaged in win-lose situations, but they are often mental, emotional, and/or small motor. We write projects and meet deadlines. We ask women out. We negotiate with teenagers about cleaning their rooms, contractors about building rooms, and spouses about sharing rooms. We submit pleadings, argue before judges, consult on medical cases, fix crank shafts and teach preschoolers how to tie their shoes. We impart important information that must be exact, and induce others to cooperate with us. We begin out day at the starting gate and hope to cross the finish line victorious at the end of the day. So why don’t we have coaches?


You see, coaches who work with athletes are teaching motor skills, but, just as importantly, in fact maybe even moreso, they are coaching about emotional intelligence. They are teaching mental and emotional survival/success skills and strategies.

Here’s an example. A professional tennis coach told me the other day that he was training a high schooler to go to nationals and they’d been working on his nonverbal communication. The teenager was a perfectionist, and if he revealed this rigidity to his opponent, the opponent would like start fudging line calls in order to rile him. In other words, in this case, if he revealed something in his emotional and mental makeup that could be used against him, it would be.

Here is another visual example of what emotions can do to performance in the sports world. In this video ( ) the cyclist thinks he’s won the race and starts celebrating too soon. Emotional intelligence involves managing emotions, and good reality-testing, neither of which this cyclist was able to do, and therefore he snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Do you want this to happen to you? Of course you don’t. Therefore, you might consider some EQ coaching for yourself.


Though we may be only recreational athletes, we face situations continually at home and at work where the successful outcome relies on our being able to assess reality correctly, know and manage our emotions, and respond correctly to the situation in terms of information and facts, but also emotions. And frankly the outcomes are often more crucial than a bike race or a tennis match.

The most important contests we face are in the realm of relationships – convincing and influencing those around you when it’s important to do so. How can you get your team to meet the deadline? How will you get the raise you deserve, or your wife to stay with you when she’s talking divorce, or your teenager to “just say no,” or your aging mother to quit driving when she needs to?

Each of these scenarios depends upon your emotional intelligence. If you, like the cyclist, get too excited and misread cues, you can fail where you might have succeeded.

Emotions are good for letting us know what we want. They are not good for getting us what we want. In fact if you let your emotions take over, you’re likely to bring about exactly what you’re trying to avoid.

We know that for success in the workplace, we must develop ourselves in terms of education, academic degrees, experience, and specific skills. But what do we do for more success in our personal lives? And how can we get the edge in the workplace when everyone’s doing what we’re doing? Develop your emotional intelligence. And fortunately, today, there’s a way to do this.


Read about EQ, of course. There are numerous books (such as Daniel Goleman’s “Emotional Intelligence”) and also many free resources on the Internet (including my website). However, don’t stop there. EQ involves personal and social skills which must be put into practice. The catch is, how do you learn something in the pressure of real-life situations?

Haven’t you described something that occurred at work and said, “This had to be real, I couldn’t have made it up”? No one could imagine, or therefore predict, the events that will occur in any given day. In fact, that’s the real source of the problem that EQ helps to address: people are unpredictable, and what works for one person, in a certain situation, at a given time and place, may never work again. In fact it will never occur again. Therefore, EQ is like learning a set of meta-rules – the rules about the rules. When you work with an EQ coach, you can learn the theory, and then practice with the naturally occurring events of your life, and learn how to apply the theoretical to real-life situations in ways that are meaningful to you as a unique individual.

If you’ve ever thought that the person who just left your office had been won over and would do what was agreed upon only to have it blow up in your face the next day, you know what I’m talking about. Self-awareness, reading emotions (yours and others’), honing your skills at interpreting nonverbal communication, and increasing your likelihood of achieving what you intend to – it’s all about emotional intelligence. People aren’t logical and change isn’t predictable. It pays to arm yourself with the meta-tools that work.

Author's Bio: 

Susan Dunn,, MA, The EQ Coach, Individual coaching, Internet courses and ebooks around emotional intelligence for your success. Career, relationships, transition, midlife dating, parenting, all important aspects of your life.

Susan trains and certifies EQ coaches internationally. for information on this fast, affordable, comprehensive, no-residency program.

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