How Do Coaches Develop Emotional Intelligence?

Coaches need to possess many different qualities. In addition to the knowledge base and skill set a coach needs, they also need good emotional intelligence.

It may seem like an esoteric concept, but the ability to understand your own emotions and those of others is crucial in coaching to help clients appropriately. It can help you connect with clients on a deeper level and keep you from emotionally reacting when they do.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize emotions in ourselves and others and use those emotions to guide our thoughts and actions. It allows us to understand how and why we feel the way we do and express those emotions appropriately.

But how do coaches develop this trait? What’s the best way for them to build their emotional intelligence?

According to American psychologist Daniel Goleman, who popularized the concept, emotional intelligence has five key components.

  1. Self-Awareness
  2. Self-Regulation
  3. Motivation
  4. Empathy
  5. Social Skills

Let’s dive into each component and discover some ways to develop each of them:


Self-awareness is about knowing yourself and the emotions you are experiencing and is the foundation of Emotional intelligence. It enables the coach to understand their thoughts and emotions and how these can impact their client.

The more self-aware you are, the more you become aware of what people can be going through from an emotional sense, and this helps you adapt your communication and connect with people at a level they may need you to connect.

Some ways to improve self-awareness are:

  • Being Honest: Accepting and acknowledging our true feelings and emotions and being honest with ourselves is the first and foremost way to improve self-awareness.
  • Self-Reflection: Reflecting on your thoughts, feelings, and experiences can help you have a deeper understanding of yourself and identify what holds you back.


self regulation

The coach needs to ensure they keep their emotions on their side of the road in a Level 1 coaching or another coaching session. Being self-aware opens the door to self-regulation.

It is the ability to positively understand and manage our behaviors, emotions, and reactions to what’s happening around us and ensure that our feelings do not drive us into our client’s lane.

Some strategies for improving self-regulation include:

  • Take a pause: Noticing when an emotion arises, take a pause, notice the feeling, and name it to yourself if you can.
  • Put things in their lane: This feeling is happening through you, not your client.
  • Reflection: Recognize that this feeling is something you can come back to and reflect on for yourself after the coaching session.


Motivation is another crucial component of emotional intelligence.

Self-motivation, also known as intrinsic motivation, is the sense of purpose that motivates us to improve and achieve our goals and act on opportunities with positivity and confidence.

A Coach first needs to be self-motivated to encourage their clients to find answers on their own and connect with themselves on a deeper level. You can improve it through Level 1 coaching and other mentioned ways.

Some ways to improve self-motivation are:

  • Being optimistic: It helps the coach to keep a forward-moving mindset, drawing from strengths and possibilities.
  • Know your WHY: There is a purpose behind every desired action, getting clear on the why keeps each motion meaningful.


Empathy is the ability to understand and share the other person’s feelings. It also helps in building trust and safety in the coach-client relationship. Coaches highly value empathy and put themselves in their client’s shoes to understand how they feel about any situation and respond appropriately.

How can empathy be improved?

  • Avoid Judgement: To be present and listening to the entire conversation without jumping to conclusions can assist in avoiding judgment and recognizing the client’s feelings and emotions hidden behind the words and responding accordingly.

Social Skills

Social Skills

Social skills are the ability to interact with individuals and influence their emotions effectively. They’re a set of behaviors learned through experience, developed through interactions with others, and used to communicate with one another verbally and non-verbally.

Having good social skills help to build and maintain relationships at a personal and professional level.

How do we develop social skills?

  • Communication Skills: Improving your verbal and nonverbal communication skills, such as listening and paying attention to your body language, will help you understand and respond to your client’s emotions effectively.

Taking up a coach training program such as an  ACSTH/ Level 1 accreditation by ICF offered at The 3D Level 1 Coaching Academy by CoachWhizz helps improve communication skills, evoke awareness and listen actively to the spoken and unspoken words. Additionally, This coach training program also guides you to be able to coach at the ACC credential level.


Emotional intelligence is a vital trait for a coach because it helps them build relationships with their clients, strengthening their ability to coach effectively. Emotional intelligence is not something you’re born with; it’s a skill that can be learned with time and practice.

Coaches who can understand and manage their own emotions are also better positioned to help other people take control of theirs.

When coaches work on developing their emotional intelligence, they become better able to listen to others’ perspectives and help clients to improve their emotional intelligence levels while strengthening their own!

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