How is your emotional intelligence in difficult situations

This weeks blog is about emotional intelligence and arises from some personal learning, difficult learning! And I am going to describe it as work in progress.

You see emotional intelligence is tested more in challenging and difficult situations that when we are merely cruising along, we may be under the impression that we have got this emotional intelligence stuff all sorted and then, the situation just does not pan out as we had hoped.

Self-reflection is much talked about, many would also say, yes I am good at it, but it is after these unexpected troublesome situations when you need to  go deep and work out, how was I not  as flexible as I could have been, what is going on for me and why did it lead to a less than compassionate response.

It is through developing our self-awareness we that we see and maybe hear things we would rather not be recalling about ourselves, this is the start of another journey. Demonstrating emotional intelligence, is about awareness, regulation and desire to get a better outcome. If what you are doing is not working, do something different, yet it is easy in the midst of the situation to repeatedly follow the same strategy and become more entangled in not getting the desired outcome.

So here I am, reflecting on what for me has been an emotional roller-coaster, set off with the best of intentions, worked hard to find a solutions to the problem, got hooked on an unexpected response, tried to recover it, lost the plot and blamed everyone other than myself.

So I sat down with a set of our own Developing Emotional Intelligence cards to do some self-coaching. The first card I turned over “What unhelpful emotion / limiting belief can you let go of?” oh boy, call in serendipity, in that moment the unhelpful belief just flashed up, straight out of my unconscious.

A belief is something we know to be true! It does not actually have to be true at all, it is a construct in our heads, something we have chosen to treat as a fact, change what we believe and the whole situation takes on a different meaning. We may get a better understanding of the other persons position, motivation, desired outcome, all of which we have quite possibly missed because of our map of the situation.

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating” as the old saying goes, its one thing to cognitively get it, it’s another to embody that understanding into behaviour.


The toughest of learnings are our biggest opportunity for growth.

You can take a look at the Developing Emotional Intelligence cards by following this link

How to develop Emotional Intelligence

Develop Emotional Intelligence with Cards

You can develop your emotional intelligence.

Do you find meaningful conversations difficult?

Maybe you find it more natural to focus on getting the task done than on the people and how they feel in your team.

Do you get frustrated when things don’t go your way? Find yourself resorting to upping the ante?

Have you ever been called heartless or cold hearted?

It may not be your desire to be labelled in this way but you could have traits in your personality that may make the label others have given you fair.

Emotional intelligence (EI) can be defined as “the capability of individuals to recognize their own and other people’s emotions, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goal(s).[1]

So if you find it difficult to understand what others are talking about when a conversation talks about feelings or desires it may just be that there is a disconnect in your heart at those moments and you are trying to answer questions related to values and desires with a cognitive process that happens in your head.

What is well documented and recognised is that Emotional Intelligence EQ or EI is equally and more important in being sustainably more successful at whatever it is that you wish or are employed to do, than your IQ.  Without well-formed and well-functioning relationships we achieve far less and at a higher cost to self and others!

How can you develop emotional intelligence?

Developing emotional intelligence does not have to be hard. All personal development starts with having awareness. How emotionally intelligent are you? Find out now by taking our Emotional Intelligence Quiz.

Having awareness is only the beginning, it’s what you do with that awareness that counts. What ever the score you obtain in the quiz you can always improve it, we are all on a journey and we are never the complete article!

We can begin the journey by getting better acquainted with our emotions, recognising the difference between say frustrated, annoyed and angry or pleased, impressed & gratitude. There are hundreds if not thousands of different emotions and all have ranges, think of it like a paint colour, How many shades of green are there? In Dan Goleman’s 4 quadrant model this is what is known as Self Awareness.

What follows is being able to manage those emotions. In Goleman’s model this is known as Self-Management emotions are powerful, managed well they are exquisite in bringing closer together, they unite us, fuel us and consolidate our efforts. When we have a lack of self-management are emotions rise to fuel our reaction to events and situations, rather than responding flexibly. They can be the source of upset aggravation and can fuel divide and conflict.

Our ability to read situations, understand and be able to empathise with others is what Goleman refers to as social awareness. This requires us to be interested in others, be able to put aside our own beliefs and values for a moment in order to appreciate another’s position and accept that they may not see things quite the way we do. Goleman calls this social awareness.

I bet that you have met and come across people who just seem to have the knack of getting along with others, even in difficult and challenging environments. You know, the people who can bring people along with an idea or encourage them to challenge it and find an even better way. These people will have high levels of emotional intelligence using it to manage relationships for mutual enjoyable benefit. In Goleman’s model this is known as relationship management

The great news is by working on each area our overall Emotional Intelligence gets better


The 48 cards in the pack shown above can help you further develop your emotional intelligence, they are based on Dan Golemans work and use the 4 quadrant model, each card contains a question to think about & work with, it also tells why this is important in building your EQ and finally there is a hint or tip pertinent to the EQ quadrant  giving you three opportunities of learning per card

Go to our Shop to get you pack now and check out the rest of the Reveal Solutions products as well.

What’s in an Appraisal

We all like to know how we are doing and its human nature to want to belong.
So why do so many managers and staff, feel demotivated and quite frankly unmotivated when it comes to having an appraisal meeting?

Well could it be a number of common things? Managers feel under pressure to get through the workload possibly trying to more with less resources, could there be pressure to meet KPI’s and there is that potential of a bonus if the numbers come in! To have to spend valuable time in order to satisfy the HR managers desire to complete the appraisals on time could be being viewed as taking me away from the real job!
Members of staff may have previously had poor experiences of it being a rather one sided affair, it’s been all about let me tell you what I think and what you need to improve! Maybe it’s been such an innocuous process in the past that its relevance is in doubt, bit of a tick box exercise!
Well whatever the reason, countless surveys report the same stats, on ineffectiveness of the appraisal process and that’s a big shame. Now I am not advocating that it is only at appraisal time that a manager should acknowledge a member of staffs contribution, achievements look to identify development opportunities and set some objectives. More I am an advocate of supporting managers understand and believe that their people are the most important asset they have, they certainly believed that when they offered them a job in the first place, but all too often the creeping of complacency sets in, if I had a pound for the number of times I have heard a manger say ‘ye they are good but they know that anyway’ or ‘dam so and so, has just handed in their notice because they have another job, what am I going to do now they potentially leave in a week or a month’. I believe that line managers should be appraising and communicating daily, weekly as they go about their business, having said all that, there is a place to formally review, agree and record the period just completed, when it’s done with the right intent and delivered with compassion, creativity and courage, it is a massive engagement tool that rewards a person’s efforts and achievements, identifies their potential and sets out to support them develop to the ever changing needs of the organisation successfully.
Many managers struggle to deliver an engaging appraisal meeting. They often are under prepared, having rushed their side of an appraisal form and spending much of that time thinking of what improvements can be made in the various competencies. So preparation is key, compiling evidence as the period progresses not at the end, thinking about what the appraisee might want to get from the meeting, being more open about some of their short comings and being prepared to act on that realisation.
Often the appraising manager takes it upon themselves to tell the appraisee what they are doing wrong, an approach that is likely to get the back up of the member of staff being appraised, simply exploring through open questions being gentle in the approach often yields insights from the member of staff. Can you remember a time when you have acknowledged by yourself something that could be improved? I guess it was a lot easier to then start thinking of how you would close that gap than if someone had pointed it out to you!

Catch people doing things right! You know what you focus on increases, if you look for the error, the poor judgement call then that’s what you will find, it’s not where you find the continuous improvement culture, don’t wait until an appraisal to acknowledge what’s good and great, do that ongoing as described above, make sure they are references in the appraisal, affirmation touches the heart in toughest of characters.
Be specific when appraising both skills and behaviours. Behaviours are so important, has the organisation identified what behaviours lead to success? Are the behaviours demonstrating supporting the culture the organisation wants? Some organisations do not include behaviours in the appraisal process, this I find interesting and I believe counterproductive, its usually not skill or even knowledge in a job role that prevents highly coherent and productive teams from forming its usually attitude and behaviour that have been unattended to, not challenged and accepted.
Managers often lack skill in delivering and receiving feedback themselves. Being aware or various feedback models, knowing which may be best in which situation is easily learnt, feedback delivered unskillfully often shuts the door rather than facilitate the tentative opening that can lead to both personal and organisational gains.
Agreeing the development opportunity is only the first step, making sure the intervention is a fit for that person is critical in gaining their commitment and trust. Often statements like ‘ attend training course’ is written in the development field, I think managers need to be more creative, find out how a person best learns, what they are comfortable with, what support they would find useful from the line manager and be brave enough to challenge to use what’s best and right for a person to bridge the gap.
Finally we have to be smarter in the way we both set and schedule objectives, ‘ongoing, never works and neither does ’in x weeks’. We want to set up for success, be fair, supportive and realistic in our plans.
So what is in an appraisal? Well hopefully a conversation that two people want to have, a meeting attended with positive intent, one that is open and informative, that results in continued enthusiasm, commitment, ongoing engagement and a shared sense of purpose.
How? Well you have to want to be interested in your people! Have a good process and have access to good support resources.
Successful Appraisal Coaching Cards are available from
They are suitable for all sizes of business, if you would like support in developing an appraisal process for your organisation including skills and behaviours frameworks call us NOW 07968 102578 or e mail

Ask the right Appraisal Questions

Ask the right Appraisal Questions

Better Appraisals

Better Appraisals

Potentially Misunderstanding the Power of Courtesy

This morning, being a leisurely Sunday morning, a BBC News online article caught my attention; ‘A Point of View: The Underrated Power of Courtesy’.   I appreciated the author’s intelligent questioning and reflexive approach to her exploration of how courtesy and discourtesy show up in our society, how we respond to them, choose to accept them or even not notice them when all around us.  The piece certainly got me thinking and reflecting.

As you may know from previous posts, the emergent and developing field of mBraining draws from cutting edge neuroscience and also ancient wisdom traditions to demonstrate how we have multiple brains (scientists define a brain as a complex adaptive neural structure), each with their own specialist competencies.  Broadly, our Heart serves us best in expressing emotions, experiencing our values and how we relate and connect to others.  Our Head’s prime functions are cognitive perception, thinking and making meaning.  Our Gut brain (the earliest to form in embryological terms) exists primarily to mobilise us to action, to decide what is part of me (that is both metaphorically and literally) at core identity level and to keep us safe.

In mBraining, we differentiate between when one of our intelligences is doing its own prime function effectively or not and also when any of them is attempting to do another’s ‘job’, which is inappropriate and can lead to a lack of congruence, alignment, or effectiveness.  Just imagine a brain surgeon trying to substitute for an orchestral conductor; she is clearly extremely intelligent and capable, but is competent in a totally different field, for a different purpose.  So, whilst reading this article, I started ruminating upon which brain courtesy comes from and if we may misunderstand its power by seeking it in another place.

I love language and often go back to a dictionary to catalyse such explorations and so, was delighted to find that the dictionary definition for courtesy is two-fold; 1) polite behaviour and 2) a willingness and generosity in providing something neededBehaviour is a form of action, mobilisation and is therefore derived from the gut brain and both the emphasis that it is polite behaviour and the second clause of the definition focus on the contribution from the heart brain.  Politeness is defined by our values – what is deemed to be important, right and wrong – and values live in our heart.  Notice next time someone you’re listening to refers to something dear to them…where does their hand go?…most often and naturally to their chest / heart area.  Then, the willingness and generosity are also driven by our heart’s intelligence and leadership development has identified the multitude of benefits of developing our Emotional Intelligence in recent years.  mBraining acknowledges the role of the electromagnetic field generated by the heart in building and maintaining rapport, called entrainment, which scientifically explains why we feel drawn to certain people (or otherwise) because we just have a feeling.

Reading the article, I noticed that whilst I agreed logically with almost all of the content, something wasn’t sitting well for me and I have learned that’s often a sign for me to reflect further and to check in with my different intelligences to learn more and for wiser decision making.  Then it occurred to me that society seems to use courtesy as a theoretical concept, a principle … a function of the logical, rational head brain.  In other words, we may be trying to get our inner brain surgeon to conduct an emotive and moving symphony – it doesn’t compute, because acting courteously is how we do what we do according to what we value and feel.  In the article, the writer talks about losing a dear friend who she remembers as the epitome of courteous; “when (Gill) met you, he assumed you were worth defending and respecting and cheering on. He took that risk.”  Heart and gut – acting courageously upon what is truly held to be important.  The (grammatically-incorrect) verb of courtesy-ing, therefore, arises from the highest expressions of our heart (Compassion) and gut (Courage) resonating in unison and yes, our head is of course needed to provide the Creativity and finesse of which words or vehicle to best use in each situation, but we misunderstand the power of courtesy if we do not bring it from our heart and gut.

So, I am feeling a call to action this morning, to seek out opportunities to act (gut) upon compassion (heart) in order to be more courteous.  Courtesy may not yet be as fashionable as it once was, but perhaps we deeply feel it is time to bring about a heartfelt resurgence!

If you are intrigued by how mBraining can offer wiser decision-making in your leadership and life, how you will benefit from the congruence of all your intelligences working in alignment and what more influence you can build; please email or pick up the phone 07790885086 to find out more about our mBIT (multiple Brain Integration Techniques) Coach Certification and other training programmes, our products or coaching.  We look forward to having a conversation with you.