Self-Awareness & Emotional Intelligence

Recently I have been coaching a lot of leaders around becoming clearer on what they carry and ‘finding their voice’. This is an important season where God really wants us to be clear and confident in this area so that we operate at maximum authority. The people I have been coaching are mature leaders with a wealth of wisdom and experience. How is it possible to reach ‘maturity’ and yet still not be confident in knowing our specific calling as a leader and what we carry to impact the world? How can we be effective leaders without understanding ourselves at this level? The Lord wants us to become more confident in knowing our calling, our strengths, our passion and our limitations. My journey of growing as a leader and becoming a coach has included this. I have invested a lot of time in discovering my life messages and what it is I want to impart to the word. This journey has been an amazing journey of learning skills to increase my own self-awareness and emotional intelligence (EQ) and that of others. In my present-day role as founder of two ministries, leading and training other leaders, I can see how many have not had the benefit of this. This results in them operating at a lower level and not being able to fully stretch into their potential.

Many leaders have not experienced benefit of being coached at all or of being coached at a deep level which connects them to the essence of what they carry, who they are and how that fits together both spiritually and practically.

Emotional intelligence (EQ), is a concept observed and written about by Daniel Goleman. Research has shown that great leaders of large organisations have high levels of it. Research also shows that it is a vital factor in the success of a leader over and above a leaders IQ levels (although you need both good IQ and EQ). The first area of emotional intelligence is ‘self-awareness’. This includes being aware of your own emotions and how you interact with others. It also includes knowing what you carry, who you are, your strengths, weaknesses and how best you flourish. Try observing people around you who have high levels of self-awareness. It shows up in many ways such as: people being quietly confident, not taking on too much, but happily relinquishing responsibility for areas they know they are not great at. These people have healthy attitudes about work/life balance. They are aware of what’s important to them, having a well-defined vision and purpose. They ensure life contains lots of what energises them and brings them alive. They recognise the gold in others and easily engage with others on a personal level to inspire and motivate them.

The Bible says: Love others as you love yourself (Lev 19:18). It is therefore a commandment that we love ourselves. I’ve heard it said that we can only love others to the extent that we can love ourselves. Love includes knowing and knowing deeply. We need to therefore both love ourselves and take the time to get to know ourselves. We would after all take the time to get to know a friend.

Stop for a moment think of a leader you have experienced that you would say is not aware of what they carry, their limitations and their strengths. What was it like, to be led by them? Think about the Psalms. How aware was David of his emotions and his own heart?

Coaching is the de facto tool to build self-awareness and emotional intelligence. It gives a framework and way of thinking that enables you to ask deep probing questions that get to the heart of the matter. It uses tools that get beneath the surface and uncover what lies in your heart, mind and in the case of Kingdom coaching in your spirit also. Coaching helps you to define your personal core values, to examine feelings, and patterns of behaviour that serve you well and those that don’t serve you well. It helps you gain many broader perspectives about yourself, your vision, your obstacles your relationships and much more. Coaching challenges and moves you forward to grow in self-discovery and become aligned to your ‘truth’. It helps unpack the messages you carry for the world to know, as well as understanding how best you flourish to have the greatest impact you can.

As leaders, not only must we invest in our own development but it’s important to be able to lead others into greater self-awareness as well. Both having coaching regularly and learning coaching skills enables you to continually develop all of this.

The results I have seen training and coaching leaders to become ‘coach leaders’ is breath-taking. I see huge increases in confidence, even in leaders who were already confident people. I see a fresh brightness to their countenance as they become well connected to their core purpose and identity. I see them become energised to make changes and move forward in a well-defined path that they know is what they were created for. I see them flourish in relationships around them as they get to know their family, friends and co-workers on a whole new level, effortlessly creating healthy intimate connections that bond them closer to those they love. As we bring God into the coaching process I see their relationship with Him, grow to whole new levels where they become passionate about Him. Hearing from Him becomes normal along with learning to flow with His Spirit in their work and personal lives.

How well are you loving yourself, by giving yourself time to understand yourself, emotionally, spiritually and practically? What could you do differently to make yourself a more effective leader in this area?