Have you ever considered how emotional intelligence supports your coaching presence?

Psychology Today defines emotional intelligence as “the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.”

The International Coach Federation notes a key component of coaching presence (competency #4): “demonstrates confidence in working with strong emotions and can self-manage and not be overpowered or enmeshed by client’s emotions.”

Consider this scenario from a recent coaching session I observed (edited excerpt used with permission from client and coach).


Coach: What would you like to focus on and take away today?

Client: I need to focus on getting along with my co-worker and come up with one strategy I can implement this week.

Coach: What would it look like if you and your co-worker were getting along?

Client: Well, we would be able to have open and honest communication with each other instead of talking behind each other’s backs.

Coach: What’s standing in the way of open and honest communication?

Client: It probably stems from earlier this year. He lied about me, to our boss, and continues to deny it to this day. I mean… I can hardly stand to be in the same room with him, much less work with him toward a common goal.

Coach: Sounds like there’s some anger around that.

Client: Well, yeah. Wouldn’t you be?

Coach: Probably so. As you think about being in the same room with him, what other emotions come to mind?

Client: {lists other emotions}

Coach: How do all those emotions shape what you’d really like to say to him, openly and honestly?


The client had a safe, confidential space to say what had thus far been unspoken and left the session empowered to initiate open and honest communication with her male co-worker.

But did you notice what the coach did?

The coach named the emotion the client described, and that gave the client permission to own her feelings and contemplate ways to move forward.

Instead of getting stuck in the mire of the emotion, the coach normalized the situation and created a space for the client to explore.

In what ways can you grow in emotional intelligence and bolster your coaching presence?