by Ann Jenrette-Thomas and Kathleen Ashwill
You are intelligent, technically proficient, and brilliant in logical reasoning. Perhaps you scored very highly as a law student and your analytical skills are second to none. Each of these qualities is commendable and important within the legal profession! But I’m sure you know that Emotional Intelligence is just as important, and becoming more so as much of the landscape of business shifts into a more intuitive space, and personal branding and relationships become more significant. What’s your EQ, your Emotional Intelligence Quotient, and how can you increase it?
Are you aware that the training you’ve received to become a lawyer has sharpened your negative thinking skills? You quickly spot problems, glitches, and weaknesses within an argument, and this serves you in strengthening and winning your cases. American psychologist Martin Seligman has pointed this out in order to advocate for a balanced mind and therefore, a more successful practice. Though these negative thinking skills are helpful, it is important to ultimately be solution-focused and socially at ease in order to win and keep your clients. In other words: hone your people-skills and you’re golden!
So how do you grow your Emotional Intelligence? First of all, realize that it’s something you are more than capable of learning. Whether you’re typically an interpersonally fluid social butterfly or a bookish introvert, there’s always something new to learn and interpersonal skills are absolutely trainable, so have confidence and be receptive to some new ideas!
It is Daniel Goleman who has popularized the concept of Emotional Intelligence in the book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ. Beyond a certain level of IQ, it is EQ that begins to matter more when it comes to career success as a lawyer. Goleman outlines the aspects that contribute to Emotional Intelligence:
- Social awareness
- Social skills
It has been shown that within leadership roles, Emotional Intelligence is especially important, understandably so! Lawyers have traditionally been shown to have less Emotional Intelligence than the general population, so awareness and education are key in creating the success you truly desire for your practice.
Here are some of the ways we at Esquire Coaching can help you improve your Emotional Intelligence:
- One-to-one coaching: A coach is a powerful support who can challenge you and is on your side, sees your strengths, and envisions your success. You can practice the new Emotional Intelligence skills you are learning in each session within a safe space before you try them out in the “real world.”
- Pairing individuals with experienced corporate actors: Actors who specialize in corporate role-playing can demonstrate the key traits that will increase your confidence and presence within your professional life, highlighting the body language and vocal projection that will make you stand out. At Esquire Coaching, we have a few trained actors who can coach and train you to improve your skills.
- Workshops and leadership development programs: We can also support your firm or organization by developing workshops and programs that will help enhance the Emotional Intelligence of you and your team.
Contact us at info@EsquireCoaching.com if you’re interested in improving your emotional intelligence in any of the aforementioned ways.
Here are some additional tips as you make the journey to greater Emotional Intelligence:
- Develop your self-awareness: Observe your reactions and become the master of them. Are there particular clients or colleagues who trigger you? What does this trigger remind you of? What insecurity or fear is it revealing for you? Go deeper, and when you gain more insight into the root of the reaction, you’ll find it’ll lessen and greater harmony will develop with even the most difficult people in your professional (and personal!) life.
- Develop your self-regulation: As you observe any uncomfortable reactions, begin to habituate deep breathing, relaxing visualizations, and calming inner affirmations to bring yourself to a more peaceful space. Ask trusted colleagues how they perceive you as you’re engaging in this process. Do they see you’re becoming calmer?
- Develop empathy: If you’re caught in a conflict situation, take a time out and try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. You’ll find that you’ll be less likely to blame them and will see where you’ve perhaps contributed to the misunderstanding. Neither of you is to blame and it’ll feel empowering for you to take responsibility for your role and then take the necessary steps to remedy your end of the problem, letting go of any need you may have to control the other person’s response.
We’re here to support you as you hone your “soft skills” that bolster Emotional Intelligence and therefore increase profitability and success within your practice or firm! Don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know the ways we can serve you in this process.
What has helped you develop your Emotional Intelligence? What strategies would you recommend to others? Share your comments below!