Emotional intelligence. Three easy ways to develop your EI

Learning Empathy, managing your emotions and regulating emotions in others are skills that are critical to success as learning professional. These elements are commonly grouped and defined as emotional intelligence (EI or EQ).

A common definition for emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include three core competences:

  • emotional awareness;
  • the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and
  • the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people.

Regardless of the model used (and there are many), Emotional intelligence is about being smarter with feelings. More aware. More intentional. More purposeful.

Since Daniel Goleman raised our awareness of Emotional intelligence in his book of the same name, we have strived to develop our skills and competence. Dr Ben Palmer notes in his On the Learning Couch video series, “emotional intelligence is best learnt as part of a learning journey, not in an afternoon.”  Being aware of how others may respond, and our response, enables us to better influence the learning environment and organisational context.

There are a great deal of models and assessments of EI, including the Genos International model discussed by Dr Palmer, that consider the various aspects of EI based on either the Ability model, a Mixed model (such as that proposed by Daniel Goleman) and the Trait model (also known as emotional self-efficacy, which should be understood within the context of a personality framework) – each of which consider different constructs.

A simple model however, that allows individuals to develop their understanding and use of emotions is offered by Six Seconds. The Six Seconds model is based on the simple idea that:

Emotions Drive People and People Drive Performance.”

So, how does EI impact our skill as a learning professional? And why do we need to be aware of, and seek to develop our EI?

In general, EI is about developing awareness, in ourselves and of others.

As learning professionals, being aware of our own emotions, and how they facilitate thought and understanding, allows us to harness and utilise emotions for thinking and problem solving. Further, our ability to effectively manage the emotions A key element of most EI models is the understanding of the difference between thoughts, feelings, and actions. How these three interact and affect our thinking, decision making, and ability to manage pressure.

Building your EI capability, and developing awareness in others, provides the opportunity to increase the impact of your training initiatives, and create connection in the heart and mind of participants.

Three easy actions you can do to develop your EI:

  • Be aware of how you feel and what you want.

Develop self-awareness about your emotions and reactions. Know your strengths and challenges, and you know what you are doing, what you want, and what you may need to change. Emotions are data, and being aware of and developing these competencies allow you to accurately collect that information and use it effectively.

  • Be aware of your actions.

Understand how to take-action, influence yourself and others. Take time to consider all options, change your thoughts, and be cognisant of your responses.

  • Be purposeful.

Understand why you respond a certain way, and why other may.  Engage with others and uncover underlying causes, emotions and thoughts. Be the person you want to be – respond don’t react.


ILP has a range of programs to support the development of EI.  In particular, the soon to be released Learning & Development Success Framework defines the core attributes of an effective L&D Professional across six dimensions and 23 fundamental behaviours; many of which are underpin emotional intelligence.

For more information on how ILP can help you develop your EI, contact us today.