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Executive Coaching to Enhance Emotional Intelligence

Executive Coaching

Sustainable leaders know that serving others is the key to more innovation and creativity, greater team involvement, happier followers, creating a high involvement culture and better business results.

For the past year, I have been been collaborating with the senior VP of Human Resources of a multi-billion dollar global engineering company. He is supporting my executive coaching and leadership development with one of their senior vice presidents who is an introvert.

"There is no such thing as a pure extravert or a pure introvert. Such a man would be in the lunatic asylum."
- C.G. Jung

As part of the coaching process, I facilitated a comprehensive assessment which included a structured interview, data collection and relevant assessment instruments to clarify emotional intelligence competencies, leadership skills, values, interests, and her communication style. We engaged in an in-depth dialogue of relevant issues focused on performance improvement.  A 360 feedback performance appraisal informed the process.

Additionally, my client was offered a diverse suite of coaching and leadership development tools, including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Step II Form Q (MBTI), Spectrum CPI-260 Coaching Report, Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO-B), EQ-i 2.0 and a 360 Feedback Performance Appraisal - Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI). The results of the structured interview and assessments informed the executive’s EQ leader Action Plan which was shared with her boss. The coaching goal was to help the executive improve her interpersonal communication style, and become an inspiring leader worth following.

My coaching client is taking more time for self-reflection, and learning to be more flexible incorporating different communication styles when leading her geographically diverse teams. We are working on her building positive relationships by “telling” less taking more of a coach approach listening and asking questions to build trust and motivate her people. Our approach is aligned with the company’s initiative of creating agile teams.

The senior VP of HR and I both believe in the importance of having a psychological understanding of human behavior based on neuroscience and emotional intelligence when coaching executives. We both understand that system issues also need to be addressed for the executive to thrive. We have had a number of conversations related to the need for my coaching client’s division in the San Francisco Bay Area to create a high involvement culture where innovation and creativity flourish.

I am consulting with the VP of HR to create a collaborative and high involvement corporate culture based on trust and respect utilizing the Denison Culture Survey. We are also discussing how a number of other company executives could benefit by working with a seasoned executive coach, who knows the culture.

“More than anyone else, the boss creates the conditions that directly determine people’s ability to work well.”
~ Daniel Goleman, Primal Leadership

I have discussed the key takeaways from our coaching sessions with my executive coaching and leadership development client. The ideas that resonate most follow:

Lessons in Leadership

  • Thinkof the person not as a problem bearer.
  • Develop emotional intelligence competencies.
  • Focus on being a positive emotional attractor to thrive.
  • Reframe interpersonal thinking style from engineer to coach and mentor.
  • Build resonant relationships based on trust.
  • Be mindful to create compassionate engagement.
  • Inspire through hope, shared purpose and vision.
  • Evoke commitment.
  • Access right brain to tap into intrinsic motivation
  • Create sustained desired change.
  • Promote positive culture and climate.
  • Take small steps each week for intentional positive change.
  • Experiment and practice self-improvement behaviors daily.
  • Ask for feedback.
  • Think passionately beyond the possible.

Ask yourself “How am I growing as a leader and developing my team members?”

“Accountability should be the strongest thread that runs through the complex fabric of any organization. It is the single biggest issue confronting organizations today, particularly those engaged in enterprise-wide change efforts.”~ CEOs Roger Connors and Tom Smith, Change the Culture, Change the Game (Portfolio Hardcover, 2011)

Leadership Worth Following

We all need feedback to get better. My executive coaching client finds the following check list derived from a 360 survey helps keep her open and vulnerable so she continues to grow as a leader.

Do More

  • Be open to input from team members
  • Listen attentively
  • Reflect
  • Get input first
  • Respect others
  • Situation specific – not personal
  • More constructive
  • Appreciative inquiry – focus on what people are doing right
  • Take a breath before focusing on judgment piece
  • Be aware of message you are sending
  • Seek first to understand
  • Dialogue with team members
  • Positivity

Do Less

  • Sarcasm
  • Judgment
  • Blaming
  • Telling
  • Pessimism
  • Ego stroking


Our second year of working together, will involve a process called “Feedforward developed by Marshall Goldsmith. Team members and the client’s boss will be asked to give my coaching client “Feedforward Instead of Feedback”. Co-workers will reinforce behaviors for positive change and provide accountability.

Providing feedback has long been considered to be an essential skill for leaders. As they strive to achieve the goals of the organization, employees need to know how they are doing. They need to know if their performance is in line with what their leaders expect. They need to learn what they have done well and what they need to change.

Traditionally, this information has been communicated in the form of “downward feedback” from leaders to their employees. Just as employees need feedback from leaders, leaders can benefit from feedback from their employees. Employees can provide useful input on the effectiveness of procedures and processes and as well as input to managers on their leadership effectiveness. This “upward feedback” has become increasingly common with the advent of 360 degree multi-rater assessments.

But there is a fundamental problem with all types of feedback: it focuses on a past, on what has already occurred—not on the infinite variety of opportunities that can happen in the future. As such, feedback can be limited and static, as opposed to expansive and dynamic.

The eleven reasons we are shifting to feedforward in our coaching follow:

1. We can change the future. We can’t change the past.
2. It can be more productive to help people be “right,” than prove they were “wrong.”
3. Feedforward is especially suited to successful people.
4. Feedforward can come from anyone who knows about the task.
5. People do not take feedforward as personally as feedback.
6. Feedback can reinforce personal stereotyping and negative self-fulfilling prophecies.
7. Face it! Most of us hate getting negative feedback, and we don’t like to give it.
8. Feedforward can cover almost all of the same “material” as feedback.
9. Feedforward tends to be much faster and more efficient than feedback.
10.Feedforward can be a useful tool to apply with managers, peers and team members.
11. People tend to listen more attentively to feedforward than feedback.

The intent of this approach is not to imply that leaders should never give feedback or that performance appraisals should be abandoned. The intent is to show how feedforward can often be preferable to feedback in day-to-day interactions. Aside from its effectiveness and efficiency, feedforward can make life a lot more enjoyable. When managers are asked, “How did you feel the last time you received feedback?” their most common responses are very negative. When managers are asked how they felt after receiving feedforward, they reply that feedforward was not only useful, it was also fun!

Quality communication—between and among people at all levels and every department and division—is the glue that holds organizations together. By using feedforward—and by encouraging others to use it—leaders can dramatically improve the quality of communication in their organizations, ensuring that the right message is conveyed, and that those who receive it are receptive to its content. The result is a much more dynamic, much more open organization—one whose employees focus on the promise of the future rather than dwelling on the mistakes of the past. Adapted from Marshall Goldsmith.


"Everyone needs a coach." Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google

My executive coaching client has put in a lot of hard work, and modeled a great deal of courage to enhance her emotional intelligence and be a leader worth following. Transformation of her EQ leadership capability takes time, but the results so far are stunning!

Are you working in an organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders improve their communication style? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to learn how to inspire their people? Mindful leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a sustainable future.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders create trust-based and accountable cultures. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage  and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach
Trusted Advisor to Senior Leadership Teams

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to, write to, or call 415-546-1252.

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