Avoidant Emotional Style

eggtimerMy wife, Karen, said, “Once I learned how my adrenalin floods affected everything I did life became much more enjoyable and easier”.

She has always gone along with what other people wanted, deferred to their wishes and opinions, in order to manage her adrenalin levels. Her happiness came from harmony in her environment, as conflict or even potential conflict, resulted in adrenalin floods. If she perceived that a person may judge her, disapprove of her, be disappointed or feel let down by her, she would feel so dreadful that she would go out of her way to ensure that this did not happen. Once she’s had an adrenalin flood she needs to process it out of her body and “return to normal”. After conflict it takes her a long while to “warm up” again – hence my suggestion of the egg-timer!

Karen experiences her negative emotion intensely (the burden of the highly sensitive person) and avoids any situation that may potentially cause an escalation of that feeling – the avoidant emotional style. She was an obedient teenager (lest her parents be cross with her), a diligent student (lest her teacher think badly of her), helpful to all (lest people dislike her because she was selfish) and a wife that withdrew and internalized in order to avoid conflict. She is learning that her avoidant behavior – the flight response – impacts on me who feels punished and excluded.

I said to Karen, “Because you have an avoidant emotional style doesn’t mean that you have a monopoly on negative emotion”. This is something she needs to be constantly aware of and recognize when considering the impact of her behavior on others. Her appreciation of how she deals with her emotion has improved immeasurably her over all well-being. She feels energized to share with others how managing her avoidant emotional style releases adrenalin from her body making her emotionally well.

Read on >> Reactive Emotional Style

Reactive Emotional Style

bombI learned at great personal cost, with the loss of my former wife and twin daughters over 30 years ago, that loud tones, aggression, irritation, and anger had to go.

I have always been a leader, full of ideas and the energy, persistence, and dedication to carry them out. I used to not take fools lightly and felt quickly frustrated, irritated, and angry when things did not go my way. I could explode like a bomb! As a man, I was used to summing up a situation, weighing alternatives, implementing them, and looking for results, often all done in my head and without too much discussion, not realizing fully that my behaviors, including loud tones and quick words, impacted on Karen so adversely.

My wife, Karen, says, “Mike, it doesn’t matter what you say to me, just say it in a normal voice. When someone speaks to me in an irritable tone my perception is that you are cross at me for what I just said and that leaves me feeling unfairly judged”.

This is what I need to constantly be aware of, as a person who has a reactive emotional style, when considering the impact of my behavior on others.

I deal with events as they happen – the reactive emotional style. I still react to things quite quickly – the fight response – but I am learning to put a gap between my thoughts and emotions to allow me time to manage better negative emotion generated by my reactive emotional style.

Now I recognize negative emotion in my body on a scale from one to ten, one being low intensity and ten being rage. By the time I feel my negativity rising to level five or six I can usually put a gap in my response and deal with my dis-ease in an emotionally intelligent way, releasing adrenalin from my body.

As I respond to events I recognize that only I can make myself irritated, frustrated, and angry and so I manage my emotional style in a way that  elevates my emotional well-being. As a result, I feel much healthier. And Karen is happier for it.

Read on >> Affirm Your Identity

Affirm Your Identity

ear-identityOften we see the another person’s behavior as wrong and our behavior as right. Have you ever thought to yourself, “How could he do this to me?”. In this way we can blame others when things go wrong and do not take responsibility for our responses. To elevate emotional well-being each of us needs to be aware of who we are to raise our emotional awareness. Evaluating your emotional landscape and affirming who you are – what your memories, beliefs, values, thoughts, and expectations (events) are – and taking ownership of your resulting emotions or behaviors (responses), is empowering.

We call this your EAR-Identity. EAR-Identity is who you are. Events occurring in your life are appraised by you, which generate a response. Often the impact of your response can be overwhelming, both to yourself and to others, causing severe physiological distress felt in your body.

If you have an avoidant emotional style you will feel predominantly anxious, bewildered, and personally attacked. You will run for your burrow to ‘avoid’ perceived threats to you and your environment.

If you have a reactive emotional style you will feel predominantly frustration, irritation, and anger from perceived threats to who you are.

If you can identify and affirm your EAR-Identity, and begin to change it cognitively, you will soon be on the road to reaching a new level of self-understanding and greater effectiveness in your personal and professional life.

Read on >> Accept The Emotional Challenge

Emotional Health Challenge

“Life is a series of events. Every event is an opportunity for change.
It is from the most painful events that you change the most.”

– Dr. Mike Gosling.

Have you ever heard someone say:

  • “Oh, she is so sensitive, she always bursts into tears at the drop of a hat.”
  • “Now come on son, real men don’t cry.”
  • “Reason is superior to emotion. Emotions are chaotic and immature.”
  • “Emotions ‘get in the way’ of rational decision-making.”

Know that Emotion is the FORCE of Life.

The contemporary view is that emotions convey information about relationships. Each emotion signals a different relation. And each of us experiences our emotion differently. Thoroughly thinking through and understanding our emotions and the emotions of others is an important source of coping – with ourselves, our workmates, friends, family, and community – and solving behavioral problems.

Dr. Mike and Karen Gosling are emotional growth experts who help you enrich your own lives. In using these talents and abilities, they have invested in, created, and now enjoy the wonderful pleasure and privilege of helping so many people around the world. Their influence has enabled people to solve their most significant, most consistent behavioral problems. Solving these painful events and problems – these emotional health challenges – is the key to a more meaningful life.

In the pages of this blog, and our EmotionMatters Community site, we have dedicated ourselves to helping you think through your emotions and use your emotions to help your thinking. For those committed to embarking on this journey with us, you will find an emotional richness that will come only from applying yourself to some hard work.

Paradoxically, enjoying emotional health … a life of EASE … involves choosing to work the hardest you have ever done:

  • learning new emotional knowledge
  • understanding your emotional style, and
  • developing your emotional intelligence.

The rewards are measured in emotional wisdom and the richness of fulfilling relationships to enjoy unlimited wealth and abundance.

Join EmotionMatters.com  >>

Benefits of Coaching

The benefits of coaching are often couched in terms of whether executive feel that the process contributes both to the organization’s bottom line and to “making a difference” as a leader and organization. Legitimization of the coaching process implies demonstrating the benefits of executive coaching and by providing evidence indirectly versus direct intervention as might be the case with consulting.

As an advocate of stakeholder centered coaching, my Emotional Leader Coaching programs include many aspects of the Stakeholder Centered Coaching (SCC) approach, which is based on an empirically-tested method of executive coaching developed by Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, a leading authority in the field. Marshall’s straightforward and highly effective process has consistently delivered successful results for many leaders in a broad spectrum of professions. The focus of SCC is behavioral change. By identifying specific behaviors to improve and choosing concrete methods of change, stakeholder centered coaching supports leaders in making positive and measurable behavior improvements.

Stakeholder Centered Coaching differs from other behavioral coaching models in that :

  • The focus is on only one or two behaviors to improve
  • It is a visible process that involves key constituents
  • There is systematic measurement of the leader’s progress by stakeholders

Coaching is one way of creating positively directed change, or learning, which helps individuals to develop their potential and the organization to develop sustainability in an increasingly complex and fast paced world.

Coaching is a structured process over a finite period of time that is evidence based and psychologically grounded whereby one individual helps another to perform, learn and achieve at a superior level through:

  • Increasing their sense of self-responsibility and ownership of their performance
  • Unlocking the individual’s natural ability
  • Increasing their awareness of the factors which determine their performance
  • Assisting the individuals to identify and remove internal barriers to achievement
  • Enabling the individual to self-coach

Coaching is not

  • Therapy or counseling
    • Coaching is not about unraveling ‘personal’ problems. It is about guiding individuals who are functioning or performing very well towards even better performance.
    • Counseling provides clients opportunity to ventilate and raise their issues. It is more client directed and the therapist responds to the client and teaches strategies and/or different perspectives as relevant to the issues discussed. counseling can go on for an indefinite time and clients can keep extending.
  • Mentoring, consulting, training
    • Coaching is not about imparting expert knowledge in a particular field. It is about guiding individuals in self-directed learning and development. The coach may not have specific expertise in the area of influence of the person, but they are able to assist the individual to maximizing their influence.
  • Just a conversation
    • Coaching is a structured conversation, drawing upon established psychological principles, designed to guide individuals towards considered action. This planned action aims to generate greater sustainable personal and professional performance.

Performance-Based-Coaching (PBC)

Individual one-on-one performance based coaching (PBC) has been identified as the best approach for individuals to enhance their emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills. Experience alone does not necessarily ensure accurate learning or development; in this way coaching is critical to behavioral change.

Coaching can provide individuals with an opportunity to think differently about the way they conduct themselves within their organization, identify themes and patterns in what they do that are habitual or self-limiting, and to challenge and question assumptions about what they suppose works for them and to recognize what doesn’t.

Performance Based Coaching makes use of evidence-based indicators to help improve an individual’s emotional intelligence, emotional knowledge, and interpersonal skills. PBC follows a proven model for behavioral change. It involves an evidence-based outcome focused coaching approach, combining:-

  1. Assessment of emotional intelligence abilities and competencies known to underlie and contribute to emotional knowledge and interpersonal skills; and
  2. Skill development via cognitive-behavioral restructuring utilizing activities that can be tailored to the specific needs of the individual

EASEQuadrantPro Coaching

Emotional Leader Coaching makes use of evidence-based indicators of emotional intelligence in performance-based coaching. Additional coaching of the way you respond to events through behaviors, via cognitive behavioral restructuring, develops your personality and interpersonal skills. The benefits of this process can be seen clearly by comparing results of psychometric testing at the commencement and completion of the emotional leadership coaching program.

The Emotional Leader Program Coaching Process:

  • Is “evidence-based” and recognizes the ability model of emotional intelligence as the medium for development and assessment results as the primary source of information.
  • Is “outcome focused”; participants are guided through reflective questioning to discover how they can do things differently rather than what the organization needs to do differently or who is to blame.
  • Recognizes that learning takes time, however, that learning is cumulative. Simple behavioral activities centered on specific abilities are utilized, and the process involves small actions ‘one-step-at-a-time’.
  • Is evaluative and monitors what is working for participants and what is not. We adopt our approach to meet individual learning capabilities and styles to ensure lasting change. We do not demand our clients succeed at every attempt but rather encourage them to view shortcomings as further opportunities for learning.
  • Incorporates Marshall Goldsmith’s Stakeholder Centered Coaching Process which delivers the systematic and consistent application of behavioral coaching to individuals and across large populations of executives.
  • Empowers behavioral change through developing and applying emotional knowledge and skills.
  • Is evaluated against leadership and business outcomes.

Current and Recent Clients

My current and recent clients include senior level executives in financial services, banking, global branding consultancy, global resources industry, transportation, and manufacturing.

  • CEO for an international financial planning company to develop his emotional intelligence and interaction with employees
  • CFO in a global branding consultancy transitioning to a closer collaborative role with the CEO
  • Mid-level team manager to accelerate readiness for more senior role
  • Vice-President in a resource company seeking to demonstrate more self-confidence in a highly extroverted, aggressive culture
  • Senior deal maker of a major bank to develop and communicate greater conviction on key investment decisions or transition out of the industry
  • Senior manager of a major international bank to develop greater understanding of anxiety in connection with bank compliance responsibilities
  • Vice-President in a global resource company to develop greater emotional control and to strengthen relationships with key internal stakeholders
  • Marketing executive transitioning out of the transportation industry to establish own business
  • Chairman of an Asian manufacturing company looking to leave the day-to-day business to CEO and take on an overarching consultative role
  • MD seeking to develop personal emotional management when faced with increasingly difficult financial business operating conditions