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12/21/2010

Developing Emotional Intelligence Skills to Help Clients in Distress


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CFA InstituteMany advisers are moving in the direction of client relationship management, and are therefore managing clients’ financial hopes, dreams, expectations, and fears. Yet very few advisers have degrees in counseling. Emotionally intelligent communication strategies allow an adviser to turn an emotionally charged conversation into one that strengthens the adviser relationship and referral stream.

Click here to read the full article, written by Richard L. Peterson, MD.

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I go for Emotional Intelligence Skills.

The benefits of increasing your Emotional Intelligence skills fall into three basic areas: decision-making, relationships, and health.

These areas are comprehensive in that they impact every action and reaction, every behavior and every circumstance. They are integral to your professional relationships as well as your family interactions, from the broad sweep of day-to-day small incidents that influence your life to major, multi-million dollar corporations.

Decision Making

By becoming aware of what you are feeling in the moment you have information you can use to make a decision about what to say or do now. You can think and act more rationally in the moment by developing emotional self-regulation skills that enable you to quickly transform negative, draining emotions into more positive, productive ones. Your moment-to-moment decision-making is enhanced significantly. These skills will help prevent you from reacting and allow you to respond more thoughtfully and thoroughly. Your effectiveness, your confidence and your motivation are all positively impacted when you are in control of your emotions.

Relationships

Emotional Intelligence skills will not only empower you personally, they will have a positive impact on your relationships with others as well. For example, instead of blowing up when your project manager announces a deadline without consulting you, managing your emotional reactiveness enables you to remain calm, ask good questions, perhaps even influence the deadline – all the while preserving your good working relationship with your manager. In contrast, a breakdown in communication and barriers to working effectively would have been the result of a negative, reactive response on your part. You would have essentially lost ground in your relationship and would need to exert a great deal of effort and time to repair the damage. When relationships are maintained and enhanced, all parties benefit.

And at home, instead of putting a child who comes home with a lower grade than expected or a poor test score on the hot seat, you can show him you care and are concerned about him, and still maintain a firm but understanding approach to the situation. Think of the positive effect this is likely to have on your relationships with your children.

When using simple EI techniques, participants in my programs have been astounded by their children’s responses. For example an SVP of HR for a large organization discovered his son had charged a tank of gas on his credit card. His immediate reaction was to grab a baseball bat to get his son’s attention. However, he was able to manage his emotions by using a simple, quick emotional management technique and asking himself, “How can I best handle this situation?”?As a result, he and his son discussed the situation calmly (no bat was involved). For punishment, his son was not allowed to drive his own truck for a week. When the son asked, “How am I going to get to work?” Dad’s reply was, “That’s your problem.” The next morning the son called his dad at work and thanked him for having a conversation instead of a yelling match.

This story demonstrates how managing emotions can have a significant impact. The conversation and interaction was very different than the usual, and the relationship was improved. And the dad was being a much better role model for his son.

Health

The third area affected by developing your Emotional Intelligence skills, but certainly not the least, is your health. Negative emotions fuel higher cortisol levels, often called “the stress hormone.Excessive cortisol levels, over time, can cause acid reflux, sleeplessness, asthma, ulcers, loss of bone mass and osteoporosis, low sperm count, redistribution of fat to the waist and hips, and fat buildup in the arteries, which can lead to heart disease and numerous other diseases (McCraty, Borrios-Choplin et al. “The Impact of a New Emotional Self-Management Program on Stress, Emotions, Heart Rate Variability, DHEA and Cortisol” Integrative Physiological and Behavioral Science 33(2):151-70, 1998). Mismanaged emotions, correlated with dysrhythmias in our Autonomic Nervous System, are associated with many diseases including asthma, chronic fatigue, depression, hypoglycemia, hypertension and many more. Learning to transform from negative emotions into positive productive ones throughout the day or night over a sustained period of time has been shown to have a positive impact on many health-related problems. In my programs, participants most frequently mention a significant elimination or reduction of sleeplessness, often in a couple of weeks.

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