Archive for emotional intelligence

New Agreements: 5 Ways to Transform Your Workplace

Thanks to LinkedIn, I had a chance to talk with author David Dibble last week. He read a recent blog I posted and asked to connect with me. Funny thing is I’ve been using his book The New Agreements in the Workplace for the last five years as source material for the Working with Emotional Intelligence class I teach at Southern Oregon University. I’ve summarized his work below and added a few quotes to illustrate. Thanks, David!

1. Find Your Path

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it! Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

As individuals in the workplace and in the world, each of us must find our own path to personal freedom and transformation. If the release of the creative human spirit in the workplace is your passion, following a true path will accelerate the journey dramatically. A true path is a roadmap that includes proven practices, community support along the way and possibly a teacher. Most importantly, a true path will ignite your higher purpose for work based in love.

A true path will ignite your higher purpose for work based in love. Click To Tweet

2. Love, Grow and Serve Your People

“All work is empty, save when there is love.”
—Kahlil Gibran

The workplace can be thought of as a living being. Workplaces are alive because they are made of people. To love, grow and serve your people means loving, growing and serving the organization. In doing so, you love, grow and serve yourself. This is true leadership.

3. Mind Your Mind in the Moment

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell and a hell of heaven.”
—John Milton

Science has been looking at the human mind for thousands of years, and many questions remain. Your mind creates both your individual and organizational realities. To change yourself or your workplace, you must transform your mind. Awareness of the mind in the moment when life and work take place is a central practice to nearly every true path. With awareness, you can create heaven on earth in your workplace.

4. Shift Your Systems

“Men have become the tools of their tools.”
—Henry David Thoreau

All organizations have structural components we call systems. Systems are the formal and informal policies, procedures, habits and agreements that tell you how to do things in the workplace. They control about 90 percent of the results you create in your organization. To unlock your creative human spirit, you must shift from the fear and control that drive most workplace systems to an atmosphere of love and support.

You must shift from fear and control to an atmosphere of love and support. Click To Tweet

5. Practice a Little Every Day

“The indefatigable pursuit of an unattainable perfection—even though nothing more than the pounding of an old piano—is what alone gives a meaning to our life on this unavailing star.”
—Logan Pearsall Smith

Did you know the space shuttle is off course approximately 97 percent of the time? To make the New Agreements a reality, you must practice a little every day. As you practice, you will notice change. With regular practice, you embody the New Agreements. As you move from doing to being, you become the unbridled release of your creative human spirit. This is true mastery.

Living the New Agreements

How does this sit with you? How does it manifest in your workplace? If you want to work with the New Agreements, let’s talk about how coaching or consulting can help you create positive change.

Looking for an Edge? Use Disruptive Innovation.

What do strengths-based leadership, emotional intelligence, appreciative inquiry and courageous conversations have in common? Together, they form a model of coaching that creates more innovative and higher-performing organizations—organizations that use disruptive innovation to become big, juicy and successful rather than withering on the vine.

This holistic coaching model enables people to generate creative solutions to challenges within their workplaces—through disruptive innovation. Capiche uses this model with great success when working with individuals, teams and organizations.

Three scholars from Chicago’s Concordia University are studying this model and its effect on emerging leaders: Kathryn Hollywood, Donna Blaess and Claudia Santin. I saw them present the concept while I was at the University of New Mexico Mentoring Institute’s Eighth Annual Conference last week. I left the presentation with a huge smile on my face. They were speaking my language!

I share their belief that for today’s and tomorrow’s organizations to thrive, they must rely on the innovations of their people. For people to freely innovate, they need a positive mindset. This mindset can be fostered through a holistic coaching model that blends strengths-based leadership, emotional intelligence, appreciative inquiry and courageous conversations.

Let’s Look at Each Component

Strengths-Based Leadership

Strengths-based leadership asserts that people are at their best when maximizing their strengths vs. struggling to be mediocre at everything. As Gallup has discovered over nearly 20 years of researching individuals, teams and organizations, leaders who encourage people to develop their strengths can create a powerful organization comprising teams with complementary strengths. A holistic coach can stimulate the development of strengths, inspire the use of strengths in new ways and illuminate accomplishments while nurturing continued growth and development.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EI), first introduced in 1998 by Daniel Goleman, is a combination of awareness of self and others—and the ability to manage one’s self and interactions with others for positive outcomes. Some of the benefits of higher EI include greater self-awareness and self-confidence, deeper empathy and a richer capacity to lead and manage change. Other benefits include better health, relationships and overall quality of life. The beauty of EI is that—unlike IQ—it can be increased. Doing so starts with self-awareness, and a coach can be instrumental in a person’s endeavors to increase his EI.

Workplace HipsterAppreciative Inquiry

Appreciative inquiry (AI) focuses on what an individual or organization does well. It shifts the focus from solving problems to multiplying successes. Originally introduced by David Cooperrider in 1986 as a strategy for organizational change, it also is a powerful tool for individual change. As Drs. Hollywood, Blaess and Santin write, “Using AI, the holistic coach will invite the coachee to reflect on specific events or experiences to: a) identify her most outstanding personal accomplishments, b) discuss the learning from these accomplishments, c) identify her values, d) describe five adjectives that describe her ‘at my best’ engagement and e) dream about her contribution to the organization and the world.”

Courageous Conversations

Courageous conversations can only occur in a fearless environment—a place where people are free to try new things as well as to fail. This becomes possible when emotionally intelligent people—working from their strengths—come together to achieve good things and build upon that which is already working. In a trusting and respectful environment, people can share, listen, explore and engage. This is a space where new ideas are born, fresh ways of thinking are embraced and innovation is possible.

The Role of Coaching

We know coaching works. The ICF 2012 Global Coaching Client Study shows most clients reported improved work performance, better business management, more efficient time management, increased team effectiveness and more growth and opportunities. The same study found coaching clients noted greater self-confidence, enhanced relationships, more effective communications skills, better work-and-life balance and an improvement in wellness. The median suggests a client who achieved financial benefit from coaching can typically expect a ROI of more than three times the amount spent.

It’s clear coaching supports and sustains the individual growth needed for high-performing organizations. Holistic coaching focuses on appreciating strengths, developing greater emotional intelligence, opening communication and getting more of what’s already good. This contributes to the organization’s success by maximizing performance, productivity and ability to innovate and change—while developing individuals’ potential and connection to their life’s work.

The ICF study reports that 86 percent of companies say they made their investment back. In fact, 19 percent saw a ROI of 50 times their investment, while another 28 percent saw a ROI of 10 to 49 times the investment.

Get Started Now

Are you ready to go to the next level? Is your organization ready? Let the disruptive innovation begin! Capiche specializes in holistic coaching for individuals, teams and organizations. Call 541.601.0114 or email Chris Cook to see what coaching can do for your organization.

A Walk Down Memory Lane: Or Why I Love Positive Psychology

Sunshine Yellow Flower

My students in the Working with Emotional Intelligence class at Southern Oregon University recently presented on an emotional intelligence (EI) topic they wanted to know more about. I was delighted at the number who picked a positive psychology topic. That’s what I chose four years ago when I took an EI class as part of my Master in Management program. That got me thinking back …

Here’s how my thesis began: Previous business bestsellers (e.g., One Minute Manager, Who Moved My Cheese, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) may have offered good advice, and while much of this advice is intuitive, it was not based on research.


Research has demonstrated that specific psychological states contribute to an organization’s success. Developed by Fred Luthans, the premise of Psychological Capital (or PsyCap) is that a company can enhance its leadership, employee development and performance by developing four psychological states in its employees: hope, confidence [efficacy], optimism and resiliency. PsyCap is something that can be cultivated and can have a profound effect on an organization’s bottom line (Luthans, Avolio, Avey & Norman, 2007).

PsyCap is an individual’s positive state of psychological development characterized by the four constructs of:

  1. Hope: persevering toward goals and making adjustments along the way to succeed
  2. Confidence [efficacy]: taking on and putting in the necessary effort to succeed at challenging tasks
  3. Optimism: feeling positive about succeeding now and in the future
  4. Resiliency: the ability to sustain and bounce back from problems and adversity to attain success (Avey, Luthans, Smith & Palmer, 2010)

PsyCap is made up of the combination of all four states because together they can predict performance outcomes more accurately than any single one (Avey, et al., 2010).


Through his research, Luthans confirmed that these states can be learned and the outcomes measured. He worked with a well-known Silicon Valley high-tech firm, where 75 engineering managers participated in PsyCap training. After subtracting the cost of the training and the engineers’ time, the calculated return on investment was 270% (Hope, Optimism and Other Business Assets, 2007).

Increasing Your PsyCap

I appreciate my students pointing me back to my PsyCap roots, and I love that I am able to use this research to help people and organizations around the Rogue Valley and beyond. If your organization would benefit from greater PsyCap, give me a call at 541.601.0114. Let’s see how successful you can be!


Avey, J., Luthans, F., Smith, R., & Palmer, N. (2010). Impact of positive psychological capital on employee well-being over time. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 15(1), 17–28. doi:10.1037/a0016998.

Hope, optimism, and other business assets: Q&A with Fred Luthans. (2007, January 11). Gallup Management Journal. Retrieved from

Luthans, F., Avolio, B.J., Avey, J.B., & Norman, S.M. (2007, Autumn). Positive psychological capital: measurement and relationship with performance and satisfaction. Personnel Psychology, 60(3), 541–572. doi:10.1111/j.1744-6570.2007.00083.x.

What I Like About You

What I Like About You Notes

Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well. —Voltaire

How important is it to let people around you know what you value about them? Why would you bother? Why take the time?

A quick Google search offers about 615,000 reasons.

My answer: It’s essential if you are looking to energize, motivate, develop or lead.

In my Working with Emotional Intelligence class at Southern Oregon University the other night, we did a little exercise called What I Like About You. Yes, it was performed to the music of The Romantics, and the students loved it.

Here’s how it worked: everyone had a piece of paper taped to their backs. Students made their way around the room and wrote a few words on each of their fellows’ backs. The messages focused on what they like or appreciate about each other (only one “kick me”—written in jest, of course, as these guys have great senses of humor and camaraderie).

Why this exercise? Self-awareness is a key component to emotional intelligence, and sometimes it helps to check in with others. We don’t always see what others see in us. Usually, we see our warts and feel slow and earthbound, while others see the glimmer in our eyes and notice our ability to come up with creative ideas.

And don’t forget that recognizing the good in someone only strengthens your own happiness.

Next time you have the chance to tell someone something you admire or appreciate about them, don’t be shy. You will both be better for it.

SOU’s Working with Emotional Intelligence class is part of an exciting new program called Innovation and Leadership. It’s a degree completion program for working adults.

What Tops the List of Lessons Learned by a Recent Master in Management Grad?

Mind Meld

Emotional Intelligence Deemed Critical for Success

“Success rests in having the courage and endurance, and above all, the will to become the person you are.” —George Sheehan

“Was it worth 20 months and $20,000?” This is the question posed in the October 26, 2014, article by Statesman Journal editorial page editor Dick Hughes. As an adjunct instructor who taught Working with Emotional Intelligence to Dick and his cohort, I am happy to report Dick’s answer was an unequivocal “Yes.”

Dick even gave a nod to emotional intelligence as he recounted the lessons he learned during the program: “Technical skills are over-rated in hiring. In most jobs, from teaching to bartending to scientific research to accounting, the typical applicant will have the technical skills required to perform the job functions. What will determine his or her success is work ethic and people skills. Emotional intelligence is at least as important, and often more important, than the technical skills. A corollary is that good leaders are smart, not necessarily brilliant. Leaders need a combination of skills beyond traditional IQ.”

Other high points in Dick’s learning were:

  • Treat others with respect
  • Stay in the moment—understand what is happening in the here and now
  • Understand your ability to motivate others
  • Embrace responsibility—don’t blame
  • Don’t shortcut the process—involve all affected parties
  • Encourage calculated risk taking

However, Dick ruminates, couldn’t he have learned all this and more at various seminars and by reading books and magazines?

“Yes,” he answers. “I did those things. The lessons faded.”

“That was the power of an accelerated, virtually full-time master’s program, even while working full time, being a spouse and parent, and volunteering in the community: The lessons stuck.

“And to make sure it sticks, the Sticky Note on my phone reminds me of one such lesson: MTBOI. Make the Best of It.”

And that’s just what he seems to have done.

Bravo to Dick Hughes and the others in his Southern Oregon University Master in Management cohort. You did it—you joined the 11 percent of the US population with a master’s degree. May your years ahead be enriched by the knowledge you gained and the lessons you learned.

“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.” —Ray Kroc

Read the full Statesman Journal opinion piece here. To read Dick’s previous editorial on emotional intelligence, click here.

How Do You Influence?

Two Men Talking

“The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and to influence their actions.” —John Hancock

In the Working with Emotional Intelligence master’s course, we have discussed many different aspects of self-awareness, managing our own emotions, developing empathy for others and using listening skills that deepen empathy and understanding of others. These emotional intelligence competencies strengthen our interactions with selves and others since we function, learn and grow within the context of relationships.

In our everyday lives—both work and personal—we also have the opportunity and desire to influence others to make things happen. This can occur either consciously or unconsciously, and in so doing, we can achieve differing degrees of effectiveness and success.

What can we really do when it comes to influencing others? Will offering advice be effective? What about convincing the other person of your point of view and desired action? What if that advice, point of view and action aligns with your values and not the other person’s values? What if it does? And how can you find out?

This week, my students began by assessing two relationships in their life and their level of influence within those relationships. If you want to play along, here are the questions to ask:

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being very low and 5 being extremely high:

  1. What is the level of trust in our relationship? (For example, this person knows I have his or her best interests at heart; I earned this trust by modeling integrity and ethical behavior.)
  2. What level do I know and understand this person’s values and passion? (This could be about life in general or the situation that you wish to influence.)
  3. Does this person perceive I have understanding, knowledge and competency in the area I would offer influence? (The person knows to ask you for advice or that any advice coming from you is that of a mentor with a great deal of competency in the subject area.)

After identifying these aspects of your levels of influence within the relationship, explore ways you can strengthen your foundations to build effective and positive influence. What actions can you take to move the scale closer to 5? Observe what comes naturally for you and what areas you consciously need to change.

Remember the importance of sincerity and how we are hard-wired to be in relationship. Our brains can filter out “schmoozing” and insincerity that may be used to manipulate instead of influence.

What have you discovered? Please let us know by commenting below.

“Leadership is influence.” —John C. Maxwell

Walk a Mile in My Shoes

Person Walking on Beach

“You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” —Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

“Seek first to understand and then seek to be understood,” Stephen R. Covey’s fifth habit from his book 7 Habits of Highly Successful People is easier said than done. To truly grow and succeed in this habit, we must recognize how we empathize and how we can sincerely enhance that ability.

An exercise to help achieve that is to walk a mile in another person’s shoes—or sandals—a practice dating back to Roman times and earlier. By putting yourself in another’s place and experiencing what he or she may be going through, you increase the emotional intelligence competence of empathy.

This week, my Master in Management students are practicing empathy—understanding another person’s views of life.

Empathy SidebarIf you are game to play along, here’s your assignment: choose a person and situation, and then experience what it is like to fully understand that person’s feelings, needs and how they are responding or reacting to a situation. Observe and sincerely attempt to understand their perspectives without judgment. This will require being present to the person, reflecting and practicing active and empathetic listening. Inquire how they are feeling and see how close you are to understanding what they are experiencing during the situation. Notice how this makes you feel and how the person responds to you.

It is important to be sincere. If your intentions are sincere, then you will communicate in a meaningful way. This week, you will be listening to people and yourself much more carefully. Since you are practicing new habits, your old mental models may inhibit your ability to fully understand from another’s perspective. Notice when that happens and what those models may be, if they block your understanding and how you feel as a result.

After reflecting and even partaking in this exercise, what have you learned about others? About yourself? What do you plan to change? Please let me know.

After self-awareness, self-regulation and motivation, empathy is the next step in true emotional intelligence. Developing and growing relationships follows. Stay tuned.

Develop Positive Rituals to Increase Emotional Intelligence

Meditation in the Workplace

As we begin to understand our responses to situations, we can more effectively regulate and manage our emotions. My Master in Management class, “Working with Emotional Intelligence,” encourages students to build more awareness and confidence in their ability to understand and strengthen their emotional intelligence.

Our habits are expressed through four domains: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Every thought, feeling and action has an energy consequence; it can either be energy-producing or energy-draining.

We can manage this flow of energy through oscillation—cycling between expending and renewing our energy—which leads to high performance when balanced. Positive rituals or habits enhance and renew our energy levels and are the key to sustained high performance and focused full engagement. The feeling that accompanies these positive routines and sustains the energy renewal is that of appreciation or gratitude.

My challenge to the students this week: Explore your habits or routines that enhance or renew your energy levels. What fills you up and helps you restore your balance, sense of confidence and balance in life?

Look at all of the domains: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. What are the routines for each?

If you do not have any, what would you like to incorporate or practice?

Physically, perhaps a walk around the block or a 10-minute stretch twice a day will renew your energy levels. Examples of emotional boosts include writing or journaling for 15 minutes each morning or evening with a focus on that which brings you joy or gratitude (see my blog post What Went Well). Positive mental rituals could be researching something you are passionate about or strategizing action steps to reach a goal. The spiritual focus could be meditating, positive affirmations or prayer.

I encourage you to practice one or two of these behaviors. As you practice them, take the time to feel the sense of appreciation and gratitude for this gift to yourself. Let that feeling soak into all of your senses and let yourself be with it for as long as possible. Please share your experiences.

Hughesisms: Work Ethic Trumps Talent

Businessman Drawing a Colored Graph on Glass

In this post, I am sharing a column written by a student in the Southern Oregon University Master in Management program who also happens to be editor of the editorial page of the Salem, OR, Statesman Journal. Give this a read; I’ll share my reflections at the end. Enjoy.

Hughesisms: Work Ethic Trumps Talent

Written by Dick Hughes,

Need a Laugh?

I consider myself fairly smart … in some ways.

Thus it was disconcerting last week when I heard people of average intelligence outperform people with high IQs 70 percent of the time. But that statistic does not surprise me. As a friend at a high-powered think tank in Washington, D.C., once told me, “We have bright interns, and we have hard-working interns. Rarely are they the same.”

Another relevant statistic: Emotional intelligence is twice as important as expertise in almost any job. That assumes, of course, that the person in the job has at least the minimum level of competence. From then on, it’s all about the person’s work ethic and ability to work with others.

This is true in hard science, social science, business, nonprofits and government. Success in life comes down to relationships.

The good thing is you can expand your emotional intelligence if you work at it.

Some politicians and community activists mistakenly think their ideas are so brilliant that others will automatically see the inherent wisdom of them and embrace them. Wrong-o. You have to be able to sell your ideas, which means having established trust, understanding and rapport with your audience.

The private sector is the same.

I was academically smart but also was the kid who, starting during kindergarten naptime, was always in trouble for talking too much and being disruptive because of my boredom in class. In retrospect, I firmly believe my career was set back at least five years because I had not yet learned to truly work hard, to be disciplined in my use of time, to collaborate with others and to combine self-confidence with a striving for humility. (I know; “trying to be humble” seems like an oxymoron.)

Academics came so easily that I achieved good grades without needing to learn and employ those essential traits, despite the best efforts of my teachers and parents. (That also could explain why Stanford University rejected me three times, twice putting me on wait lists. I’M NOT BITTER ANYMORE. But I digress …)

Note from Chris Cook

This winter, I am teaching a Southern Oregon University course on emotional intelligence (EI) for a cohort of working professionals in Salem, OR. The author of this editorial is a member of that cohort, and I enjoyed how he made the connection between our exploration of EI and his life’s work experience.

How do you see the applicability of EI in your life—as a working professional, family member or community leader? Please share your stories here.

Printed with permission of the Statesman Journal.

What Is in the Mirror?

This week, students in my Working with Emotional Intelligence class were asked to stretch their self-awareness even further by noticing annoying behaviors in others—and then looking for the same behavior in themselves. Are you curious to see what it brings up for you?

Assignment: You may notice certain people or situations impact you more intensely than others. For example, a particular person’s behavior may be irritating to you while it does not impact others. Or you may find yourself in awe of a specific trait or behavior others don’t even notice. Why do you react to certain people and situations and not others?

Carl Jung first introduced this concept, known as the Shadow. The Shadow is understood to be parts of ourselves that are unacknowledged or disassociated with our conscious mind. We are either not consciously aware of them or we submerge or deny them. According to Jungian theory, we project these unclaimed aspects of ourselves on others. As we project a certain undesirable behavior on another, we react to that person or situation with much more intensity and “charge” than when we respond to events that are not projections. According to Jung, the human being deals with the reality of the shadow in four ways: denial, projection, integration and/or transmutation.

This understanding gives us a golden opportunity to explore those shadows. As we become more aware of our emotions and the corresponding reactions, we have a chance for more inner reflection by shining the mirror on ourselves.

For example, if I become angry with a colleague who is not accountable for her mistakes yet claims the credit for accomplishments regardless of whom was involved, I can shine the mirror back on me and ask, “Where am I not being accountable for my actions, and are there times I take all the credit when rightfully it needs to be shared?” I understand it is important to talk to my colleague about my experience with her actions; however, I will be more grounded and not as charged with irritation and anger after I reflect on when and how I have done the same thing. This also promotes more compassion. My dialogue and interaction with this person will be more positive and most likely heard with openness instead of defensiveness and will have an influence on future behavior.

When we find ourselves reacting to certain people or situations, we can shine the mirror back on ourselves. During this week, take the time to learn about your reactions and ask, “What is in the mirror? What would cause a person to act in this manner that is irritating or upsetting? What characteristics, traits or belief systems does that person reflect in this behavior?” Then look for where it is in you. You have an opportunity to find those disowned parts of yourself, either positive or negative.