In saying this we emphasise that coaching is not seen as a form of therapy. No ‘dysfunction’ of the coachee is implied. Also, coaching in a strict sense is future oriented, using a person’s ability to make decisions in the present moment as the driving force towards moving in a desired direction. Throughout this book, coaching skills and techniques are practised as part of the broader aim of becoming more emotionally intelligent. Without entering into a lengthy discussion of the subject, emotional intelligence can be defi ned as the potential we have for understanding what infl uences our thoughts, feelings and subsequent responses and how we can manipulate this information for our own well-being and harmonious relationships with others. This is of course a vague thing to say, although we can begin to focus in on more precise ideas by bearing the following in mind –
Intelligence is not directly correlated in this case with IQ (however that may be defi ned) or academic ability. (For instance ‘John’, a friend of Steve’s has been assessed as a mathematical genius, but whose incredible abilities have for years been blocked by emotional diffi culties. John has attempted a Ph.D. on several occasions, only to drop out of the course for medical reasons linked to that vague and all-encompassing notion of ‘stress’ and bouts of deep depression. While this may be an extreme example, John lies along a continuum familiar to many people, both adults and children.) An important implication of this idea for us is that all children, whatever their academic ability, can become more emotionally intelligent. If our idea of intelligence involves the ‘manipulation’ of information, then we defi ne manipulation as ‘skillful handling’, from the Latin manus, ‘hand’. ‘Information’ itself might be seen as ‘in-formation’, the active construction of new meanings and understandings out of our experiences. This in turn means that we are not talking about the passive acceptance of knowledge (including advice or guidance) within the coaching context.