Emotional Intelligence and Career Success for Women

A Research Paper By Lauren Moy, Career Coach, UNITED STATES

Emotional Intelligence Lauren Moy_Coaching_Research_Paper

Women Emotional Intelligence Progress During Pandemic

While women have made some progress, they still have a long way to go before they are equal to men. Only 7.4 % of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are women, yet this is a record number. The pandemic has widened this gap. “Out of the 1.1 million people who left the workforce in September 2020, roughly 865,000 were women. Latinas and Black women are leaving at higher rates than white women.  The financial price paid for the average woman who opts out and tries to re-enter the workforce is an 18% decrease in their earning power on average—and a 37% decrease when they’re out for three years or more. This will have a lasting impact on families and the U.S. economy.  Senior-level women are 1.5 times more likely than senior-level men to think about downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce because of Covid-19, according to Lean In’s Women in the Workplace 2020 report.  Almost three in four cite burnout as the main reason, with increased caregiving duties playing a big role. Reentering the workplace once you’ve left may mean taking a lower position, and a slower path to promotions.” 1 This research paper will cover:

  • What Emotional Intelligence is and its Benefits
  • Emotional Intelligence Assessment Tools
  • How Increasing EQ can Help Women Counter the 12 Habits that May Hold Them Back from Advancing in their Careers
  • Coaching with Emotional Intelligence

Research shows that women can become more effective leaders than men because women can manage conflict well, women encourage employees to grow and women have greater chances of influence.2  Women are more inclined than men to coach and mentor employees and give inspirational advice. This can help them excel in professional relationships. Women tend to focus on managing conflict well and mentoring others and less time focusing on how they can have more influence at work, while their male counterparts are more focused on growing their influence.

What Is Emotional Intelligence and Its Benefits?

According to Dr. Travis Bradberry, Award-winning co-author of the #1 best selling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, as well as The Seagull Manager and the cofounder of TalentSmart®, “Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships. Dr. Bradberry states that “Decades of research point to emotional intelligence as the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack.  Depending on the position, some roles require higher levels of EQ to be successful. Research showed that 90% of top performance is also high in Emotional Intelligence. On the flip side, just 20% of bottom performers are high in emotional intelligence. Naturally, people with a high degree of emotional intelligence make more money- an average of $29,000 more per year than people with a low degree of emotional intelligence.” 3

Emotional Intelligence Assessment Tools

There are several emotional intelligence tools on the market.  These assessments can be a useful starting point to coach a client in improving their EI. Dr. Steven Stein is a clinical psychologist, and the founder and CEO of Multi-Health Systems (MHS), a leading publisher of scientifically validated assessments for more than 30 years.  https://mhs.com/about-mhs/  MHS administers “the Emotional Quotient Inventory 2.0 (EQ-i 2.0) measures an individual’s emotional intelligence with five composite scores measuring distinct aspects of emotional and social functioning including 1) self-perception 2) self-expression 3) interpersonal 4) decision making and 5) stress management.4

“MHS also administers the Emotional Quotient 360 (EQ 360) is an emotional intelligence assessment that allows leaders to receive feedback from peers, managers, direct reports, and others on how they leverage their emotional intelligence.

How Increasing Eq Helps Women Counter 12 Habits That Hold Them Back

Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith’s book How Women Rise, Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back From Your Next Raise, Promotion or Job, presents the twelve habits that hold women back in their careers.

Knowing how these 12 habits may be linked to Emotional Quotient (EQ) may be helpful to a client in identifying the area(s) that she may want to focus on in coaching to help her get unstuck and advance in her career. Many women leaders can benefit from coaching especially when they were previously in a technical or single contributor role and are newly promoted to lead and manage a team of people. This requires a different set of skills and a higher level of EQ. Identifying some of these habits and creating a plan with goals and accountability can help women to grow in their EQ and advance in their careers.

Habit Holding Women Back EQ-I 2.0 Scale(s) that Can Affect the Habit How Increasing EQ can counter the Habit
1.    Reluctance to claim your achievements Self-regard and assertiveness Self-regard is needed to say “Thank you” when receiving a compliment rather than dismissing the compliment which some women tend to do. Assertiveness is needed to speak up about your achievements. Many women are passed over for promotions because their achievements are not recognized.
2.    Expecting others to spontaneously notice and reward your contributions Self-regard, assertiveness and Reality Testing Self-regard and assertiveness are needed to acknowledge and communicate one’s value and contributions. This is important when women are requesting a promotion or interviewing for jobs, Reality testing is needed to recognize when people may not notice unless you speak up and let them know about your contributions.
3.    Overvaluing expertise Reality testing and interpersonal relationships Reality testing is needed to realize that not only is building skills important but also building connections to move you forward in your career. Interpersonal relationships are needed to build those connections.
4.    Building rather than leveraging relationships Self-actualization and interpersonal relationships Self-actualization is needed to pursue promotions. Both self-actualization and interpersonal relationships are needed to believe in oneself to reach for higher levels. Women also need to think strategically and learn to leverage interpersonal relationships.
5.    Failing to enlist allies from day one Reality testing, assertiveness Reality testing is needed to realize the importance of enlisting allies, mentors, and sponsors to help women advance to higher levels. Assertiveness is needed to take the initiative and reach out to others first.
6.    Putting your job before your career Independence and assertiveness Independence is needed to not become dependent on others on the team and stay longer in one job because of your loyalty and relationships even though it is not best for your overall career.
7.    The perfection trap Self-regard and stress tolerance Many perfectionist tendencies are linked to low self-regard, compensating for not feeling good enough. Low-stress tolerance and fear can keep women from taking risks, and stay in the same job for a long time, and can keep women from getting promoted.
8.    The disease to please Self-regard and assertiveness Assertiveness is needed to set and communicate boundaries and say no. Self-regard is needed to prioritize one’s own needs and not only consider the needs of others.
9.    Minimizing Self-regard, Emotional expression Self-regard is needed not to minimize one’s feelings, thoughts, and presence. Emotional expression is needed to communicate emotions and thoughts with confidence. For women to have executive presence, they need to maximize their space, both verbally and non-verbally.
10. Too much Self-awareness and empathy Women are often told by men that they overcommunicate and need to be more concise. Self-awareness helps one to identify and understand emotions. Empathy is needed to understand how the other may feel or respond if too many emotions or words are used so that adjustments can be made.
11. Ruminating (clinging to the past) Self-awareness, flexibility, and optimism Self-awareness is needed to realize the negative impact that ruminating is having on one’s thoughts and feelings. Flexibility is needed to change one’s thinking and feeling. Optimism can help to let go of the past and have satisfaction with your life in general.
12. Letting your radar distract you Self-regard, independence, and reality testing Self-regard is needed to trust and respect one’s thoughts and feelings, independence and reality testing is needed to be able to filter out unhelpful distractions and not let what others say impact you too much.

Coaching With Emotional Intelligence

A Coach According to Daniel Goleman, “a coach can frame gaps between self and other ratings as “news to use,” guiding the client to identify her desired areas for growth. Ideally, a coach can help clients cultivate competencies that align with their goals.  A coach can help a client cultivate self-awareness to recognize their emotions, habits, and triggers. When a coach notices a negative pattern in a client’s perceptions and actions, a coach can bring it to their client’s attention to help them understand where they’re getting stuck. A coach can ask powerful questions to help the client to reframe their perspective, create new learning, and help the client to develop a plan for change and accountability.

By starting with emotional self-awareness, which is the foundation of emotional intelligence, clients can learn to recognize their emotional triggers and limitations. The coach’s ability to help clients discover or rediscover their purpose and values is important to staying motivated for growth. A coach’s ability to listen attentively, offer objective, yet highly tailored feedback and support can make a difference in creating lasting change for the client.”8


Given all the changes and demands on women in a post-pandemic world, there is a greater need for women to have higher levels of emotional intelligence to navigate so the many changes in their personal and work lives. A woman who works with an effective coach may hold the key to helping her reach her personal and professional goals, and lead a more fulfilled life.


What the Pandemic Means for Women in Leadership, Corbett, Holley, Forbes

How Emotional Intelligence is the Secret Tool for Women to Succeed as Leaders/, Cribb, Rachel, Thrive Global article

The Massive Benefits of Boosting Your Emotional Intelligence, Bradberry, Travis, TalentSmart, World Economic Forum

MHS website: https://storefront.mhs.com/collections/eq-i-2-0

Stein, Steven, Ph.D. and Book, Howard E., MD, “The EQ Edge: Emotional Intelligence and Your Success”, Josey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint, Ontario Canada

MHS website: https://storefront.mhs.com/collections/eq-360

Helgesen, Sally and Goldsmith, Marshall, “How Women Rise, Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion or Job”, Hachette Books, New York, and Boston

How a Coach Works with Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, International Coaching Federation (ICF) Blog

Original source: https://coachcampus.com/coach-portfolios/research-papers/coaching-with-emotional-intelligence/

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