The sharing of emotional knowledge is the foundation skill of the emotional coach. The coach identifies the emotions present in a situation, how they were used, and how they could have been better managed. This is emotional training at its most basic, and it often occurs in a real-time situation. However, there are ways to impart this emotional knowledge other than reactively.
IMPLEMENT AN EFFECTIVE TRAINING PROGRAM AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES. An effective training program, along with appropriate testing, is essential for proactive establishment of emotional awareness. Departments or teams can use one of many tests, including the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (Mayer, Salovey, and Caruso, 2002) and those provided by Weisinger (1998) and Bar-On (2000). Benner's (1984) novice to expert model, which models nursing competency at five levels, might also be applied to development of emotional awareness.
When emotional knowledge is heralded in the organization, networking opportunities with other learners can provide nurses with more foundational knowledge of the topic. Others learning emotional skills can serve as supportive resources for one another, just as others learning about a new procedure can.
PROVIDE AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE COACHING PROCESS. Learners should be consciously aware of coaching activities as such, no matter how subtle or integral to day-to-day procedures they may be. Simply put, it is important that learners have an understanding of their leader's interest in their growth and development. Young and Perrewe (2000) outline five factors that influence a mentoring relationship: individual characteristics, relationship factors, environmental factors, career factors, and relationship type. The leader must keenly understand all of these as they relate to coaching his staff. Some of these factors, such as individual characteristics, must be applied to each learner, while others, such as environmental factors, can be more broadly applied. Learners should also be aware of how each of these factors may affect their learning experience. The fact that coaching is occurring should be no secret; rather, it should provide active opportunities for growth and clarification.
ENGAGE INTRINSIC RATHER THAN EXTRINSIC MOTIVATION. Earlier in this chapter, the differences between extrinsic and intrinsic rewards were discussed briefly. It was noted that the rewards garnered from belief-behavior alignment are often intrinsic in nature, because behavior alone is often what is most recognized extrinsically. Ideally, the leader will engage the intrinsic motivation of his constituents as much as possible, encouraging them from the perspective of personal growth and integrity. In fact, when these become valued components of an organization's culture, they are likely to be rewarded through peer recognition and greater job satisfaction as well.
CULTIVATE EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE AS A GARDEN. When we hear the word cultivate, our thoughts turn to small gardens or to large fields capable of producing nourishment for thousands. This analogy has been used numerous times and can also be applied to the emotional intelligence context. Tanner (2003, p. 287) asks the question "How can we cultivate the compassionate and inquisitive nurse within each student?" In this context, we should ask, "how can we cultivate the emotionally competent nurse and nurse team?" There are several seeds to plant, including interpretive skills, practical knowledge gained from experience, and best practice or evidence-based practice. Other seeds planted for us might be experiences with others or experiences from childhood (Tanner, 2003; Campbell, 2003).
Campbell (2003) explains how exchanges that occur between individuals are very similar to what happens when a garden is grafted. Grafting is a process that causes plants to propagate. A plant graft is a cutting obtained from an existing plant that establishes its own roots and is planted to grow as a separate plant. Successful learning and empowerment occurs as a mutual exchange between individuals that causes growth in one individual without draining the other. The learner, in a sense, is a "cutting" of the teacher. Grounding, likewise, occurs when individuals make decisions about how to respond or be involved in situations. People will ground themselves in a direction that affects their behaviors and take root in that direction. Each of these analogies can be applied in the arena of emotional management, but the sequence of events involved in cultivating a garden can also be applied to emotional learning itself. Suppose we recognized, for example, our root emotions as seeds that grow either healthily or not. Campbell's analogy of grafting might apply in the scenario of using emotions to facilitate thought (Mayer, Salovey, and Caruso, 2000, 2002), while grounding is more closely related to understanding how emotions progress. These and similar analogies can be used to teach emotional knowledge to learners in the organization and kept in mind as leaders seek to filter appropriate skills and points about the emotional management process to each learner.
ESTABLISH AN EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE PRECEPTOR. The importance of emotional competence in nursing underscores the need for an expert organizational leader in the field. Department heads should focus on establishing one or two key individuals whose role includes transferring emotional knowledge to other staff members. These individuals can support and consult with leaders as new information related to emotional intelligence becomes available.
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