Coaching Report

2014 June Coaching Report

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2014 June Coaching Report

Today’s workplace is complex and rapidly changing. More than ever before, this kind of environment has created a need for resilient, agile and innovative leaders. But the amount of data, and diversity and interdependence of this information can bring with it utter cognitive overwhelm, and real physical and psychological costs. Research shows that this overload makes it difficult to stay organized, set priorities or manage time. It can increase black and white thinking, transactional relationships and creates low and constant levels of anxiety and guilt. Clearly, leaders today need to develop a kind of agility that allows them to manage both behavioral and mental challenges with ease.

How can you help the executives you coach develop this agility? I recently published an article in the Harvard Business Review about Emotional Agility. I explained how we can benefit from developing a new skillset, one that helps us manage complex challenges with greater ease and effectiveness. An emotionally agile leader recognizes his or her emotions – the positive and helpful, and the difficult and unhelpful – facing them head on with acceptance and compassion, and noticing them but not getting hooked by them. The same leader recognizes emotions in others, too. Noticing these emotions makes room for creativity, productivity and teaming.

This month, I will present a webinar on Emotional Agility, beginning a discussion about how you can coach executives to avoid two major pitfalls: buying into their emotions, or suppressing them; and integrating the power of labeling, mindfulness and values into the way they navigate their difficult experiences. We’ve also curated videos, articles and books that speak to dealing with emotions effectively, both in life and at work.  

I hope you find these resources helpful, and look forward to your involvement and continued feedback.

Susan David


From Research to Practice

A randomized controlled trial of compassion cultivation training: Effects on mindfulness, affect, and emotion regulation by Hooria Jazaieri, Kelly McGonigal, Thupten Jinpa, James R. Doty, James J. Gross & Philippe R. Goldin Motivation and Emotion, (2014) 38:23-35

Special Thanks to Brodie Gregory, PhD for reviewing this research and translating the key points to use in your coaching practice.

Coaching clients often seek support for personal and emotional needs – such as the ability to find happiness and satisfaction and better manage emotions both within and outside of the workplace. To meet this need, coaches are increasingly infusing aspects of positive psychology into their practice, including emphasis on mindfulness.

A recent article by Hooria Jazaieri, Kelly McGonigal, Thupten Jinpa, James Doty, James Gross, and Philippe Goldin in Motivation and Emotion provides a new strategy that coaches can consider when helping their clients learn to better manage emotions and cultivate mindfulness.

Specifically, through a randomized controlled experiment, these authors found that 100 adult participants in a 9-week compassion cultivation training program reported increased mindfulness, higher self-reported happiness, decreased feelings of worry, and less emotional suppression after completing the program. Jazaieri and colleagues describe the program as a “structured, comprehensive compassion mediation program” (p. 26) that consists of weekly classes (2 hours each) and daily mediation practices (15-30 minutes) that focus on compassion for self and others.

Do you have clients who would benefit from learning to better manage emotions and cultivate mindfulness? How can you use compassion meditation as a tool in your coaching engagements to help your clients learn to better regulate their own emotions?

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