by Agnieszka Hermans-Konopka
In this article we are going to argue the importance of work with emotions in coaching. {quotes}Especially in times of uncertainty created by globalization and economical crisis many people need to learn how to deal with negative emotions in constructive ways. {/quotes}Managers often need to develop new skills which allow them to relate not only to their own anxieties and uncertainties but also to difficult experiences in their teams. This new challenge requires the development of coaching and training programs which help to stimulate emotional wisdom in which emotion and the reason become synergic forces. There is a growing interest in role of emotions in organization and in successful leadership. In 1997 Magazine Executive called emotional intelligence a factor which “underpins the most dynamic businesses and the most satisfying and successful lives, while Observer (1994) concludes that it is the “final frontier for performance improvement in companies”. Emotional skills are more and more in the centre of interest of many organizations and a growing number of professionals dedicate their careers to work on them. We are not going to talk about emotional intelligence here, but about a methodology of emotional coaching (Hermans & Hermans-Konopka, 2009) based on the more dynamic concept of the dialogical self which takes into account the relational, dynamic character of the self. We are going to use the term “emotional wisdom”, which is treated as a result of dialogue between reason and emotion and as a consequence of dialogical relation between emotion and self in general. One of the central aspects of emotional wisdom is the stimulation of a dialogical relation between self and emotions. This relation is bidirectional: emotions can transform the self and the self gives an answer to emotions. We are going to argue that to BE with your own emotions is a challenging art for the Westerm culture, accustomed as it is to the control or change emotions. A very important step needed for developing being with emotions is self-acceptance, stopping the internal struggle with oneself and making the relation between emotions and the self more dialogical.

Relation between emotion and the self.

Do you often talk with your clients about their relation with family, friends and colleagues? The answer seems to be obvious and probably you will say “yes”. Do you also usually explore their relation with their own emotions? Have you ever reflected on your own relation with your emotions?  In emotional coaching (Hermans & Hermans-Konopka, 2009), which is based on dialogical self theory, we pay special attention to the relation with one’s emotions, because the quality of this relation deeply determinates the social functioning and development of the person. There can be many examples. When people can not deal with their own sadness, they are not likely to be open for the sadness of another person. When they do not allow some types of emotions to play a role in the relations with other people, these relations are at risk to become superficial and shallow. When they do not want to hear the voice of annoying unpleasant emotions, people can miss a very important message that tells them that something crucial in life needs attention. Avoiding feelings of powerlessness prevents the person to be in a deeper contact with oneself and others.