How EQ Helps Professional Coaches Make More Money

According to new research published in the Journal of Experiential Psychotherapy (Stillman, Freedman, Jorgensen, & Stillman, 2017) reiterates the powerful link between EQ and effective coaching. . . both for coaches and clients.

Here are the highlights (download the whole survey report here):


Executive and life coaching have never been more important. Stress, in both the workplace and personal life, is on the rise, prompted by increases in speed, complexity, and uncertainty. For leaders coping with a challenging business environment while trying to manage interpersonal relationships, the need for guidance and support is critical. On a personal level, navigating a world in which self-knowledge, optimal decisions, and a sense of purpose are invaluable requires skills, practice, and encouragement.


The objective was to identify key elements of an effective coaching relationship. The focus was on enhancing the experience of coaching, for both the coach and client, by incorporating concepts and practices from emotional intelligence (EQ) into the process. Augmenting coach training with EQ was a parallel design goal.


The research method was a stratified survey of practicing coaches and clients to identify emergent themes related to a) what blocks clients’ progress, b) what methods are most powerful for coaching, and c) why is EQ important in coaching? The survey included 1,138 participants from 88 countries, with coaches segmented by hours of professional training.


Areas of similarity and difference were found between newer and more experienced coaches. Powerful coaching methods reported included a) client-focused and goal-oriented reflective questions, b) engagement and active listening, and c) a focus on emotional strengths, mindfulness, and self-understanding. Coaches and clients agreed that incorporating concepts and practices of EQ, including the use of EQ assessments, enriched the process by promoting insight, facilitating connection, and clarifying purpose.


Introducing EQ into professional coach training and practice can enhance the experience of coaching for both the coach and the client. Adding EQ to the coaching process places an emphasis on emotional self-awareness, relational dynamics, practical skill development, and purpose-driven sustainable change

Our Thoughts

We agree with everything here overall. This research really promotes the use of EQ-based assessments which we completely support. Our argument would be for the inclusion of game dynamics to assist in EQ development for both coaches and the clients. There are several excellent choices for assessments, which in our opinion, can be positive and negative. This is a positive in that accessibility to quality assessment tools is increasing. The downside is that assessments no longer differentiate a coach's services.

Adding gamification, which is simply adding game dynamics to non-game situations, such as, in this case coaching, is where we believe the next great opportunity lies for coaches to differentiate and generate increasing revenues. As Millennials and next generations continue to grow with more gaming experience, this will become more evident as the client demographic for professional coaching shifts to these groups.