Collaboration can bring new energy to a project, or it can bring conflict, depending on how people navigate the emotions of working together. We asked two educators and EQ enthusiasts to reflect on how they are collaborating on a a new initiative to bring EQ to Ohio’s schools.
Kate Cosgrove manages a dance school in Ohio. She oversees 32 teachers. She used to work as a 6th grade teacher. After taking a course with Anabel Jensen, co-founder of Six Seconds, she decided she wanted to help bring more EQ training into schools.
Kelli Tebbi is Curriculum Coordinator at Auglaize County Educational Service Center in Ohio. The two met through Jim Vaive and even though they live in different parts of the state, began talking about how they could work together to bring EQ into more schools. She recently took the EQPC.
Rachel: What are you two collaborating on?
Kate; Kelli and I are just getting to know each other. We want to collaborate on how to get the EQ message out. It’s hard to sell this to teachers. The idea, once you explain it, they’re amazed, it is so powerful and it can go so far.
I am going to be leaning on Kelli this summer. We’re going to work with a group in Central Ohio that does afterschool education for at-risk high school students and we’re hoping to go in weekly and work with the children and start teaching the skills.
Rachel: Which EQ competencies help the most in collaboration?
Kate: In some of the things I’ve done with every group, it’s the exploration of the brain styles, the decision making and the drive, whether I’m on the left or right side of things. We’ve taken it a step further. Let’s say there are some teachers and superintendents and principals in the room, having them sit together and have them talk about how does my brain style impact what you do and vice versa, but going into the competencies as well, and because I have this brain style, are some of these stronger for me, and what are the connections. It’s so powerful to have these conversations.
Rachel: Do you think there is an optimal time to have that conversation? Before or after a project?
Kate; It’s a continual spiral, continuously learning about it, and going back to “what does this mean?” We know we’re not set. Our brain styles can change over time depending on what’s going on. What is my typical way I approach things? And how is that affecting other people? And how can I be aware of what’s going on?
I would notice with groups; they would understand the day we talked about it, but the next day the conflicts would arise, and they wouldn’t be remembering: “O.k this is my brain style, and this is what that person needs from me to be successful.”
Kelli; Every environment we work in, we have people who we struggle to work well with. There is always going to be that person we avoid in the halls, or we duck behind the grocery aisles when we see coming. For me, they say the best thing we could do is to turn EQ first on yourself. For me it’s given me a whole new appreciation of those types of people and how they work. That’s that power I’ve seen that has occurred.
Kate: I’m going to talk about patterns, especially in group situations. It’s a matter of understanding who you’re working with, and how they’re going to react, and all those things working together. If people understand their own patterns, if they understand why they’re reacting that way, if the group knows this person reacts this way, for example, they get anxious first, they shut down, and so we’re going to come back to them. Knowing their patterns is as important as knowing your own.
Rachel: We often have roles that are set from early in life in school that follow us into adult team work.
Rachel: What’s your take how teachers might use emotional literacy to read the mood of a room? Could that help them?
Kate: That is huge for me. Whether it’s a small or large group, You can feel that energy vibe as soon as you walk into the room, the body language, where is everybody at, do we need to do an icebreaker here, do we need to talk, how do you take whatever’s going on at that moment and leverage it. If you ignore that, whatever is going on, as a leader, you’re dead in the water. You have to acknowledge whatever is going on.
Kelli: It takes EQ to be able to recognize that you need it, that you have it or don’t have it. Those teachers whose kids are falling asleep in the room, they don’t have that empathy or emotional insight that maybe it is about the teacher. Maybe it’s about me and not them. It takes EQ for that to happen. That is some of the resistance we come across. It’s about people who think they are emotionally intelligent, yet haven’t done the work.
Kate: With this project this summer, one of our hopes are that we can work with the teachers before the kids, so it can go both ways.
Rachel: Will you be measuring any results before and after?
Kate; This is a grant based project, we hope to do some evaluations and watch throughout the summer.
Rachel: Anything you want to add before we close?
Kelli: I tend to feel, even though I know I’m not, that I’m fighting alone. So, to have Jim and Lynette connect me with Kate, I feel I have a partner to talk to. Although Kate and I haven’t talked a whole lot, to know there’s someone else out there, is heartening. We can play off each other’s strength.
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