What makes coaching so effective, and does emotional intelligence help? How? Here’s an infographic, report, and insights from 1138 professionals — business coach, life coach — and coaching clients from 88 countries.

by Joshua Freedman, MCC, and Marilynn Jorgensen, PCC

What are the most powerful methods for coaching? The word cloud above shows key themes, according to the experienced business coaches and life coaches in our survey sample (over 200 hours of coach training). The cloud comes from semantic analysis (Research by Kapiche), where the largest words are the most significant — and the colors represent themes. So power-coaches say…

First (red theme):
Focus on the client, asking challenging, reflective questions to deepen thinking about goals.
Second (orange):
Hold a powerful space for active listening.
Third (yellow):
Work with emotional strengths, build mindfulness, and self-understanding.

As you can see in the infographic, below, the newbie coaches also touched these themes… but the professional business coach and life coach goes deeper. The infographic compares insights from professional (>200 hours training) vs new coaches on three key questions:

What are the obstacles that make it hard for clients to change?

What coaching methods are most effective for clients to work through these issues?

If emotional intelligence is helpful, why?

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The full report includes the infographic, specifics of the different responses by beginner/expert coaches, and demographics. Just fill in the form and you’ll get the report by email in a few seconds (six, perhaps?):

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The survey includes professionals coaches (life coach, business coach, mentors), coaching clients, and people in the process of becoming coaches.
 

What’s the role of emotional intelligence in coaching?

We know from extensive research that the learnable, measurable skills of emotional intelligence are important at work, in school, and in life. Coaches and coaching clients agree: Emotional intelligence is invaluable. It’s good for coaching clients, but it’s essential for coaches. The question, “How important is it for coaches to have strong emotional intelligence to assist clients with the challenges you identified?” scored a massive 98% agreement that it’s essential.

The question to coaching clients, “How important is it for clients to develop strong emotional intelligence to work through the challenges you identified?” scored 90%, or Highly Important.

In what areas do coaches most need to develop?

From the perspective of coaches, the three most important development areas are:

  1. Developing a powerful coaching relationship
  2. Developing yourself as coach
  3. Structuring an effective coaching session

Coaching clients generally agree, but their priorities are slightly different. When asked what coaches most need to develop, clients said:

  1. Developing yourself as coach
  2. Structuring an effective coaching session
  3. Developing a powerful coaching relationship

Whether a business coach, life coach, or a coaching client, respondents gave extremely high ratings to the importance of coach self-development. This item scored 98% on the 5-point scale, indicating it’s an essential ingredient.

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The full report includes the infographic, specifics of the different responses by beginner/expert coaches, and demographics. Just fill in the form and you’ll get the report by email in a few seconds (six, perhaps?):

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Assessments in Coaching

Since Six Seconds publishes a range of powerful emotional intelligence assessments and people-metrics tools that are widely used in coaching, we asked the coaches about measurement. Most, 62%, use some assessments. Of these,

32% are EQ assessments (primarily SEI)

26% are personality tools (such as DISC, MBTI or 16PF)

8 % focus on strengths tools (e.g., VIA Character Strengths or Gallup Strengths Finder)

34% use a wide range of other tools including self-developed surveys.

Of interest to those using Six Seconds’ tools, the large majority (around 80%) use only Six Seconds assessments (SEI, Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Assessments and VS, Vital Signs People-Metrics tools). In contrast, 69% of respondents using emotional intelligence tests published by others are also using additional assessments.

We also looked at the respondents who focus on Six Seconds’ assessments. Among these, the importance of emotional intelligence scored 99%, and the importance of developing self-as-coach 97%. These incredibly high scores demonstrate that these Six Seconds coaches are highly focused on EQ, and our principle that positive change starts from the inside.

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The full report includes the infographic, specifics of the different responses by beginner/expert coaches, and demographics. Just fill in the form and you’ll get the report by email in a few seconds (six, perhaps?):

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The Depth of Professional Coaches

The infographic below highlights three key questions, comparing the answers from highly trained coaches (over 200 hours on average; many have over 400 hours of training) vs those who are earlier in their professional development as coaches. The answers follow very similar themes, but the coaches with deeper expertise look deeper. For example, the newer coach answers often focus on behaviors where the seasoned coaches focus on the feelings and thoughts that drive behaviors.

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The full report includes the infographic, specifics of the different responses by beginner/expert coaches, and demographics. Just fill in the form and you’ll get the report by email in a few seconds (six, perhaps?):

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
 

Learn more about coaching:

Free coaching eBook

Overview of coaching with EQ & related articles

EQ Coach Certification training

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Joshua Freedman

Joshua is one of the world’s preeminent experts on developing emotional intelligence to create positive change. With warmth and authenticity, he translates leading-edge science into practical, applicable terms that improve the quality of relationships to unlock enduring success. Joshua leads the world’s largest network of emotional intelligence practitioners and researchers.
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