Carolyn Stern

Emotional Intelligence Expert, Professional Speaker, Leadership Specialist, University Professor, Entrepreneur

Carolyn Stern is a successful entrepreneur who specializes in helping professionals get unstuck. As a life-long learner and academic, Carolyn is a professor, corporate emotional intelligence trainer, certified Emotional Intelligence Expert, author and professional speaker keynote speaker.

Carolyn’s focus and passion are on emotional intelligence training, leadership and team-building in the workplace. She drives individuals and corporations to learn how to connect authentically, communicate effectively and thrive collectively by interweaving emotional intelligence along the way.

As a professor of Business Administration at Capilano University, she has taught Leadership, Public Speaking, Organizational Behaviour, Marketing, and Business Management over the last 12 years. In addition to her passion for sharing knowledge, she is committed to “Learn More. Be Better. Teach Others”.

Carolyn is a professional member of the Canadian Associates of Professional Speakers, the National Speakers Association, and the Global Speakers Federation, making her a popular guest speaker at national and international conferences and seminars.

Learning Objectives

➢ Understand what emotional intelligence is and why it is critical to coaching.

➢ Learn six emotional intelligence competencies and how they impact coaching effectiveness.

➢ Generate a self-development plan to incorporate emotional intelligence into your coaching conversations.


Why is it so important to know how someone feels in a coaching session? 

  • Our job as coaches is to balance our empathy with our assertiveness.
  • It’s important to meet someone where they’re at and have compassion for where they’re at. It truly is our job to push coachees forward, but you can’t push them too forward.
  • You have to say what you’re noticing internally, and you need to hold up a mirror.
  • The challenge is if you push people to not know where their emotional state is, they go from comfort to learning to panic. And that’s the worst thing we can do as a coach – make it a negative learning experience because then they’re not learning.

What’s your experience level with coaching on a scale of one to five?

  • You can take someone through the steps of coaching, whether it’s the GROW model or any other model you’ve learned.
  • The challenge is understanding the emotions underneath the surface of what people are experiencing. That includes their values, attitudes, feelings, thoughts, beliefs, assumptions.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

  • Daniel Bowman made it popular in 1995.
  • As coaches, we spend so much time thinking about the coachee that we forget how we’re feeling in the moment.
  • Emotional intelligence is essential to not only be paying attention to the other person’s needs but also to your own.
  • It’s like tapping your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time, using two parts of the brain.
  • It’s externally noticing things, but it’s also internally noticing.
  • Emotional Intelligence is the ability to use the information provided by emotions to act appropriately in the face of daily challenges.
  • It’s understanding, expressing, and managing your own emotions.
  • Emotional Intelligence is not only about understanding and managing our emotions. It’s also about using that emotional data to develop and maintain good relationships with others.
  • It’s about how you manage your emotions and think clearly, and solve problems under pressure.

Remember how the Titanic sank?

  • They thought that they saw a piece of ice in the ocean. But actually, it was a gigantic iceberg that killed that ship and made it go down. And the challenge is people are no different.
  • What is going on for you underneath the surface?
  • We all have our own emotional makeup.
  • We’ve all been emotional.
  • The gift that COVID has given (not dismissing all the negative it’s brought on in the world) is the opportunity to realize that we do not leave our emotions at the door.
  • When we come to work, we bring them to work. And now we’re where the boundaries are blurred, and people don’t know the difference between work and home.
  • We are now bringing our full selves to work, not just our corporate personas.

Why do you think Emotional Intelligence is so necessary?

  • Emotional Intelligence can be the game-changer for transformational coaching.
  • Emotional Intelligence is necessary for every situation.
  • Understanding acceptance is the key to transformation.
  • Awareness starts with awareness.
  • Why don’t we talk about emotions at work?
  • We are taught to hide emotions. We are taught to put on our poker face and be top.
  • We’re trying to make it okay. To be human in the workplace.

EQ-i 2.0 model

  1. Self-Perception (Self-regard, Self-actualization, emotional self-awareness)
  2. Decision Making (problem-solving, reality testing, impulse control)
  3. Self-Expression (emotional expression, assertiveness, independence)
  4. Interpersonal (interpersonal relationships, empathy, social responsibility)
  5. Stress-Management (flexibility, stress tolerance, optimism)


  • Look inward and take inventory of yourself.
  • How do I rate in each of these competencies? Because how you show up affects how you are as a coach.
  • We need to have empathy and put ourselves in somebody else’s shoes.
  • We also need to have self-actualization, which is all about trying to live a life of meaning and purpose.

Reality Testing

  • Are you seeing what’s real?
  • You’re living your reality but is it actually real?
  • Your reality might not be their reality.
  • Are you making your emotions cloud your judgment?
  • Can you build a strong relationship built on trust and compassion?
  • Reality testing is you don’t let your emotions cloud your objectivity. It is seeing things as they really are and focusing on objective evidence.
  • If you’re too realistic, you might not be optimistic. You might lack optimism or empathy or overlook the viewpoints of others.


  • It’s a balance between meeting somewhere where they’re at but also saying what you notice. Pushing them beyond their comfort zone.
  • How many of us are shy in this area?
  • Our EQ rises as we get older. We’re a masterpiece and a work in progress at the same time.

Start to get comfortable sharing where you are in your emotional state. 

  • Even the most successful people haven’t figured it all out.
  • It’s a lifelong journey. We never master this.
  • There are days when you’re in the driver’s seat of your emotions. And then there are days when your emotions take over.
  • It’s not about winning people because that win-lose mentality is what gets us stuck in the first place. It’s about every day trying to learn more and be better.


  • Self-actualization is living a life of meaning and purpose. This is about wanting to be the best you can be.
  • Are you living a life with meaning and purpose and doing what you were meant to be?
  • Are you always wanting to be bigger, better?


  • Interpersonal is your ability to build mutually satisfying relationships based on trust and compassion.
  • Are you able to meet and make connections with people?
  • Are you good at building relationships?


  • The ability to appreciate and understand someone else’s feelings.
  • Sometimes you can take it home with you and put the weight on your shoulders.
  • A lot of people in the healing professions have too much empathy.
  • The challenge with having too much empathy is you don’t push people from their comfort zone to their learning, you coddle them too much that they stay stuck.
  • Three types of empathy
  1. Perspective empathy – I can put myself. I can understand how people think.
  2. Effective empathy – I understand how things feel.
  3. Compassionate empathy – I understand your feelings and I want to help.


Given your emotional makeup, what do you need to be aware of when coaching others?

  • Are you too empathetic?
  • Are you too objective?
  • Are you not objective enough?
  • Are you not fulfilled enough right now?
  • Are you not speaking up?
  • Are you letting a question go unsaid?


Think about how this all comes into play for your coaching conversations. It’s really being careful to think about how your emotional makeup impacts how you have those coaching conversations.

You have to name it to tame it.

  • Self-awareness is the biggest of coaching.
  • How aware are you of your emotional state?
  • What do you feel? One word feeling?
  • Did you go blank and say, I don’t know, good, fine?
  • Good or fine are not feelings. Those are states of beings. And so it’s really important to name it for you to tame it.

How these emotional skills impact our coaching conversations

  1. Remain objective – reality testing
  2. Build trust and have compassion – interpersonal relationship
  3. Respect other people’s feelings – empathy
  4. Being emotionally self-aware
  5. Say what you see – assertiveness
  6. Pursue meaningful goals – self-actualizing


As a coach, you will need to see things as they really are. This is about staying neutral in your language. This is about not letting your bias or judgments, or emotions cloud your objectivity.

The people that are the most compassionate are with the most boundary.

  • Can you imagine if a surgeon or a first-line respondent would take home what they saw in a day and bring it home to their personal lives?
  • It’s important that you set boundaries. This is also about feeling with them, not for them.
  • Making sure you are aware of your emotional state during, before, and after the coaching conversation.
  • Do you check in with yourself about how you’re feeling before your coaching begins?
  • Are you ensuring your emotions are not guiding the conversation?
  • It’s sharing what you’re noticing that they might not be aware of.
  • It’s also about helping them discover and come to their own conclusions.
  • This is really about helping them set stretch goals.

After learning how emotional intelligence skills impact your coaching conversations, what do you need to start, stop and continue doing to be a more effective coach?

💎 Nuggets from Carolyn Stern

  • People don’t learn unless they’re motivated to learn.
  • Understanding the emotional state of where someone’s at is critical.
  • Emotions are a universal language. Regardless of where we come from, we all are humans.
  • Coaching is a fine line between meeting someone where they’re at but also pushing them from comfort to learning.
  • Just because I don’t live your life doesn’t mean I can’t connect with your feelings.
  • You might not have the same feeling about the same experience.
  • It’s just a conversation if it’s not action-oriented. Coaching needs to be action-oriented.
  • Please do not take home your coachee’s problems.

🔥 “Emotions don’t make you weak. You can be emotional and strong. They’re not mutually exclusive.” – Carolyn Stern

🎥 If you missed or want to rewatch our webinar with Carolyn Stern on “Coaching with Emotional Intelligence”, catch up now:

📣 A big shoutout to Carolyn Stern for sharing that we can be bigger than our emotions! ❤️

Don’t miss out on this one. Stay tuned for the next episode!

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