One of the best training courses I have attended in my career was an introduction to NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) with specific training on emotional intelligence. The reason I decided to take this course was because my manager at the time was taking a similar course for executive staff.  I had heard a lot about NLP over the years and I thought it would be really helpful if both my manager and myself were learning how to use emotional intelligence at the same time. It certainly made a difference to our working relationship and it took my performance to another level. I was promoted soon after completing the course. So why is “totes emosh” training (sorry, I’m from Essex) useful for assistants?

What is emotional intelligence?

Well in its simplest form it is the ability to understand your own emotions while also empathising with other people’s feelings. Being emotionally aware enables a person to assess and influence the emotions of themselves, others and of groups. For executives it can be an incredibly useful tool when leading teams, departments and whole organisations. Most of our Executives will have undertaken some NLP or emotional intelligence courses during their career and I think most would say it has been beneficial in helping them become leaders.

Why should assistants undertaken training in this area?

While I certainly don’t claim to be an expert in this area I did find the course really rewarding. On a daily basis I had to influence high level Executives and decision makers in the organisation without having much (in fact very little) authority. The training I received increased my ability to empathise with their emotions, that knowledge in turn gave me confidence in controlling the areas I could influence which lead to me having much more credibility in my role and working as my manager’s right hand person. As an example I was struggling with taking control over who did or didn’t go into my manager’s office without an appointment. I could easily tell colleagues in my department that no meant no but struggled with pushy consultants and high level Executive team. The training taught me to empathise with their emotional state but also understand why I struggled to tell them no when it was my job to keep distractions away from my boss. Understanding why they wanted to speak to my manager, be it that they were stressed with a tight deadline or wanted to build rapport with the boss, made it easy for me to control the situation. I would know which people to let in, which people to rearrange my boss’s diary for and which people to be strict with. All in all the training really helped me focus.

Here are a few more examples of where increased emotional intelligence is useful for assistants:

  •  It can increased confidence when juggling different tasks and colleague’s expectations
  • It can help build greater rapport with your manager, especially if they have also completed training in this area. You will both be working at the same level emotionally and practically.
  • You will have increased awareness in your own emotions – why are you feeling unconfident in certain situation, what is causing you to feel stressed? How can you use these feelings to your benefit? (This is also really useful at home when you are fighting with your partner!)
  • You will perform better while working in a team which means you can ask to take on more project work and having additional tasks outside the standard assistant role – this happened to me.
  • Your communication skills will improve and the training teaches you to stop and think about your response before you start speaking.
  • Understanding the training your manager has received, why they react the way that they do and how they make decisions will ultimately help your working relationship with them.

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2 comments

  • Ruth January 28, 2014   Reply →

    Thank you so much for sharing. I am of the opinion that every assistant needs this training as we are a people person. It would help us tackle our day to day activities within and without.

  • Sarah February 6, 2014   Reply →

    NLP sounds fantastic, especially as Ruth says, we are in a people person role. I would like to suggest I take a course to my boss – could you let me know the organisation you did it with? He used a high end org a couple of years ago, but they’re too high end for an introductory, I think. ps, I’ve quite literally sat at my desk for 2 hours reading your entire blog. It’s really good in many ways – content and aesthetically.

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