Emotional Intelligence (E.Q.)

EQ icebergA great article – I Think it is wonderful and clear. I will paste the link below:

We probably all know people, either at work or in our personal lives, who are really good listeners. No matter what kind of situation we’re in, they always seem to know just what to say – and how to say it – so that we’re not offended or upset. They’re caring and considerate, and even if we don’t find a solution to our problem, we usually leave feeling more hopeful and optimistic.

We probably also know people who are masters at managing their emotions. They don’t get angry in stressful situations. Instead, they have the ability to look at a problem and calmly find a solution. They’re excellent decision makers, and they know when to trust their intuition. Regardless of their strengths, however, they’re usually willing to look at themselves honestly. They take criticism well, and they know when to use it to improve their performance.

People like this have a high degree of emotional intelligence, or EI. They know themselves very well, and they’re also able to sense the emotional needs of others.

Would you like to be more like this?

As more and more people accept that EI is just as important to professional success as technical ability, organizations are increasingly using EI when they hire and promote.

For example, one large cosmetics company recently revised their hiring process for salespeople to choose candidates based on their EI. The result? People hired with the new system have sold, on average, $91,000 more than salespeople selected under the old system. There has also been significantly lower staff turnover among the group chosen for their EI.

So, what exactly is EI, and what can you do to improve yours?

What is Emotional Intelligence?

We all have different personalities, different wants and needs, and different ways of showing our emotions. Navigating through this all takes tact and cleverness – especially if we hope to succeed in life. This is where EI becomes important.

EI is the ability to recognize your emotions, understand what they’re telling you, and realize how your emotions affect people around you. It also involves your perception of others: when you understand how they feel, this allows you to manage relationships more effectively.

emotional intelligence

People with high EI are usually successful in most things they do. Why? Because they’re the ones that others want on their team. When people with high EI send an email, it gets answered. When they need help, they get it. Because they make others feel good, they go through life much more easily than people who are easily angered or upset.

Characteristics of Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist, developed a framework of five elements that define emotional intelligence:

  1. Self-Awareness – People with high EI are usually very self-aware . They understand their emotions, and because of this, they don’t let their feelings rule them. They’re confident – because they trust their intuition and don’t let their emotions get out of control.

    They’re also willing to take an honest look at themselves. They know their strengths and weaknesses, and they work on these areas so they can perform better. Many people believe that this self-awareness is the most important part of EI.

  2. Self-Regulation – This is the ability to control emotions and impulses. People who self-regulate typically don’t allow themselves to become too angry or jealous, and they don’t make impulsive, careless decisions. They think before they act. Characteristics of self-regulation are thoughtfulness, comfort with change, integrity , and the ability to say no.
  3. Motivation – People with a high degree of EI are usually motivated . They’re willing to defer immediate results for long-term success. They’re highly productive, love a challenge, and are very effective in whatever they do.
  4. Empathy – This is perhaps the second-most important element of EI. Empathy is the ability to identify with and understand the wants, needs, and viewpoints of those around you. People with empathy are good at recognizing the feelings of others, even when those feelings may not be obvious. As a result, empathetic people are usually excellent at managing relationships , listening , and relating to others. They avoid stereotyping and judging too quickly, and they live their lives in a very open, honest way.
  5. Social Skills – It’s usually easy to talk to and like people with good social skills, another sign of high EI. Those with strong social skills are typically team players. Rather than focus on their own success first, they help others develop and shine. They can manage disputes, are excellent communicators, and are masters at building and maintaining relationships.

As you’ve probably determined, EI can be a key to success in your life – especially in your career. The ability to manage people and relationships is very important in all leaders, so developing and using your EI can be a good way to show others the leader inside of you.

How to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

The good news is that EI can be learned and developed. As well as working on your skills in the five areas above, use these strategies:

  • Observe how you react to people. Do you rush to judgment before you know all of the facts? Do you stereotype? Look honestly at how you think and interact with other people. Try to put yourself in their place , and be more open and accepting of their perspectives and needs.
  • Look at your work environment. Do you seek attention for your accomplishments? Humility can be a wonderful quality, and it doesn’t mean that you’re shy or lack self-confidence. When you practice humility, you say that you know what you did, and you can be quietly confident about it. Give others a chance to shine – put the focus on them, and don’t worry too much about getting praise for yourself.
  • Do a self-evaluation. Try out our EI quiz . What are your weaknesses? Are you willing to accept that you’re not perfect and that you could work on some areas to make yourself a better person? Have the courage to look at yourself honestly – it can change your life.
  • Examine how you react to stressful situations. Do you become upset every time there’s a delay or something doesn’t happen the way you want? Do you blame others or become angry at them, even when it’s not their fault? The ability to stay calm and in control in difficult situations is highly valued – in the business world and outside it. Keep your emotions under control when things go wrong.
  • Take responsibility for your actions. If you hurt someone’s feelings, apologize directly – don’t ignore what you did or avoid the person. People are usually more willing to forgive and forget if you make an honest attempt to make things right.
  • Examine how your actions will affect others – before you take those actions. If your decision will impact others, put yourself in their place. How will they feel if you do this? Would you want that experience? If you must take the action, how can you help others deal with the effects?
  • See our article on Emotional Intelligence in Leadership for specific tips related to a leadership role.

Key Points

Although “regular” intelligence is important to success in life, EI is key to relating well to others and achieving your goals. Many people believe that it is at least as important as regular intelligence, and many companies now use EI testing to hire new staff.

EI is an awareness of your actions and feelings – and how they affect those around you. It also means that you value others, listen to their wants and needs, and are able to empathize or identify with them on many different levels.


Coaching is the answer….


Ghandi - be the change



I was at an ADI meeting last night, and a couple of ADIs were there representing their ‘franchise’ to us. This is a franchise with a specific ……… this is not intended as a vindictive or malicious post….. I think I should avoid specifying anything about them, and their professional preferences. There is a place for all of us after all 🙂

I feel I need to mention ONLY what it made me feel…. and I am not even sure I can manage to express it clearly…. maybe it will come with time and making a start.

…. it is more an observation of where my own professional priorities lie… It refreshed, for me the, key factors of why I chose to Coach rather than stay with the pure instruction I used to believe was the only and best way.

It reminded me of my Coaching ‘Eureka Moment’ of “***This is IT!!***”
“THIS is what has been missing from me and my tuition. This completes me”

Last night, I heard phrases like
“they only want to pass the test”,
“you tell them this, and they don’t listen”
“we do ‘this’ with everybody – and that is better so they all get the same”
“it is a fact that you have to practice manoeuvres over and over and over and THAT is the only way ‘they’ learn”

I couldn’t bear it. I honestly began to tremble – not with anger, or animosity but a pent up something that made my adrenaline surge. I had anticipated being of a ‘different perspective’, and I assumed I would find it easy to just keep quiet as I usually do. I just couldn’t do it.

I feel so strongly —- but what is more I do not want to offend or hurt these colleagues of mine. I want them to ‘see what I see’, as I see them and see their passion and conviction. But I want to share the joy of watching someone unravel a task and solve it by themselves….. and ‘OWN IT’!

I really find it sad that our parts 1,2 and 3 fail our profession so badly (not the trainers – the set up!)

I am not sure I have been clear – I do not want to criticise – but I do want to share how joyful our job can be.


A simple question…. and a eureka moment

I posted this on Facebook:tips icon for webpages

“Has anyone tried using ‘Siri’ or Google translate etc during sessions with people whose first language is not English?


I have not tried yet – but I miss the deep questioning that I can do when communication is ‘easier’. The ‘learning’ just does not seem as efficient”

and then I asked one of my ladies……….

UPDATE to Siri or Google Translate post:

As I said I would – I asked the very next Client if she thinks she would benefit (at any point) in using a translation device.

Sometimes the best things come from a conversation starting point. So here is a bullet point account….

She said “To be honest I don’t know how I feel or how to overcome my worries no matter WHAT language I use!! It makes no difference!” To which we both had a massive laugh!!! It was a very bonding moment somehow.

I paused, and she went on talking a bit about how she is scared to do 30 in a 30 (I never urge or force her to do this – I know It will come when she is able!) we just slug along the roads at her pace, with the wind of passers by in our hair… those pesky overtaking cyclists!! hahahha! [joke]

Anyway – back to today. She explained about being scared to do 30 and she didn’t know why and also – more importantly it turned out, scared to stop AT the give way line —- always quite far back from any line… even though spacial judgement not the issue.

…. then……” there was a really loud….
“… OH!!!…”
I know what it is!!! When I was ‘back home’ (country of birth) I had finished a long shift at the hospital (Doctor) and I was very tired and I had my friend on the back of my motorbike. In ******** [her home country] you just pay and bribe yourself a licence – no test! and no one knows or drives using the rules! It is scary and dangerous. It never worried me then…


… the car in front of us stopped so suddenly, and I couldn’t stop and I hit it! Our crash helmets flew off and the car was a bit dented but no-one hurt, thank goodness….. but I think I am scared of T-junctions because of that, and of driving at the normal speed — just in case…..”

we spoke a bit longer and I said I know you had the plan of more roundabouts for today, but may I make a suggestion? She said yes, and I asked how she felt about learning ‘E-Stop’ for a few minutes first?

We went to a quiet road. I asked he to just experiment with stopping quickly. With clutch – without clutch – same time etc. Then I asked her to REALLY stop!!!!! Which she did (more laughs) [I have not mentioned or included test standard or expectations today – that is for later!!]

She was quite animated about how good it was to ‘understand’ the brake more and how it works! I asked how good is the car at stopping quite soon? She knew her speed and said – “yes – very good to stop and I was doing just more than 30! [Big smiles!]. I like this!”

During the next hour she sped TWICE to my knowledge in a 30 limit!! 😀

Funny how asking a disconnected question about using Google or Siri can produce a result of feeling confident to stop right AT a give way line AND do 30 in a 30 without me suggesting, struggling or mentioning anything!


She even brought up that I COULD ‘push her’ to do more, and then we laughed when I said – “yes, and my Dad was hit with a stick at school to make him learn”…. she certainly got the point!

As I said earlier – I know that the speed issue will resolve itself when she is ready to address it!!!! Today she became ready… 🙂

[smug mode disabled!]

If it’s stupid and it works… it’s not stupid

Ruby read writeMay I introduce ‘Ruby’ and her preference for learning how to do a manoeuvre………..

… yes it took a while for her to write out how she would ‘Reverse around a Corner’, but boy! did she nail that first attempt afterwards!!

In her words “it was ok, but I will stay closer to the kerb next time”. She never wavered afterwards.

The great ‘briefing debate’ continues…..

I think that over the years, you guys (the ‘Learners’) have proven to me time after time that you can work out how to do all of the things needed in your own ways… and I have the skills to bring the best out of YOU!

Trust yourselves now and after the Driving Test to solve

and evaluate your own driving techniques!



Sharing the overload…

Yesterday – we shared the load – it all just seemed too much for F to manage all together… all at once …

It was overwhelming!


  • I coped with the pedals

  • She coped with steering into the bay

Boom!! Sorted perfectly in the lines!


What F realised was that she CAN do both aspects separately. She can do each thing on its own. She just needs to practice doing them together!

  • She can steer into a bay

  • She can use clutch control to move ultra slowly

  •  – Just not at the same time!

And Today???? She did it all — on her own — Clutch and steering — and in the bay independently! 

It is amazing what a good night’s sleep, acknowledging what you CAN do, and deciding that you want another go can do! It was a pleasure to see her achieve her goal!


How do you brainstorm…. ?

What are the ways you like to brainstorm and come up with new ideas or plan a more successful approach to an issue?

How many of us write a shopping list – then forget to take it with us – but somehow we remember most of the items anyway… for me, writing the list helps to cement a neural pathway to remembering what I need… Or in the case of driving, cementing memories so that the clutch, gears and rules at roundabouts etc become ingrained and integrated into my long term memory.

It works even better with a shopping list is when I write the items on the list in the order that I will find them on the shelves; isle by isle, as I walk through the supermarket.

Here are some of my customers thoughts and ideas depicted as they prefer to do it… methods as varied as the people who do it! Basically, they used their own thoughts and musings to lay down and form unique memories.


Rhyanne mind map  A Mind map preparing and ensuring all is well before her test



 ipad image t junctionUsing the ipad to work out all the possibilities…



simple list  Hazards – what where and how to keep on top of it all…


Playing with toy cars

‘Playing’ with toy cars


Thawing from a Frozen Moment  Problem solving – “but then I just freeze, Fiona!! I can’t think!”


Pictures and pen

A Diagram and a dry-wipe pen


notes  A business coaching session – nothing to do with driver education

Reflective Log L


An ipad Reflective Log App


Reviewing videos (other people make mistakes too!) 🙂




Guest Blog – By Woody – “do we try too hard”?

A colleague of mine called Woody wrote this:

Do we try too hard

Don’t try too hard …..

This latest blog post is my reflection from my days as a ski instructor and compares this with driver training Coaching and other sports.

I hope you find it interesting.


Years back I was fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work in some of the most stunning locations in Europe up in the clouds of the Swiss French and Italian Alps

I was a ski guide and instructor for 10 fantastic winter seasons at the time I didn’t quite realise just how important a coaching approach was to helping people to ski particularly myself.


The term instructor , was correct at the time , because what we used to do was tell people how to ski. The more I skied the more I recognised there was always something more to it.

For those of you that are keen skiers you will know the feeling , one run is just amazing, everything clicks into place and parallel turns just seem to happen with hardly any forced thought or even excess energy involved. It just clicks into place, the next run down the mountain and it’s like you’re back to beginners stage again, the skis feel awkward , the snow feels wrong and the weight just doesn’t sync with your movements .


So why does this happen and what is the connection between this and learner drivers.

Well now to me it’s quite simple , we try too hard we think too much and we don’t believe in our own abilities.

Does this sound like any learner driver you know ?

I think that this type of block happens in all walks of life


Footballers , particularly strikers , one day they can’t stop scoring , then all of a sudden they start thinking too hard about how to put the ball in the net .

Cricketers , particularly using batsmen as an example . When they are on form they see the ball easily , they work out the speed, spin and swing of the ball and when on form that ball is as big as a beach all. Then the form dips and the ball starts getting smaller and smaller, the speed and swing become harder to gauge, is this because the batsmen is thinking too much , instead of just naturally letting the ball hit the bat he’s now trying so hard to hit the ball that he doesn’t see it.


You could probably compare this to tennis , golf and many other sports.

Driving is no different, look at how a learner thinks and acts on test day.

Look at how we as driving instructors acted on our own qualifying process particularly part 3 .

Look at the standards check, how does that make us think , do we try too hard , do we let our natural teaching extinct go and instead focus on just the marking sheet.

The best lesson I ever had was from an old Italian ski instructor called Lorrenzo, for all of his years this man floated on his skis, no effort required, his turns were liquid, he literally flowed down the mountain.

I was fortunate to go out for a ski on a number of occasions, I considered myself pretty good, but skiing with Lorrenzo was man and boy.

I asked him for some advice, ” what do you think I can do to improve” his reply

“Woody you’ve got to stop trying so hard” focus on feeling the mountain and above all focus on enjoying it”

The next line just nailed it for me “actually Woody focus on not focusing”


To me this was the answer , from then on my skiing went from strength to strength , I felt the enjoyment in skiing more and more and this only helped to improve my technique .

As an driving instructor / coach I can see the similarities, the adi tries too hard to teach the pupil tries too hard to learn.

A coaching approach particularly focuses more on thoughts and feelings, perhaps what’s misunderstood is the thoughts and feelings should be from both the instructor as well as the pupil.


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The Big Learner Relay for the BBC’s Children In Need

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The Big Learner Relay for the BBC’s Children In Need

Big Learner Relay Relay at Chelmsford

After months of planning, The Big Learner Relay for Children in Need became a reality and in November of 2014 Driving Instructors across The UK came together to make it a fantastic success.

Over 2,500 miles, over 14 days, over 135 instructors and pupils relayed the Big Learner Relay Top Box from one driving lesson to another! Over 1000 instructors got involved either by going spotty, fundraising and sponsoring or by joining the relay. Some legs of the relay had convoys of instructor cars as far as the eye could see!

We smashed our rather conservative target of £5,000 and handed over a whopping £65,500 to Children in Need in 2014 showing that Driving Instructors can make a difference.

With last year’s relay being such a resounding success how could we not do it all again this year?!

There are many ways you can get involved – join the relay, get spotty, support our merchandize shop or simply donate and follow us virtually. There is an opportunity for everyone.


Group photo BGL ColchesterI am taking part again this year so I would really appreciate you support – Please sponsor me, and you will have made a valuable contribution to suffering children in our communities The money raised gets help and support that truly benefits children’s lives!

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Big Learner Relay Relay at Chelmsford Coming in

The relay starts with one day in Northern Ireland on Monday 26th October. The Isle of Wight then kicks off the main route on Friday 30th October. The relay then continues its convoy around the UK finishing in Swindon on the 13th November – Children in Need Appeal Day 2015 – 15 days, 3000 miles, 180 lead driving lessons and many hundreds of instructors and pupils joining the convoy – Come and join us!
See you in the relay!

My Dad takes his glasses off to hear me better…..

Dad glasses off to listen

“I’ve done it again!…. I’ve taken my glasses off to hear you better!”

My Dad was shocked when I answered “I’m not surprised by that at all!” He could not see the logic in that statement. For me, I know my Dad; a Graphic Designer by trade, and an avid amateur artist in his retirement! It is clear as day!

We all have natural preferences, and many of us use a primary sense to interpret the world around us. My sister on the other hand, although having additional learning needs, was pitch perfect! She would ‘object strongly’ (and very loudly!) to a piece of music she knew if it were played in the wrong key, or at the wrong speed. (This was of course back in the day of vinyl records). My sister would make up songs for everything… for example, she had specific names and an order to take her numerous medications in the morning. No song – or the medicines sung in the wrong order and all hell would break loose! All I remember is that the ghastly most bitter tasting medicine was called “Miss Potsit!!” She favoured an auditory way to make sense of her world…. and luckily the family tuned into that perfectly.

I am ambidextrous ! So guess how I ‘get a feel for the world’ or ‘make’ sense of it! As a strongly kinaesthetic person with a large dash of my Dad, I “see” and “do” my way around the world.

What do the people during your working day prefer? How do you adapt for them?

I have a strong understanding of how I can ‘tap into things’, make the ‘picture brighter’, and ‘sound something out’.

Have a good week!


First Contact…

A message I received this week… so nice to feel acknowledged. Also great to know that so many parents have realistic concerns for their children post test!

“Hi Fiona. How’s things? Could we possibly have a chat on the phone, please? *** has had a couple of lessons with a local driving instructor and I’m already getting the impression that the sole purpose of the lesson is to get her to pass her test, which, isn’t, imho, what it’s all about. I love your alternative ethos and would really like *** to learn in a more holistic way. I realise there is quite a distance to travel but I’d be quite prepared to bring her over to Colchester if need be if it equips her better for her miles on the road ahead. What do you reckon?”
DR – 05/06/15
(via facebook and my website)

First lesson already done! 🙂