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I used to be Miss Jillian Kipling until i met and recently married the wonderful Mr Howard, so many of my published articles have my former surname - Kipling.

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Home What is EQ and what does it measure?

What is EQ and what does it measure?

 

Just when you thought that being smart and having a high IQ is the way to get ahead and be successful, out comes a new direction which declares that IQ isn’t enough. In order to be successful in business (and life in general) you have to score high on Emotional Intelligence as well. In fact, studies show that EQ is a much better indicator of likely success than IQ.

So what is EQ and how is it measured?

There are 5 main emotional competencies that are used to decide how emotionally developed you are, namely:

1       Awareness – how aware are you of your own emotional states and how they affect your behavior? And then how does your behavior affects your clients – positively or negatively (depending on both of your personalities). Lastly, how do your clients behave towards you in light of the above?

2       Restraint – are you able to restrain (control) your behavior when negative emotions arise during a client interaction? Some clients can irritate you or frustrate you and your behavior / attitude towards them will alter if you are unable to keep your emotions steady.

3       Resilience – you guessed it; you have to be able to bounce back from disappointments, failure, and other negative situations. It’s even better if you can learn from these situations and grow.

4       Empathy – how sensitive are you to other people’s feelings and motives? Can you pick up what concerns them and motivates them without them having to point it out to you? Getting this right is quite important. Clients need to feel you understand where they are coming from.

5       Social skills – can you figure out how to relate to your clients (over a wide variety of personalities and interests) and communicate easily with them? Do you know how to best resolve differences of opinion? Can you assist them without seeming pushy or impartial?

What tends to happen in client interactions is that you, the advisor, have learnt how important it is to get financial matters such as tax, estate planning, risk cover in place but this academic language is foreign to most clients. They understand emotional dilemmas such as “Where will my wife live if I die? Does she earn enough money for that kind of lifestyle without me?”

An evolved EQ helps the advisor to bridge this “language” gap easily. Spend time getting to know your clients better by asking them to talk about not only their financial goals but their family, their work and other interests.

So, do you think you do well in all five areas, or could you improve in one or two? If there is room for improvement (nobody is perfect!), try making little “notes to self” in your paperwork to remind you to get more personal / emotionally connected at various stages in your client meetings. Once you get used to asking more of the right questions, which lead to improved client engagement, you can cheerfully stop attaching the notes as you have taught yourself a rewarding new skill.

Awareness is the most fun to improve. Go into a client meeting looking for and listening to the interaction with the intention of remembering each emotional spark and what the behavior attached to it was. No need to analyse – just be aware.

Restraint goes hand in hand with patience. If you are not a patient person, learn to take deep breaths (inconspicuously of course), exhaling slowly. This really does work in calming your response down. Sometimes three deep breaths aren’t enough  J - keep going though. I generally find that around five deep breaths are sufficient for most truly antagonizing situations.

Resilience is the area in which most new financial planners struggle. Dammit, rejection hurts! I’m not sure if being in the field longer makes us more thick-skinned or if the confidence that comes with repeated success offsets the disappointments that beset us. I’m inclined to believe it is the latter, but either way rest assured that resilience grows over time.

Empathy is key. Make sure you get this one right. The “notes to self” advice I gave earlier applies here. So does jotting down a list of open ended questions to get your client talking about what moves them. And then all you have to do is listen with more than just your earsJ.

Social skills can be developed. Even if you are not a people person, learning to relate to clients in an easy and effective manner must be learnt in order to get along in just about any avenue of life. Remember that you are supposed to enjoy your work and socializing is a big part of this profession. Relax and have fun! You will probably have a niche set of clients with whom you can relate better than most. Actively seek out that type of client wherever possible.

Now that you understand EQ a little better, practice being more aware in your meetings and send me an email to let me know how it works for you.