Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand your own and others' emotions, which can lead to more thoughtful and deliberate decisions.

Developing emotional intelligence can require behavioural change, such as changing a habit, and we all know that changing habits is hard work.

Whether it's changing that habit of reaching for a glass of wine every night to only drinking at weekends or whether it's not having cake with your morning cup of coffee, generally the first thought is ‘But, I'd really like to keep doing that old habit’. 

Unhelpful habits can be hard to move away because they are familiar.

Because this involves putting yourself in an uncomfortable and unfamiliar space of doing something that, by and large, you probably wouldn't choose to do. Even unhelpful habits can be hard to move away because they are familiar.

I am a coach who specialises in developing emotional intelligence. Like most coaches, I tend to work with clients for one to two hours, once every four to six weeks. 

So, when I’m coaching for emotional intelligence and behavioural change, I am asking people between these sessions to not only remember the goals that they've set but also to put it into practice.

I recognise that for many of my clients, it is a bit like when you’re in between slimming club sessions, but you continue to eat cake, even though you know that you’re not supposed to eat it. You know that at the next session there will be recriminations, but it's actually just more comfortable to eat it.

Changing behaviour

I decided to create something to help my coaching clients notice those moments where they have choice and to create a little space in their mind to really consciously choose: ‘Do I want to eat the cake, i.e. change my behaviour, or am I going to be brave enough to be more assertive and consciously choose to leave the cake on the plate?’

Something similar in approach to the idea of being more ‘mindful’. But just the word mindful can really freak some people out. They feel it is wussy and not their ‘kind of thing’.

Often this would be like saying to someone who is trying to get in shape, ‘how about going running?’ when instead the next stage should be ‘why not try a nice leisurely walk twice a day?’ which gives them a step towards their goal rather than what can feel like a gigantic leap?

So, the product I had in mind would be something that presented more of a ‘couch to 5km’ approach to mindfulness and would help clients ‘attach themselves’ to me between their coaching sessions. 

I would be the little reminder in an audio that says: ‘this is how you can be more assertive, choose to take a different less familiar way and let's work together’. 

Inspired by feedback

Last year, I spent some time engaging with senior leaders and HR directors to find out what audio topics leaders in the workplace wanted in order to be their best self and to hold themselves accountable when we're really under pressure.

The focus groups helped us develop our first audios, now live on this website, including ambiguity, self-confidence, resilience and perspective. Over time, we will regularly add more audios aimed at ‘coaching the leader’. 

This month’s new coaching audio focuses on grit – a perseverance and passion for long term goals – and how it can be useful in our day to day working lives. 

At YVMT, we also recognise that different organisations and their leaders have different challenges, so we are able to develop audios on a bespoke basis.

Whether you are a business or another coach who would like to use Your Virtual Mind Trainer as a coaching tool, do get in touch to discuss how we can work together to train, calm and coach the mind to improve emotional intelligence.


About the Author

Hilary McLellanHilary McLellan

Hilary is an Organisational Behaviourist, Team and Exec Coach, specialising in coaching and facilitating culture and behavioural change, organisational development, resilience and emotional intelligence.