“Sit straight, get up when you greet an adult, smile and be friendly”. I always felt compelled not to embarrass my parents by my behavior towards other adults. “Don’t say anything before you’ve been asked,” was very common about 30 years ago. Today we value the opinions of our children much more than in earlier days. It’s important to make them understand the benefits of balanced behavior. But still comes to mind this question: “Are my children behaving this very moment when I am not around?”
And there it was: The school phoned me the other day to discuss the “behavior” of my child. While sitting in the principle’s office with three other teachers expecting something (who knows what), it turned out that my child was interrupting classes by shouting comments to the teacher to help her classmate to cope with the understanding of the subject.
I turned around and asked my child: "What happened?"
“I was getting angry at the teacher as my friend couldn’t follow what the teacher was explaining. Nobody cared so I had to speak up” she replied.
This was the first time where I started to think about behavior more in depth. Her intention was good - but what about her emotions or thoughts which triggered that behavior?
I believe we all have good intentions whatever we do. Behavior comes right back to balance our emotions (previous topic of COMENSAnews). Behavior is directly connected with attitude, performance and therefore with our Emotional Intelligence. My child had needed to express her needs but struggled to use the “correct behavior” to make it work for her. What she needed at that time was a lot of self-awareness and a prompt for deeper “self-inquiry”.
Therefore I believe that, as a coach, I need to constantly work on my self-awareness to give my coachees the best possible service and my absolute presence. In a coaching conversation it is vital for me to regularly listen to my own feelings and check how they affect my behavior. My mantra is: stay respectfully curious and free. Free in my mind with no assumptions or judgments (I try my utmost best!!). No right or wrong, being like a neutral specie and comfortable with the “not knowing”. Often my behavior is reflected back to me with the coachee being relaxed and open and fully in rapport. But I think this is applicable to any conversation in life – we would not live with so many assumptions and misunderstandings. But we must not forget: Behavior is not only about our self-regard and awareness and how well we manage ourselves; it is also about our regard for, and awareness of others and how well we manage our relationships.
Behavior is influenced by so many other “ingredients”: culture, attitudes, emotions, values and many more. Emotional Intelligence is also made up of a mixture of attitudes, feelings and thoughts that leads to our unique actions and behavior. If we intend to improve our behavior, we have to increase our emotional Intelligence as EI looks at the roots underpinning our behavior, not just at the surface actions we show on the outside.
So what is behavior? I believe it is our unique action triggered by our emotions, values and attitudes.
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