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This is how a coach helps manage emotions

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All human beings, by the mere fact of being human beings, feel in our own skin an authentic catalog of emotions. At some point in our lives, we have all faced a situation in which we felt angry, to the point that our face turned red and our spontaneous reaction was to scream. On the other hand, we have also all experienced a feeling of calm and serenity after resolving a conflict; or, why not, we have felt euphoric after achieving some achievement, so activated that we could barely sit still.

Despite this, in some contexts—social contexts, for example—the way we manage our emotions can be problematic or maladaptive for relating to the environment. In this case, as long as we are not dealing with psychopathology, Starting a support process with a coach can be very useful for learning emotion management strategies..

The nature of emotions

Although it is common to hear many people affirm with conviction that they do not know how to manage their emotions, especially during or after a moment of crisis, the reality is that they do know how to do it. If we were not able to manage our emotions, we could not have gotten here. This is a great evolutionary advantage. Being able to recognize our emotions, which are universal and therefore shared among all human beings, has given us driven both at the individual level and at the phylogenetic level—that is, as a species—to reach where we are today. we find.

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Emotions are signals and reactions caused by the body, which are triggered by external or internal events, and that have prevailed throughout millennia because their value was extremely adaptive. Human beings are capable of translating our bodily sensations into specific actions. For example, when we experience fear in a dark and seemingly desolate place, no one would choose to stay still and spend the night in that place (and thank goodness!). Emotions provide us with information about the world and ourselves; They can be great indicators that there are aspects of our lives that require our action, and therefore, no emotion is intrinsically negative.

Now, we cannot carry out an analysis of human emotions if we fall back again and again into thinking of them only as sensations useful for contexts. dangerous for human life, in the strict sense of the word, like a dark alley or proximity to a lion. Emotions also permeate each of our approaches with other human beings.. Perhaps, we may experience a lot of shame after making a comment that we assume the other person will consider foolish. Shame can also be approached from an ultimately evolutionary perspective, since the rejection of the social group could have meant in early times the death of an individual of the species. It may be that, when we feel shame when interacting with others, there is no risk of exclusion that affects our survival in any way. real. But why do we feel emotions even when the dangers are abstract, hypothetical, out of step with reality?

The reason why this occurs refers to the specifically human possibility of having internalized language, being able to establish relationships between various concepts and events of reality without them having happened in reality. However, the fact that there is no substantial risk in our interpersonal ties should not be discredit the value that emotions have as messengers of what is important for our lives.

We all manage our emotions (but in different ways)

Both real and hypothetical situations can trigger the most intense emotional responses in us. How will it be that we can get angry with a person because we believe that has committed a certain act based on certain indicators—what another person told us, what we assume, his actions—and not because we are absolutely certain that he has done it. To deal with our day-to-day conflicts, all people regulate our emotions in one way or another. Therefore, when someone maintains tooth and nail that he “does not know how to regulate his emotions,” in truth, What you are trying to express is that you do not have the necessary resources to manage your emotions an effective form. In other words, We all manage our emotions, but not all of us do it in the best possible way. For example, a person could, in order to calm his or her anxiety, allow himself to experience it without resistance; In contrast, another might resort to alcohol as a measure to appease that challenging emotional state. Logically, the consequences of both behaviors will not be the same.

The role of the coach in emotional management

Each person has learned, throughout their personal history, certain forms of emotional regulation. In this way, he has configured a repertoire of possible behaviors to deal with the environment that may not be effective in all the contexts he faces. The coach's place in emotion management is to help the client recognize what strategies she uses to manage her emotions, evaluate if they are these useful in a certain situation—that is, weighing what consequences their actions have in the short, medium and long term—and, if it is clear that some of them are maladaptive, collaborate in the development of new behaviors.

Specifically, some of the ways in which a coach intervenes to work on emotion management with the client are the following:

Identify emotions

The therapist helps the coachee identify his or her own emotions by asking questions, which are intended to help the coachee put into words what he or she feels. The work of identifying an emotion also brings with it a psychoeducational component, namely, communicating to the client that all emotions are normal, that There are no “positive” or “negative” emotions., and that, although they are unpleasant, in some scenarios they could be great teachers. Consequently, that person will be able to develop a self-compassionate outlook, since experiencing uncomfortable emotions is not in itself a problem, but rather proof that he is human. In any case, the problem lies in what actions the patient carries out as a result of her emotions.

Recognize a pattern of behavior

The coach helps the coachee to recognize what her recurring ways of behaving are as a result of the emotion she feels. People tend to move along more or less stable paths throughout our lives. The question that a therapist could ask the patient is the following: when you feel sad (or anxious, distressed, afraid...), what do you usually do immediately? Do you allow yourself to feel that emotion, without resistance? Or do you carry out any other activity to avoid it?

Recognize the consequences of avoiding emotions

This work could show that there are some patterns that in the long term bring more negative consequences to the coachee than benefits. For example, if a patient feels very embarrassed every time he goes to the beach during his vacation, Because of how she looks in a swimsuit and therefore decides to seclude herself in the hotel, how will she feel in the long run? term? It is likely that she managed to regulate that emotion by avoiding going to the beach, but, at what cost? What important things for him or her will he or she have put at risk in order to minimize the effects of that emotion?

The consultant may notice that, on many occasions, Perhaps a better alternative is to allow yourself to feel that unpleasant emotion and carry out actions committed to what matters to you., even in the presence of that emotion. For example, you could go to the beach even feeling sad, because, on the one hand, all emotions are temporary beyond their intensity; and, above all, because he does not want to stop enjoying his vacation with his friends because of that emotion.

Develop new forms of emotional regulation

Ultimately, the therapist could provide the client with tools to evaluate whether to follow what the emotion demands of them. —staying at the hotel out of embarrassment, not going to that party out of anxiety, yelling at your partner out of anger—is useful or not in a given situation. context. And behaviors cannot be analyzed apart from the context: shouting loudly in a scenario of emergency could be without a doubt one of the most effective behaviors that a person; Not so if you wanted to resolve an interpersonal conflict.

European Coaching School

European Coaching School

European Coaching School

Executive and team coach

Verified Professional
Online therapy

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The development of new forms of emotional regulation is devised, evaluated, worked on and trained in consensus with the consultant. This work takes time, since modifying the behavioral repertoire is not a simple task. Our ways of acting are usually deeply rooted in us, since we have repeated them throughout our lives as favorite strategies to deal with our emotions. However, with the help of a psychology or coaching professional trained in the subject, the changes in Emotion management can substantially increase a person's well-being and satisfaction with their life.
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