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TitleEmotional Intelligence and Mentoring
TagsLeadership Emotions Leadership & Mentoring Mentorship
File Size84.3 KB
Total Pages4
Document Text Contents
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It is imperative that the mentor understands the role of emotional intelligence (EI) and how it

effects his or her mentoring interactions. If a mentor is to effectively lead others in

transformational change he or she must be aware of how they personally act and react when

confronted with life situations. Mentoring is not merely an educational process where

information is given, received and regurgitated. Mentoring is a process of modeling

appropriate behavior in order to influence others for the good. Therefore, we will discuss two

themes in this paper: what is EI and of what importance is EI in the mentoring relationship.

What Is Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is broken down into four components by Mayer and Salovey

and defined as, “the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to

assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate

emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth,” (cited in Ashkanasy, 2003).

Mayer and Cobb define EI as, “the capacity to process emotional information accurately and

efficiently, including the capacity to perceive, assimilate, understand and manage emotion,”

(cited in Hawkey, 2006). Others define EI in different terms but all of the definitions seem to

possess four common elements: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and

relationship management, ("Resonant Leader Is One In Tune With Himself, Others," 2005).

Although there seems to be a multitude of definitions concerning EI we will, for the

purposes of this paper, borrow from Daniel Goleman’s definition, “the ability to be aware of

and to handle one’s emotions in varying situations,” (cited in Kobe, Reither-Lamon &

Rickers, 2001). This definition seems broad enough to encompass most other definitions yet

specific enough as to promote critical thought on the matter at hand.

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence In The Mentoring Relationship

Mentors must be cognizant of how they interact with people in a variety of settings.

If, for example, the mentor struggles to communicate in social settings or is unable to control

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emotional outbursts when a colleague disagrees there is a need for the mentor to uncover the

causes of these shortcomings. In other words the mentor hones his or her skill by a process of

self-evaluation but is also willing to solicit the evaluations of others. This process is critical

because of the imperative that good leaders must be able to interact with followers (Kobe,

Reither-Lamon & Rickers 2001). The mentor thus has the responsibility to be a person who

seeks to improve self and then improve others. As Jesus said, “Why do you look at the speck

of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye,”

(Matthew 7:3)? A prerequisite to mentoring then is the ability to be aware of who are you are

emotionally and socially and the willingness to change.

Mentoring is, at its core, leadership and leadership is essentially an emotional process

(Ashkanasy, 2003) but it also has a large social element. The mentor understands that what he

or she is doing has effect on both the emotional and social character of those they lead. Many

relegate emotions to be a, “disruptive, dangerous influence on thinking and behavior.” (cited

in Hawkey, 2006) and thus disregard the influence emotions have on mentoring. Others

downplay the social aspect of the mentoring relationship. However, neither of these areas can

be separated if the goal of the mentor is to produce well-rounded individuals. The mentor

then employs tools within his or her own life that directly challenges them to examine their

emotional and social intelligence.

The ability to, “be aware of and to handle one’s emotions in varying situations,”

(cited in Kobe, Reither-Lamon & Rickers, 2001) comes then from a concerted effort on

behalf of the mentor to grow socially and emotionally. If then we apply ourselves to growth

personally we may very well have the privilege of empowering others to make forward

progress with their lives. As the Apostle Paul instructs we should strive to take the things we

have learned and teach it to others with the hope they too will teach (2 Timothy 2:2).


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