Our March newsletter focused on the topic of Mindfulness and the number of comments and conversations that came forward demonstrates the growing interest in emotional intelligence. How did emotional intelligence even enter our business vocabulary? This seemingly counter-business culture term was applied to leadership performance by Daniel Goleman almost 20 years ago with a book that brought the idea into the national consciousness. A few years later, Goleman wrote the article “What Makes a Leader,” printed in HBR, applying the principles of emotional intelligence to business strategy. So many years down the road, we still realize how foundational this characteristic is – and always has been – to building strong client relationships.

What is Emotional Intelligence?
In Goleman’s words, EI boils down to five main traits:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social Skill

At The Covenant Group, we believe that these 5 traits work together to comprise EI. However, we believe that EI can also be made up of 5 essential elements comprising our 5 R’s for Successful Financial Advisor’s in reaching the optimal performance zone. The five R’s are:

  1. Recognizing irrational thoughts and negative emotions
  2. Resilience in overcoming setbacks
  3. Habits for success to integrate into an hourly, daily, and weekly routine
  4. Relating confidently to clients and colleagues to be heard, to set appropriate boundaries, and to get what one wants
  5. Reach the optimal performance zone by developing and harnessing the powers of psychological momentum and work flow

Many of the components of EI would appear to be self-evident. But the truth in many cases is that most individuals lack some or all of these traits and need to work to develop them. Let’s look at just one and think about the purpose it serves in creating strong relationships:


This trait is defined by the ability to identify and understand your emotions and motivations, and recognizing their effect on others and one’s work performance. Perception is everything when it comes to riding out times of uncertainty and stress and it is important to ensure you and your employees approach clients with a sense of openness and comfort, even in tough situations, just as a therapist does with his or her clients. This is because your emotions and moods will either improve the situation or cause it to deteriorate further. It is essential for professionals to develop this emotional intelligence or what we call emotional discipline, using our Bullish Thinking strategies, to reach the optimal performance zone. If one can achieve their own emotional discipline, then they can become the trusted advisor that clients so desperately need to guide them through the complexity the markets. Improving ones EI, leads to a stronger connection with clients, which will convert to increased client centered service, increased referrals, and an improved quality of life for advisors.

When working with a client who is upset, it’s important to direct your energy toward identifying and removing your clients’ pain points. An unhappy client doesn’t represent a crisis as much as an opportunity to build trust and a stronger relationship by managing your emotions to deliver a better client experience. This is why we created the series Strategies for Success in Uncertain Times and have created materials for you in our Resource Room on emotional intelligence. When you are connected with your clients, they feel special, understood, heard, and validated for their concerns. Happy clients help you to manage your own uncertainties and focus on building a sustainable business.