One of my good friends and mentors once said to me “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. If its thirsty, you wont need to.” While most people have heard the first part of that age-old adage, before that time I had never heard the second part. It was profound advice that has stayed with me through the years, and proved valuable in countless situations.
When it comes to working with clients on developing their emotional intelligence, the statement is particularly appropriate. Practitioners who are new to using tools like the EQ-I or EQ360 will often make the mistake of not understanding the clients thirst before they lead them to the proverbial water. It’s just one of the best practices we discuss in the EQ-I & EQ360 certification process, but after a particularly challenging debrief session with a client last week I was again reminded of its importance. I thought we had discovered the ‘thirst’ during our pre-work, but as we dug deeper into the assessment results it became clear there was so much more that needed to be addressed.
Spending time to discover what opportunities, challenges, and possibilities the client faces provides a platform for linking back the results of assessments to real-world situations. It also makes it considerably easier to determine next steps, action plans, and development commitments. It’s the difference between debriefing an assessment, and using assessments as development tools. Given a choice, your client would most likely choose the latter, and you should too.