Empathy is the top leadership skill, according to Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch – ahead of all other business skills. The CIPD quotes this influential business leader as saying “emotional intelligence” can “supercharge” businesses and their capabilities.

“Empathy means you can frame opportunity and challenge in the right way”, Darroch says.

All Sky leaders are undertaking a year-long programme centred around emotional intelligence (EQ), as the business moves away from “functional, repetitive training that is better offered on the job”.

This seems to carve out a place for mentoring and coaching which is centred on the “softer” skills, to complement the training programme.

“It starts with me” says the CEO, a phrase that might frame all sorts of personal and professional development programmes! “When you’re at the top you realise how vital you are to people. How I act, my mental state, my level of optimism, how I deal with stress and challenge, is fundamentally important to people.”

“The programme increases our leaders’ self-awareness, their sense of self-liking, and self-confidence, and it teaches them to apply it to their team – people who go on it are universally telling us we’re doing the right thing here.”

Dr Martyn Newman, psychologist and author of “Emotional Capitalists” says creative learning and development practitioners should speak the language of such executives, and make a business case for meeting their objectives.

Excellent advice, and here at this practice we are already clear from our CIPD training and practice that focussing on goals and objectives is the sine qua non of such work.

Our psychosynthesis approach is strong on transforming the self, and developing empathy and emotional intelligence are key components of all our work, whether coaching, mentoring or groupworking. Indeed, if we are facilitators at all, it is these qualities we are growing!

There is fertile ground here for exploring intellectual or mindful intelligence, sexual intelligence and somatic intelligence too! There may be other subtler intelligences which could also be explored…

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