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The Data Analyst's Guide to Emotional Intelligence

Updated: Jul 18


MindSpeaking Podcast Episode 15 - Tom Zierold , Founder of EQuip Coaching & Training Limited





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Timestamps:

00:00:22 - Intro

00:02:24 -Tom talks about living on the coast

00:05:30 What is EQuip? When did it start?

00:09:54 How did the process of discovering yourself happen? What helped you learn and gain insights?

00:13:21 What helped Tom to step outside of his comfort zone

00:16:31 How can emotions be data?

00:20:41 How Tom acts on a certain emotion

00:25:16 Finding the right balance in expressing emotion

00:29:58 Understanding the emotion of other people

00:35:07 Tom's coaching questions and what he's seen that has benefited from coaching 00:43:50 What's one question Tom likes to ask people

00:49:45 The importance of having a strong feedback culture

00:53:25 The Keep/Stop/Start Method

01:01:00 Takeaway

01:04:31 Where can people follow Tom



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Introducing Tom Zierold

Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Emotions are pieces of data. Do you agree? I spoke about emotional intelligence quite a bit in my book, people skills for analytical thinkers, and today I speak with Tom Zierold. Tom runs a quip coaching and training company and he helps people unlock their emotional intelligence. If you think emotional intelligence is a vague abstract concept, you're not alone. That's exactly what I thought as well. But Tom found a really concrete language with practical tips. And examples to help you discover yourself and improve the way you collaborate with others. So I hope you enjoyed this episode about emotional intelligence, collecting pieces of data and improving the collaboration and influencing others. Hi there Tom, nice to see you again.


Tom Zierold:

Hey, Gilbert, good to see you as well.





Tom talks about living on the coast


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Really good to speaking to you. We've many times we've spoken on the phone. We've exchanged ideas we've talked about emotional intelligence, being self aware what type of questions you can ask yourself to discover yourself to just cover audit people. We've had long conversations and at some point, I thought, why not have such a conversation and record it so other people might be able to benefit? So I'm really looking forward to our conversation I know already know a bit about you, but for the people who don't know so much about you, what can you just share something about yourself where you grew up? And how you ended up starting your own company equip?


Tom Zierold:

Yeah, of course, as you say, like I share the enthusiasm you have this conversation like we always come away having learned something from speaking with you and I think we the ideas we kind of CO create been some real breakthroughs to the work I do as well. So So yeah, it's great to be here speaking today. So a little bit about me. Yes. work right. So I'm from the UK. I'm from England. I grew up in a place called Brighton, which is on the south coast. So a lot of my childhood was spent either being ordering the water. So that's pretty much every childhood memories tied up with being at the beach or on the sea. How that affects me is a personnel probably, maybe there's a sort of slightly chilled vibe that I have. I think that's just Coastal Living. I think a lot of people that spend time with the case might be able to relate to that.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Why do you think that is? Why do you think people on the coasts tend to have a chill way of living? I got a really relaxed vibe with you always. So I can affirm that and why do you think that is?


Tom Zierold:

I think is, I guess, different, different people. For me, it was a closeness to being by the sea, you know being able to get out on the beach, and just be stimulated by the kind of the natural environment. You know, you could have, your brain could be going 1000 miles an hour about day to day life, about work, relationships now, whatever, when you're kind of sat on the beach here in the wind, looking at the waves. It puts things into perspective a little bit. It does have a sort of a sense of clearing out some of the noise that maybe actually doesn't matter that much, but you don't stop because you're constantly surrounded by you know, people things going on where's the beach, go down there are you morning, get on there and I can just be you and it can just be you being in the moment so I'm pretty sure that has something to do there and also some good bars and restaurants as well. So you know, people like to spend their time relaxing, you know, made a slightly slower pace of life to some extent. So I think I think that's that kind of the mixture of that just has a slight after the time has a bit of an impact on your kind of demeanor. And the way you I was uh yeah.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

I see what you mean there and I didn't grow up grew up close to the coast but my mom did so we always went there to every summer at least to go there for one or a few weeks. And when I was younger I was saw the beach as a place where you go to when it's hot right where warm. You go sunbathing, because swimming, but more and more I see the beach as a place to relax as a place of nature and a place to recharge. So when I go to the beach, even if it's cold, then I fully recharge and become more chilled. So I totally see what you mean there.


Tom Zierold:

How often do you get down to the beach now it's even close to this.




What is EQuip? When did it start?


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

I live in Amsterdam capital of the Netherlands. It's it's about 45 minutes to the beach, so not too far. But lately last year, I've been to the beach way more often. So maybe every few weeks, which is much more than the year before. So yeah, yeah. So I interjected in your introduction with the question, so please tell us more about who you are.


Tom Zierold:

Yeah, of course. So so we're a company called equip, which is a coaching and training organization that focuses on helping people to really unlock and better access their emotional intelligence. And I've worked in the learning development space for the last five six years now is actually during the pandemic, which of course, we all went through where I had the real catalyst if you want all the kind of incentive to start my own business which is all in a way you think, risky times to start a business than during a period of uncertainty probably scores pretty high on that list. But there was a sense where I was just coming to the end of my coaching psychology qualification at Birkbeck University. So I already knew that I wanted to start doing something that was more my own. And because the world kind of slowed down, I thought, well, this is going to be the time that I can really invest into getting this up and running. And I also knew that some of the associated work I was doing, there'd be less of that. As people kind of tightening their belts if that phrase makes sense. And maybe even when I think about it beyond that, he was also there was a sense where this would be a time where people would be doing a lot of reflection, reflection on the choices they had made up until that point the fact that they were limited in what they can now do for our time. We didn't know how long and the opportunity to stop maybe working with those people working with people and being able to discuss their thoughts and feelings. Around their careers around their lives. It'll be a time where I felt like I could add value there and I decided that it was the right thing to do is the right choice to make at that time and I guess I wanted to be able to, I wonder if this will make sense to you. I'm sharp as myself. So I've worked for some great companies. I maintain really good relationships with a lot of the people that I used to work with. But I think I can I don't think you can help but be a little bit, a representative of that company and the idea to certain kinds of practices or ways of being and I think that's good. But for me this idea of wanting to really focus on what I was passionate about, and have the autonomy to choose how I went about talking about that with people or working on that topic with people meant that it was important. I did it for myself. Yeah, did you?


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

I can totally resonate with that and how I often saw it is what I was still employed working for Cognizant for Capgemini. I really enjoyed the work and the opportunities that I that I got, and I'm really grateful for that. And at the same time, sometimes I felt like I needed to mold myself into a certain job description or certain responsibilities that were not completely close to me or what I wanted to do. So at some point for years, I have been thinking, Alright, the only way to really write my own job description to defy my own responsibilities to decide what I want to do and what I want to work on and why that the only way is to start my own company right to work for yourself. So I can totally resonate with that.


Tom Zierold:

Yeah, it's I think it goes back some of the conversations we've had I think we've had different journeys, but we've had a similar kind of, perhaps, evolving mindset.




How did the process of discovering yourself happen? What helped you learn and gain insights?


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

I think a lot of people, you know, can can resonate with the feeling of not not knowing exactly what to do, right. Or maybe wanting to have a different career changing, changing careers, changing jobs, but not knowing exactly what belongs to you. What you really want to do. How did you because you come across as a very self aware person, but I'm sure you've done a lot of work to discover yourself to find out what is really important to you. How this this this process happened and and how what helped you to learn and gain those insights?


Tom Zierold:

That's a big question. It's an important question. So we really try and answer that. So self awareness is like, I guess, the cornerstone of emotion intelligence. And again, it's a continual endeavor, like some people you know, we may seem some people just got it from day one. It's rarely the case it's as much a learned behavior is isn't the main skill, which you kind of just alluded to. For me, I guess if I if I think back to how it was a school, then, you know, I was happy. Okay to get chartered I friends was really into sports, or shy kind of painfully shy, I would say like quiet. And if I think back he kind of through puberty is the mix of the confused about where I kind of fit it in with you know, with life and I was always kind of hesitant to kind of share my opinions always kind of wanted other people's validation. I wanted to know what other people thought before I kind of said, what was on my mind. I think you know, that wanting to be liked and wanting to feel that I was like I had something to say I had something to offer. And there's definitely if I reflect on that like internal issues that come if you kind of stay in that mindset, but at the same time I think that kind of started me on the journey to really being curious about other people that was like, my way of understanding how to interact came from looking and observing and seeing how people made choices, or their patterns of behavior. And I think that's really what I didn't know at the time. That's a kind of live in the MPC and wanting to kind of understand what makes people tick. It's kind of like, led me on to where I am now and where I'm going in the future, in terms of me increasing my self awareness. So I look at as self awareness is two things. You have internal self awareness, which is really how you see yourself and external self awareness, which is how other people see you. And to kind of cultivate a good level you need both those things. And I think for me especially, it was about having the confidence to find out what other people thought about you not be scared about what their answers might be. Understand what kind of things they saw me with potentially saw me so that I could feel like okay, I see how other people perceive me. Now I have a better understanding about how I can share what I share what matters to me. I don't think there was one moment that happened I think is you gain that confidence through the experiences that life throws a year when you're put into positions where you have to speak out where you have to give an opinion and then you have to accept someone challenging that opinion. And that started really, the beginning of my first job. I had probably, you know, worked in a we have you probably know like pubs in England. Right there. They're kind of difference of bars and the constant there are places where, you know, traditionally people would go there to have a drink, obviously, really be vocal, really talk about things really expect you to kind of engage with and be part of their their experience. And I wasn't that a kind of person but working in that environment. And, you know, having to kind of be part of those conversations allowed me to start hearing myself kind of share opinions. Seeing how people responded to me starting to kind of own who I was a bit more instead to see what the qualities I brought into conversation and what bits that I was kind of lacking in a little bit. So yeah, at the beginning, I guess the first job I had was, you know, was a big moment for me and then University then working in kind of commercial roles where it was always about people it was always about having to understand other people and then having to understand me that would make the difference.




What helped Tom to step outside of his comfort zone


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Yeah, right. And it sounds like that. That first job and being in a bar often helped you. Get out of your comfort zone and deal with people or an environment that expected something different from you, where you need to be more vocal and express your opinions and show yourself and sounds like that push yourself to Yeah, show more of yourself and that helps you discover more about yourself.


Tom Zierold:

Yeah, that's That's exactly it was you know, sort of, you know, I was 18 at the time and, you know, pretty much everyone is older than me. So you already feel that sense of China in pressure elders or kind of feel like you fit in. So, to an older group. You get acceptance from it. So to do that, there was a sense where you have to come out of your shell, that phrase makes sense. And then you start understanding how you fit into that and I'm sure you have that when you're younger in school, but maybe, maybe you're not quite there yet. You still kind of been in the same environments and a different environment. And you start really understanding how you behave.




How can emotions be data?


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Yeah, absolutely. That's why I think it's also so can be so valuable to live abroad in a different context, not just live far away from your family and friends, but also in a different culture where you're, you might be the odd one out, by definition, right, to understand how other people live their lives and how different are sometimes also similarities. I think it's a really good experience and you you touched upon emotional intelligence a few times and when I heard about emotional intelligence for the first time and some other people might resonate with this is that I find a very abstract or fake third term you know what what does it mean exactly? Emotional Intelligence. How can emotions be intelligent right because the only distract us that's what I thought, but you speak about emotions being data. So can you tell us a bit more about that? What is emotional intelligence and how can it be data?


Tom Zierold:

Yeah, of course. Yeah. And I think the point you made there is like a lot of people are now familiar with the term emotion intelligence. But it does sound a bit abstract. Doesn't always kind of line up with modern day, modern day thinking, perhaps, even if you like google it right. Find probably 1000 definitions to kind of try and establish what this means. So I try and keep it real simple. Motion intelligence at its heart, it's about being able to tune into yourself and the ability to choose others as well. And it's about looking at motions as data rather than these kind of intangible abstract things that we experience that we have no control over. And, you know, they kind of don't really matter because, you know, it's our rational brain. It's our, it's our logic, this should be in charge. Well, the point is that we experience emotions all the time. Right? They didn't kind of live in boxes. I think, quite often. When I talk about emotion intelligence, people think oh, this is about controlling really acute emotional experiences or understanding by when someone has something that is really like high energy or a low level of unpleasantness. Or really low pleasantness and, you know, it could be anger or grief or it could be, you know, seeing someone get really upset about something. And that's fine because that is like the emotional expression, something we're experiencing, but it's only kind of the tip of the iceberg, like any one time, those emotions are kind of underlining how we think. So, even during this conversation, right, like both of us will be having some kind of underlying emotional experience. So, right now, I would say, I feel A's because I know you are talking about stuff that I'm interested in uncomfortable, discussing ways to feel comfortable discussing. So it's kind of like quite low energy, but a nice level of pleasantness. It will probably get you know, more lively that emotion will change as maybe we could we uncover something new and interesting. That we hadn't kind of explored before. Or then it could shift if you go into site at branch because maybe you ask the question or like, geez, I'm not sure how to answer that. And then suddenly, you know, so it's kind of high energy but not so pleasant. And then if I didn't answer very well, I could get a bit solid which is like low energy. Unpleasant because, oh man, I screwed that up. So that emotion that we have is change all the time, depending on the context of the situation. I think it's impossible for us to like, consistently be having to check in with ourselves about the emotion we're experiencing. If we just think about the times where we suddenly it's overwhelming that we're missing out on this whole kind of raft of like, information is going on that we can actually pause and think well actually, because I'm feeling that I'm going to behave in a slightly different way. Or maybe I'll behave slightly differently now than they were then. And when we start doing that, we get much more understanding of ourselves and kind of what triggers those emotions within us. And then when we know how to do that we can start dealing with other people as well. So I guess the data aspect comes from the fact that they're there. They're not something that we can't we don't necessarily control them, we can actually put a bit of focus on them to understand that what they're telling us and then it's our choice whether we choose to listen to them or ignore them right. And different situations. will call for different types of responses. Sometimes it's really good to like, act on our emotions. Sometimes it's really important that we don't suppress that emotion, we might want to regulate, we might not want to just behave based on that emotion. So




How Tom acts on a certain emotion


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

again, give an example of both of those situations when when you might be willing to act on a certain emotion and when you want to do take a different decision. Do you have any any examples maybe from the bit from the business context, doing a presentation or a meeting or an example from your own life?


Tom Zierold:

Yeah, of course. So let's take a pretty like universal emotion. Anger, right and a lot of people see anger is fundamentally a bad thing. You know, it's negative emotion. It's disruptive. And sure that it has the potential to do that. But if you look at something like anger as rocket fuel, right, if you channel that anger the right way. It can really propel you forward. And if you think about some of the times, people in the history of the world or whatever be angry, they've been motivated to do something about that to fight injustice, also to speak out when everyone else was speaking up. So it's actually a really high energy emotion that we should have experience and we should understand why we're experiencing the problem with anger is it's because it's like rocket fuel can also blow up in our face. And that in my block and other people's faces, and that's not so good. So when we don't acknowledge we're having the anger, or we're trying to suppress it and say, We can't allow us to get angry, angry. We're not actually helping ourselves very much. We're not actually fully immersed in kind of what the experience is when we're going through. And if you can think about anger, you know, it means different things for different people, but we can get angry. When we see someone in a meeting, not listening to us. We can get angry when we're doing a presentation at ourselves because we've just missed the whole kind of breed a good anecdote that we're going to say and it can kind of be like, disruptive and by distracting but then the important thing is we reflect on what that anger is telling us and whether we should do something about it. Now if in the middle of a presentation, and I've missed all the slides, so I start bracing myself in front of an audience. Probably not. But it's okay to acknowledge the fact that I've missed out because I can learn from that next time. If I'm in a meeting and someone's ignoring me. I can get angry and not say anything about it, just let it boil up. Or I could get angry at that person immediately. Both those things aren't going to help but if I'm aware of the facts, I'm angry about it, I can then have a choice to do something about it. So I can say rather than continually assume this person is interested in what I'm saying. I can say to that person. Hey, is there something on your mind? Did you something you wanted to contribute? I'm just I'm just aware that you haven't kind of engaged in using materials so we can kind of channel appropriately that's, I think it's always the key thing is about we have the ability to self manage our emotions. We just don't always think we we always have that pause between like a stimulus and response. And the more we practice doing that, because we can't just be perfect all the time. The better we get a feeling like we're more in control of situations, the more we understand what's going on around us. So I don't know if that's a good example, but it's one of my resume because I think anger is something we've all experienced and a lot of the times we automatically think it's it's a bad thing. But actually it's something which is fundamentally telling us something important.





Finding the right balance in expressing emotion


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Yeah, I like that. I really like the example because I agree many people see you being angry as something that is negative or or bad or I think when you notice that you're angry You can also dig deeper and understand what makes you angry right? Sometimes I don't really have a have an idea why I feel a bit sad or a bit angry or a bit frustrated. And only later I discover why. What made me frustrated right and then you have the option to act on it. And as you pointed out, it's so difficult to find a balance between acknowledging it and expressing it but not expressing it in a rocket fuel way that overwhelms people and insults people maybe even and I think that's also what most people or many people in data analytics and analytical thinkers in general struggle with, you know, what is the it's either on this side or on this side. It's either too strong or maybe totally swallowed and not expressed at all. What are your thoughts on finding the right balance or expressing the emotion the anger or whatever it is, in a way that is not insulting but also still expressed if that's what you want?


Tom Zierold:

Yes, that's a good question. So you can sort of take it. So we sort of take this by one step. The first thing you need to do is acknowledge the emotion is happening. I think the problems come when people become defensive like if I suddenly started raising my voice in you behaved do you sound a bit angry? And because I haven't acknowledged that anger and my non angry and it becomes like this, this messy situation of dishonesty and that it's terrible for building trust and being candid, in a productive way. So the first thing you do is I would say is before you even start thinking, Okay, I'm going to just try something out as you become a bit more introspective start labeling the emotional experiences you have start deciding that as opposed to just saying that made me feel so good today try and get specific about what that feeling is like for you. You can make a note of it. There's a really good for people that are obviously using technology. There's a great app called the mood meter out It's developed by a guy called Dr. Mark Brackett from the Yale Center for emotional intelligence, where it gives you a chart of different emotions. Again, depending on the level of energy and the level of presence, where you can log in anytime of the day and say right now. Yeah, that's the emotional feeling based on how energized I am. How how good I feel. Kind of make a note of that and record through the day. What emotions you're experiencing, and it's kind of like having a live journal review or like an emotional body card. And if you start looking at that data, you will start figuring out okay, well, that time of the day I had a meeting with this particular person, or this time that they are about to go for a run and you can start seeing the kinds of things that stimulate that emotion. And once you kind of make sense of that, it's actually easier to talk about those emotions because you understand yourself a little bit better. And then when you're able to communicate how you feel and say look I'm feeling a bit angry because of the situation. It stops it from becoming. I'm just being angry at you. Or you just have to accept that and it as it actually is about you, isn't it because I'm being angry too. Right now my voice is raised. It's about realizing that we have an ownership of our emotions if we if we choose to have it. But the starting point is just for us to start recognizing the emotions happening all the time, even the ones which feel like me, no difference in the world. Like if you feel mellow, right, maybe you finish the wrong day training and you want to order a pizza or whatever, you know, that's fine, isn't it? You don't have to think about that too much. But if you just check in and realize the emotion you're experiencing, and label they increase your emotional literacy. You've added another way of describing how you feel if you think about when you have to have difficult conversations or you have to actually articulate yourself so people understand what you mean. The more you can draw on that kind of like experience and explain that to someone the more you've got to offer them, the more they can understand the less they're just seeing the kind of outputs of what you're doing. They kind of see the inputs as well.




Understanding the emotion of other people


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

I like it. I really liked that perspective. And I tried to do that as well. If I feel really tired, and I'm about to have dinner with my girlfriend. I tried to tell her I tried to tell her a Let's have dinner, just so you know, I'm very tired. Otherwise you might be making assumptions that I'm not interested in your stories or you're talking about work and you give them data about you. And by expressing that they understand you better and they will make less less assumptions. They have more data about you so I think there's a lot of value in there to discover how you feel, and then also express that to other people. And what I'm wondering now while I'm talking is I think a lot of people see the value of understanding your own emotions and understanding what's going on because that's you right? That's me. But why should I care about the emotions of other people?


Tom Zierold:

Who question What do you think of interest?


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

What I think is that it's kind of similar but it's mirrored because we're all interacting with other people, right? Whether you want it or not in your job. You don't do not always have a choice in your personal life. I hope you do. You do so I help you behave accordingly. So you choose your friends wisely. But by understanding more about auto people, you can also create better collaboration. So if I know about you that you're always very simple example, that you're often moody in the morning, then maybe it's better to have a meeting in the afternoon instead of the morning. But of course you can go way deeper with that. So the more data I have about you, the better I can interact with you the more pleasant our conversations become, and the more productive they become if you're at work, because if I know that if you are a very a person who's who's very direct and gets very annoyed when I present a lot of technical details and things you don't really care about that you get annoyed, you get irritated, you get easily distracted. If I know that about you if I know about your emotional state and your triggers, then I know when I present to a presentation to that I should come with a concrete story right? Not a very long narrative with all types of technical explanations, but I need to be on point so that's why understanding other people, collecting data about them understanding their algorithms, then you can better interact with them and have more pleasant more fun and more productive interactions. That's what I think


Tom Zierold:

that's well is perfect. I know you talk about algorithms, which of course, I'm a big fan of. And you make a really good point there which I think sometimes people don't immediately think about with when they think about other people's emotions. They kind of get caught in the idea that, you know, we have to think about other people's emotions because we have to be nice to them or we have to be you know, it's just, it's just a polite thing to do. And sure, I'm all for people being polite and nice, right. And I like to live in a world where people generally like spending time with each other and I'd rather have a happy environment where people want to be there. The point is that you've made which is so true, is that understanding other people's emotions is for our own benefit. As much as anything else. It gives us again, data to understand how we can productively interact with them for collaboration for leadership, for just any relationship dynamic, right? It's the idea that if we think that we should just look at people's like, output and look at that as a as a logical kind of, kind of template for how they're thinking, then it's inaccurate, because there'll be thinking different things based on the emotions they're experiencing. Now, we're never going to be able to get 100% accurate perception somewhere else. Now you can build up a really empathetic approach, right? We start really trying to understand what makes someone else take can kind of relate that to your experience, but also appreciate it's distinct to them. You can guess or you like, you'll never get accurate. If you ask them you're gonna get a better idea but the point of trying to do that, again, helps you to understand how to be a better version of yourself as well, you know, and it can come down to like how you can help influence someone right? I'm not talking about like the dark arts and the nuclear. No, I'm saying that if you want to convince someone of your argument, than just working on a logical level, we're only getting so far you have to understand what emotions are driving their way of looking at the world as well. So if you're able to tune in with those, you know, you'll get a much better chance you know, we've probably both been in this situation with someone has said, just I'm curious, are you feeling like this at the moment and they said how you're feeling right? And what does that make you feel? It makes you feel like this person gets me this person listened, I feel understood. This person is worth me spending time with it's worth me listening to them. It's worth me doing something with this person, right? So it's actually in your benefit to take that empathetic approach if you want to get people on board. So I think how you explained it is is a really good way of looking at the value that comes from wanting to deepen your understanding of other people's emotional experiences.




Tom's coaching questions and what he's seen that has benefited from coaching


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Thank you. Thank you. You're You're a Coach and Trainer. And I'm curious, because coaches, at least good coaches are famous for asking really good questions, right. So I'm curious what type of coaching questions Do you often use or what have you seen that benefited the coaching?


Tom Zierold:

Yes, it's good question. How long have we got? Say that? I don't say that Narrogin way like I've got 1000s of incredible questions, but I guess I have a deep tendency, where I like collecting coaching questions. So I'll hear questions in this. Awesome, awesome, like, what a great kind of inquisitive open question that that could be. A key thing, of course, is like, you can have all the great questions, but it's knowing when to use them. Because otherwise you just feel like we can be impressing you with my questions and on AI smart, which kind of takes away the whole point of the coaching, right? It's about them, are you but if I think about the work I do, which is helping people to kind of think about their emotional intelligence and you know what their emotions are telling them how what other people's emotions are telling them. The I guess my questions kind of gets shaped a little bit around helping them understand those experiences. So I've got a few questions. If I give you one that I think is particularly powerful, and maybe a lot of people will resonate with. So to give you some context, a lot of the work I do with clients, they never kind of time to do everything they want. They have competing priorities, you know, it's almost a bit like, overload, you know, time management, like, what do I do first? Well, the reality is, you're never going to achieve everything that you want to do. And that's a bit of a bitter pill to swallow. You know, you could have all the time in the world but if you have an active mind, then there's always going to be something else you want to do. Now the thing is, you could ask the question, so, okay, what is it you want to do? And that's a fine question. You know, someone could kind of expand upon it a little bit. The question I like to ask is, if you're saying yes to this, what are you saying no to? So if someone has said, I think about me, I'm definitely gonna do this. That's gonna be the first thing I do. It's like, okay, great. So why are you choosing not to do by doing that? Because the thing is, we have this cognitive bias, where we just think we can achieve much more than we will. So we underestimate how long things will take to do. We think that will take an hour. It's like, a normal, we're still doing it the next day. You know, it's not always the case. And we can learn to get better at that. But the point is, we have to be saying no to something to say yes to something. So I was having the call today means that I had to say no to something. And what I've said no to you might not be that important. It may have been I just wanted to have a longer lunch break right or something like that. I don't need to have that. But in other situations, it could be a case of like, or both these things can important so which 1am I going to say yes to and the one you say yes to should matter on a motivational value level, it should be doing something that is really important to how you regard yourself, right. So it's about if I'm doing for instance, with this conversation right now, what is my motivation for doing it? It's because I know that I'll come away, having learned something with someone that I really enjoy spending time with. And that's kind of like, important to like how I live my life. Now if the reason that I was doing this is because I just wanted to get a podcast out there and hope that it wins a bit of business, then it will be a bit like, well, is that a good enough reason? I don't know because it's not really why I set up my business in the first place. I do my coaching. So it's just that question basically gives you a chance to recognize the fact you have to say no to something which a lot of the time people don't people just think they'll do that thing later. And actually, sometimes you have to make a choice on something. So that's, I don't know if that resonates with you as one example.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom 39:10

It does, it does and it brutally resonates because it's a question I need to ask myself more often. Or people need to ask my my, to me more often because I'm really enthusiastic and often easily enthusiastically about new projects, new things I want to do. Also, I I'm not very good at saying no to people, which makes it even more difficult. So and I have and I usually underestimate over underestimate how much time something requires. So all that combines means that I often take up too much work. And that that means either more stress or the fact that I'm not able to finish in time or things get delayed. So I really struggle with this one and I get much better. But if I have more focus and say no to more things, especially when taking up new projects, everything goes so much smoother. I have more focus on the projects I say yes to and the quality of the work is so much better. So I'm really trying to improve here.


Tom Zierold 40:19

That's good. That's good. I know we've talked about this before is because it's an interesting question. So there's work on different levels to work on. It makes people stop and realize that are they saying yes for other people, as opposed to say yes themselves. And it's okay to say yes to other people. Right. And I think that kind of altruistic nature, that people have that supportive nature is kind of what makes business social groups tick. But if we start doing it at the expense of something that matters to us, then it doesn't actually help us in the long run. I think yeah, I should shout out the fact that this is a question from a book called The Coaching Habit by Michael Michael Bungay Steiner, which is which is a great read for anyone that's kind of interested in the kind of questions that might not be the most obvious ones, but the ones that might just shift the way you think about something because there's no right or wrong answer or the times it's more about just presenting you with an opportunity as a coach, as a client, to think about something you do differently and to invest some time in how you really feel about something.




What's one question Tom likes to ask people


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Yeah, I love that book. It's a really small book, you can finish it in an evening maybe even. And it's a set of question with consequence with with context and it's very helpful if you lead a team of your or if you're trying to help people grow but even in a regular setting in a conversation or meeting at work. It's so helpful to have those questions. Ready and and see where you can use them. I really liked the book I posted on LinkedIn as well on it.


Tom Zierold:

Yeah, it's a great and I think you mentioned that as well. You know, if you're a leader, if your data lead or whatever, and you're, you're working with one of your team members, either through, you know, a formal kind of like review meetings or just informal conversations, when you can ask that question, especially if you see some of this, maybe start a project before we finish something else. This is a way of helping them to realize what their priorities are as well and just without saying, being direct and saying you need to do this because of that. It's getting them to recognize, actually, how important is this right now? So I think that's that's one of the questions that, I think and again, these are questions you can ask other people, right? If you if you want to build trust and rapport, have, you know below the surface conversations, you can do that. So I think that's a good one for kind of introspection and self awareness. I think a good question. For kind of the other kind of side of emotion intelligence. It's more about social awareness and relationship management is to put it this way, so I would say 90% of the coaching conversations I have with people, the coachee or the client is complaining about someone else, right? There's no judgement for me here because we all have the right to get frustrated and to vent. That doesn't always work. You know, it feels good at the time. It doesn't really change things. It's kind of like it's a bit kind of self indulgent. And we end up thinking that basically a lot of people think that wasn't for that person, things will be fine. Or that person is just specifically out to get me. And that's kind of a rational thinking but our brains like that narrative because it takes away accountability from us. So one of the questions I like to ask people that is and again so this is inspired by Brene Brown that you'll be familiar with, is when someone is annoying you and you can choose a more fruity word, if you like for annoying is to say, Okay, what is the most generous assumption I can make about their behavior right now? You talked a little bit about assumptions. And basically the idea behind that is almost all the time people are doing the best they can given the circumstances they find themselves in. Yes, you can say there's rogue examples. Where people, toxic, malicious, nasty people, but if we're honest 90% of us in our day to day lives, every time we feel someone's annoying us. That person isn't there to make our lives hell is there enough time to make all those health restart? We're perceiving it as that by asking that question, we start taking that empathetic approach and thinking well, what are they trying to achieve here? Or like, what is their reasoning for doing that beyond just trying to annoy me because it doesn't really make sense that they would just want to annoy me surely they want me to not be annoyed and it just starts us thinking about that person may be coming from a different place. But what is that place and actually if we understand that place, firstly, we'll have a better relationship with them. Secondly, we'll switch the narrative I will calm our own thinking will become a little bit more pragmatic and realistic and actually, less kind of blaming other people. So I think it's always a good one. And it's one that kind of people have to have a kind of bit of a big swallow to because when you first say it, they don't really want to acknowledge it. They'd much rather say, Well, it's the other person that has to change.




The importance of having a strong feedback culture


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Exactly. It's a really, really, really cool question. I've never heard her this question specifically. I did read about different frameworks that have the same underlying mechanism, but I really I really like it but because I also don't think it's naive to to approach it this way because it many times people are just trying their best right but they have their in their own world. They're late for a certain reason. You don't know about the days. They were a bit rude maybe because they had their reasons. And it doesn't mean you need to accept everything. You can draw boundaries, clear boundaries, and have a conversation with them about what they did. But approaching it from a more empathetic perspective. Ask asking yourselves about the most generous assumption. It's true removes the bias of you putting all the blame on the other person. So I think it's a very, very powerful question.


Tom Zierold:

Yeah, it's, it's one that I agree we say it's one that I think we've talked about this before, as a coach, what is your role is your role to just shift people's thinking because you think that's right, or is it about helping them just to see a different perspective? Now? Arguably, the coaches will give you the answer, but it's to me where my work comes in. It's about even if that's a subtle shift in perspective, it's often those subtle shifts that make the biggest difference, you know, because people then use that to come in suddenly build up their own conclusions. You know, you're moving away from kind of like, telling them that that's, you're telling them not to do something you're telling them just to really look at how they're seeing something and then their mind will start creating a slightly different narrative. I think that's what you're trying to do. You're not doing it for your sake you're doing it to give present them with more options to view a situation. You know, a lot of the time I think as well, people, they're not. I'm not saying everyone does this because no one ignore recessions, people like learning, but people feel maybe that it comes from a lack of control, right, because we can't control other people's thoughts. We can't control their behavior, we can maybe influence it or really what we can do is control our own lives and control our responses to that. So anything we can do that feels like it gives us more options. It gives us a bit more control, and that fundamentally feels good that fundamentally feels empowering. And I think as you know, as leaders or as teammates, we should be wanting to make the people around us feel like they have options they have different perspectives. They feel like you know, in a non judgmental way they can, they can say how they feel about something, but also be open minded. About different different opinions, different kinds of experiences. So I guess part of the work is to try and create that kind of culture within teams, I think Sure. That's, no, that's the kind of work you're doing as well.




The Keep/Stop/Start Method


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Yeah, absolutely. And I think this perspective, this approach is not only helpful for coaches or even data leaders, but by asking more questions and letting other people think and see it in their world. It's way more lasting as well because you can tell people No, this is what you need to do this what you need to do, but that's not really coaching or or helping in many cases, because you don't know everything about their situation. And you're trying to force your perspective on other people. And by asking questions, you let them be behind the steering wheel while you guide them and give them pointers to suggestions to to look at and to consider and only if they really want to adopt it. They will adopt it, but then the behavior might change forever, right instead of just those five minutes.


Tom Zierold:

So surely, it's made me think about, again, something that when you think is as a leader as well, maybe a deputy leader, kind of crossover into different functions. When you think about, again, looking at your team and maybe looking at the way they communicate stuff. I think sometimes it's easy for us to require black and white thinking we just see the outputs. We just see the sort of the Express behavior and see what's driving that behavior so much. So, for example, maybe this will be familiar to your listeners. You can kind of work with people. You may have someone on your team that is really loud, right? They just they just don't stop talking. And you can think well, they must think their opinion is more important everyone else is they must think that they know best. And we made that assumption. But actually maybe what's happening is they come from an environment where the only way for them to be heard was to speak up and to keep speaking up, because no one was going to ask their opinion. No one was going to give them the time and that habit just now become this kind of overdone behavior they use. And the same time we have someone that's really quiet and never says anything in the meeting. And while you might be thinking, well, they're not interested in why they're not saying anything. And it could be that person again, the input that is a Scottish speaking, they're scared of saying something because again, their narrative past experiences has told them that it's better to stay quiet and wait so I have more information to make your decision. Now. You can look at it and just say that we're both behaviors need to be working on but until you have that one on one conversation, and so you choose to kind of share that with someone. But in a non judgmental way, you're never going to change their fundamental behavior because you're never going to allow someone to see the impact of their behavior because you either be shooting it down, which will just make them feel defensive. about it. Or you're gonna be just yeah, not not acknowledging there's an issue there. So I don't know whether it's something that I think is really important in terms of helping build communication skills within Team is about having a really strong feedback culture and being able to speak transparently and candidly about thinking about not the person but the behavior and being able to share when you're giving feedback, the behavior rather than make it about the person. There's something in your book that really inspires other people to spot is low pressure is easily called the keep steady. Keep start stop method. Right. That's right. Can you say a bit about that? Quickly? Yeah, sure.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

So what I what I mentioned in my book is a feedback method that I find very useful. It's the keep start stop method. So you ask people three questions in your surrounding. So maybe a personal life or at work or your manager or your peers, whoever they ask them three questions. What should I start doing? So what am I not? Doing now? That I should be doing, according to and what should I keep doing something that is appreciated by the other person? What should I keep doing? And third one, what should I stop doing? So maybe there's certain behavior that annoys people or they see that it doesn't? lead to the results that they're after? So those three questions are pretty specific, but it helps people to channel their feedback in a in a very productive way. So I found that these three questions start, keep stop are very effective in getting feedback that is useful and also implementable.


Tom Zierold:

Yeah, I think it's so so reading about that had a massive impact on the way that I both ask and give feedback, as well. Those three questions, I guess from kind of emotional intelligence concepts as well. Kind of my thinking around the method is that we're basically doing is letting someone see how their behavioral strengths play out in reality, and you're giving them that external self awareness as well so they can see what's really going on but not in a way which is like so acute that it's just like, it feels like it's just kind of like criticism, what feels like it's just like praise is actually getting them to start seeing how that AIDS play out. So when you're selling someone, you should keep doing this. You're basically saying these behavioral strengths you've got work really well and they get results. So you should keep doing that. Right. You should start doing this means that you probably got some untapped potential that you're not using. But I can see other people can see it, and it will be in your interest. To start using maybe strength you have got but you just don't use it very often because you lack a bit of confidence. So give it a try. Try it out. I know it's a safe environment because that's been encouraged. And the stop is interesting as well because often what people should stop doing is overdoing a strength. So give you an example of that. This kind of comes from sort of positive psychology theory and some good relationship awareness theory as well. Maybe not expecting your listeners to geek out on that. But it's the idea that a lot of the things we want people to stop doing are things that people are doing because they think it's getting the result they want. They can't see the fact that it's just being used in the wrong context. It's like if you try and you need the right tool for the right job, right, if I was going to go and repair my roof right now, and you know they've done it the house didn't do the roof actually, then it's not much going on in the screwdriver, right? That's not gonna that's not gonna help maybe because I really like using my screwdriver. I'm going to try and do that job with it because I'm so used to that actually, I'm just, I'm kind of gotten to this habit with this. So, for instance, I know a lot of people that are really helpful when I'm surrounded by people, both in terms of my personal life and professional life will do things to really kind of like be available to offer input and to give a guiding hand. And that's great in the right context. There's nothing better than having help and support. The thing is, if someone is trying to help too much, it can kind of look a bit different, you know, it can look a bit like that person is trying to take over and look a bit like that person doesn't trust your ability to do it. So it could be the fact that someone should stop being so helpful because they're making someone else feel like they can't get a job done so that the strength is coming from a good place they probably intention is that helping people makes them feel good, they feel validation. And when it works, it works really well but they're so used to it. They just keep doing it or it's like when someone's really methodical. Keep doing that when you know it's it works. It works. We're in these situations, but we've got like a deadline. And actually, we don't have to get this perfect. We just need to get something out like a proposal or we need to make a decision. And being really methodical is not going to work because by the time you've gone through it all the deadlines passed and it's pointless. So stop it's kind of saying what you should stop doing. But acknowledging the fact that I understand why you're doing it that becomes powerful as feedback, because then people will be like, Okay, you're not just telling me to stop and I don't understand why it's like there is a reason why I'm doing that comes from a good place but it's not working. You're giving someone the gift if he was about to give the feedback, but it's more about the gift of external self awareness. People start understanding how their behavior plays out and how people see them. And when you start using the cube starts to kick, start, stop method. The tongue twister for me and you ask people that and I do too. What should I use it for my feedback from I do coaching. I ask people what should I keep doing? Start doing stop doing? It gives me way more than just if I was to ask a whole bunch of like questions about specific stuff. It makes people actually think about what I'm bringing to the table. So yeah, man, I love it basically. So that's hopefully that hopefully that's interesting to hear how I use it.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Absolutely. No, I love it. And to me, it's very helpful framework and I'm happy to to hear that it works for you as well. When we talked about you know, making these judgments and assumptions about the other person and what is the most generous assumption we can make? So I thought about a quote, I believe it's from a quote from Stephen Covey. He said, we judge others by their actions. And we judge ourselves by our intentions. I think this is really true because yeah, it has to do with this output, right that we see we see the behavior, but not the underlying mechanism or what drove the behavior for other people. So we just assume a behavior we perceive as negative. So their intention is probably negative as well. But in many cases, it of course, it's not true.


Tom Zierold:

Yeah, yeah. And it's just, it's I think, sometimes I try and you know, it's it's something where it's not this idea that we should always think we have to, you know, everyone's super nice or like, we have to kind of leave with this idea that you know, always giving people the benefit of the doubt. I'm not saying that if we see toxic coal, you know, toxic behavior in the workplace or we there's bully bullying or anything like that, you have to call that out. Issue is when you it's not that it's just that your brain is running to a conclusion that, oh, this person is being unfair or this person is, you know, doing things and I can't understand why so I'm just gonna assume it's a bad thing because it doesn't work for my brain doesn't really help us because it doesn't really give us much chance to like, you know, develop them, especially if we're leading them as a as a as a as a manager or something like that. So yeah, I think I think feedback is such an important thing for anyone that wants to cultivate their self awareness because improves. If you start getting comfortable, giving people feedback, that's a great skill to have, because a lot of managers I work with, get scared about giving feedback. So find the right way of doing as important and receiving it is so important because it allows you to see accurately how you come across to other people and not kind of live in your past fantasy about about what your behaviors because all they have is constantly evolving. So checking in with it is important and the best way for an unbiased check ins to get someone else to do with us and allows him to feel comfortable about the universe as well.




Takeaway


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Awesome, man. Thank you for sharing all those insights. And right now we're nearing the end of the this conversation. So I'm curious, what is one big takeaway you want listeners to take away from this episode?


Tom Zierold:

Okay, so hopefully, hopefully, just just the realization that maybe emotions are something that are worthy of us to treat as data and something that isn't just things we have to see and think, oh, that's an emotional experience. None of that. Everything's an emotional experience. And when you start thinking like that, and you start diving a bit more into it, you'll learn a lot about yourself and other people. I guess, a takeaway that a quick pragmatic takeaway that might be helpful for people who are thinking, okay, so I kind of understand how I get to understand myself, but how do I really get to understand someone else better without explicitly asking them the whole time, right. And the way I think you can do that is start reframing small talk, you know, how much time do we spend having kind of conversations which are polite and kind of like, alright, but don't really tell us anything, you know? So, if it's, I think I told you about this before, but if you're wondering about someone you want to get to know them a bit better. Instead of asking them, how was your weekend? Especially on a Monday, it's a Monday, right? Ask them what was the highlight of your weekend? Because just by changing that word, you're getting them to have to share something specific. They have to say I was good. Jones was alright. Have to say Oh, actually, it was this it was it was making Sunday dinner with my wife. And you can think unless there's something so bizarre you can't relate to it. You can be like arcade. That's that's cool. And you can then maybe say, Oh, was it because you know you really like cooking and they could be like Yeah, yeah, or they could be like, really it's just because I get to spend that time, precious time with my wife. It's it's the sharing of the occasion. The more you start asking questions reframes also, the more you start learning what drives people, because then if I know why you enjoy carrying your Sunday roast with your wife, the reason why I probably also can start learning why you like certain parts of your job, why you like going to do like a Wim Hof conch shell because the driving motivation still be the same. You'll have the same reasoning for doing it but you'll never find out. If you don't start asking questions. We'll just dig a little bit deeper. So I would say try. Just because I hear so often. How's your weekend? I think it's such a boring question. I suppose the highlight because you'll find something out and something could really help you. Learn about that. Person that deeper level and understand what drives their experience.




Where can people follow Tom


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Yeah. What was the highlight of your weekend? It was it's a question I learned from you, actually a few months back and I started asking it, and it really works because it pulls people out of autopilot and they really do think and reflect on what they have done and what was meaningful to them. And by digging deeper, you discover all these drivers and motivations that are so helpful and such helpful data to also understand them in other situations. So thank you for this, this sharing this dip. Lastly, I want to ask you because you're doing really great work with equip and helping so many people, you know, discover themselves and understanding themselves become more effective and more happy in their in their jobs. So where can people follow your work and connect with you or follow you?


Tom Zierold:

Yeah, sure. Thank you. I'm glad you think that and I'm likewise with you. So I guess LinkedIn, you can find me on LinkedIn. I have a pre unique surname Tom Zierold, I guess both are quite unique names. You're gonna find this pretty easy on LinkedIn. And we post quite a lot of content be it articles videos are just sharing material which I think kind of brings to light the importance and the kind of pragmatic nature of emotional intelligence. Why is something that you can benefit from strengthening? Those have Instagram profile, my hashtag is equip, underscore CT. And then my website is WWW equip-ct.com. Hopefully, across those channels, there's going to be stuff that resonates with people. I always like to hear from people as well. So if anyone has a question, anyone just wants to have a conversation. Reach out. I think the most important thing that I've ever learned is always be looking to build your network, always maintain strong relationships because it's those relationships that in the future will will lead to opportunities. You know, there's a saying it's like, it's not what you know, it's not he you know, I think it's important to know something, but I think if you don't know people, and that something may never actually become anything because you don't have a chance to really discuss it or to explore it, someone else. So love to hear from people love speaking so yeah, it's been good.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Awesome. Yeah, that's also how we met right. So valuable things can can be built and can arise from from networking and connecting with other people with strangers on the internet.


Tom Zierold:

Exactly, exactly when they can.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Yeah, thanks a lot for your time today for spreading your insights about emotional intelligence about seeing questions in a in a different light and how to use them in in conversations, how to use emotional emotions as data and how to and discover more about yourself about other people. I learned a lot and I'm sure the listeners have as well. So thanks a lot for your time. And I hope to speak with you soon.


Tom Zierold:

Thanks, guys. It's been absolute pleasure and I hope your listeners are able to take something away from it. And yeah, I'm really really pleased and privileged to be part of this this podcast series. So I know it's gonna be a great success. Yeah, great to be involved.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Awesome. Thank you very much, Tom. Speak soon. Bye bye.




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