Are All EQ Learning Programs Created Equal?

A wide range of emotional intelligence training programs, coaching services and self-improvement books are available on the market today, but are they all created equal? A report from The American Psychological Association revealed that the answer is a resounding “no.” According to a recent article from Harvard Business Review citing the study, EQ programs focused on cognitive behavioral therapy prove much more effective than those centered on increasing confidence or self-esteem through direct intervention.

The power of cognitive behavioral therapy stems from its focus on changing the way people understand their emotional responses and those of others. Rather than providing a static skill set with little application outside of the classroom, cognitive behavioral therapy equips learners with adaptable and transferable skills that can be put to use in virtually any setting and situation.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Holds the Key

At the center of cognitive behavioral therapy is the idea that our inner thoughts influence our emotional state to a greater degree than other people or external events, and that these inner thoughts directly influence our words and actions. For example, a person’s natural negativity bias can lead him to interpret a workplace conversation as a passive argument or verbal attack, even if the other person’s words and body language do not clearly convey that message. As another example, a person’s negative self-talk can lead her to imagine numerous problems and setbacks that will inevitably derail a project, when many of those problems will never actually arise.

Developing a positive and resilient mindset is the focus of cognitive behavioral therapy initiatives, with the end goal of influencing more productive and effective expressions in our words and actions. Learning to see “problems that hold us back” as “challenges to be overcome” can result in significantly different behavioral responses, ultimately leading us to a greater probability of success in overcoming such challenges.

Through this method of gaining self awareness and self control, we eventually gain the ability to help others develop the same kind of resilient and adaptable mindset. The ability to effectively understand others’ adversity and coach them through their own challenges is a hallmark of experience in cognitive behavioral therapy.

Consistent application over time is the key to harnessing cognitive behavioral therapy. Therefore, success relies on each individual’s willingness to succeed through intentional action. Understanding psychological, neurological and emotional influences is only the first step in making real progress. With the understanding as a foundation, improvement relies on identifying our thought patterns and emotional responses in real time, then curtailing our natural responses and intentionally acting out patterns of a positive mindset. It means stopping our self talk mid-sentence, then re-framing the thought in a positive light. It means identifying a negative assumption as it happens, then intentionally considering other perspectives. It means acknowledging our emotional responses as they arise, then stopping to identify what evoked the emotion before making a rational decision to embrace or reject the emotional response.

TRACOM’s own Behavioral EQ (BEQ) Model presents four distinct areas of focus built around this modern understanding of the interplay of emotions, thoughts and actions. The BEQ Applications Guide, specifically, includes such proven cognitive behavioral therapy techniques as mental re-framing of adverse situations, self-talk identification and setting daily reminders. The Applications Guide is designed to be used by individuals who have been trained in the Behavioral EQ model, and who wish to put their understanding into practice by intentionally building new habits. Studies show that one small victory in personal development can open the door to numerous larger victories, and the new guide is designed to take full advantage of this phenomenon.

Using the BEQ Applications Guide can maximize your ability to achieve real change in your EQ habits. The Tip of the Week can act as a regular reminder of skills and habits you’ve already mastered, or it can introduce new areas to focus on for the week ahead. At the same time, the Applications Guide can provide strategies for specific situations on a day-to-day basis. Both take cognitive behavioral therapy to a new level by putting the power of personal development directly into the hands of individuals, and both are available exclusively from TRACOM.



“Effects of Occupational Stress Management Intervention Programs:A Meta-Analysis,” American Psychological Association, 2008

Harvard Business Review: Can You Really Improve Your Emotional Intelligence?


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