The four core emotions of anger, joy, sadness and fear can each trigger an emotional state. An emotional state encompasses thoughts, feelings and sensations in the body. State describes a way of being, whether that's unhappy or peaceful, terrified or elated. In coaching, you encourage your clients to pay attention to emotional states, taking it as valuable information about what's going on for them at a deep level. For example, if someone's waking up at night in a hot sweat and going over conversations, she's clearly anxious about something that would be useful to explore. Emotions drive action and affect health; they direct attention and behaviour. If you're feeling sad or fearful, the emotion may well drive you to do something that you wouldn't otherwise consider doing.
Coach, consider thyself
As a coach, you need emotional awareness of both your clients' emotions and your own because your state affects your clients’ states and vice versa. States change frequently during a day – even during a coaching session. When you're talking about the issues that your clients bring to coaching, you need to be aware of how you react emotionally and whether your reactions serve or hinder clients' progress.
As you read this chapter, consider how you've been feeling today. Mad, bad, glad or sad? All of them? Did you even notice how you were being or were you more caught up in what you were doing? What emotions did you express or suppress?
Beware of labelling ...