Executive Coaching & Training Definitions & Glossary

We help define and explain key coaching and training syntax.

  • Programme

    a piece or collection of work developed specifically for a client (based on Training Needs and specific goals) that may contain coaching, testing training and consultancy to support the health, growth, potential, profit, well-being, performance or culture of a person, team, department or organisation.

  • Emotional Intelligence

    is the ability to perceive, understand, work with, manage and express our emotions appropriately to make the most of a moment, ourselves and our relationships.

  • Emotions

    are subjective experiences we sense in our bodies. They occur with specific chemicals (hormones) in our bodies and have specific behavioural and psychological effects on us. An emotion is our body’s way of telling us something is perceived to have changed, need attention and may require us to take action. Emotions guide us to understand, manage and communicate with ourselves and others.

    There are different theories of emotion. In the main they centre around emotions evolving from the two contrasting elements of positivity and fear or positivity and negativity. Some theories (Ekman) say there are 6 core emotions; Anger, Disgust, Surprise, Happiness, Sadness and Fear. Plutchik proposes 8 core emotions including Anticipation and Trust.

  • Executive Coaching

    is a specialised relationship between two people, led by a coach. It’s a process of conversations based on trust that focusses on your (people’s) personal and career development. It builds awareness, practical skills and resourcefulness. It is based on 3 things; 1) building a relationship of openness and trust; 2) It uses open questioning techniques to bring out awareness, challenge obstacles and increase resourcefulness; and 3) It focuses on goals using goal achievement techniques and success focussed tools.

    Coaching is the most transformative way to hone leadership skills and one of the most powerful forms of coaching utilises Emotional Intelligence testing, expert analysis coupled with commercial awareness.


  • Executive coach

    is someone who is skilled in helping people build personal resources, clarity and take greater responsibility for their lives and work. An executive coach supports a coachee through open questioning techniques and empowered communication skills. Coaches utilise concepts, tools and models to help clients achieve goals that fulfil them and serve their interests.

  • EQ

    is the emotional quotient. This is a numerical measure of Emotional Intelligence (EI) that enables its detailed measurement, monitoring, comparison and development of skills over time and across people, teams and organisations. EQ is a statistically based number which has a mean of 100 within a normally distributed population with a standard deviation of 15. This statistical quality allows us to understand and draw meaningful interpretation from people’s EQ scores. The term EQ is sometimes used interchangeably with EI as a general term for emotional intelligence.

  • Standard deviation (SD)

    is a measure of the degree of spread from the mean within a normally distributed population; the larger the SD the greater variety of values within that population.

  • Psychological

    means pertaining to the mind - including mental, emotional and behavioural aspects and thoughts covering matters both unconscious and conscious. It may also include related biological and physiological aspects.

  • Motivational Speaker

    is someone who inspires people. Someone who helps them to become more positive, believing in their potential and feeling enabled to achieve, succeed, move forward with life and work.

  • Mirroring

    is the process of adopting an aspect of someone’s body language – it’s basically a good thing to do. It’s often done naturally – for example have you ever found yourself enjoying a conversation with someone, and then noticing that you’ve adopted the same posture? You can do it consciously to help build rapport by mirroring several aspects such as distribution of weight and basic posture, position of arms and legs, and placement of hands. Try to notice how someone is sitting and mirror that. Are they sitting forward, legs crossed? Choose two or three things which you can subtly match to enter into their world. This is not mimicking. We’re talking building similarities which is a natural thing not copying every move which is unnatural.

  • Matching

    is (sometimes called pacing) and is like the moving version of mirroring. In this you don’t just try to match one aspect of someone’s behaviour, you match severalis – up to three. As well as body language you can try and match some aspects of voice like tone, volume and speed. Because it’s moving, and uses voice as well as body language, the rapport effect is stronger. You can match a range of behaviours, for example: blinking, breathing patterns, tone and accent, speed and volume of speech, facial expression, eye contact, gestures, and language. Spend time to notice the pattern of someone’s speech, is

    it fast, slow, is their voice soft, deep? Try to match them. What are their breathing patterns? (This is a useful technique when on the phone as you will lose all the signals and advantages of body language). What sort of eye contact do they have, do they look away a lot, or blink often? If they move their hands, try moving yours slightly in sympathy (only a small movement but try to match the rhythm). Voice tone, speed, volume matching is also helpful in building rapport. Ask yourself where they are? Breathing in sync will also help – so what their breathing timing and depth.

  • Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)

    is derived from the modelling of successful behaviours, NLP, is a set of techniques that help people become more effective and communicate better. NLP demonstrates the connection between the mind (neuro) and both non and verbal communication (linguistic) to describe how we can change the way we think and behave (our programming). Sometimes referred to as a ‘technology of change’, NLP teaches us not so much what to do but ‘how to’ learn and grow.

  • NLP

    is the acronym for Neuro Linguistic Programming.

  • Recruitment

    is the act or process of taking on the right people for a role based on their aptitude, experience or skills.

  • Engagement

    when related to organisations is tyically related to employee or stakeholder engagement. These are the connection of two or more people or groups through the aligning or sharing of similar interests, views, values, behaviours or beliefs.

  • Employee engagement

    is the resultant state or culture that captures employee interest, enthusiasm and action to achieve specific group or organisational aims – allowing employees to work well for an employer. This works through the awareness and development of connecting /aligning employee goals, values or beliefs to an organisation.

  • Succession planning

    a process or set of actions designed to facilitate the right people with the right skills and roles to deliver an organisation’s goals. This can include profiling, recruiting, developing, monitoring, promoting of talent and considering growing and changing needs and contexts.

  • Training Needs Analysis

    a systematic review of key aspects of training considering needs, goals, competencies, skills, context, experience and other related logistics. Can significantly help understand and facilitate well- conceived training plans.

  • Leader

    someone who has influence over others. Generally considered to mean over a group, organisation or wider community or country. The qualities associated with high quality leadership are held to relate strongly to emotional intelligence components.

  • Leadership

    the roles of leading others – pertaining to the action of, orientation, style of.

  • Collaborative

    to work together to an agreed outcome or goal

  • Active listening

    This is the action of being fully engaged, present and attentive to what someone is saying. To not simply listen to the words but the totality of meaning including context. It requires being non-judgemental and open, to show the person that you are truly listening and giving them the space and support to share as freely and fully as they wish. Emotionally it requires us to be calm and patient and respond with positive feedback, so the speaker feels supported and heard responding appropriately to what they are saying. Active listening builds rapport and understanding.

  • Rapport

    is a mutual connection, an understanding or trust. It is a feeling of empathy or compatibility. Rapport is strong when people ‘feel’ or ‘see’ that someone is ‘like’ them or likes or values them. The ‘they are like me’ thing makes people feel they already know you and gives people the sense of being open with and subsequently see or feel you are a known quantity. This gives them a measure of certainty, trust or control over being with you. This is very powerful to build connections, engagement, relationships or as a base for positive communication. The way our mind works we naturally tend to mimic follow others’ behaviours and emotional states – see mirror neurons.

  • Mirror neurons

    The way our minds work to follow or copy others in order to create rapport. Neuro-science is now revealing we have mirror neurons. Emotions are contagious. There is also a natural reciprocity felt within most people, not all.

  • Siloed

    This is a commonly used phrase within organisations to describe the culture or practice of not engaging, sharing working with or valuing another area, department or part of the same business.

  • Goal Setting

    It is the process of describing, discerning, clarifying, measuring and working towards specific objectives or aims.

  • Resilience

    is the ability to, not only cope but, perform at your best, personally and professionally, even during times of change, high pressure, and adversity. EQworks working definition. Clever and easy ways to understand and build resilience such as the 6 Pillars Model of Resilience ©.

  • Micro-Expressions

    are the small fleeting movements on the face of someone experiencing emotions. There are specific expressions for each key emotion. They cannot be fully masked. They can be learnt in a relative short space of time. They are used to great effect by intelligence services for instance to help spot deception. The understanding of them was develooped in the seminal work of Paul Ekman over the past 40 years.

  • C-suite

    A senior executive within an organisation with the title beginning with the initial C such as CEO, CIO, COO (Chief Executive Officer, Chief Information Officer, Chief Operating Office etc.)

  • Conflict Management

    the ability to manage people and situations

  • IQ

    is the Intelligence Quotient – a numerical measure of cognitive intelligence that covers areas such as spacial awareness, mathematical reasoning and memory etc. It is derived from taking an IQ test or assessment. It uses normed population data (derived from lots of people taking a test) to have a mean off 100 and a standard deviation of 15. In other words 67% of the population have an IQ from 85 to 115. It was used as the closest approximation to intelligence for over 100 years but has been found to have very low correlation with things of ultimate value toe people; wellbeing, work performance or success; certainly far less correlation than Emotional Intelligence (measured by EQ).

  • Relationship

    a connection or state existing between two or more people or things. Relationships exist to serve one or several parties. Ideally parties are connected by mutual trust and appreciation for the other’s value.

  • Well-being

    a state of positive physical, emotional and spiritual health. It’s defined in the OED as ‘a state of being or doing well’. It implies a sustainable existence.

  • Positive Psychology

    focuses on wellness rather than illness and mental health rather than mental illness. It provides a positive view of people and health that is in stark contrast to the general approach to health in the West in the 20th century and still very much today. Emotional Intelligence relates strongly to what is called positive psychology as our EQ model states that through learning and practicing competencies around positive behaviours a person, team and organisation becomes happier, healthier in body and mind and more successful.

  • Sickness absence

    when someone does not attend work because they are ill.

    It can be used as one of several important indicators to understand an organisation’s needs and issues. It’s been suggested recently that with an employee’s increased pressure to ‘retain employment’ they might feel more pressure to come to work when they’re ill. Hence Sickness Absence figures are declining in some organisations, but not always for the right reasons. See Presenteeism.

  • Presenteeism

    is where there is a loss of workplace productivity when an employee has come to work but is not functioning fully due to health or other issues such as lack of engagement or stress.

  • Values

    These are personal, group or organisational attributes that represent what is most important to them. By aligning roles and skills to these people more closely work to their natural needs and interests. Organisations often seek to clarify their values in order to connect with their employees and stakeholders (clients, customers etc.).

  • Personal values (or core)

    are attributes that are most important to that person. They represent what that person feels most defines them, makes them feel at home an are ‘them’. These are the things that are most important to them. By knowing these that person can brings behaviours, skills, roles, people and jobs into their lives that most celebrate or are aligned to them. This makes them more fulfilled, happy and resilience.

  • Intra-personal

    skills, attributes, behaviours relating to how someone feels about others, manages their relationships and social interactions and expresses themselves to others.

  • Inter-personal

    skills, attributes or behaviours relating to how someone feels, manages themselves and processes emotional information.

  • Listening skills

    are the collective abilities and behaviours that allow us to take in meaningful information from others and the world around us in order to make better decisions and work better with our environment and others.

  • Mind

    the conscious and un-conscious working of the brain in which thoughts, emotions and beliefs are evident, processed and analysed

  • Stress

    A psycho-physiological state determined by a discrepancy between a perceived pressure or challenge someone feels and their (perceived) resources to meet pressure or challenge.

  • Flow

    is a term coined by Mihaly Csikszentmihályi – meaning a state of absorption with the activity at hand and the situation where there is a strong sense of fulfilment. Culture

  • Mindfulness
  • Stakeholder
  • Competency model or framework

    consists of structures, processes and descriptions that define the learning, skills and related attributes that are required for meeting people’s work and organisational needs and goals. Attaining high performance and organisational goals can be greatly enhanced, clarified and made more efficient by understanding, implementing, training and supporting such models or frame-works. They can be further broken down to roles and responsibilities with specific competencies. These can also be used to help define and support HR structures and processes such as recruitment and Performance reviews.

  • EQ-i 2.0 ®

    a statistical instrument / test that measures overall emotional intelligence components in 5 main areas and 15 sub areas. It was initially developed in 1995 by Dr Reuven BarOn. It was later updated slightly and is now owned by Psychometrics company Multi Health Systems (MHS).


    a group of emotional components that build one’s self-perception that make up a key area of overall emotional intelligence

  • Self-Regard (SR)

    Is to accept and respect yourself and value what’s important to you

  • Self-Actualisation (SA)

    To feel able to strive to achieve personal goals and to reach your potential

  • Emotional Self-Awareness (ES)

    To accurately perceive, understand and discern between your emotions


    a group of emotional components that build one’s expressive abilities that make up a key area of overall emotional intelligence

  • Emotional Expression (EE)

    to be able to accurately and constructively express emotions

  • Assertiveness (AS)

    To be able to effectively express feelings, desires, issues through your words and actions

  • Independence (IN)

    To be self-reliant and free of emotional dependency on others


    a group of emotional components that build inter-personal skills and make up a key area of overall emotional intelligence

  • Empathy (EM)

    To accurately perceive, understand & appreciate how others feel. To be able to ‘read’ people’s emotions & moods to engage better with them

  • Interpersonal Relationships (IR)

    To establish mutually satisfying relationships and relate well to others

  • Social Responsibility (RE)

    To identify with, feel responsibility towards and take action to support a social group – having a social conscience


    a group of emotional components that build one’s decision-making abilities that make up a key area of overall emotional intelligence

  • Problem Solving (PS)

    To effectively tackle and solve problems of a personal or interpersonal nature

  • Reality Testing (RT)

    To accurately perceive events as they are – to objectively validate your feelings and thinking with external reality

  • Impulse Control (IC)

    to effectively and constructively control emotions to resist and delay impulses as appropriate


    is a term used for a group of emotional components that build one’s stress management abilities that make up a key area of overall emotional intelligence.

  • Flexibility (FL)

    To adapt and adjust your feelings, thinking and behaviours to new situations

  • Stress Tolerance (ST)

    To effectively and constructively manage emotions to deal effectively with stress

  • Optimism (OP)

    To maintain a positive attitude & outlook on life

  • Mentor

    Mentors may have several roles; it can be useful to reflect on which ones apply for a given situation.

  • Counsellors & Coach

    act as sounding boards, listening to and encouraging reflection; helping to structure goals and facilitate learning. They work from the Mentee’s agenda and are non-judgemental.

  • Advisors

    They offer specific information and advice regarding a mentees’ role, department, organisation based on their knowledge and experience. This includes things like unwritten rules, organisational environment and politics.

  • Role-models

    Role models lead by example demonstrating (and sometimes explaining) effective leadership behaviours or specific competencies. Modelling others is a powerful way to learn and grow. Socially these are frequently thought of to have strong social and ethical values to which, young people in particular, are encouraged to follow.

  • Advocate (see also Champion)

    they open doors, make introductions and generally increase a mentees’ visibility. They can advise on educational and developmental opportunities and can bring a specific set of outcomes, beliefs, behaviours or cultures into groups and organisations.

  • SMARTER goals

    an acronym to easily remember some key points about creating and achieving goals

  • Transcendental Meditation

    a is a form of silent meditation where a simple word or few words are recited in the mind as a mantra in a gentle effortless way. This is usually practiced for about 1 to 20 minutes twice a day whilst sitting with our eyes closed. There does not have to be a religious or spiritual connotation to the practice. It is proven to help calm the mid and has broad benefits to well-being.