The Role of Emotional Contagion in Coaching

The Role of Emotional Contagion in Coaching

August 16, 2020

Written by: Jennifer Jimbere | Productivity & Profitability Coach for Business Leaders

Emotional contagion is the phenomenon of having one person’s emotions and related behaviors directly trigger similar emotions and behaviors in other people. Emotions can be shared across individuals in many different ways both implicitly or explicitly.

This is one of the reasons business leaders need to pick a proven professional coach. This matters to your accelerated results and achievements.

Emotions are contagious. Indeed, “emotional contagion” is a real thing – meaning the feelings you are experiencing and the mood you are in can really be felt by others and vice versa.

The human brain’s limbic system is an open loop — not closed like the circulatory system. And an open loop depends on external resources to manage itself. That means we rely on connection with other people for our own emotional stability. Other people can change our physiology and our emotions. It’s called “mirroring” or “catching” others’ emotions.

Mirroring is an advanced technique in coaching and you want to partner in possibility with someone like myself who knows how to do this skillfully. As a coach, my role in your development is to check in, ask discovery questions, help you discover possibilities and plan the actions needed for change. I also hold a mirror up for you to see how you may be perceived. Mirroring refers to the simultaneous ‘copying’ of the behavior of another person, as if reflecting their movements back to them. When done with respect and discretion, mirroring creates awareness. You in turn as my “coachee” catch my emotions and belief in you when we are speaking and this makes a dig difference in your ability to move forward.

According to emotional intelligence expert Daniel Goleman, 50% – 70% of how employees perceive their organization’s climate can be traced to one person: The leader. Goleman’s research shows that high levels of EQ create climates of trust and information sharing while low levels of EQ create climates underscored by anxiety and fear.

Positivity is more than “feel good” jargon.

There is actual research backing up the beneficial effects of positive thinking on business. A 2001 study found that people experiencing joy think more creatively. A 2004 study found that teams with a more positive attitude earned higher profits and had happier customers.  And a study from 2005 found that people with a positive outlook miss less work. Here are some reasons positive thinking is important for executives and makes them more effective than their counterparts.

Fear Makes You Perceive Fewer Options Than You Actually Have

Have you ever felt a slight panic in the morning when reaching the office and you see before you a jam packed schedule? It can trigger a fight-or-flight response, and can cause you to tune out to where you don’t see the options you actually have. The converse is true as well. When you experience positive emotions, you see more possibilities.

Humans sense danger and have coping mechanisms when danger is perceived, whether it is a storm in front of us as we are driving, a person walking too close behind us, or your child not wearing a helmet when biking on a busy road.  When situations like these happen, your brain shuts off everything else and focuses on saving yourself and loved ones. That’s great for real danger, but many people have this reaction to situations that aren’t nearly as serious. I can support you as an executive coach to develop your positive presence.

Other Ways Negative Thinking Adversely Affects You


In addition to giving you a limited view of your options, negative thinking affects you adversely in several other ways:
• It reduces third alternative thinking and squashes your creativity and dampens the creativity of those you interact with.
• It drives up stress levels and over the long term can cause health problems.
• Persistent negativity can reduce productivity and cause you to miss opportunities.
• Negative thoughts takes longer than positive thoughts to “wear off.”
• Chronic negativity attracts like minded individuals and drives positive people away.
• Negativity damages relationships.

How do you perceive the situations around you?
Do you “have to” go to the gym or do you have time to do so?  You don’t “have to” attend every conference, but you have the privilege of doing so because you cherish professional development. You don’t “have to” stop by the supermarket on the way home. You probably won’t starve. You get to do so to have a warm home cooked dinner, unlike others who do not have this opportunity.

Ways to Increase Positive Thinking in Everyday Life


Increasing positive thinking involves practicing things that generate feelings of contentment, joy, and love. These things obviously differ for different people, but you have to make time for them rather than thinking of them as “extras.” Meditation and writing are two popular methods people use to increase positive thinking.  Check out my 5 free tips from the Science of Well-Being to support your efforts in adopting a positive approach.
Savouring is also important, but when was the last time you scheduled something to savour? “Savouring” may be structured, like carving out time in the morning to enjoy your tea. Or it may be completely unstructured, where you figure it out as you go along. But giving yourself “permission” to savour some of your favourite things, it helps you experience joy, and entertain new ideas.

Research suggests positivity and culture are important to measurable long term growth.  You and I both have a role to play on the impact we have. Emotional Contagion Is Potent: Use It To Spread Possibility, Not Pessimism

Accelerate is our signature program for those who are committed to their success!

We work with highly educated, growth focused action takers. 
JCC Accelerator Program is designed as a multi-disciplinary support system for business leaders who are dreaming boldly and taking action. Those who believe in possibility and know they are creative, capable, wise and good and that what they want to create is available to them.

You are ready to create the conditions for success and take it to the next level. I am committed to positively affecting you and your bottom line. With more than 2000 logged coaching hours, 250 Coach training hours and 13 degrees and certificates, I am well qualified to support you. My education is just the beginning, I have spent decades preparing to support you in the moment. Who you partner with matters. Having someone who can recognize when you need to shift, can mirror proven ways to improve your positive emotions will improve your productivity and profitability.

Let’s Partner Together!
Email me now at jennifer@jimberecoachingandconsulting.com with the subject “Accelerator” for us to discuss this signature program.

This week over on my Facebook Business Page we will be talking about the How of Happiness. Be sure to join the 2496+ amazing professionals who are part of the JCC Facebook Community where you’ll find a ton of useful insights, tips, and original content that is sure to help you succeed! Click here to join.

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