“I realized that people don’t really understand EQ in South Africa… Lots of times the topic of racial tensions comes up…. People sometimes feel uncertain about their future…. By labeling the emotions you can then start refocusing the energy”

In a country where social, racial, political and legal relationships have changed rapidly, people’s emotional patterns often lag behind everyday reality. Carel Potgieter works as a business consultant and sees this struggle first hand. We asked him how EQ coaching helps bridge the gap between what was and what is.

Six Seconds: Tell us a bit about how you got into the EQ World and about yourself

Carel: I was working for about forty years. During my working career I worked in Government, the Corporate sector and in small companies which I founded in South Africa, and sold them off, or sometimes I had to close them down. I was on the board of several listed companies. I decided at age 50 to go on my own. I’d had enough of the corporate world and started my own consulting practice.

I am coaching leaders, for example the C Suite of executives in companies. I noticed that the people were always competent from the technical standpoint. They had their applicable university degrees like MBAs, and technically they knew what they were doing. For some reason, often they were not as successful as leaders as they were supposed to be. I began to think the issue might be the so-called “soft skills” that were lacking.

I heard about EQ and then read some of Daniel Goleman’s books. I realized I needed to know more about how to assess EQ and I looked at several assessment tools. Some just give you an absolute number for your EQ very much like the outcome of an IQ  assessment.  I wasn’t comfortable with that, because it kind of puts you in a box. That is how I got to Six Seconds. I was looking at the three foundations of EQ (Know, Choose, Give) and the competencies. I took a course in South Africa with Jayne in becoming an EQ assessor and coach. Since then I have used EQ in my business coaching and group coaching and facilitation. I have done several EQ SEI assessments and Brain Profiles.

I started looking into the other tools of Six Seconds.  I was very impressed with the Vital Signs tools. I did my certification in these with Paul Stillman and have used these within several organizations.

Carel eq cafeSix Seconds: How do you see your role of Network Leader in furthering the use of these tools?

Carel: I wanted to be a Network Leader because I realised that people don’t really understand EQ in South Africa. I saw the opportunity in the EQ Cafes to be able to go out there and help people to start understanding the benefits that EQ can provide them. Secondly, they might involve me in their business. I did two EQ Cafes in the first quarter with good results.  

Six Seconds: Can you think of an example of someone you’ve worked with who had an “Aha” moment where something wasn’t working and EQ was the key?

Carel: Over the past two weeks, a company was looking to hire staff for a senior position. They wanted a tool to help identify someone from an emotional perspective that would be a good candidate for the job. The two final candidates did a SEI which I then debriefed the relevant execute on the outcomes. They were impressed with the outcomes.

IMG_8829Six Seconds: Six Seconds’ most recent State of the Heart report showed certain regions having lower EQ than others. How can you use this data to communicate the benefits of EQ?

Carel: The question that all leaders ask: how does this help me perform better as a company? Economics are tight. I do invite executives to EQ Cafes and also provide them with some of the business benefit case studies. This opens the door to communicate to Executive Committees within business and then convince them about the benefits of EQ.


Six Seconds: How do racial issues come up in coaching conversations?

Carel: EQ is needed in South Africa. We are in a difficult time politically and economically. Several parties are agreeing that South Africa needs EQ to go forward.  Lots of times the topic of racial tensions comes up. As a coach, you start dealing with it by unlocking the emotions. People sometimes feel uncertain about their future. The most dominant emotions uncovered are fear and anger.  By labeling the emotions you can then start refocusing the energy generated by both emotions, to the benefit of the coachee.

Six Seconds: Speaking of the future, what do you plan on doing next?

Carel: I’m looking forward to developing more EQ presentations and contributing to society. We are working toward 1 billion people by 2039! I strongly believe it will make an immense difference. I will use the tools more and more, especially the vitality tools are absolutely fantastic tools, and I will use them more going forward. I look forward to doing more and more with Six Seconds.