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Emotional Coaching: Shaping Lives from Childhood to Adulthood

Emotional roller-coaster

The journey of emotional development begins as soon as a child is born, and research suggests it starts even earlier, in the mother's womb. The newborn brain grows rapidly, allowing the child to absorb any information their environment offers throughout childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

Taking advantage of the brain's natural ability to keep developing, we can start growing emotional awareness at any stage of life. Emotional awareness fosters effective communication, stress reduction, and improved decision-making, leading to more fulfilling relationships and greater life satisfaction.


In emotion coaching, we teach that every emotion is valid;

it's how we respond that defines our growth.

John Gottman

Nurturing Emotional Intelligence in Children

The developing brain exhibits extraordinary growth abilities during childhood, forming the foundation for emotional intelligence. Emotion exploration in the early years aligns with the brain's heightened ability to establish new neural connections that create the child's inner world.

Introducing emotional vocabulary becomes an exercise in language acquisition, using the brain's capacity for adaptive changes. As children naturally gravitate towards curiosity, incorporating emotions into their play effectively stimulates motivation and reward pathways. Engaging children in recognising emotions in pictures and creating artwork with collages promotes visual and emotional growth.

Support Your Child Emotional Exploration with:

  • Books focusing on emotional exploration.

  • Recognising emotions in pictures

  • Creating artwork with collages of different feelings

  • Role-plays and storytelling

  • Flashcards

Exploration of Teen Emotion Coaching

In the teenage years, emotions are mainly explored independently or with peers. From a neuroscientific standpoint, adolescence is a critical period characterised by heightened neuroplasticity, where the brain undergoes significant structural and functional changes. Emotion coaching during these formative years takes advantage of neuroplasticity, aiming to mould robust emotional intelligence. Introducing tools like the feelings wheel aligns with the brain's capacity to create new neural connections, facilitating a deeper understanding of emotions. Encouraging teenagers to incorporate new terms daily and engage in descriptive expression of emotions contributes to refining neural pathways associated with emotional processing and communication.

Building an Emotional Vocabulary:

  • Encourage descriptions of specific emotions rather than broader terms such as being happy, sad or angry. 

  • Add emotions regularly to your vocabulary, and learn how to use them correctly through daily practice.

  • Start a feeling journal and be as descriptive as possible about your emotions.

Emotional Intelligence in Adulthood

The brain's plasticity continues in adulthood, albeit slower than in earlier developmental stages. Emotion coaching for adults taps into the brain's ability for growth and adaptation. Incorporating new emotional terms into daily vocabulary engages the part of the brain responsible for higher-order cognitive functions, contributing to improving the emotional regulation process. Similarly, it activates the brain regions associated with introspection and self-awareness, encouraging adaptive changes in response to emotional challenges.

Emotion journals promote insight, stimulating the brain's ability to reorganise neural pathways and fostering emotional intelligence.

hands connecting

Emotion coaching is the compass that guides us through the storms of feelings,

helping us navigate with empathy and understanding.

Brene Brown

Counselling, Emotions, and Lifelong Growth

Identifying emotions and working through memories connected to them is a big part of counselling work. Understanding the relationship between conscious or subconscious perception and the associated reaction increases self-awareness.

Emotion coaching reinforces and modifies existing connections. As individuals engage in self-disclosure, vulnerability, and validation, the brain releases neurotransmitters like serotonin and oxytocin, promoting wellbeing, stretching the lifelong potential for emotional growth, and highlighting the importance of continued emotional exploration and promoting mental health throughout adulthood. Emotion coaching also supports mindfulness by helping people stay present with their negative feelings without denying, blaming, or avoiding them, and it improves acceptance of your and others' vulnerabilities, enhancing relationships.

Steps to Get There

  1. Self-Disclosure. Admitting some difficulties can be daunting, especially if you believe everything will stay the same. However, acknowledging your challenges is the only way to overcome them.

  2. Vulnerability. Realising that being vulnerable shows courage and not weakness often takes unlearning and relearning well-ingrained (wrong) beliefs.

  3. Validation. Feeling heard sometimes is all one needs. Verbalise what you are going through and release what feels burdening.

  4. Increased connectedness. Feeling heard increases the connections with the listener, allowing you to open up more.

foot prints

The power of emotion coaching lies in the gentle acknowledgment of feelings,

paving the way for profound understanding and lasting connections.

Daniel J. Siegel

Final Thoughts

It's essential to recognise that diving into our emotional world to understand how we feel will become a powerful tool. Emotional awareness shapes our communication, resilience, and satisfaction. Fostering self-awareness becomes a lifelong key to enriched relationships and personal fulfilment.

When unpleasant feelings rule your day for too long, it’s time to reach out to someone you trust. You don't have to face everything alone.

Contact a helpline, a support group, or a professional. Your GP or a counsellor can make a difference in your wellbeing. 

Subscribe to this website and get 15 minutes of free online consultations. 



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