HR Business Partner

As an HR Leader, do you have emotional intelligence?

How emotionally intelligent is the job candidate? You have to find out before you hire this person.

How emotionally intelligent is the job candidate? You have to find out before you hire this person.

Do you hire for emotional intelligence?

Most HR professionals and recruiters traditionally hire for cognitive intelligence, relevant experience and education.  One aspect overlooked especially in hiring for leadership and managerial positions is to hire for emotionally intelligent leaders who can empower and motivate their teams to reach their highest potential.  Emotional intelligent managers can enable their teams to overcome barriers.  An emotionally intelligent HR leader is aware of the impact of hiring managers who are strong intellectually and emotionally.


Leaders are not always aware of their impact on others or if they are remotely aware, they usually underestimate how powerful their impact truly is.  Knowledge of Emotional Intelligence can help you find candidates who can rise to the top of their game, manage complex, difficult and unpredictable situations, and encourage their peers and co-workers to do their best.


If you are responsible for hiring, what questions could you ask to determine someone’s emotional intelligence?  In a workshop I co-facilitated with Dr. Relly Nadler for HR Professionals in San Francisco, we identified some questions that could help you determine a candidate’s emotional intelligence.   Dr. Relly Nadler in his book, Leading with Emotional Intelligence recommends behavioral dimensions correlated with the 20 emotional intelligence competencies or EQ.  Here are some of the competencies and examples of questions that you could ask job candidates:


Interview questions

  1. Initiative – Give me an example of when you had to go the extra mile for your customer. What did you do and what was the result?
  2. Self Control – When was the last time you were frustrated with your co-worker or customer?  What did you do and say?
  3. Empathy – How do you demonstrate that you are open to ideas and solutions other than you own?
  4. Building Bonds – Tell me an example of an opportunity you developed and successfully received from networking.
  5. Self Confidence – How do you get ready for a big presentation or meeting?
  6. Adaptability – Give me an example when you had to work with a difficult co-worker?

Depending on the role or position that you are hiring, you can evaluate a candidate’s knowledge of themselves, also known as self-awareness, their own self-management, understanding others and managing others – the four main components of emotional intelligence.


Emotional Intelligence is contagious.  I once had a boss who loved people.  The entire building literally brightens up when he walks into the office.  He  not only knows people by their first name, he knows their children’s names and even their dog’s names. People would do anything for him, the discretionary effort of his team was beyond limits.  He is so loved and remembered fondly, that is because he truly and sincerely cared for others. Working with him was one of the most enjoyable times in my career.


Ever wondered what impact you have on others?  It is not too late to develop your emotional intelligence.  Emotionally Intelligent people get hired, promoted and have a sustaining presence.  The good news is EQ can be learned, developed and improved with the help of a trusted coach.  What does it take to be an emotionally intelligent HR leader?  As HR professionals, we set the tone for an emotionally intelligent culture.  Are you aware of the impact your presence has on others?


Liza Sichon is the founder of Executive HR Coach. She coaches executives and their teams on how they can meet their financial goals, advance their careers and live fulfilling lives.  For more information, visit her website and

When is it time for the HR Department to hire a Coach

team happyIt is so much easier for HR functions to review, analyze, solve HR problems for the business, it is harder for them to confront or handle their own problems. Multiple deadlines, pressure, urgent issues of the day take over priorities while having long hours at work.

It is tough to be in HR, you are expected to know it all and solve most, if not all people problems.  You are also expected to have the best run function.  If HR cannot solve their own problems, their credibility erodes.

There are times, though, when the HR function needs to carve out special time to openly and non judgmentally discuss their own problems and take appropriate actions with an experienced executive coach. HR knows the answer to their problems, a coach will serve as a partner, hold up a mirror and guide them through resolving their own issues.

What are the some situations when HR would need to bring in an Executive Coach?

  1. When the team is new and forming, a coach could help set up a strong team foundation and build trust
  2. When the leader wants to build a stronger team
  3. When you are stuck and struggling with important decisions that affect the team
  4. When you or your team members feel plateaued in your career
  5. When you are newly promoted or exiting the company
  6. When your function is not as effective as it needs to be
  7. When you are cruising and unsure of your career direction
  8. When the team is not working well together
  9. When you or your team are having a crisis of confidence
  10. When you or your function receive feedback that surprises you

These situations may be troubling and scary. You cannot discuss these openly with your other colleagues for fear of being judged.  You are in HR, you are supposed to know how to resolve your own problems. Your spouse, partner or best friend can listen and suggest, but they do not know the unique situation you are in.

I’ve seen coaching benefit so many people. Whatever your career or work challenges are, an executive coach can shift your thinking so you can come up with the appropriate actions and perform at your peak.

Top 10 Reasons Why HR Professionals Need a Coach

woman executiving talkingHR professionals recommend executive coaching to their business leaders for specific reasons. These reasons could be to enhance current performance, develop future potential, acquire new skills and behaviors or any agenda that an executive may choose.

In my experience, HR professionals do not need to be convinced about the value of executive coaching, some of them are coaches themselves.  However, they are not as savvy in knowing and admitting when they need their own coach, sometimes it is too late.  The most commonly cited reason for holding back is budget, or sometimes you think you can resolve your own gaps quietly.  It is also easier to ignore your own weaknesses, hide it or wish it away.  You don’t want to direct any attention to yourself.  HR just like any function needs growth, nurturing and development. Coaching is an investment for the HR function. Here are 10 reasons why HR professionals need coaching.

  1. Executive coaching is a fast growing required competency for the future.  Having executive coaching skills in your resume elevates your career opportunities and sets you apart.  Executive coaches believe in coaching for themselves, they practice what they preach.
  2. HR holds up the mirror for their organization, you need to have your own mirror to reveal your own thinking, motives and flaws.  A coach, with permission, will cut through the clutter and help you clarify your thinking.
  3. HR needs to be at the top of their game to face the multiple challenges of their role. A coach can get you to peak and sustainable performance.
  4. You need to sharpen your skills and knowledge, no different from your business leaders.  A coach can help you meet this objective.
  5. HR people are always multi-tasking, managing multiple priorities and deadlines.  I’ve never met an HR person who is not extremely busy, which sometimes could lead to stress.  You could use some down time with a coach to step back, reflect and strategize.
  6. HR can quickly become the shoemakers children, instead HR needs to be the role model for the organization.
  7. By the nature of your job, you can be more internally focused.  You could use some stretching and outside influence to broaden or shift your perspective.
  8. Coaching prices are  flexible.  One of the reasons HR professionals do not hire coaches, is because of the costs. There are many alternatives to individual coaching. Using proven coaching methods, you can set up peer coaching or you can work with a trained group coach.
  9. You are a trusted advisor but who can you trust?  HR can be a lonely place.  You cannot confide to anyone internally and your spouse or partner will not really understand your unique challenges. You need a trusted executive coach who will be honest and non-judgmental.
  10. Coaching just cannot be done through self-service.  An intimate and trusting coaching relationship requires human interaction.

I’ve been fortunate to have been in HR teams that believe in coaching.  These have been some of the most rewarding times in my corporate career.  What I recall is the mindset and collaboration that we are all in this together, that we can handle anything that comes our way, knowing that we have the support of every member of the team.  Our coach made sure that we were always aware of the value that each team member brought to the group.  These relationships outlasted jobs, roles and companies and kept very strong bonds even after all of us have moved on.

Do you need a Coach?  I’d love to work with you.  Find about my executive coaching services at

Building Your Legacy Part 2

women golfAs  an HR professional, I found that much of my enjoyment and success on the job is a function of who I worked with.  In the mid 90s when the role HR Business Partner was not as fully understood or developed, I was privileged to have a business leader who was willing to partner with me and discover the impact that this role can have.

Jon Wiese was the SVP for Americas Sales and Services at Lucent Technologies.  He was considered a high potential, very smart, super direct and willing to listen.  The weekend after he took on the role,  he announced his first VP promotion, a male high potential.  The women in the group were puzzled and wondered why they were not even interviewed.  I raised this to Jon, while in the back of my mind, a bit worried that this was the end of my early career as an HR Business Partner.  Jon called me back to his office the next day and asked me how we can fix this.  He sponsored Virtual Golf – a women’s network that promoted and mentored women in Sales.  By the time Jon left the group, almost half of the executives were women.  Jon also introduced me to Coaching.  He believed in the value of having an executive coach and provided me with one.  This opened my eyes to the world of executive coaching and I knew that someday, I would be one myself.

With sadness, I heard this week that at 56, Jon went home to be with our Lord after a long courageous battle with cancer.  I enjoyed working with Jon, he was a wonderful mentor who raised the profile of women in the company.  More importantly, he taught me to be a coach and have the courage to speak up, a critical skill for an HR Business Partner and Executive Coach.

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Why Hire a coach?

Top Reasons Coaches are Engaged:

(HBR Jan 2009)

    • Develop high potentials or facilitate transition: 48%
    • Act as a sounding board: 26%
    • Address derailing behavior: 12%