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  • Writer's pictureacoachsdiary

E.I. Part 1 - Our Two Minds

Updated: May 2, 2023

Guiding Question: Which one guides and controls YOUR actions - your thinking mind or your emotional mind?

KEY TAKEAWAY: We have two minds - our thinking mind and our emotional mind. Our thinking mind helps us slow down and respond with thought, but sometimes we need to lead with our feelings mind and react with action. Emotional Intelligence is knowing which mind to use and how in each situation.

Angel Reese plays basketball for LSU. She led her team to the National Championship in a record-breaking game that had more viewers than any championship game in history.

Angel is known for being a tough, imposing athlete with almost as much character, charisma, attitude, and personality as her game (she has a lot of game).

In an interview, Angel was asked, “Why did you transfer to LSU?" She said, “I knew what I wanted for myself, and I wanted growth and a coach like Kim Mulkey to push me every day. I want her to cuss me out every day and tell me I’m not good enough. And I feel like I’m still not good enough.”

I’m not here to judge what Angel said, or say she is right or wrong - her perception of what she needs to become the best she can be is her perception.

But what can we learn from this? How can we learn how to be better coaches and leaders for each individual we serve, while also doing what is best for the group as a whole?

In a previous post, I wrote about how important having and developing our Emotional Intelligence can be while asking the question, “Do we/should yell at our athletes or teammates?” I define Emotional Intelligence as our ability to escalate and de-escalate ourselves and others with care and compassion.

It's our ability to manage the emotions and energy in the room.

Some people say that leaders should stay emotionally even and in the middle - never getting too high or too low. In my experience, I have had success when knowing when, why, and how to go emotionally high or low, depending on the energy levels of the people I am leading.

Angel Reese is telling us that she needs a coach willing to raise her emotions, but we know many of our athletes will shut down if we get too emotionally intense with them, much less cuss them out.

A key to leadership is being able to motivate and inspire others to do the things they sometimes don’t want to do in order for them to achieve the things they want to achieve. Being able to leverage emotions in an intelligent and effective way is a key skill to learn and master.

In Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman writes we have two minds: our emotional and rational minds; our thinking and emotional minds.

Our emotional minds move us to act and react, and our thinking minds tell us when, why, and how to do so.

Our emotional minds are stronger because they have been with us longer; they are what helped our ancestors survive. This is why our passion often overwhelms reason - it has been wired in us longer. Have you ever known what you need to do but can’t get over your feelings and emotions to make the right decision?

My wife is as passionate as they come as a sports fan. When we are watching our kids play, she will tell you that she struggles managing her emotions. She often reacts and escalates quickly, and when she calms down and de-escalates, she does not know what came over her, or she might say, "I just can't think straight." I would never tell her that she lost her mind (to her face), but when we get escalated, we do lose our thinking mind and are controlled by our emotional mind.

You should see her when Steph Curry is playing! Our house is an emotional roller coaster!

Our emotions are impulses to act. The word emotions come from the Latin word motere, which means to move or move away. When Steph Curry hits a big three or makes a big mistake, there is a big reaction in our living room.

Emotional Intelligence is managing when to move, how quickly, and how far. Emotional Intelligence for my wife is learning when and how to effectively react to our daughters’ performance on and off the court.

Emotional Intelligence for coaches and leaders is knowing when to respond with high energy, when to respond with low energy, and when to let things slide.

Emotional intelligence is understanding that we have to manage the energy in the room by knowing how much of our thinking mind verse our feeling mind we need to engage in each moment.


1 - Which mind controls your actions more - your thinking mind or your emotional mind?

2 - Do you tend to respond first with thought, or do you tend to react first with emotions and action?

3 - Is there anything about the way that you respond or react that you would like to change?

4 - What is a situation where responding with thought is the best action?

5 - What is a situation where reacting with action is the best approach?

Much of this information was taken from the introduction of Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence. You can find more about the book here: Emotional Intelligence

Previous E.I. Posts - Intro

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