Gideon and Emotional Intelligence

Many have heard of Gideon’s need for a sign before taking action, but this post is more about Gideon’s emotional intelligence. Some context: Israel had been under the control of the Medianites for seven years because of the sin of the nation. God sends a messenger to see Gideon. The angel of the Lord said to Gideon,

The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor. And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”  And [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Gideon] said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me.”

Gideon’s Emotional Intelligence

This small text speaks volumes about Gideon’s emotional intelligence, of which, the most significant is Gideon’s self-regard. Much more can be said about Gideon’s EQ but my analysis of this area follows:                                          

            Element / Rating

  • Self-Regard                                      Low

  • Self-Actualization                            Low

  • Emotional Self-Awareness         Mid range

  • Emotional Expression                     High

  • Assertiveness                                   Low

  • Independence                              Mid range

  • Social Responsibility                    Mid range

  • Empathy                                        Mid range

  • Interpersonal Relationships       Mid range

  • Impulse Control                            Mid range

  • Reality Testing                                   High

  • Problem Solving                                Low

  • Flexibility                                            High

  • Stress Tolerance                            Mid range

  • Optimism                                           Low

I wonder if Gideon’s low self-regard was rooted in his self-doubt.

Gideon’s Self Doubt

He had tremendous self-doubt even after he discovered it was a messenger from God who told Gideon all he would do through the Lord. Gideon goes on to question God asking for proof two additional times. Now I understand that we all have doubt. Even Thomas had doubt and he had been in the presence of Jesus. I should also say that if I were to error one direction, i.e., too much self-regard or too little I think I would be better liked by others if my self-regard was a little low. We all know people who think too highly of themselves and their grandiosity is not very enjoyable.

One important note to make is self-regard and self-esteem are two different things. Self-regard is associated with “general feelings of security, self-confidence, and self-adequacy.”1 These people know their strengths, talents and their abilities. Likewise they know their areas of weakness. Self-esteem is more closely related to self-love. Too little self-love leads to depression and too much leads to narcissism.

Lastly, I want to introduce you to the Pygmalion Effect, which “refers to the frequently observed phenomenon whereby people come to behave in ways that correspond to others’ expectations of them.”2 This is precisely what Gideon did even if he did have bouts of doubt. This same concept can be applied to our own lives, in the workplace, with subordinates and others.

How do we apply these ideas to coaching?

A good coach asks questions that lead their client from a subjective reality to one that is objective. In other words a coach can lead someone into a path of truth. A good coach can help hold you accountable.  

If we have self-doubt I think we all know that deep down inside much of of our depression or false guilt or shame keeps us from making shifts in our behavior to do something great. Good coaches reveal truth, challenge their clients, help them develop goals and institute plans. Are you ready to make a shift into greatness?

For more on Emotional Intelligence

About the author: Creed is an accomplished leader and Professional Certified Coach motivated by a passionate drive to help individuals and organizations reclaim their clarity for personal achievement and organizational effectiveness.

1. The EQ Edge, Stein, & Book, Jossey-Bass, 2011
2. Dictionary of Theories, Jennifer Bothamley, Gale research, 1993