Emotion Coaching can be quick - be curious rather than furious

Sometimes when people first hear about Emotion Coaching one of the factors that can prevent them from starting to use this approach is the concern that it will simply take too long and they don't have time.


The following example is an adaptation from one of our Practitioner Trainer's reflective logs.


Ball on roof


A 4 year old was having an individual session with a Teaching Assistant outside. They were throwing the teacher’s ‘special ball’. The child threw the ball onto the roof.


Emotion Dismissing/Disapproving


Adult: Look at what you’ve done! That was Miss T’s special ball, she will be really upset.


Child: [Starts crying, falls to the ground and curls up in a ball.]


Adult: It’s a little late being sorry now. I told you not to throw the ball so hard. You need to tell Miss T what has happened.


Child: [Remains crying on the ground[.



Emotion Coaching


Adult: [Gentle tone] Oh dear you threw the ball hard and it has gone on the roof. It’s stuck.


Child: [Looks at ball, looks at adult, worried look on face]


Adult: I can imagine you are worried what Miss T will say. I wonder what we could do about this.


Child asks adult to come with them to tell the teacher. After this they go find the site manager to help them get the ball down.



These two approaches to the same situation highlight the different outcomes that are achieved for the child. In the first scenario, with a 'furious' adult, the child remained distressed, felt guilty and shamed. The child was not supported to understand and manage these feelings, nor work out how to put things right. In the second approach the adult's 'curious'

empathic approach enabled the child to accept responsibility for the behaviour and work out a way they could repair the situation.

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