What is Emotion Coaching?


‘Emotion coaching is about helping children and young people to understand the different emotions they experience, why they occur and how to handle them.’             

                                                             (John Gottman)


Mindful Emotion Coaching is about building emotional resilience and mental wellbeing by enabling conversations about emotions behind behaviours and building understanding of the neuroscience of brain development, human interactions and mindful awareness. Some people would say we are working with the neurobiological, emotional and social aspects of human interactions, others might use the term interpersonal neurobiology.


Emotion Coaching provides an evidence-based model for helping children, young people and adults to understand and interpret emotions as a way of enhancing social interactions with others and is based on the work of Jack Shonkoff, Dan Siegel and John Gottman.



The core principles of emotion coaching look at how:


  • responsive relationships and positive experiences build sturdy brain architecture and promote healthy development, starting before birth and during infancy
  • toxic stress disrupts the developing brain and other biological systems with lifelong consequences for learning, behaviour and health (e.g. mental and emotional health difficulties, susceptibility to addiction, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes)
  • the foundations of resilience can be strengthened in young children through reciprocal 'serve and return' interactions that scaffold life skills of self regulation, emotion regulation and executive function.

The latest evaluation of Emotion Coaching has just been published by Bath Spa University: Emotion Coaching Executive Summary 2017.pdf


Emotion Coaching Training in Somerset

Somerset Public Health first commissioned Bath Spa University and EHCAP (a Somerset based social enterprise) to provide Emotion Coaching Training to the children and young people’s workforce in Somerset in 2015. Since then, Somerset teachers and practitioners have benefited from four phases of training and the development of our own home-grown Emotion Coaching Facilitators led by Dr Sarah Temple, Director of EHCAP and Emotion Coaching lead for the county.


Training has now been offered to over 400 staff in each of the five districts and allowed participants to take on leadership roles within their own organisations. Working with both professionals and young people, the training has increased understanding of emotional health and wellbeing and enabled a better appreciation of when and how to refer on for help.


For further information about Emotion Coaching training contact: Fiona Moir or visit: EHCAP - Resilience Model for Schools