Sodexo: Emotional intelligence in theory and in action


LeadChange combined the coaching with horses (equine facilitated learning) with the scientific rigor of the PSI EIP3 Emotional Intelligence Profile to create a powerful learning experience that developed Emotional Intelligence.  Leaders were able to explore the theory of emotional intelligence and immediately put their learning into practise, receiving personal feedback and committing to business linked leadership actions – this memorable learning approach is still being talked about nearly 2 years later.


Sodexo were looking for an innovative and impactful way to enhance learning on their Advance Senior Managers Programme.  The operating context for their leaders meant they were dealing with a lot of change and a very competitive marketplace.  The programme aimed to increase impact, influencing skills and personal resilience to manage complexity and drive change; increase self-awareness (Emotional Intelligence) and leadership effectiveness; and encourage collaborative leadership skills and broaden internal networks.


They initially selected LeadChange for our strong experiential learning expertise, however, after understanding the overall aims of the programme, they drew on our psychological capability to create a solution that combined experiential learning, Emotional Intelligence theory and a psychometric tool.

As chartered psychologists we were able to select from a number of insight tools, we chose the Emotional Intelligence Profile (JCA) – a scientifically validated self-assessment questionnaire that has been shown to improve performance.  The programme layered a theoretical understanding of emotional intelligence, individual feedback on their EI capability via the profile, and feedback from the horses on how they demonstrated emotional intelligence in practise.  This accelerated learning cycle allowed participants to explore theory in action and make tangible action plans.  We ensured our solutions aligned closely with the wider programme by integrating Sodexo values and managerial behaviours, and designing opportunities to enhance collaborative leadership skills and broaden internal networks.


All the leaders identified EI Actions specific to the Sodexo Managerial Behaviours. They gained:

  • Non-judgemental feedback on ‘How they show up’ linked to their EI effectiveness
  • Greater confidence and self-belief
  • Enhanced presence and impact through heighted self-awareness of feelings and thinking
  • Insights into the impact of their attitudes (Self Regard and Regards for Other)

As a group they committed to collaborating now, and beyond the programme, to continue to grow as individuals and to further develop our effectiveness leaders in Sodexo. They identified multiple collaboration channels and agreed a charter of behaviours against which to rate they effectiveness as a group.

Client Quotes

“I was amazed how closely my experience with the horses reflected my EI report, it was like the horse had read it!”

“I came away with real insight into the areas that would increase my leadership effectiveness, and tangible actions to how I would do it”

Team Excellence Post Lockdown: Why returning to normal is a low goal for your teams 

By Lindsay Corrigan BSc. MSc. Ch.Psychol

Recent events forced organisations into a state of ambiguity and uncertainty, during which the agility of business delivery and of their people resource became critical. For many this highlighted the benefits of established trust in individuals and teams, and the value of excellent communication systems and relationships. For others, the gaps and weaknesses soon became apparent.

Using the lens of Lewin’s three stage model of change – unfreeze, change and refreeze – the lockdown forced organisations into an unfreeze situation where change was fast and furious. As lockdown eases, focusing teams on enhancing the future based on their experiences, rather than adjusting around the edges of the pre-covid status quo, will utilise the strengths revealed and lessons learned as a springboard into raising results.

The OTIC Model of Change (By, Kuipers, Proctor 2018) helps to illustrate the three organisational levels which play a role in supporting and maintaining change.  By acting at team level, connections with the organisation and individuals can be secured.

Lockdown working has had many effects – increased working from home, adaption of roles and responsibilities, testing customer relationships and increased pressure on leaders to lead virtually. The effects on different individuals and teams is interesting. For example, for some, the situation will have increased individual autonomy which can be motivating, but potentially loosened connections with the team. For others team autonomy may have increased. This enhances team agility and unites the group as outcome interdependence increases, but can distance the team from the organisation and the overall strategy. These experiences become a rich source for organisation improvement and advancement.

It is critical to take the time draw out the new ways of working which have encouraged enhanced performance, and capture the strengths at both individual and team level which should be better utilised.  By also identifying old habits and processes which constrained performance, your teams can efficiently and effectively metamorphize. Research has shown the perceived value of simply being part of a team cannot be understated, which underlines the need to plug people back in to their team and establish its purpose in the new world without delay.


By, R., Kuipers, B., Proctor S. (2018) Understand teams in order to understand organisational change: OTIC Model of Organisational Change. Journal of Change Management 18(1) 1-9 January

Lewin, K. (1951) Field theory in Social Science. New York. Harper and Row

Emerge from lockdown: 4 steps to MOVE to better mental heath & wellbeing

By Rosalie Millard-Evans BSc. MSc. Ch.Psychol

 As COVID-19 restrictions are starting to lift now is a great time to think about the future. Whilst the world slowing down has created a natural period of reflection, there is now a unique opportunity to consider the positive learnings from the lockdown and use these to make proactive life choices.

Mental Health and Wellbeing is of growing importance to many people. By using it as lens by which to consider your future you can make choices that move your mental health and wellbeing higher up the agenda. LeadChange’s M.O.V.E model uses simple research-based psychology activities to support you to EMERGE from lockdown and build a healthier, happier and more meaningful future.

I am going to tackle these in reverse order (EVOM wasn’t such a memorable acronym!!)


Transitions come with emotions, positive and negative, and it’s important to recognise how you are feeling. By stopping and considering what you are feeling and why, you can make better choices for your emotional health.

Activity: Circle of Influence

  • Make a list of the all the things that are worrying you and that that you feel excited about.
  • Use Covey’s Circle of Control and Influence to sort them into those inside your control/influence and those outside (not familiar with the circle of control? Learn more here)
  • Put actions against all those within your control / influence



COVID has created a unique opportunity to stop and consider what is most important to you. Tapping into your values enables you to make values-based choices that will increase the meaning, fulfilment and wellbeing you experience in life.

 Activity: Know your Values

  • Ask yourself, “What matters to me most? What do I live for? What drives me to get up every morning?” and take 60 seconds to write down every single thing that pops into your head (however big or small).
  • Rank each value based on its importance to you (starting with “1” next to your most important value). It’s fine if it’s not completely accurate, just give yourself a rough idea.
  • To help with ranking, imagine which value you would choose over another. For example, if you had to choose only X or only Y – which would you choose?
  • Once you’ve finished ranking, take the top 5 values you discover.
  • Now grade yourself on each value. Are you fulfilling it, or do you need to work on it more? Give yourself an A-F grade for each value on your list depending on your current situation in life.
  • Based on this evaluation, identify which you need to work on and how



It is highly likely that the current COVID circumstances mean your life goals have changed, so now is a good time to think about what you want from the future. This is intricately linked to values but involves goal setting which increases motivation and attainment. This is about knowing what you want and setting a clear path to achieve it. This activity draws on positive psychology to help think about what an ideal future work life looks like. Research suggests that building optimism about the future can motivate people to work toward that desired future and thus make it more likely to become a reality.

 Activity: Ideal Future Self

  • Take a moment to imagine your life in the future. What is the best possible life you can imagine? Consider all the relevant areas of your life, such as your career, academic work, relationships, hobbies, and health. What would happen in these areas of your life in your best possible future?
  • For the next 15 minutes, write continuously about what you imagine this best possible future to be. Use the instructions below to help guide you through this process.
  • It may be easy for this activity to lead you to examine how your current life may not match this best possible future. You may be tempted to think about ways in which accomplishing goals has been difficult for you in the past, or about financial/time/social barriers to being able to make these accomplishments happen. For the purpose of this activity, however, we encourage you to focus on the future—imagine a brighter future in which you are your best self and your circumstances change just enough to make this best possible life happen.
  • This activity is most useful when it is extremely specific—if you think about a new job, imagine exactly what you would do, who you would work with, and where it would be. The more specific you are, the more engaged you will be in the activity and the more you will get out of it.
  • Be as creative and imaginative as you want, and don’t worry about grammar or spelling.


Manage it

This is all about being proactive and planning to ensure you have what you need to emerge and promote your mental health.  It won’t just happen unless you make it happen and everyone knows change takes time, energy and commitment. Write down what you plan to do as a result of the activities above and share it with someone trusted who can help hold you to account and encourage you when you hit barriers.

Regularly review the actions you have made and consider the following:

  • What are the barriers to you achieving them?
  • What support will you need to achieve them?
  • How will you get it?
  • When do you want to achieve it by?
  • How will you know you have achieved it?
  • Who will hold you accountable? Do you need a coach? Will you share it with you partner / friend / manager?