Last updated on September 23rd, 2023.
In today’s interconnected world, emotional intelligence has emerged as a crucial skill for personal and professional success. Understanding and managing our emotions, as well as empathizing with others, can significantly impact our relationships, communication, and decision-making. If you’re eager to enhance your emotional intelligence and thrive in various aspects of life, delve into the realm of self-discovery and growth with these seven exceptional online courses dedicated to fostering emotional intelligence.
The eight best online courses in emotional intelligence are:
Emotional intelligence, or as it’s often referred to, emotional quotient (EQ), has become a sought-after quality for many employers, even though there isn’t a fully-validated way to measure it (as there is for IQ). With so many employers looking for it, and the job market being as competitive as it is, employees can consider taking a course designed to improve their EQ.
What is emotional intelligence?
Before we dive into the best EI courses on the internet, it will be helpful to lay a foundational understanding of the benefits of emotional intelligence and what exactly EI is. Emotional intelligence consists of three components that, when brought together in an individual, can lead to great understanding and empathy with interpersonal relationships:
- Being aware of and being able to identify your own emotions and the emotions of others
- Using emotions to complete tasks and think critically
- Managing emotions and helping others do the same
There isn’t any scientifically approved way to measure emotional intelligence, but that hasn’t stopped it from gaining wide-spread acceptance as a theory describing interpersonal skills. People who are said to be “emotionally intelligent” are often sought-after employees and leaders in corporate America, which has made it a valuable skill to have or learn.
Benefits of Emotional Intelligence
People with high EI are able to better use their emotions in a positive and effective way in their daily lives, as well as help others do the same. They tend to communicate better, and they are more resilient in the face of stress and anxiety.
In the workplace, having managers who are high in EI has been shown to lead to employees who have higher morale, are better able to collaborate, show improved critical thinking and problem solving, and take less sick days. In short, getting people with high EI into key positions can help a company work together better and more effectively.
Can emotional intelligence be learned?
Research seems to indicate that EI can be trained and learned. With training in recognizing emotions, improving emotional vocabulary, and with applying those emotions to the task at hand, people can indeed improve their emotional intelligence.
However, it’s important to note that there aren’t a huge number of peer-reviewed studies on the effects that training can have on a person’s EI. While this doesn’t necessarily disprove that training can affect EI, it does call into question exactly how drastically a person can change their emotional intelligence through simple coursework and study.
The EI courses on this list are all highly recommended by a variety of sources as well as the people who take them, and they all offer some sort of certificate of completion that can be added to a person’s CV or resume. Emotional intelligence is a skill that can be practiced and improved, and taking the time to take a course can pay dividends in a person’s career.
The Basic Idea Behind Learning Emotional Intelligence
There are a few stages involved in learning emotional intelligence. These stages include the following:
Insight – first, you’ll need to identify that you are lacking in certain aspects of emotional intelligence and that you have the desire to improve them
Assessment – there are a variety of EI assessments available online to give you an idea of what aspects of EI you’re proficient in, and what areas you need to focus on
Training – once you’ve determined where you need to focus, you can choose the methods by which you’ll learn about emotional intelligence (that’s where the courses on this article come in)
Application – Learning is only the first part of the journey. In order to truly practice and improve your EI, you’ll need to apply what you learn in the real world. Practice makes perfect!
History of Emotional Intelligence
The concept of emotional intelligence is relatively young in the field of psychology and the social sciences. The phrase was first coined in 1990 by two professors, Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer.
The original definition as they conceptualized it was “a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action”. They also started conducting studies designed to see just how much it could affect a person in social situations.
Emotional intelligence didn’t enter the social lexicon until the mid-90s, when Daniel Goleman, a writer with the New York Times, published his bestselling book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ. He broadened the definition from Salovey and Mayer’s original writings, but there’s no doubt that Goleman made EI what it is today.
According to Goleman, people with high emotional intelligence (EQ) displayed the following four characteristics:
- Understanding their own emotions (self-awareness)
- Managing their emotions (self-management)
- Empathetic to the emotional drives of other people (social awareness)
- Handling other people’s emotions (social skills)
Since Goleman’s ground-breaking book, emotional intelligence has exploded as a way to improve one’s social skills in both personal and professional settings. Leadership courses have incorporated it into their curriculum as a way to train leaders to better lead their employees by understanding their emotions and creating more effective workgroups as a result.
The 8 Best Emotional Intelligence Courses Online
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of different EQ courses online. These courses range in quality from a few powerpoint slides to in-depth courses with assessments and feedback. Online course catalogs like Udemy and Coursera have many courses to choose from with varying time commitments as well.
In general, emotional intelligence online courses will cover the following subjects:
- Active listening
- Improving emotional vocabulary
- Developing self-awareness
- Improving empathetic practices
There are different components of emotional intelligence and developing these skills can help people with their interpersonal relationships and to get to know themselves better. If you’re a person or you deal with people, you can benefit from improving your emotional intelligence.
With all the options for online courses in emotional intelligence, how can you know which ones are good? Luckily for you, here’s a list of the seven best emotional intelligence courses currently available online. These courses range in cost, but each will help teach you how to use emotional intelligence to improve yourself, your career, and your personal relationships.
1. PositivePsychology.com: Emotional Intelligence Masterclass
The Emotional Intelligence Masterclass offered by PositivePsychology.com is designed not only to teach the student how to develop their own EI and implement it, but also how to teach it to others. Therefore, for people who want to develop their own team’s EI, this course can’t be beaten.
This course has been featured on CNN, UC Berkeley, Harvard Business Review, and The Guardian. The course gives you the right to use all the available resources for you to hold your very own EQ training sessions for your company.
The course includes the following six modules, designed to improve your own ability to identify and regulate your own emotions, help others regulate theirs, and provide the training to your team to help them learn about and develop their own EQ:
- Module 1 – Emotions. What emotions are and why they seem to involve so many different physical and mental processes at once
- Module 2 – Emotional Intelligence. Find out exactly what EI is and what its study consists of
- Module 3 – Emotional Awareness. The ability to describe how exactly you’re feeling right now
- Module 4 – Beliefs about Emotions. Delve into the unconscious or societal beliefs about emotions and how they keep us from dealing with our emotions
- Module 5 – Emotional Knowledge. Learn how to use emotions and rationality to determine people’s needs and wants
- Module 6 – Emotional Expression. Learn how to accurately and intelligently identify and express your own emotions
As you can see, this intensive course features modules that build on the previous ones to integrate knowledge to create more emotionally-aware individuals. This course is meant for professional coaches, mentors, or HR managers who train others in EI, and they can add the training on emotional intelligence to their professional resume.
At $750, you’ll get a lot of resources for your own professional training programs. PowerPoint courses, PDFs of training materials and workbooks, and plenty of recommended extra resources make this a one-stop-shop for any aspiring EI trainer or coach.
2. MasterClass: Esther Perel Teaches Relational Intelligence
Renowned psychotherapist Esther Perel is your guide to the art of human connection. Through her MasterClass, she unveils the fundamental principles of intimacy, communication, and trust, offering insights that extend beyond personal and professional lives.
In the realm of self-awareness, Esther Perel lays the cornerstone of relational intelligence. Her lessons prompt introspection through five probing questions, unveiling how personal histories shape our relationships. These questions explore one’s family history, the balance between security and freedom, the influence of autonomy or loyalty in upbringing, relationship expectations, and the narratives we create about ourselves.
Esther delves into the heart of empathy, and reveals the common pitfalls that obstruct our capacity to connect with others. Drawing from real-life examples and her podcast “How’s Work?,” she offers practical guidance on understanding and practicing empathy. The topics she covers span a wide spectrum, from considering others’ circumstances to correcting mistakes, thereby equipping individuals with the tools needed to foster more empathetic connections.
With a focus on vulnerability, self-awareness, and reflection, this course empowers individuals to navigate the complexities of human relationships effectively, whether in the bedroom or the boardroom, offering invaluable tools for building trust and cultivating more profound connections in life.
2. Northwestern University: The Science of Social and Emotional Learning Online Course
Northwestern University’s The Science of Social and Emotional Learning course empowers educators to effectively design classroom experiences that foster self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship-building, and decision-making from an equity and trauma-informed perspective. Throughout this online course, you will discover how SEL can help alleviate stress, anxiety, and trauma while promoting overall well-being and improved social awareness. By delving into key SEL concepts, you will learn how to enhance your classroom practices and create an optimal teaching and learning environment.
In today’s rapidly changing and diverse world, social and emotional skills play a crucial role. Social and Emotional Learning provides a strong foundation for long-term positive effects in individuals and communities. By developing strong social-emotional skills, individuals are better equipped to navigate everyday challenges and experience academic, professional, and social growth.
What we like about it:
- Designed for all teachers, with a particular focus on PreK-12 and PreK-16 levels.
- Beneficial for educators from various backgrounds, including educational providers, professors, lecturers, researchers, and academic staff.
- Practical in nature, making it valuable for anyone interested in education at any level.
- Equips professionals responsible for evaluating teachers in SEL with the knowledge and tools to do so effectively.
Key details and fees:
- 6 weeks (excluding orientation)
- Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)
- Teaching Certificate: The Science of Social and Emotional Learning* from Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy
- $1,500 one time payment
Additionally, you will have unlimited access to 2U’s Career Engagement Network, providing exclusive resources and events to support your professional development and advancement.
3. Goleman Online - Emotional Intelligence Courses
The first course by Goleman Online is the Emotional Intelligence courses created by and hosted by Daniel Goleman. While Goleman isn’t considered the founder of the concept of Emotional Intelligence, his 1995 book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ brought the concept to the national conversation and made it mainstream.
The courses on Goleman’s website come in three varieties. By far the most expensive courses on this list, there are three modules that can be completed by themselves or as part of an overall curriculum. These three courses are summarized in the table below.
|Title||Description||Length of Time||Cost|
|Focus for Performance||Techniques for managing distractions, getting out of autopilot, and maintaining your optimal “flow” state.||2 Weeks (complete at your own pace)||$199|
|Foundational Skills||Discover what EI is and how you can unlock it to become a top-performer||6 Weeks (complete at your own pace)||$550|
|Relationship Skills||Invest in your professional development by applying EI social skills to deepen your working relationships, improve customer service, and take your leadership skills to the next level.||6 Weeks (complete at your own pace, completion of Foundational Skills module is a prerequisite)||$450|
As you can see, in order to be completely certified, you’ll end up spending well over $1,000. In exchange, you’ll get a certification in emotional intelligence for the individual and team level from one of the most recognizable names in the industry. The core competencies you’ll learn if you take all three courses include:
- Emotional balance
- Positive Outlook
- Organizational Awareness
- Coach and Mentor
- Conflict Management
- Inspirational Leadership
In all three courses, you’ll be working through the course material in a learning community with people from all walks of life around the world. It’s also available for organizations or managers to purchase for their teams and employees for in-house training. It uses a program called Torch + Everwise, which allows for flexible yet structured facilitated learning courses.
If you’re interested in getting a more personalized educational experience, you can also sign up for an intensive 12-week coaching program where you’ll work with a trained EI coach. You won’t necessarily receive a certification for this program, but it will help you develop new habits to improve your overall mindset.
4. LinkedIn - Developing Your Emotional Intelligence Course
As you may very well know, LinkedIn, the popular social networking app specifically targeted at building professional networks, hosts an online academy with thousands of courses in different material. These courses are designed to help professionals develop in-demand skills to improve their careers or learn the skills to move to new fields.
Given its prevalence among corporate America, there’s no surprise that LinkedIn has several courses on emotional intelligence. One such course is it’s popular one hour course titled Developing Your Emotional Intelligence. It’s created and hosted by an organizational psychologist named Gemma Leigh Roberts.
The course takes you through five short modules on the following topics:
- Understanding Emotional Intelligence – what it is, the role of emotions and EQ, and thinking at the speed of light
- Being Self-Aware – understanding personal EQ, triggers and hijacks, finding flow
- Managing Yourself – disrupting thinking, reclaim reaction time, shifting perspective
- Social Awareness – using senses to make sense, how to empathize, listening and communicating
- Managing Your Relationships – playing to strengths, positive feedback, and align intention and impact
It’s primarily a video-lecture format, so this course is most certainly not going to make you an expert on the subject. However, it’s a great starting-off point to help you find out more about emotional intelligence and help guide further study.
Gemma Leigh Roberts also has a variety of other coaching materials and lessons available on her website gemmaleighroberts.com. Most of her courses and instructional materials focus on various aspects of improving performance through the use of psychological principles.
5. Coursera - Inspiring Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence
Coursera is a giant among websites offering online courses and certifications on almost anything you can possibly imagine, often for a low fee (or for free). One such course is the courses entitled Inspiring Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence. It’s taught by Richard Boyatzis, an accomplished professor and researcher at Case Western Reserve University.
The course itself will take about 17 hours to complete and is spread out over eight weeks. It includes the following topics of instruction (each week covers a different topic):
- Week 1: Resonant Leadership and the Neuroscience Behind It
- Week 2: Renewal As an Antidote to Chronic Stress
- Week 3: Emotional Intelligence and Its Link to Leadership
- Week 4: Inspiring and Motivating Sustained Development, Growth and Learning
- Week 5: Coaching with Compassion to Inspire Sustained Learning and Development & Peer Coaching: With a Little Help from my Friends
- Week 6: Inspiring Change through Hope and Vision – Discovery #1 in ICT
- Week 7: The Multilevel Nature of Sustained, Desired Change
- Week 8: The Real Self and Learning Agenda – Discoveries #2, 3, 4 in ICT
Instruction is accomplished through a combination of videos, assigned readings, and quizzes. The overall goal of the course is to help aspiring professional leaders overcome the harmful effects that chronic stress can have on their psyche and build lasting leadership skills. It also introduces students to Intentional Change Theory (ICT), a concept pioneered by the instructor.
This course is a part of a larger series of five courses in a Coursera specialization called “Inspired Leadership”, which also includes courses titled:
- Women in Leadership: Inspiring Positive Change
- Conversations that Inspire: Coaching Learning, Leadership, and Change
- Leading Positive Change Through Appreciative Inquiry
- Be a Leader, Develop a Leader
Taking all five of these courses has led to improved professional outcomes for students, with many of them receiving pay raises or advancing in their career fields after completion. If you complete the Inspiring Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence course, you’ll receive a certificate that you can add to your LinkedIn profile.
6. Alison - Develop Your Emotional Intelligence
Yet another offering for improving your emotional intelligence can be found through another online course catalog called Alison, which specializes in providing free certifications in a wide variety of professional subjects. This particular course is titled Develop Your Emotional Intelligence.
This is a short course that takes anywhere from one and a half to three hours to complete online at your own pace. Students will learn how their emotions influence their professional performance, help them build relationships, and how they influence decision making. The course is instructed by Robin Hills and is hosted by a company called Ei4Change.
The course is primarily a video lecture, but it includes a course assessment at the end that you’re required to pass with 80% or better in order to receive your certification. The individual modules in this course are the following:
- Introduction to the Emotional Intelligence Course – determine learning outcomes, provides an overview of the rest of the course
- What is Emotional Intelligence? – emotions at work, giving and receiving feedback, and the advantages and disadvantages of emotional intelligence
- Emotions – brain anatomy, basic human emotions, identifying, understanding, and using emotions effectively
- Emotional Intelligence Modules – emotional intelligence competencies, Six Seconds Model, measuring emotional intelligence
- Developing Your Emotional Intelligence – practicing your emotional intelligence in the real world
- Course Assessment – test for learning outcomes and certification
At the end of the course, you’ll have a clear understanding of what emotional intelligence is and what it isn’t, how you react in certain situations because of your emotions and be more aware of how emotions can affect behavior and decision-making in a variety of circumstances. Professionals who take this course can apply their learning to their careers to great effect.
7. UC Berkeley edX - Empathy and Emotional Intelligence at Work
If you’re looking for research-based ways to strengthen empathy and trust, improve collaboration, and create more innovative, productive, and satisfying experiences at work, look no further than the Empathy and Emotional Intelligence at Work course by UC Berkeley edX.
edX is another online course catalog similar to Coursera or Udemy. It offers a wide variety of online courses in a variety of fields, as well as a catalog specifically aimed at business training and education. As a matter of fact, it has over 2400 courses hosted by 140 prestigious institutions of higher learning around the country.
This particular course is founded on the principle that personal happiness depends on interpersonal relationships. Our emotional well-being can be improved by being aware of, and meeting, the emotional needs of others. This holds true in corporate settings as well as in personal relationships.
The course focuses heavily on empathy and EQ and teaches students how to identify and regulate their own feelings, be aware of the feelings of others, and using those skills to help meet professional goals and have constructive social interactions.
One particular benefit of this course is that it offers real-world examples of how better emotional intelligence can help create employees who are more motivated and productive, as well as practical ways to help practice these vital skills to help develop collaboration and teamwork in a corporate setting.
Specifically, this course is designed to teach you the following:
- The psychological and biological roots of empathy, trust, and cooperation
- Understand how emotional and social intelligence support organizational happiness and productivity
- Research-based strategies for strengthening empathy and resolving conflicts constructively
- How to lead with social intelligence
The course instructors are expert faculty from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, Dacher Keltner, Ph.D., and Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph.D.
Thankfully, emotional intelligence is something you can train and develop. Emotional intelligence is a highly sought-after skill in the modern workplace, with proven correlations to employee satisfaction, higher morale, and more effective teamwork and collaboration. If you are an working professional then its important for you to maintain a good connection with others and specially seniors, here are some Ways to Work Better With Your Boss that will help you grow.
Although it’s debatable on just how much you can change what you’re born with when it comes to emotional intelligence, the courses on this list will help you become more self-aware of your own emotions, as well as how to identify and help others regulate their emotions, all to create more effective professional and personal relationships.