Emotional Intelligence


Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ) is a set of personal emotional and social skills that help us develop better relationships, greater wellbeing and quality of life, and better personal effectiveness. Unlike Cognitive Intelligence (the IQ) which is more or less fixed, Emotional Intelligence can be learnt, developed and measured.


What is Emotional Intelligence?

There are several formal definitions, for example:

  • Emotional Intelligence is a set of emotional and social skills that collectively establish how we perceive and express ourselves, develop and maintain social relationships, cope with challenges, and use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way (EQ-i 2.0)

  • Emotional Intelligence is the ability to monitor one's own and other people's emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour (Salovey & Mayer)

  • Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognise, understand and manage our own emotions, and recognise, understand and influence the emotions of others (Goleman)


What is Emotional Intelligence not?

Emotional Intelligence is not:

  • IQ. IQ is about cognitive intelligence and quickness of metal comprehension, rather than ability to understand and manage emotions. IQ sets and peaks around late teens, but EI increases with age and can be developed. EI and IQ are not well correlated, and the stereotype highly-intelligent person with poor social skills will be known to many.

  • Personality. Personality is the distinctively different characteristics or sum total of a person including their behaviour and character traits. Personality is much more fixed than EI.


How does Emotional Intelligence matter?

Emotional Intelligence is often in the news, but its principles have been in action for millennia. It is easy to see how emotional self awareness and management could improve quality of life, and how social skills help us create better relationships. The corporate world is greatly interested in Emotional Intelligence, because of its link to workplace individual and team performance, leadership, and ultimate financial performance and success. The internet is full of “Return on Investment” studies showing the benefits of EI in recruitment, training and development of individuals and teams at multiple levels.


Emotional Intelligence is responsible for 27-45% of an individual’s success in a given job, whereas IQ can only predict on average 6% (Wagner 1997). When looking at start performers in an organisation, EI accounts for 85% of their performance and IQ/technical skills for only 15% (golemanei.com). And in a survey of multi-millionaires, the top 5 factors listed as most responsible for their success were all reflections of emotional intelligence (Stanley 2001). Further discussions around EI can be accessed here.


Measuring Emotional Intelligence

Broadly speaking, EI can be measured as a trait and an ability. Trait refers to how well and often one uses EI, whereas ability refers to the maximum potential that one might achieve. Trait EI is useful when it comes to development, because measures of trait EI focus on how it can be improved.


I am certified in the use of EQ-i 2.0. I spent a long time researching different tools, so I could identify one that was scientifically valid, and with a focus on development. I wasn't interested in measuring something just for the sake of it, I wanted a tool that would be helpful when developing the people I coach.


The EQ-i 2.0

EQ-i 2.0 is a scientifically validated tool, translated into 45 languages, and taken by over a million people in 66 countries (Stein & Book, 2011). The EQ 360 is it’s accompanying multi-rater report. EQ-i 2.0 has been normed for a variety of populations, including professionals in UK and Ireland; this means that your scores are compared to others, and you get an idea of where you sit compared to the general population.


EQ-i 2.0 is a level b psychometric instrument, which means that it can only be used by people who have been appropriately trained. In addition, training in EQ-i 2.0 focuses on discussion of the results and forward steps, making EQ-i 2.0 a truly developmental tool.


The EQ-i 2.0 report gives an overall EI score, but much more interesting are the 5 composite scales (self perception, self expression, interpersonal skills, decision making, stress management), the 15 subscales (self regard, self actualisation, emotional self awareness, emotional expression, assertiveness, independence, interpersonal relationships, empathy, social responsibility, problem solving, reality testing, impulse control, flexibility, stress tolerance, optimism), the relationship between the subscales, and the impact of EI subscales on real life.

How I use measurement of Emotional Intelligence

For me, Emotional Intelligence assessment is only useful when it is part of a journey of personal and professional development. EQ-i 2.0 is useful at the beginning of a coaching assignment, to serve as a starting point, to help identify EI areas that are impacting life, and to identify areas to focus on. Usually, we would repeat EQ-i 2.0 assessment perhaps after 6 months of coaching to check on progress and help with future development.


The EQ360 is especially useful as it helps identify areas for development that may not be immediately obvious to the individual.


Remember that in my coaching, neither the EQ-i 2.0 nor the EQ360 are tools to check on your performance, or to determine career progression, professional registration, or revalidation. They are there to help you develop and become the best that you can be.


What can developing Emotional Intelligence help me with?

Developing Emotional Intelligence is about your performance as much as your emotions. Advantages of developing your Emotional Intelligence include (Neale et al 2009):

  • Improved communication

  • Better empathy

  • Improved relationships

  • Acting with integrity

  • Respect for others

  • Better career prospects

  • Ability to deal with change better

  • Feeling more powerful and confident

  • Reduced stress

  • Increased creativity

  • Better resilience

  • Growth mindset

Are you ready to work on your Emotional Intelligence? Book your first (free) coaching session here.

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