The term Emotional Intelligence (EI) has always intrigued me–it somehow felt associated with an elite, secret subset of our population, of which I desired to become a member. It’s a term I encountered time and time again at leadership trainings and conferences, and it often surfaced in podcasts and books. While I desired to learn more about emotional quotients (EQ) and how to apply it to my own practice as a leader, I never seemed to prioritize it…until recently.
My deeper dive into EQ has been transformational. Last month, I joined other professionals from around the world to learn more about emotional intelligence with the goal of becoming certified to administer the EQ-i2.0 and EQ-i360. With great thanks to the trainers at The Emotional Intelligence Training Company, my expectations of the certification process were surpassed. My learning experience was engaging, and I felt supported by my peers. However, something about this training was unlike previous ones I’ve experienced; I was surprised at how profound the results of the tool itself, the assessment, was for me personally.
As some of you know, I transitioned from a long-standing leadership position into leadership coaching. Keeping this in mind, I signed up for the certification training thinking the tool would be a great resource to anchor my clients’ development in. I liked the idea of having a scientifically validated tool that would highlight leadership strengths and shine light on potential blind spots for further development. I figured it would save time in our discovery phase of coaching and provide a baseline for measurable results (and spoiler alert, this tool definitely supports these goals).
Queue my ego here, I did not walk into the training focused on self-development, yet my personal growth was significant and welcomed. Being a perfectionist by nature, I eagerly anticipated my personal assessment results. I had hoped to score “top leadership marks” across the report, as if this would somehow validate being a long-lost member of the secret EI club all along. However, as a reviewed my results I was quickly humbled. I scored high in many areas, yet I could also visually see areas that I did not score as high in. Suddenly I felt a shift in mindset, a new found curiosity, and desire to learn more about how to develop in these areas.
When my certified coach walked me through my report, we covered a lot of ground. What stood out for me were my top three competencies which included empathy, self-regard and self-actualization. I felt in agreement with those and pleased at how high my scores were, only to learn that it’s not about the numbers. Scores, high or low, can either serve a person well or not serve them well, meaning it is not the actual score you should be focusing on; rather how balanced you are across the skills. Developing emotional intelligence provides a means to intentionally dial up or down based on the situation for optimal outcomes. And as I reflected on my top competencies, I was able to remember times when these skills did not serve me well and considered how I could have adjusted.
Another interesting area for me was our review of my three lowest scores, or opportunities for development as my coach called them, which included flexibility, assertiveness and problem solving. While I wasn’t overly surprised by the first two, I quite honestly felt puzzled by the third given my leadership career was very successful. As we dove deeper into these areas, my coach provided a safe space to explore, and I walked away with a clear understanding of how I could build these competencies for more rounded balance to support continued success and less stress.
My understanding of EI grew beyond the surface of the buzz word I had always carried around. I am very grateful for my personal EI assessment experience and ongoing development. I am also thrilled to be a part of the Emotional Intelligence community, which by definition is the whole population and not a secret subset – everyone has some level of EI. But what I am most excited about today, is the EQ edge I now bring to clients for accelerated leadership development!
I am providing an enhanced coaching experience in a new dynamic way. Clients are benefiting from my deeper understanding of, and growth in my own emotional intelligence. Our coaching conversations are rooted in their EQ-i 2.0 inventory results, illuminating areas of strength and development that will make the greatest difference in their leadership performance. With my EQ edge, we examine core competencies, discover opportunities, uncover potential blind spots, and create development focus for accelerated growth.