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EQ Connections

Sept. 2019 | Issue 1
By John J. Hughes

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

– Helen Keller

Emotional Intelligence: The 15 Developable Skills for All Professionals

Every executive coach and HR professional who is committed to helping clients develop as leaders needs to have a framework to measure skills, offer suggestions and track progress. The EQ-i 2.0 has given me that framework. In my private practice, I have debriefed 1,256 executives, managers and professional staff, from a wide range of organizations, on their EQ-i 2.0 results. Each week in EQ Connections, I will share an analysis of this data and my experiences with using the EQ-i 2.0 as an executive coach. Currently, I am certifying executive and leadership coaches, HR hiring and talent managers, relationship specialists, life coaches and other professionals on how to increase emotional intelligence skills using the EQ-i 2.0 and the EQ 360. You can learn more about my upcoming certification classes here.

In this first issue, I would like to start with some basic questions to consider:

  • What is emotional intelligence?

  • How do you measure emotional intelligence?

  • What are the 15 emotional intelligence skills measured by the EQ-i?

Some of the questions I will be answering in future newsletters, include:

  • If you are a woman looking to succeed in the Global Supply Chain profession, what are the five most important emotional intelligence skills to develop?

  • What is the number one emotional intelligence skill used by all Financial professionals?

  • If I want to increase my Empathy, what emotional intelligence skill should I focus on developing?

  • If you have high Self-Regard and Self-Actualization but low Stress Tolerance and low

  • Assertiveness, what professional development skill should you pursue developing?

  • What is the emotional intelligence difference between a group of 100 white male executives and a group of 100 diverse male executives?

  • What are the most important emotional intelligence skills for Diversity & Inclusion executives?

  • If you were hiring a new manager who scored high in Assertiveness, what other skills should also be high?

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What is emotional intelligence?

In 1990, Dr. Peter Salovey & Dr. John Mayer, both Yale researchers, proposed the first formal definition of emotional intelligence. They defined emotional intelligence as “the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one's thinking and action. ‘’ Leaders who have reached a high level of effectiveness have identified and developed these skills and abilities. The number one reason why talented people leave their jobs is due to poor relationships with managers. Is there a leader or manager who you have worked with in the past and, if given the opportunity right now, you would enthusiastically work for him or her again? If you can easily answer this question, then I believe you have worked for an individual with high emotional intelligence. We will follow people who are smart, but we also expect sensitivity.

I believe a healthy balance between cognitive and emotional intelligence, IQ and EQ, is necessary for effective leadership. While the IQ remains the same throughout a person’s career, I have seen hundreds of clients measure and develop their EQ skills to a higher level with the right energy and focus. It was in Dan Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, where he makes the point that it is almost impossible to have a cognitive thought without an emotional connection.

It would seem that if we are always thinking then we are continually and constantly shifting and managing our feelings. While we like to see ourselves and our behaviors as guided by rational thinking, the fact is that we are constantly driven by our emotions to act. Acknowledging internal feelings and understanding their external influences are key elements of emotional intelligence.

How do you measure emotional intelligence?

The Emotional Quotient Inventory, EQ-i 2.0, is a self-assessment which is completed online in about 10 minutes and produces a developmental report on 15 emotional intelligence skills. I have used the EQ data, which is scored on a scale of 100 and has a standard deviation of 15, for over 20 years in executive and leadership coaching engagements. Since I was certified in 1997, it has been my primary coaching assessment.

Based on my experience and the data I have collected from over 1,300 clients, executives and senior leaders who score 113 or higher on their total EQ-i report have strong emotional intelligence. There are some clients and organizations who I have worked with for several years using the EQ-i for leadership development and pre-hiring. They also believe in the EQ-i’s validity and reliability.

I have noticed a high degree of consistency in the behaviors of people who have advanced levels of emotional intelligence in each of these skills. Regardless of a client’s job title, profession, or area of responsibility, the 15 emotional intelligence skills measured by the EQ-i are always influencing our behaviors.

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What are the 15 emotional intelligence skills measured by the EQ-i?

It was Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, who wrote, “When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion.” Since every business, industry, and profession requires dealing with people, that means emotional intelligence skills can be a major determining factor for success.I have come to realize that all of the 15 emotional intelligence skills measured by the EQ-i 2.0 are relevant across all professions. In future newsletters, I will focus on each of the following emotional intelligence skills:

1. Self-Regard

I have learned that this score often suggests a client’s inner voice which will show either self- confidence or reveal a level of insecurity. There have been many very successful clients who score low here which often indicates there is something they either need to change or let go of.

2. Self-Actualization

Taken from Psychology 101, this is based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs model and usually reflects the level of engagement connected to a career goal the client is currently pursuing. Everyone wants to reach his or her potential but occasionally gets lost.

3. Emotional Self-Awareness

A high score here often reflects a client’s comfort level with exploring the source and impact of a wide range of personal feelings while respecting the emotional boundaries of others. Clients with high levels of Emotional Self-Awareness are able to speak comfortably about their past, present and future from an emotional perspective.

4. Emotional Expression

A client with a high score has discovered an effective way to communicate his or her feelings, verbally or physically, and can do it constructively. I have learned there can be a high degree of cultural influence on this score since not all of us were raised in environments that welcomed or encouraged free emotional expression.

5. Assertiveness

I see this skill as a client’s external voice and believe that it represents is his or her ability to lead, direct, manage, or to make clear requests of others. This is a very important score for effective management and delegation.

6. Independence

A client scoring high in this skill has confidence in his or her ability to access and gather the right information to process in order to make the best decision. Most executives I have worked with often score very high in this skill since they are hired to make decisions. High Independence can be a problem if it is not balanced with other skills such as Problem Solving and Social Responsibility.

7. Interpersonal Relationships

These are the skills we use to initiate and develop honest and sincere connections and partnerships in business. As you would expect, sales professionals usually score high in this skill, but the best ones also score high in the next skill.

8. Empathy

High Empathy people physiologically reflect another person’s emotional experience since they listen and feel at an incredibly sensitive level. I believe it is almost impossible at times to turn off this skill. Having high Empathy can be described as both a gift and a curse.

9. Social Responsibility

While there is a social aspect to this skill, I have learned that business people who score high in Social Responsibility truly appreciate consensus decisions and working in a collaborative environment. These people tend to be loyal team members who will sacrifice for the group. Many executives need to develop this skill to balance their high Independence.

10. Problem Solving

People scoring high in this skill usually have internalized a methodology for identifying, analyzing and solving problems. They can share the process used for each decision made. However, when a leader scores high in Problem Solving and Assertiveness, but low in Empathy, the combination can lead to ineffectiveness.

11. Reality Testing

Lawyers usually score high in this skill since they know how to step back, be objective and ask the types of probing and revealing questions needed to uncover relevant information. This skill is best balanced with Empathy to avoid questioning others like a prosecuting attorney.

12. Impulse Control

A high score in this skill often indicates the client can be a fast and focused learner, yet is also patient enough to gather the best information to solve a problem. Clients with high Impulse Control do not react as victims or get angry when dealing with changing circumstances at work.

13. Flexibility

I have noticed that people who score very high in this skill often seek out and really need energy, consistent change, and activity in their work environments. They are drawn to start-ups, entrepreneurial opportunities, and are not afraid of arbitrage trading-type environments.

14. Stress Tolerance

When scoring high in Stress Tolerance and Emotional Self-Awareness, it can indicate the client is aware of his or her own stress limits and has a strategy for renewal and replenishment at the end of the day. We all feel and manage stress differently.

15. Optimism

As seen in all of these emotional intelligence skills, when a score is too high then it needs to be balanced with other skills. When looking for positive results in the future, this skill is best balanced with an equal level of Reality Testing.


EQ-i Report Debrief: Speed Coaching

The benefit of working with the EQ-i 2.0 has been its accuracy at identifying a leader’s strengths and areas for improvement. When I focus on the summary of a client’s data, the individual scores tell me a story of what it would be like to report to this person. By studying the different combinations of the EQ-i scores, I can work with a client to pinpoint skills that he or she needs to improve in order to be a more effective leader.

Most executives I work with, for some reason, often limit the amount of professional development time they give to themselves. So, with limited time, I have had to translate the EQ-i data in such a way that the client quickly understands its validity and will be open to developmental suggestions. I have noticed that by connecting the high and the low EQ-i scores on certain skills, a person’s leadership style will begin to be revealed.

Sometimes you only have a few minutes to earn credibility as an executive coach. Tony, senior vice president responsible for several 24-hour call centers, took the EQ-i as part of his executive development. I sent him his report, he read it, and then he offered to schedule a brief 10-minute face-to-face meeting to discuss the scores. Since he was only giving me 10 minutes to debrief his report, he was basically letting me know that I better use the time wisely and make the content relevant to his leadership style or we would not have any future discussions.

A 10-Minute Session with Tony

I scheduled the 10-minute meeting with Tony in the lobby of a hotel where he was staying. After we met and sat down, I acknowledged that we only had 10 minutes which was not enough time to discuss every skill so I gave him my impression of his report. I told Tony he was a highly accomplished professional who was team-focused, goal-oriented, and not afraid to challenge himself and his team towards higher results. He was generally aware of his emotions and the impact they had on his direct reports. I told him that the data indicated that his leadership style can frequently be too directive and that, when he delegates an assignment, he leaves little room for discussion which means he was not

getting the best out of his people. I said, “Tony, under pressure or on your bad days, you talk over people, avoid their suggestions and advocate your own solutions. You will get what you want since you have the authority. Regarding your direct reports, you may or may not realize it, but I believe your people are afraid of you.”

He was a bit stunned by my comments yet did not disagree. I had seen that surprised look before when I debrief an EQ-i report. “How do you know all this about me?” I told him it was right there in the data.

I pointed out that while he scored very high in Self-Regard, Self-Actualization, Emotional Self-Awareness, Social Responsibility, Flexibility, Problem Solving, and Assertiveness, he also scored very low in Empathy and Impulse Control. “Let me be honest Tony, you would rather tell your employees what to do rather than listen to them. Personally, I would not enjoy working for someone like that.” Still a little surprised by the discussion, he asked if I had any suggestions. I told him, “Yes, just one. Slow down, be more present, and start to care about

other people’s opinions. You have high Emotional Self-Awareness and you need to use it to develop your Empathy. You clearly know how you feel, Tony, but it takes time to listen and to understand how I feel”. By then our ten-minute session was up.

I had established credibility with the client by interpreting his EQ-i data. We scheduled a video call for the following week and reviewed his entire report.

“Do I Have An EQ?”

Believe it or not, I get this question a lot. The answer is yes, we all have an EQ, or an emotional quotient, just like we all have an IQ, or an intelligence quotient. The professional development question for you is: What is your EQ strength and weakness and how will they affect your future career goals?

Are you interested in taking the EQ-i 2.0 yourself to learn more about your own emotional intelligence? This would involve a confidential debrief session with me via Zoom video conference. Please visit my website to schedule a time to talk.

EQ Connections

Sept. 2019 | Issue 2 Preview
By John J. Hughes


“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

– George Bernard Shaw

Self-Actualization: Finding Your Goal Line

How many jobs have you had so far? Let me be more specific. How many jobs have you had that you really enjoyed because they encouraged you through opportunities to learn, discover, and apply the potential you always knew you had? Maybe you’ve had several jobs like this or perhaps you are still looking. I believe one factor that we all share as professionals is a drive to pursue our potential through important, meaningful work. 

If you know what it feels like to enjoy your work because you were fully engaged and committed, then you know what it feels like to be self-actualized. I have met many clients over the years who have been self-actualized most of their lives since they had clarity on what they wanted to accomplish. They often have both short and long-term goals. Still, many clients have struggled to find relevance in their jobs for various reasons. 

In this issue, I will discuss:

  • What is Self-Actualization?

  • What does Self-Actualization look like?

  • What is the EQ-i data on Career Goals & Gender?

  • Are there links between Self-Actualization and Energy?

  • How your Self-Actualization is a strong career indicator?

  • Techniques to develop Self-Actualization

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