EQ vs IQ

Igniting People's Creativity and Building Mindful Resilience

EQ vs IQ

November 15, 2018 Uncategorized 0

5 min. read

It was supposedly Aristotle who spoke about a rare ability to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way.  Aristotle thus gave a a brilliant definition of what it means to be an emotional intelligent person.

Substantial research has been done in the field of Emotional Intelligence (EI) since Daniel Goleman’s book reached a world-wide audience in the mid-90s and the concept became popular. But still today EQ (Emotional Quotient) has to stand up for comparison with IQ (Intellectual Quotient). In schools, EI is only slowly getting off the ground, the schools’ curricula remain anchored in the intellectual abilities. When recruiting for leadership positions, abilities which are high on the wish list – apart from the technical knowledge about the job – are: assertiveness, having a general positive attitude, the ability to communicate clearly and build trust and relationships.

IQ = an indicator for success?

IQ has tended to be the traditional measure of intelligence and is still highly regarded. Have you had your IQ tested? Which test did you do? And do you think it reflects your life today? I’m happy to receive your replies and start a discussion!

With respect to the information provided by the results of an IQ test, it indicates your intellectual abilities and how well you might succeed in academic life. However, having a high IQ does not necessarily mean that you will be successful in life and career. It is unclear, what determines your IQ but so far it has been established that the IQ cannot be significantly changed (apart from music lessons in early childhood might be a possibility). Some aspects of IQ even decrease with age (fluid intelligence – the capacity to think logically and solve problems in novel situations). On the other hand crystallized intelligence (that is the ability to use skills, knowledge, and experience and is one’s lifetime of intellectual achievement as demonstrated largely through one’s vocabulary and general knowledge) improves somewhat with age, as experiences tend to expand one’s knowledge.

Why is EQ relevant?

Research has shown that your emotional intelligence competencies account for up to 85% of your success in life and career!  The rest is down to your skills and knowledge which can be measured by IQ tests. This shows that success is not all about the qualifications and technical elements of performance. Indeed, it is more about the EI elements (how well you know and manage yourself, your empathy, how well tuned in you are to other people and how well you interact with others). And: assertiveness, empathy, emotional self-awareness and problem-solving skills are more predictive of sales success than background, gender and sales technique

The EQ concept argues that IQ, or conventional intelligence, is too narrow and ignores essential behavioural and character elements. Being promoted into a leadership position usually means we have the necessary knowledge as well as experience in our line of work/business. However, the responsibility for other people’s performance and the need to meet expectations ask for a special set of abilities, our emotional and social intelligence (ESI) competencies.

Good news is that unlike your IQ, you can change and enhance all aspects of your EQ at any time in your life. But do not expect a quick fix as in Emotional Intelligence we are working with values, habits, attitudes and beliefs, and according to the concept of NLP it takes about 21 days to change a habit – if you work on it continuously. To become emotional intelligent requires us to develop our intrapersonal (self-) and interpersonal intelligence (outer intelligence – the way we read, sense, understand and manage our relationships with other people).

Some of you might argue that they are more social creatures anyway so where is the need to expand my EI?  Some people are indeed more tuned in to other people and are more responsive to feelings but there is more than just one facet to being social. Are you tuned in to your own emotions? Or are you highly empathic but lack understanding of your own feelings?  What about your intuition?

The 5 elements of ESI (according to Goleman) are self-awareness, self-management, self-motivation, awareness of others and relationship management.

Let me give you a brief overview of these 5 core aspects:

  1. Self-awareness: Emotion consists of 4 elements: what we think, what we feel, how our bodies react and how we behave (cognitive, emotional, physical and behavioural). This area is extremely important because if you have a high self-awareness, it will be easier for you to apply this to others as well.  Most coaching interventions are centred around this aspect. It covers areas like knowing about your goals, beliefs, values, drivers, rules we live by (the shoulds, musts and oughts) and your self-talk (the voice in your head).
  2. Emotion management: Managing your emotions effectively involves becoming mindful of those behaviours that really don’t get you anywhere. By understanding the link between your interpretation of an event and your responses to it, you can choose an alternative way to feel.  Being mindful is a key EI capability! You can change your interpretation of what you see and you can change your responses to it. No one can make us feel anything!
  3. Self-motivation: Factors which influence your motivation are for example your perseverance, optimism, positive and supportive self-talk as well as an effective support network of people you surround yourself with.


The next two aspects of interpersonal intelligence focus on what Goleman calls social intelligence, they are concerned with relationship management,


  1. Awareness of others: It is important to realize that everyone acts according to their own view of the world. We all have different perceptions of the same reality – our “maps” How well can you tune into other peoples moods? Empathy plays an important role. Another factor here is how well you can decipher body language.


  1. Relationship management: Good communication is key for good relationships. How well can you keep prejudice and expectations at bay? Respect for minorities or different opinions is a vital component.


If you are still not convinced that enhancing your EQ is important, here are some figures:

  • insurance company agents weak on EI sold average policies of $ 54.000, sales agents high on EI achieved $ 114.000
  • a survey of managers in a UK supermarket chain revealed those with high EI experienced less stress, enjoyed better health, performed better and reported a better work/life balance
  • police officers who are able to identify and manage emotions report lower levels of stress
  • male and female nurses who possess high EQ experience less stress and lower levels of burnout
  • Harvard School of Public Health predicts that by 2020 depression will be responsible for ore lost workdays in the developed world than heart disease
  • in 1997 the American Medical Association found that physicians who lack empathy get sued more often

So, when do you start to work on enhancing your EQ?

Eva and I have put together an amazing 21 days programme, in which our framework is EQ.

Find out about it here: 21 days to less stress & more success at work and at home By Anke Exner and Eva Maria Hunt

Anke Exner, Resilience coach




Chapman, M. (2011) The Emotional Intelligence Pocketbook, Management Pocketbooks Ltd., Alresford.

Goleman, D. (1995) Emotional Intelligence, Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

Goleman, D. (1998) Working with Emotional Intelligence, Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

Goleman, D. (2007) Social Intelligence, Arrow Books, London.

Neale, S., Spencer-Arnell, L. & Wilson, L. (2009) Emotional Intelligence Coaching, Kogan Page Limited, London.

Terrell, J. B. & Hughes, M. (2008) A Coachs Guide to Emotional Intelligence, Pfeiffer, San Francisco.


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