In the couple of decades since Emotional Intelligence (EI) burst on the scenes as a research topic, a number of assessments have emerged as popular and/or industry favorites. So how does someone interested in Emotional Intelligence choose a tool? While OKA is most associated with the EQ-i, we actually considered (and continue to do so) most of the models and tools in the marketplace. This blog discusses how we at OKA, as active Emotional Intelligence users, settled on the EQ-i.
Emotional Intelligence Tools—a brief overview
MSCEIT (Mayer, Salovey and Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test)
One of the longest established and most psychometrically rigorous of EI assessments, the MSCEIT is a self-assessment (no 360 available) that quantifies the abilities you have for four specifically defined areas of Emotional Intelligence: facilitating thought and perceiving, understanding, and managing emotions. Not unlike IQ scores, the EI abilities reflected by MSCEIT scores are believed to be rather static, so the MSCEIT is intended primarily for evaluation and selection.
ESCI (Emotional and Social Competency Inventory)
Daniel Goleman, actually taking the phrase “Emotional Intelligence” from Mayer and Solovey, is an author and science journalist most famous for his landmark and best-selling 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence. Goleman’s EI model is built around four components—self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. This model has been used as the foundation for multiple assessments, the most prominent being the ESCI (360 format only). Goleman’s belief has always been that the best (if not the only accurate) way to seriously assess your true level of Emotional Intelligence is through a 360 assessment—that draws data about you from the world around you. All assessments built around Goleman’s model are designed as development and self-awareness tools (not selection or placement).
Bradberry and Greaves’ book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0—also built around Goleman’s four-pillar model—contains an EI self-assessment designed for self-paced exploration, self-awareness and do-it-yourself development work.
EQ-i (Emotional Quotient Inventory)
Concurrent to but independent of the work unfolding with Mayer, Salovey, and Goleman, Reuven BarOn—a clinical psychologist and researcher—was doing an international study of the behaviors and qualities that contributed to success. The model that emerged from his research evolved into the EQ-i, now the EQ-i2.0. This model and tool present 16 specifically defined behaviors/elements that make-up our socio-emotional functioning—the behavioral face we show the world. A validated self-assessment designed both for selection and development, the EQ-i also has an optional 360 feedback tool. The EQ-i is the most popular and widely used of the validated EI assessments in the field.
Why OKA likes the EQ-i
1. Self-awareness / self-development focus + Selection and Hiring applications
The thrust of OKA’s work is and has always been self-awareness and self-management. We are drawn to tools that allow people to better know and understand themselves and then to use that knowledge to focus and fuel an effort to grow and develop—personally and professionally. The EQ-i is one of our favorite tools to support this work. The EQ-i is also valid for evaluation and selection, and we are seeing more requests for this work. The EQ-i is unique because it is valid for self-awareness and development and for selection and hiring applications.
2. Self-report with a 360 feedback option
360s—while rich and valuable—are jolting and challenging. Taking in anonymous feedback from bosses, peers, subordinates—perhaps even family and friends—is difficult. And while it can lead to great insight and growth, not everyone is ready for this type of feedback. 360 feedback is best used when it is part of a development effort that includes coaching, on-going support and various training and development opportunities in which many people throughout a team or system are engaging openly. OKA cautions against 360s, unless these resources are available. They are powerful tools that too many people underestimate.
We at OKA have always liked the fact that the EQ-i is a self-assessment, which allows someone’s first experience of Emotional Intelligence to be rooted in self-awareness and a validated, but self-generated behavioral portrait. This makes the EQ-i easier and significantly less expensive to administer than any 360 tool while also making the process of engaging the feedback easier and less shocking, which, in turn, boosts the likelihood that folks will be open and find the process useful.
At the same time, the EQ-i has a sibling tool—the EQ360. So anyone wanting to expand their understanding to include the feedback of those around them, can opt for the EQ360. The EQ-i is unique in its inclusion of both a strongly validated self-assessment as well as a 360 option.
3. Rich, expansive model
Many Emotional Intelligence models follow the lead of Dan Goleman by focusing tightly on the self-awareness and management of emotions and the sensitivity to others’ emotions. While these are critically important elements of EI, the EQ-i model throws a much wider net. Independence, Problem Solving, Reality Testing, Stress Tolerance, Flexibility, Happiness—the EQ-i has 16 elements, which go far beyond the Goleman view of Emotional Intelligence. The EQ-i offers so many varied and powerful portals into our behavior and effectiveness and the impact we each have on the world around us. Unique among the other Emotional Intelligence assessment options, the EQ-i offers so many more avenues—such a deeper and richer vocabulary—for self-awareness, development and behavior change.
Emotional Intelligence helps me understand my own behavior and the impact and connection I have on and with the world around me. The EQ-i, specifically, provides a validated self-assessment tied to a rich and powerful set of behaviors that feeds and focuses a personal and professional development plan like no other assessment OKA has found.
Since the EQ-i and the EQ360 came to OKA in 2008, OKA has become one of the leading trainers and thought-leaders of both the EQ-i and Emotional Intelligence in the world. Click here to learn more about the Emotional Intelligence training and support tools OKA offers.
This blog was an explanation of why OKA initially chose to use and train with the EQ-i specifically. Click here if you are interested in a definition of and an argument for the concept of Emotional Intelligence more broadly.