There are many definitions of Emotional Intelligence out there, which one is the ‘right’ one?
According to the Encyclopedia of Applied Psychology, there are 3 major conceptual and psychometric models of emotional intelligence: 1) the Mayer-Salovey Model, as measured by the Mayer Salovey Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT); 2) the Goleman Model, as measured by the Emotional and Social Competence Inventory (ESCI); and 3) the Bar-On Model (now the MHS Model), as measured by the Emotional Quotient Inventory EQ-i 2.0. Each theoretical model has its own definition depending on whether it views emotional intelligence as how the brain processes emotions and emotional information (Mayer-Salovey Model) or whether it views emotional intelligence as a set of emotional skills (the MHS Model and the Goleman Model).
Is Emotional Intelligence developed by ‘nature’ or ‘nurture’? i.e. is there a genetic pre-disposition for EI or is it all learned?
Different models emphasis slightly different aspects. The Mayer-Salovey Model suggests that we all have a genetically pre-determined capacity for processing emotions and their assessment tool seems to be more like an IQ test in which the respondent is unlikely to obtain a higher score despite focused development efforts. On the other hand, the Goleman Model and the Bar-On Model are quite clear that their focus is learned competencies. However, personality type and/or other factors may predispose individuals to certain learned ‘EI skills.’
How do I know which model of emotional intelligence to use?
Look at each model and decide which is the most useful for your purposes. We like the Bar-On/MHS Model because of the many years of research that went into its creation and the many research studies that support its ability to measure emotional intelligence skills accurately AND the fact that it is available as a self-report instrument and as a 360 degree (multi-rater) instrument. This makes it unique in the world of emotional intelligence assessments and makes the EQ-i 2.0 very flexible for use with a wide variety of types of clients.
When do you use the EQ-i 2.0 and when do you use the [EQ 360]?
We use the EQ-i 2.0 as a ‘first step’ in the process of EQ development. We are asking individuals to assess their own EQ and in our conversations with them about their results they increase their awareness of their own EQ and the various competencies they may want to focus on to improve their effectiveness. We then suggest the EQ 360 six to nine months later to deepen the learning by comparing the individual’s own assessment of their EQ with raters who see them ‘in action’ on a regular basis. This comparison is often very eye opening and leads to greater learning, growth, and development.