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Article No.: 08-10

Article Title: A Self-Assessment on Emotional Intelligence

Author: Linda Gravett, Ph.D., SPHR, CEQC

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Overview of Instrument
After completing the research for our book, EQ-Squared, which will be released next spring, my co-author Dr. Sheri Caldwell and I decided to synthesize what we had learned about Emotional Intelligence into an assessment that is straightforward and easy to take.  Our objective was to develop a self-assessment instrument that addresses five areas of Emotional Intelligence:  verbal agility; logic and quantitative skills; visual-spatial ability; self awareness (intrapersonal skills); and interpersonal skills. A copy of the instrument is at the end of this article.  We administered this self-assessment to 50 experienced trainers and found a correlation between a high Emotional Intelligence and effective training.
Our surveyed trainers scored an average of 18 in verbal agility; 17 in visual-spatial ability; 22 in logic and quantitative skills; 29 in self-awareness; and 28 in interpersonal skills.  Although we intend to continue using the self-assessment in ongoing work in the area of training and EI, we believe this initial finding to be very promising in support of our assertion that successful trainers have a high degree of Emotional Intelligence.
Taking and Scoring the Self-Assessment
The assessment contains 25 one-sentence items.  Each item is designed to capture a single element of Emotional Intelligence.  As you read through the items, place the response you believe most accurately reflects how you are today to the left of each item.  A Likert-type scale rates your responses from 1 – Rarely to 5 – Almost Always.  The assessment should take between 5 – 10 minutes to complete and score.
Four of the items relate to verbal agility:  #1; #8; #9; and #14.  A low score (4 o 8) on this area of EI indicates only that you may not currently possess a large vocabulary or know when to use specific words or phrases for different audiences.  For instance, you may have a large technical vocabulary because of the job you hold.  If you’re making a presentation to people outside your technical area of expertise, you would want to craft the discussion in a way that would minimize the use of technical jargon.  Perhaps because you have a limited vocabulary, you may shy away from facilitating team meetings or speaking in front of even small groups.  Not to worry.  Emotional Intelligence in this, and the other four areas, can be developed with effort and time.
If you scored high (17 to 20) in the verbal agility area, you are very likely in an occupation or avocation that allows you to play with words, write articles or even books. You probably challenge yourself to learn new words or phrases on a regular basis.  You can easily leverage this competency into writing training materials, facilitating corporate training, or both.
Five of the items relate to quantitative analysis and logic:  #2; #3; #10; #15; and #17.  A low score (5 to 10) in this competency may mean that you get bored with theoretical, scientific explanations or are not facile with quantitative analysis.  You probably steer away from doing your own taxes!  On the other hand, if you scored high (21 to 25) in this area, you seek out your own logical explanations to why events occur, rather than accept at face value others’ version of events.  You probably tend to take a linear approach toward solving problems and dig deeply into issues before making a decision.  This competency is critical for conducting training needs assessments and tailoring training events to address skills gaps uncovered during the process.
Four of the items relate to visual-spatial ability:  #4; #11; #16; and #21.  A low score (4 to 8) indicates that you have difficulty forming clear mental pictures when someone is trying to explain how something works.  You may find reading and following maps to be a challenge, as well as following verbal directions.  If you have a high score (17 to 20), you like to engage in experiential learning and pick up new concepts quite easily through this learning method.  You probably solve puzzles easily!  As a trainer, this competency will help you to grasp why a participant is having difficulty understanding a concept or approach, even though he or she may provide only sketchy feedback about why s/he is having difficulty with the material.
Six of the items relate to self-awareness or intrapersonal skills:  #5; #6; #12; #19; #22; and #24.  If you have a low score (6 to 12) in this competency, you are probably challenged with decisions such as which job to take or which option to choose among several training activities.  You may be fuzzy about the reason you’ve held beliefs over the years, such as a belief about what colors look best on you.  If your score is high in this area (25 to 30), you take ownership for you beliefs and actions and have a high level of confidence in your decisions.  You’re tuned in to what assignments are best for you and where you have shortcomings.  You’re not likely to take on a training project in a field where you have little or no experience or expertise!
There are also six items that relate to interpersonal skills:  #7; #13; #18; #20; #23; and #25.  A low score (6 to 12) indicates that you don’t pick up on others’ moods easily or understand others’ feelings that to someone else might be quite obvious.  If you scored high (25 to 30) in this area, you can often pick up on others’ mood through watching their “body language” or listening to their tone of voice.  You’re likely energized by people and are comfortable in large groups, whether as a speaker or group member.  A trainer who has a high level of competency in this area has overcome a huge hurdle that most people have:  fear of public speaking!
How to Use the Self-Assessment to Select Trainers
Picture in your mind a person that you believe to be an excellent trainer (maybe it’s you!)  Consider the attributes this person possesses that lead you to conclude that he or she is effective.  When we think about great trainers we’ve known over the years, descriptors like “energetic,” “curious,” “caring,” “good listener,” and “critical thinking skills” come immediately to mind.
A person’s self-assessment will definitely be skewed somewhat (depending on how high on the self-awareness scale they are), so we recommend this tool as one of several methods you use to select trainers.  People who are aware of their strengths and skills gaps – and have the willingness to take steps to minimize the gaps – surfaced in our surveys as the most effective trainers.  We suggest that this instrument can complement observation; feedback from participants; and interviews in the trainer selection process.
                Self-Assessment on Emotional Intelligence
For each item, place the most accurate response to the left of each number.                                                                

Rarely Occasionally Sometimes Usually Almost Always
1 2 3 4 5



1.  I am careful about the implied meaning of words I use.


2.  I like scientific explanations.


3.  People seem to come to me when they need help solving quantitative problems. 


4.  I see clear, precise pictures in my mind.


5.  I have the ability to decide which situations to get involved in that are good for me.     


6.  I know why I believe what I believe.


7.  I am sensitive to the moods of others. 


8.  I’m able to find the right words to express myself.  


9.  I enjoy discussing all types of books.


10. I use a logical, analytical process to solve problems. 


11. I don’t get lost because I have a good sense of direction.


12. I understand myself and consequently make good decisions about what to do in life.


13. I’m persuasive when I try to influence others.   


14. My grammar is accurate.


15. I don’t accept others’ information or stories at face value. 


16. I’m good at reading and following instructions.   


17. I find satisfaction in working with numbers.  


18. I can help others solve their problems.


19. My inner self is my source of strength and renewal.


20. I understand what motivates others, even when they try to hide their feelings.


21. I like to experience what I’m learning about.


22. I’m confident in my own opinions.   


23. I can interact in large groups.


24. My feelings and emotions are my own responsibility.


25. I have a large network of people that I turn to for their expertise and experience.

SCORING INSTRUCTIONS:  Put the number value for each item you checked above beside the item number in the table below.  Then total each column in the table.  The area of Emotional Intelligence is at the top of each column.





Visual-Spatial: Clarifier



Interpersonal: Cooperator

Item #1

Item #2

Item #4

Item #5

Item #7

Item #8

Item #3

Item #11

Item #6

Item #13

Item #9

Item #10

Item #16

Item #12

Item #18

Item #14

Item #15

Item #21

Item #19

Item #20


Item #17


Item #22

Item #23




Item #24

Item #25







  Low Competence Moderate Competence High Competence
Verbal: 4 to 8 9 to 16 17 to 20
Logic: 5 to 10 11 to 20 21 to 25
Visual-Spatial: 4 to 8 9 to 12 17 to 20
Intrapersonal: 6 to 12 13 to 24 25 to 30
Interpersonal: 6 to 12 13 to 24 25 to 30

Score Level of Competency
Low You tend to avoid activities in this area, and it is not one of your strengths. Gaining competency in this are will take effort and patience.
Moderate You tend to be comfortable with activities in this area, although you don't always go out of your way to use this competency.  With some effort, you could achieve in this area and the experience would be very satisfying.
High This is your comfort zone, where you show a high level of confidence and competency.  You could become an expert in this area with little effort.

© Copyright 2008, Gravett and Caldwell, Cincinnati, OH

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