I’ve always been a tad cautious about saying much of anything about intelligence (IQ) mostly because the whole concept is loaded and ambiguous – beyond having genuine aptitude in, say, math or science. Most of us think of it as a kind of neurological horsepower that you’re born with, but which also might be enhanced by good parenting and an enriched environment.
Yet, as I think about those clients who do actually benefit from personal consulting, there’s no escaping that self-awareness, emotional honesty, at least average (or better) ability to concentrate, genuine curiosity, good attention span, and actual motivation for solving problems are attributes which contribute to successful consultation. It’s precisely the folks who’ve been aware for awhile of a growing problem, have a sense of when it started, what its possible sources might be, what’s happened since then, and who really want to understand their own part in the process – those are the people who use consultation well. (And I need to say right away, those folks come from every income group, educational background, race, religion, political team, ethnicity, or any other human category.)
Obviously, everyone knows that high IQ people can also have tons of messy personal problems. People with high emotional intelligence (EQ) do better but, yes, they too, have their share of problems. It’s called being human.
From my perspective those are elements of what I experience as emotional intelligence. Strictly speaking, emotional intelligence reflects good awareness of one’s own feelings and/or accurate perceptions of what others are feeling – which then results in reasonably successful self-management and effective deployment of feelings navigating forward.
Still, folks with solid EQ are the ones who realize sooner, rather than later, that they’d benefit from consulting with someone about their situation. For them it’s not a failure, or a sign of inadequacy. It’s also probably true that they seldom actually hear much that they literally have never heard before, but it’s striking how much they’re the ones leaning in, paying attention to the conversation, asking good questions, listening to the responses – then deciding for themselves what’s right for them. They really do help you help them.