The SQ21 Spiritual Intelligence Assessment: A Masterful Tool for Coaching

by Jan O’Brien

Spiritual Intelligence or SQ, can be described as “The ability to act with wisdom and compassion while maintaining inner and outer peace (equanimity), regardless of the situation.” Experiencing and integrating the skills of Spiritual Intelligence can have a profound impact on our energy, our awareness and our behaviors. One particularly effective tool that I have found for developing Spiritual Intelligence is the SQ21™ Spiritual Intelligence assessment.

The SQ21 is a proprietary online assessment developed by Cindy Wigglesworth, founder of Deep Change. It includes a series of questions and produces a report that defines and assesses your level of development for each of the twenty-one SQ skills which include:

  • Awareness of one’s own worldview
  • Awareness of the worldviews of others
  • Keeping your Higher Self in charge
  • Being a wise and effective change agent

These are skills or competencies that can be practiced and developed through clearly-defined levels. The assessment uses “faith neutral” language and is a powerful tool for self-reflection and coaching. One important point to note is that we are each in charge of our spiritual path and it is up to us to decide which skills we want to develop. However, from a masterful coaching perspective, I think it would be safe to say “the more the better”!

The SQ21 is inspired by many wisdom traditions and developmental models, including the stages of adult development, Spiral Dynamics, Integral Theory, Physical Intelligence (PQ), Cognitive Intelligence (IQ) and Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ). The SQ21 itself serves as a stand-alone assessment and at its higher developmental levels can also be viewed as a “capstone intelligence”, in other words, it integrates and amplifies all the other “intelligences”.

So where do we find Spiritual Intelligence in the IAC Masteries? Intuitively, I would suggest that it can be found in all of them. With well-developed SQ, our awareness of our own worldviews and values and our complexity of inner thought can encompass all of the Masteries.

SQ allows us to live our purpose and align ourselves with our values while continually seeking guidance from our Higher Self. In turn, that manifests in our work and in our coaching skills. We become more attuned to our worldviews, perceptions and beliefs while at the same time increasing our ability to offer new perspectives to our clients.

As spiritually intelligent coaches, this awareness helps us develop trusting relationships. We evoke a presence that is calm and supportive, which provides a channel for our clients to open up to new possibilities.

Cindy Wigglesworth sums up that ultimately, Spiritual Intelligence “moves us from immature ego-driven behaviors to more mature, higher self-driven behavior. We develop the ability to hear the voice of our highest self, to understand and transcend the voice of our ego and to be guided by deep wisdom and compassion.”

Working with the SQ21 assessment provides a powerful developmental model that can aid us in our own emotional and spiritual development and subsequently in our journey towards coaching mastery and leadership.

Jan O’Brien IAC-MCC
Jan specializes in Cross-Cultural, Personal Leadership and Spiritual Intelligence coaching. She is committed to exploring the multiple layers of culture, self-awareness and leadership so that her clients develop an integral understanding of themselves and others — personally, professionally, culturally and spiritually.

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