Psychologies tries out… Spiritual Intelligence

Suzy Walker, Psychologies Editor-in-Chief tries out: Spiritual Intelligence (The SQ21 Model)


Psychologies tries out… Spiritual Intelligence

Spiritual intelligence… what is it? 

You’ve heard of IQ. And maybe EQ. Now it’s all about your SQ!  Developed by Cindy Wigglesworth, author of The Twenty-One Skills of Spiritual Intelligence, the SQ21 is a model like Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence. Except that SQ measures and helps you develop your Spiritual versus Emotional Intelligence. SQ is defined by Wigglesworth as ‘the ability to behave with wisdom and compassion while maintaining inner and outer peace regardless of the situation.’ She refers to her method as ‘spiritual weightlifting – a process whereby we work to develop our muscles to shift away from thinking with our self-focused ego to behaving from our more loving and peaceful Higher Self.’

The promise: 

Faith-friendly and faith-neutral, the SQ21 offers a way for atheists, people of faith, and those who are spiritual but not religious to understand each other and discuss our universal concerns. These skills are especially crucial for those in positions of leadership, since they help us to make decisions on a higher level while in the midst of stress, complexity, and high rates of change.

What happened?

Maikin Piil, a coach and an expert in ‘conscious leadership’ who has trained in Wigglesworth’s methodology asked me to complete the SQ questionnaire – which took around 30 minutes. Her advice? “Take a deep breath and a moment of silence to centre yourself before you respond to the assessment. Come from your most authentic, honest self to answer the questions. The purpose of this assessment is to provide you with personal insights with regard to your leadership and personal development.” Rather like other personality systems such Myers Briggs, I was given an online test with multiple choice questions. A week later,

I took part in a coaching session to help me translate the answers with Piil.

The questions are split into four quadrants: Quadrant 1. Higher Self / Ego self Awareness which covers everything from the awareness of your purpose and values to your world view;

Quadrant 2. Universal Awareness, which covers everything from the connectedness of all life to the awareness of the worldview of other people; Quadrant 3. Higher Self / Ego self Mastery, which covers keeping the ‘higher self’ in control no matter how much stress you’re under; Quadrant 4. Spiritual Presence / Social Mastery, which covers everything from being a wise and effective leader to making wise decisions.

The results?

I scored 65%. But it’s not the score that matters but rather the insight and comments that come with your answers to each question. I was surprised at how accurate the insights were. They revealed everything from how I hold myself back from committing to a spiritual tradition and how I find it very difficult to deal with my own and others’ grief. It also zoomed in my my strengths of helping groups ‘seek win/win solutions’ and being ‘open to learning.’

With Piil’s insightful coaching, it was a life-changing, transformative session. I am a spiritual but not religious person and I have found it hard to find the right spiritual path to follow. I have found some spiritual traditions to be unclear, mysterious and preach that their way is the only way. So, I love that this model is both ‘faith neutral and faith-friendly’ – translating the most-admired qualities of our spiritual heroes—people like Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, or Martin Luther King Jr.—into a set of 21 skills that can be measured and intentionally developed.

More information

Maiken Piil is an expert in Conscious Leadership and supports leaders on their journey to become ‘noble change agents’ acting as a force for good in the world. Through her work as an executive coach, spiritual mentor, speaker and facilitator, Maiken among others helps leaders develop high self-mastery, a higher level of mind, master transformation skillfully and develop their intuitive and creative powers.


Maikin Pill writes for our Lifelabs channel:

Image: Getty