What is emotional intelligence and how do you know if your team is thriving or in trouble.

How do you know when you are stressed out? What are the signs?

And how do you let others know when you’re stressed out? What are your tells?

These questions are a great way to begin thinking about your level of emotional intelligence–your EQ. They are also just the tip of the iceberg.

Emotional intelligence is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, along with your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships.

Here is one way to visualize emotional intelligence.



You're probably familiar with IQ, loosely defined as your intelligence or your ability to think and reason. IQ is generally thought to be static, meaning it won't significantly change once you've become an adult. EQ, though not a new field of study, is quickly becoming a leading tool to develop leadership, improve employee engagement and strengthen the fabric of relationships at work and at home. In fact, EQ is a far better predictor of individual satisfaction and individual professional success than IQ.

EQ works at an individual, team and organizational level. It’s also a whole-life practice, meaning you can practice and benefit from strengthened EQ personally and professionally. In reality, people who practice EQ skills in their personal lives will experience greater growth than someone who only seeks to apply the skills in the office.

Why does EQ matter for churches?

The health of your team is essential for long-term success in ministry. Even when ministry is happening, tasks are accomplished and the bills are getting paid, your team may be feeling stretched thin, overwhelmed, discouraged or without a sense of direction. Especially in ministry, where the line between personal and professional so easily is blurred, taking care of the hearts and souls of your team is a critical part of your mission.

In fact, we believe a church will never be healthier than it’s staff. But you don’t have to be sick in order to get healthier. Investing in the growth and development of staff should be one of the top priorities for every church leadership team. Your people are your most important resource.

It doesn’t take long for anyone working at a church to realize how important relationships are to their work. Being able to navigate hard conversations, balance competing priorities and collaborate well with others is a part of every day in the life of a church.

That’s why emotional intelligence is a core part of our approach in helping churches invest in the health of their team and culture. This relational, scientifically-backed framework has helped thousands of churches and businesses.

In the last ten years, EQ has gained traction as an effective framework for helping teams and individuals increase self-awareness and improve employee engagement, work performance and personal satisfaction.

At Fishhook, we use an assessment called EQ-i 2.0, developed by Multi-Health Systems. I am a certified EQ facilitator and have worked with and coached business leaders, C-level executives, pastors and frontline staff using the EQ-i 2.0 assessment. 

The EQi 2.0 is a scientifically backed and reliable assessment used by thousands of businesses and churches across the world. It provides an accurate snapshot of how well individuals are using the core skills that have been identified as critical for emotional intelligence. Stress tolerance, optimism, assertiveness, and self-awareness are just a few of the 15 specific skills an assessment will measure. The good news is that with this snapshot, you can gain clarity on specific skills and key areas to develop for your personal and professional growth.

Some may think it will be too “soft” or like counseling. To be clear, EQ assessments and coaching with Fishhook is about forward progress and overcoming challenges. Sometimes that includes talking about uncomfortable emotions and past hurt, but we aren’t counselors and aren’t the right people to fill that role if that is what your team needs.

What we will do is help you identify the specific skills that help you manage yourself and your relationships in a way that fosters team collaboration, honest conversations and a whole-person approach to working side-by-side

We also believe EQ is a spiritual development tool God uses to grow people. Emotional health is spiritual health. Listening well, problem-solving efficiently, giving and receiving feedback and managing our emotions are all desirable skills. EQ assessments are simply a way of exploring how good we are at using those skills, finding the gaps in our awareness or ability and then helping us get better in the areas we know are important for our relationships and work.

Why would someone take an EQ assessment?

Besides being a proven tool to increase employee engagement and productivity, there are specific pain points leaders have identified as being the reason they invested in EQ assessments for their team:

You or someone on your team is...

. . . struggling to effectively manage the people on their team.

. . . building new relationships and want to better understand other people.

. . . trying to get a better handle on their emotional reactions.

. . . focused on asserting themselves more consistently at work.

. . . looking for a way to make better decisions in multiple areas of life.

. . . overwhelmed and looking for some relief and stress management skills.

. . . doing really well and wants to keep the momentum going.

. . . taking on new responsibilities and need to sharpen some time management skills.

What does it look like to do an EQ assessment with Fishhook?

Taking the EQ-i 2.0 starts with a 20-minute online assessment each person can take from the comfort of their office or at home. After the results are in, our EQ-certified Coach will schedule a one-hour conversation and walk through your personalized 20-page report. You will see where you already have strength and fitness as well as begin identifying the key areas you want to grow. (For large teams or limited budgets, it’s also possible to do one group debrief in place of individual meetings, though the insights will be less specific in the group setting).

The 20-page report comes with clear definitions of each skill, suggestions on how to grow and a framework for planning your next steps. As with most personal or team growth and development, ongoing coaching and accountability are where the real work and benefit comes from. Fishhook recommends each person commit to at least 2-3 additional coaching sessions after you receive your report in order to continue processing what you learn and begin practicing new skills to help you grow your emotional intelligence.

Sometimes team and personal development feels like building a plane in mid-air, but it is possible to continue moving forward and carry out the mission while investing in the hearts and minds of your team. An EQ assessment and intentional coaching gives you and your team the opportunity to identify key skills and action steps that will lead to results in the real world.

Practical coaching based on a reliable assessment is a competitive advantage everyone has access to, but not many people take advantage of. Your people are your most important resource and this is an intentional and powerful way to invest in your people starting today.

Have questions? I'd love to talk more with you!