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The Skills of Spiritual Intelligence

Posted By Andrew Kos On May 29, 2013 @ 2:16 pm In Issue 17: Autumn 2013 | No Comments

Cindy Wigglesworth – Deep Change [1] and SQ21 [2]

The same year that Zohar and Marshall published their first book on SQ in 2000, Cindy Wigglesworth left her role as a Human Resources executive at Exxon to develop a framework that would help to identify and develop the skills and competencies of Spiritual Intelligence. She is now the President and founder of Deep Change [1], a leadership and coaching network that uses the SQ21 Inventory [3] developed by Wigglesworth to assess personal and organisational spiritual intelligence. The SQ21™ Spiritual Intelligence self-assessment is the first competency-based spiritual intelligence assessment instrument. I took the inventory myself in 2011 with a subsequent debrief and coaching session with Cindy.

Unlike Zohar and Marshall, Wigglesworth’s approach to SQ is grounded and inspired by the work around ‘multiple intelligences’ and especially Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis’ work on EQ.1  Several of her articles on SQ can be downloaded from the Deep Change [1] website and last year she published her book, SQ21 – The Twenty-One Skills of Spiritual Intelligence [4](New York, Select Books, 2012).

Like others in this review Wigglesworth takes what we refer to as a biological approach to Spirituality, one that is distinct from religion and relates to our human need for meaning and connecting to a wider source (however that is defined or interpreted). She defines Spiritual Intelligence as the ‘ability to behave with wisdom and compassion, while maintaining inner and outer peace, regardless of the situation’ (p.8).

Consistent with a biological approach to spirituality and central to Wigglesworth’s project is the view that our SQ can be nurtured and developed. What was missing for Wigglesworth was a way to determine how spiritually intelligent we are (at any point in time) and what competencies we need to acquire to increase our spiritual intelligence. From her years of work in the field she developed (tested and validated) the 21 skills of SQ (see Table 3) which provides a kind of roadmap and skill set to ensure our actions and behaviour are consistent with SQ, identify which ones we may need to develop and determine what action (or path) may assist us in doing so.

Each of the 21 skills has 5 levels of proficiency on a 0 – 5 scale, with a 5 by no means indicating that there is no more work to be done with this skill.

Table 3 The 21 Skills of Spiritual Intelligence by Quadrant


1. Awareness of own worldvie

2. Awareness of life purpose (mission)

3. Awareness of values hierarchy

4. Complexity of inner thought

5. Awareness of Ego self/Higher self


6. Awareness of interconnectedness of life

7. Awareness of worldviews of others

8. Breadth of time perception

9. Awareness of limitations/power of human perception

10. Awareness of Spiritual laws

11. Experience of transcendent oneness


12. Commitment to spiritual growth

13. Keeping Higher self in charge

14. Living your purpose and values

15. Sustaining faith

16. Seeking guidance from Higher self


17. Wise and effective teacher/mentor

18. Wise and effective leader/change agent

19. Makes compassionate & wise decisions

20. A calming, healing presence

21. Being aligned with the ebb & flow of life

Source: Wigglesworth (2012)

The recent book by Wigglesworth provides a conceptual overview of the SQ concept as well as detailing the skills and competencies that comprise it. As would be expected there is similarity with the principles of SQ (and their corresponding behaviours) developed by Zohar and Marshall almost a decade earlier. Combined with the SQ21 Inventory [3] (which enables you to assess your proficiency) it illustrates the greater level of sophistication and rigour that SQ has achieved and the greater probability that it will (rightly or wrongly) achieve greater acceptance in the management and leadership field.


1 D Goleman, R Boyatzis and A McKee, Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead With Emotional Intelligence [5], Harvard Business School, 2004.

Article printed from Knowledge Connect: http://knowledgeconnect.com.au

URL to article: http://knowledgeconnect.com.au/2013/05/the-skills-of-spiritual-intelligence/

URLs in this post:

[1] Deep Change: http://www.deepchange.com/

[2] SQ21: http://books.google.com.au/books?id=5k3qugAACAAJ&dq=sq21+wigglesworth&hl=en&sa=X&ei=gcunUab4Ec2hkgX02IHQDA&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAA

[3] SQ21 Inventory: http://www.deepchange.com/products/sq21-the-spiritual-intelligence-21-skills-inventory

[4] SQ21 – The Twenty-One Skills of Spiritual Intelligence : http://books.google.com.au/books?id=5k3qugAACAAJ&dq=SQ21+%E2%80%93+The+Twenty-One+Skills+of+Spiritual+Intelligence&hl=en&sa=X&ei=RNCnUejjIYankAWr6ICoDA&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAA

[5] Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead With Emotional Intelligence: http://books.google.com.au/books/about/Primal_Leadership.html?id=i7fP6KsHTvQC

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