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EI: The Difference Between a Book Smart and Street Smart Consultant

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May 4, 2022
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5 minutes
Gizela has almost two decades of experience within the Digital sphere and eagerly awaits the day she can be cloned so she can finally get everything on her daily to-do list done

Being the most clever person in the room isn’t nearly as clear cut as we once thought and most Silicon Valley dropouts have proven. Let us dive into the interesting realm of EI and why it is one of your most important assets as a consultant.

IQ & EI is not the same thing

IQ tests ranges back to the days everyone chasing the illusive “genius” score on the intelligence scale. But it turns out that your IQ will only get you so far. EI (Emotional Intelligence) is much more in-depth. It involves an acute self-awareness where you can recognize your emotions and gives you the introspection to know how to deal with these emotions. Besides, EI helps with self-regulation, social skills, empathy and motivation. In general, you can go to a university and learn things with only a high IQ. Likewise, you can do the same thing with a high EI. However, a high EI enables you to apply the things you learned in reality and adapt to the uniqueness of situations. Anyone who is a consultant can start recognizing themselves in this definition and the value EI has when you’re on a leadership level.

“We are dangerous when we are not conscious of our responsibility for how we behave, think, and feel.” – Marshall B. Rosenberg

How to test your EI

For obvious reasons the testing for EI looks vastly different from that of an IQ test. You will need to specifically request a test for testing emotional intelligence which will define your EI. The one we recommend is not something you can get by Googling “EI test”. It is extremely reliable. The test is called the ESCI (Emotional and Social Competence Inventory) 360. It gives you information on the emotional intelligence of an individual. It provides you with an overview of an individual’s behavior and performance and what sets apart the real performers from the average consultants. Furthermore, it offers valuable feedback and places the emphasis on your development and coaching regarding certain capabilities. It focuses on the best an individual has to offer (especially in a team setting).

Unlike any other IQ test, this test is not long and can be taken between 30 – 45 minutes.

Some elements that the test will highlight include:

  • Adaptability
  • Emotional self-awareness
  • Emotional self-control
  • Empathy
  • Teamwork
  • Achievement orientation
  • Organizational awareness
  • Conflict management
  • Positive outlook
  • Influence
  • Coach & Mentorship skills

Any consultant can agree that these are some of the most important characteristics one needs in consulting leadership.

Why is it so important?

The above-mentioned points should’ve already given you a clue. Studies have shown that individuals with a high EI are more likely to succeed, whether in their professional or personal lives. But we’ll delve into a little bit more details in terms of EI and its benefits below:

Team work makes the dream work

Those who boast about a high EI are proven to have excellent communication skills – whether giving or listening to opinions. On top of that, individuals with an EI communication advantage receive much more positivity in terms of their responses. Any consultant knows that it’s absolutely essential to make team members feel heard within a company – from the ground floor all the way to the CEO. It takes very specific skills to constructively work within such a diverse range of people. And those skills are directly linked to someone’s EI levels.

The tough convos

Imagine this: you’re sitting in a boardroom of mostly 60 years olds wondering why the business is lacking in comparison to competitors. It’s 2022 and they still don’t have a website. It’s fairly obvious that the company got stuck in their ways somewhere. As a consultant you’re more likely to sit in meetings with team members who are pretty fed up with the situation. Any consultant worth their EI won’t be led by emotions and will be able to communicate clearly in tough conversations with only the facts in mind.

Charisma is everything

Even though people don’t like to talk about it, one of the most charismatic people in history was Hitler. And although none of us are pondering humanitarian atrocities when consulting with a company, charisma certainly gives you an advantage on a leadership level. If you are testing emotional intelligence, this is one of the most prominent characteristics of an individual with a high score. How are you going to get management and employees on board with your ideas and recommendations if you have absolutely no charisma and people skills?

Adapt or die

One of the key features of anyone on a leadership level and of a person with a high EI is that they are able to adapt to change. For instance, if, for the past 30 years, you’ve been part of a company which has been operating in a specific way for the past 20 years, it’s very hard to see anything outside of those operational borders. A consultant with professional and objective viewpoints is an invaluable resource for any organization.

It’s always hard to lead

When it comes to testing emotional intelligence, there won’t be any bigger challenge than leading an organization. And even though you might not be the CEO or department head as a consultant, you will still be in charge of leading a multitude of departments and an entire organization to a brighter future.

The beneficial difference between IQ & EI

Unfortunately, your IQ is partly an inherited thing. However, the EI is mostly learnt and can continue to improve. These are a few sure ways to improve emotional intelligence:


One of the tell-tale signs of a child is that they are unable to recognize and name their emotions. Yet, how can you deal with something effectively if you can’t even identify it in the first place? That’s why the first stop to emotional intelligence improvement is the basic acknowledgment of your own feelings.

Constructive criticism

Individuals with high EI will place a high value on feedback. They are very self-aware and know that they won’t be able to improve or better themselves if they don’t listen to the constructive criticism of others.


We’re not just talking about soaking up knowledge (although that’s never a bad idea), we are referring to the empathy that is evoked by reading. Having empathy for your fellow homo sapiens (i.e. client and colleagues) will be a huge advantage for any consultant. Thus, reading will definitely be one of your first go-to’s when it comes to emotional intelligence improvement.

You can study as much as you like and boast with as many shiny graduating papers as you can. But, unless there’s actual emotional intelligence improvement, you’ll always be a sub-par consultant. To ensure that you’re the best consultant you can possibly be, check out more of our resources here.