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Grounding Professional Coaching Practice with Positive Assessments of Emotional Intelligence

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Instrument Description and Operation[1]

The online SCALE® consists of 98 three-point Likert scale items that measure 14 skills-based emotional intelligence (EI) scales using 7 items per scale. The three available responses are Least Like Me = 0, Sometimes Like Me = 1, and Most Like Me = 2.  The 14 scales consist of 11 that are skills and three that are potential problem areas which are reframed as skills for development.  The SCALE® skills and potential problem areas, their theoretical minimum and maximum scores, and their observed descriptive statistics (N = 98) are presented in Table 2. All seven in the Stress Management competency and one item in Physical Wellness are negatively worded and those items are reverse scored by the computer.

Table 2

The SCALE® Measures, Theoretical Scores, and Actual Score Statistics

Measure Theoretical Min Theoretical Max Actual Min Actual Max Mean SD
Self-Esteem 0 14 5 14 12.13 2.08
Assertion 0 14 3 14 11.17 2.60
Comfort 0 14 4 14 12.55 2.00
Empathy 0 14 0 14 12.48 2.24
Drive Strength 0 14 8 14 12.32 1.65
Decision Making 0 14 5 14 12.07 2.19
Time Management 0 14 2 14 11.13 3.06
Influence 0 14 4 14 10.14 2.63
Commitment Ethic 0 14 6 14 12.80 1.44
Stress Management 0 14 1 14 9.94 3.24
Physical Wellness 0 14 3 14 10.21 3.36
Aggression* 0 14 0 13 2.31 3.03
Deference* 0 14 0 13 3.13 3.14
Change Orientation* 0 14 0 14 3.86 3.05
Notes: N = 98 for last four columns. SD = standard deviation. * = problematic indicators.

Our 40+ years of experience and research with 3-choice assessment models has affirmed our initial decision to use them.  From a practical perspective, when someone responds with either extreme, those responses are significant and meaningful. As described in this article, the 3-point response model performs well psychometrically as well.  Each of the 98 items are behaviorally anchored statements that requires the respondent to estimate their location on the Likert scale (i.e., estimate their skill level) based on the particular skill measured by the item. For example, one of the items that measures Empathy reads, “I seem to be able to accurately feel what another person feels”. During the survey process, the items are randomly presented one at a time on the computer screen and the font color of every other item alternates between green and blue. The instrument takes 15-20 minutes to complete using the web-based computer delivery platform (www.doscale.com).  After responding to the last item, the user can return to their SCALE® dashboard and select their profile results to view.  The SCALE® profile is a horizontal bar chart that shows the user’s summated scores for each area within three vertical bands (see Figure 1).  While logged in on the website, the user can review the research-derived skill definitions provided below their profile. The skill definitions contain embedded .pdf links that can be selected to reveal additional skill interaction and development information for each skill.  The two outer bands’ colors on the profile are reversed for the problematic indicators. Also notice in Figure 1 that the Assertion skill is shown twice, once under the interpersonal communication dimension and another as a communication skill that balances the automatic communication patterns of Aggression and Deference.

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