The benefits of spiritual intelligence: Cindy Wigglesworth shares her journey (#38)

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Jean Latting
May 23, 2023
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Cindy Wigglesworth talks about how she developed a skills assessment for spiritual intelligence. Also her journey in personal growth and development.

Highlights from this week’s interview

Jean introduces Cindy Wigglesworth, founder and president of Deep Change, Inc.  Her coaching is based on the four types of intelligence: emotional, spiritual, physical, and cognitive, with an emphasis on the spiritual. She developed a skills assessment for spiritual intelligence, named the SQ21TM. Cindy, Jean, and Rev. Karen Tutor are co-program directors for Healing the Heart of Racism at Unity of Houston.

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Cindy describes her childhood, her living in India and Australia, and her emerging awareness of race and bias.


Cindy’s work in HR in the oil industry led her to develop programs for affirmative action. Her awareness deepened when she discovered that bias didn’t always happen “over there” and only with “other people.” Therapy, leadership training, and Unity supported her journey.


Jean asks Cindy about her coaching changing to include emotional content.

“In my coaching, one of the first things I do is find out where someone is in their emotional self-awareness. Because if I don't know what I'm feeling, I cannot appropriately guess what you're feeling. And if I can't anticipate your emotions, what kind of a leader can I be?”

“You can demand compliance. And compliance is a form of leadership command and control… But optimal performance requires the volitional component, the voluntary component to be added in; if all you get is compliance, you'll just get barely enough.”

The conversation continues with a discussion of spiritual intelligence (SI), which follows naturally from emotional intelligence (EI). Cindy reports the SI is like EI on steroids.


Cindy defines spiritual intelligence as “the ability to behave with love.” Along the way she talks about the authors Goleman and Boyatzis and their emotional intelligence model. Cindy builds a parallel model of spiritual intelligence.


Jean and Cindy discuss the concept of empathy,1 both cognitive empathy and affective empathy, and how empathy and spirituality differ from religion. Her approach is “faith neutral, faith friendly, and science friendly.”


Cindy further defines SI:

“As apart from spirituality, spiritual intelligence is the ability to behave with wisdom and compassion, which is love, while maintaining inner and outer peace, regardless of the situation…. This is saintly level stuff.”

love is a bird with two wings

Assessing spiritual intelligence>


Cindy and Jean go into a detailed discussion of her model of the four quadrants of spiritual intelligence.


Jean asks the key question: “How has spiritual IQ improved health to the world?”

Part 2 of this discussion continues in next week's post.

Cindy Wigglesworth headshot

Cindy Wigglesworth

Founder & President, Deep Change, Inc.

Cindy originally founded her business (as Conscious Pursuits, Inc) in 2000 to assist individuals and corporations to develop and utilize all four of their key intelligences: IQ, emotional intelligence (EQ), spiritual intelligence (SQ) and physical intelligence (PQ).

She has become a recognized expert in the field of Spiritual Intelligence. Inspired by the work of Dr. Daniel Goleman and Dr. Richard Boyatzis, Cindy has, with the help of PhDs in various fields, created and validated a skills-based SQ assessment (theSQ21TM) and has field tested ways to help people build their own SQ.

Her website is

Connect with Cindy:


The views and opinions expressed in this or other blog posts at are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Leading Consciously. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion, and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.

Questions to ask ourselves:

  1. How do you define empathy? What are some examples of the difference between affective and cognitive empathy?
  2. What came to mind when you first heard the term "spiritual intelligence"? Do you agree with Cindy's definition?

Leading Consciously concepts and skills
covered in this blog post: 

  • Building effective relationships
    • Engage in powerful listening
    • Develop skills in inquiry and openness
  • Conscious use of self
    • Build resilience through self-affirmation
  • Initiating workplace change
    • Commit to personal change

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1 For more discussion about empathy, see blog #34, "This is what happens when you show empathy.”