Can You Increase Intelligence Through Coaching?


I'm a big fan of assessments. It's not that I believe assessment tools are 100% true or because I'm certified in the DISC assessment. I like them because they provide us with a framework for discussing things we normally don't talk about. Things like: 

  • How are you being perceived
  • What stresses you out?  
  • What matters to you the most?

Assessment tools don't make us more intelligent in terms of I.Q but they do make us more aware and that awareness helps us deal with people more effectively. And developing that skill is part of a life-long journey!  

Types of Intelligence

There are various types of intelligences beyond I.Q. (such as emotional intelligence for one). In addition, there's Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. While the theory has some critics -- saying it is too broad and that it's not "intelligence" but rather talents, personality traits and abilities. I say, take what serves you and leave the rest behind.  

Since I like to work with multi-talented, multi-faceted, creative entrepreneurs the idea of having different intelligences appeals to me. Being the assessment fan I am, I took a simple, free version of it here and here's what I found out. 

My top 3 intelligences are: Verbal-linguistic, Musical and Intrapersonal. (see below for full list of the intelligences) 

Were my results shocking? No but they were validating. I thought, "Yes that makes so much sense and Whooo hooooo I love music!"  

When we take an assessment we gain insight. It can confirm what we may already know deep down but lack empirical "evidence" for. True coaching has the same kind of effect. True coaching conversations are not advice-giving sessions. They are not "this-is-what-I'd-do" mentor conversations. (Although those conversations have tremendous value too and may pop up in true coaching conversations from time-to-time).

  • True coaching helps you tap into your intrinsic motivation.
  • True coaching helps you get creative and see more possibilities.  
  • True coaching helps you raise your awareness.

So, can true coaching make you more intelligent? 

It's no surprise that I would say "Yes!" to this question, being a coach myself. But the reason why is personal. 

It's because I feel smarter in a true coaching situation! I feel I make better decisions, I take bigger action, I'm better equipped to navigate the bumpy patches of life and business when I'm in a true coaching engagement and I get to be the client.  

I often say: "I think true coaching works because we will do for others what we won't (necessarily) do for ourselves." It's not because the coach has all the answers. They aren't playing on your field. Imagine football for a second. The coach isn't running the plays. They are not executing the work. The players are taking the action to get the goal. The coach has resources, tools, exercises and strategy that help guide the players. They players play the game with the creativity of their own talents. And that serves the bigger picture for the team.    

The sense of knowing that someone else is counting on us to get something done is powerful. As Shawn Achor writes in his book Big Potential, "once we learn to coordinate and collaborate with those around us, we all begin to shine brighter, both individually and as an ecosystem.”

Having hired many coaches myself, I know that we are all unique in our approach. Some coaches: 

  • Solve a specific problem... like help you write a book.
  • Focus on business... reaching 10k months seems to be popular. 
  • Have a tried-and-true method... follow these steps and you'll get this result. 

We may not increase our I.Q. when we hire a coach but we do become more aware, more strategic, more actionable and more confident. And isn't that smart? Being more fully aware in any situation will make you better equipped to navigate it.

And in his book The 46 Rules of Genius, Marty Neumeier says, "Most of us assume that learning difficult subjects requires a higher I.Q., but it's more likely that a higher I.Q. comes from confronting difficult subjects." I'm saying that when we hire a coach and work closely on our goals with them, we will take on more challenges and doing so will increase lots of positives in our lives (goals achievement, skill building, expansive experiences and yes perhaps I.Q. too!).  

If you'd like to experience coaching through this lens, my approach may be unique to the coaches you've experienced before. If you haven't done a session with me yet then you're invited to sign up here and experience what I call true coaching

-------------- Gardener's Theory of Multiple Intelligences -------------

  1. Verbal-linguistic intelligence - well-developed verbal skills and sensitivity to the sounds, meanings and rhythms of words)
  2. Logical-mathematical intelligence (ability to think conceptually and abstractly, and capacity to discern logical and numerical patterns)
  3. Spatial-visual intelligence (capacity to think in images and pictures, to visualize accurately and abstractly)
  4. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence (ability to control one’s body movements and to handle objects skillfully)
  5. Musical intelligences - (ability to produce and appreciate rhythm, pitch and timber)
  6. Interpersonal intelligence (capacity to detect and respond appropriately to the moods, motivations and desires of others)
  7. Intrapersonal - (capacity to be self-aware and in tune with inner feelings, values, beliefs and thinking processes)
  8. Naturalist intelligence (ability to recognize and categorize plants, animals and other objects in nature)
  9. Existential intelligence - sensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence such as, “What is the meaning of life? Why do we die? How did we get here?” 


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