The 4-Q Model

The 4Q Model

Over his years of working in the recovery coaching environment, David Collins has developed the 4Q model. This is an integrated model, developed around David’s personal and professional experiences, anecdotal evidence that he has observed and the pulling together of different ideas and models from other schools of thought.

The model sits within the Cultures of Addiction and Recovery, and outlines the four basic intelligences that individuals, families, organisations and communities need to develop and grow as they move through challenging transformations such as the change process required around recovery and wellness. The model is not static, and growth is not linear, so there is also movement as explored around the coaching continuums. 

The model consists of these four intelligences:

Intellectual Intelligence (IQ) is a measure of a person’s reasoning ability. In short, it is supposed to gauge how well someone can use information and logic to answer questions or make predictions. IQ tests begin to assess this by measuring short- and long-term memory. They also measure how well people can solve puzzles and recall information they have heard — and how quickly.

IQ represents abilities such as:

  • Visual and spatial processing
  • Knowledge of the world
  • Fluid reasoning
  • Working memory and short-term memory
  • Quantitative reasoning

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) which is defined as ability to understand and manage your own emotions, and those of the people around you. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence know what they're feeling, what their emotions mean, and how these emotions can affect other people.

According to Daniel Goleman (1995), an American psychologist, who helped to popularise emotional intelligence, there are five key elements to it:

  1. Self-awareness.
  2. Self-regulation.
  3. Motivation.
  4. Empathy.
  5. Social skills.

The more that you, as a coach or an individual, manage each of these areas, the higher your emotional intelligence.

Spiritual Intelligence (SQ) is a higher dimension of intelligence that activates the qualities and capabilities of the authentic self, in the form of wisdom, compassion, integrity, joy, love, creativity, and peace. Spiritual intelligence results in a sense of deeper meaning and purpose, combined with improvements in a wide range of important life skills and work skills. When individuals are spiritually intelligent, they can integrate spiritual principles into their lives and apply them to situations in a consciously aware and integrated way.

Spiritual Intelligence is sometimes defined as the product of emotional and intellectual intelligences practised with presence and involves “synchronous processing” or whole brain thinking.


Political Intelligence (PQ) is defined as being “the leadership capacity to interact strategically in a world where government business and wider society share power to shape the future in a global economy.” (Reffo & Wark 20014)

But why should either political or business leaders care? What incentives do they have to adopt PQ? For business leaders the answer is two-fold: on the positive side working in partnership with governments and NGOs can increase opportunities for growth, and on the defensive side in a transparent social-media-savvy world, where reputation is all, being socially responsible and co-operating with multiple stakeholders safeguards brands and ultimately builds profit.


Individuals who possess political intelligence are able to use this to build relationships with others, across the socio-demographics of a country, based on the people, society and institutions, mindful of the political agendas that exist at all levels of society. PQ therefore needs to take culture, language, ethnicity, race and sexual diversity into account when addressing recovery and wellness. As we walk the line between these diverse elements of our populations, we need to remain ever mindful of the impact we have on one another.

The 4Q Model in the context of recovery coaching, requires the individual to stay in the centre of the model, holding the four intelligences in an integrated balance, and navigating the culture of crisis, chaos and conflict which often occurs as a result of the dysfunction an individual, their family and community/workplace have experienced, leading to the need to move from this culture of addiction based on the learning that has taken place within the environment, towards both the cultures of recovery and growth. This is relevant with regards to recovery from substance use, addictive behaviour or mental health disorders.

The model addresses a position from which to develop wellness within a system whether it’s an organisation, community, family or institution as it requires the integrated use of these four intelligences to ensure that there is a balanced approach to co-creative, collaborative cooperation that benefits all the role players and stakeholders.

These models presented above all form the scaffolding and building blocks onto which we continue to grow our theories, models and skills as coaches as we develop individual styles and approaches to the coaching conversations that we engage in.  


Reflecting on this final model in the training material, spend some time considering these questions:

  1. What are your observations about the 4Q model?
  2. Which of the intelligences are you stronger in and where do you have to stretch yourself in order to integrate the four into your work?
  3. How can it be effectively used in a coaching intervention for personal and professional growth?
  4. What do you think the importance of this model is in relation to the work of a recovery coach?