One of the hallmarks of leadership is self-awareness. A formal assessment helps develop self-awareness dramatically and quickly. And when we want to know how to take the next step of professional growth, there is nothing quite like knowing–first!–where we already stand. Although I joke that working with a coach is like standing in front of a three-way mirror (I don’t really want to know if I look fat in those pants!); it is a good way to understand real options (I can ignore what I’m seeing, change my pants, or go on a diet). In some instances, it can be an enormous confidence boost (hey, I look pretty great in those pants!) and it always helps shape growth. When I work with a coaching client, I use three feedback tools to get at this information: the 360-degree assessment, DiSC report and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
A great starting point for a coaching relationship is the 360-degree assessment. It addresses one of the fundamental challenges about feedback: no one really wants to give it to us straight. A coach is essential in this role. I begin by spending some serious listening time with colleagues, direct reports, and supervisors of the coaching client, creating a safe environment so that they can “give it to me straight” about the client. I rely on strong clinical skills to gently tease out their real experience from their diplomatic caution. Then I synthesize what I’ve heard into a set of themes and, with the client, evaluate and develop action plans for change in behavior or attitude. Feedback is a rare and dangerous gift and when I work with a coaching client, we deal very respectfully with that gift.
The second assessment tool I use is the DiSC report, which is simply a look at behavioral styles. There is no right and wrong in the outcome, it’s an analysis of observable behavior. The coaching client takes a short on-line assessment of their behaviors and attitudes. The individualized report that is generated is not only useful for developing self-awareness, it is key for deepening an understanding of how to work better with others. The DiSC assessment tool is a wonderful low-cost investment in building effectiveness on a team, preventing and resolving conflict at work, and getting cooperation from colleagues.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is offered as an opportunity to deepen self-awareness and help promote strong group dynamics and an appreciation for diverse approaches to life, work, and the managerial experience. The MBTI isn’t a test, and it isn’t meant to label or categorize. Instead, the assessment offers insight on one’s personality based on four pairs of preferences (introvert and extrovert; sensing and intuition; thinking and feeling; judging and perceiving), rather than on intelligence or ability. It’s intended to give you an additional tool to deepen your effectiveness as a manager and in relationships generally.
Although there are many knock-offs and variations of the MBTI, I’ve found that this is the gold standard and worth the time and energy to invest in the real thing. My MBTI licensing require assessments results to be delivered and discussed in person; please contact me to arrange for a comprehensive overview.
I offer these assessments as an MBTI and TalentSmart Certified Trainer.