Assess This

One of the approaches we coaches like to utilize as part of our work with clients is a personality style assessment. “Psychometric instruments” date back to Carl Jung and his study of personality typology in the 1920’s. A few decades before developing theories on individuation, the Swiss psychotherapist had several meetings with Sigmund Freud, so there is a lot of history behind these.

Perhaps the widest used tools are Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and DISC. Chances are good that if you applied for a position and had to ‘take a test’ as part of the interview process, it was one of those. Actually, the word ‘test’ is a misnomer. You don’t get a grade and there is no passing or failing. By asking a series of questions that force you to pick answers describing you from the ‘most like’ to the ‘least like’ – or through similar queries – the logarithms place you in one of four styles quadrants.

While I’m not sure how the behind-the-scenes analysis works, I can confidently say that after taking more than 20 different assessments the past 10 years, every one of them captured me. (No, I don’t believe this is a power of suggestion thing. It’s just something people far smarter than me figured out decades ago.)

The tool of preference for my coaching practice is Birkman, which uses colors. My “Interests” are Blue – I like to plan, think of new approaches and influence directly. Yep! My “Usual” is Red: People typically see me as friendly, energetic and frank. Indeed! My “Needs/Stress” is also Red. I prefer those who encourage group interaction, offer clear-cut solutions and give plenty to do. Correct! Under duress, I can be restless, impulsive and dismissive of other’s feelings. True!

The benefit to the individual is to better understand how you see the world and how others see you. That’s why I pull my Birkman report out every few months and read it again. There’s nothing like a gentle reminder of who I am to keep me focused on who I desire to be.


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