Creating Change Through Psychometric Assessments and Coaching.

Psychometric Assessments have been used in the corporate world for decades. In fact, most of you reading this post will have done some form of work based personality profile or test in their career.

Whilst Psychometric Assessments provide a standard and scientific method to measure an individual’s mental capability and behavioural style it is important to recognise they only provide one piece of the overall puzzle that makes up an individual. These assessments can add value in certain circumstances when carefully used to help organisations gain information that can supplement broader information from interviews, past performance and referees that all goes to in to the mix when considering fit for role.

With this in mind let’s explore how psychometric assessments, when used appropriately, can support individual and team development.

Currently there are a number of psychometric tools that in our experience can add real value to team development programs. These tools can enhance a team’s conscious understanding of the group’s strengths, limitations and dynamics and can assist individuals to enhance their self-awareness, behavioural control and understanding of interpersonal techniques that support relationship building with team mates.

However, psychometric assessments are not just limited to individual or team applications. Organisations who wish to understand the general culture of their organisation often conduct psychometric assessments with large numbers of staff. These tend to focus on organisational culture (beliefs and behaviours) and perceptions of employees on factors that relate to engagement (such as communications, opportunity to have input, work environment etc). This process provides an overall understanding of the styles and traits across the organisation and of course, within specific teams. These surveys can be very powerful if used to establish an on-going dialogue between leaders and employees. The act of asking for feedback about what matters, asking for feedback on how employees perceive their organisation when it comes to the things that matter to them and then leaders taking actions overtime to improve the organisation can be build engagement and buy-in to important initiatives and changes

What is the value of Psychometric Assessments?

It is readily accepted that understanding yourself better is the first step to becoming a high performer. This applies to your own individual effectiveness as well as your effectiveness as a leader of teams.

Within STS Consulting we have a number of practitioners trained in a variety of psychometric assessments, including, DISC, LSI, TMS, Myers-Briggs, Occupational Personality Profiling and many more. Our exposure as both facilitators and recipients of a broad range of assessments to support individual and team development has taught us the importance of selecting the right tool for the right outcome and of using these tools in conjunction with other data sources. Each psychometric has its unique advantages and disadvantages and selection of the appropriate tool must be made with careful consideration.

When the appropriate tool is selected and linked with an improvement action plan and coaching, psychometric assessments have the ability to help create significant change in people and work groups. We have seen these tools be used with great success and have led to significant improvements in morale, teamwork and performance.

 What results do Psychometric Assessments achieve?

The essence behind this is twofold. From an individual’s perspective psychometric assessments provide the following advantages:

  • A report which highlights their strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Brings previously subconscious thoughts and motivations to the level of conscious understanding and awareness.
  • It focuses on the opportunity for reflection and self-assessment.
  • Encourages ownership to create change and improve in their identified development areas.
  • It often allows the individual or group to define the particular standard that they ideally want to attain – making the assessment against that standard powerful and aspirational.
  • It provides the ability to compare one’s self to peers, organisation or world best practice standards.

The organisational benefits of conducting psychometric assessments include the following:

  • Provides an understanding of the overall trends in styles, beliefs or behaviours within teams or groups.
  • Assists in reducing conflict and clashes between people.
  • Enables the implementation of targeted learning and development programs to address identified limitations and weaknesses across the business.
  • Provides a road map towards success by identifying what needs to be done to achieve higher performance.

 How do Psychometric Assessments achieve results?

To assist in understanding how psychometric assessments achieve results with individuals, and ultimately the organisation, we should first understand the process of acquiring new skills and behaviours.

The 4 step model of learning is a useful tool to consider when exploring the learning acquired through the use of psychometric assessments.

  • Unconsciously Incompetent: At the first stage, people are unaware of what they don’t know. In the case of psychometric profiling the report and information provided on completion of the assessment takes the individual through a discovery phase upon learning what they could be doing better but have not been aware of. It is this first stage that the person becomes consciously aware of what had previously been an unconscious thought, motivation or behaviour.
  • Consciously Incompetent: With the “enlightenment” that comes with being Consciously Incompetent, the person becomes aware of their strengths and limitations. They recognise the areas that need to be developed and commit to addressing these through development plans and identifying the coaching support required to advance to the next stage.
  •  Consciously Competent: At this stage the person begins to learn, try and embed new skills to improve their areas requiring development. Coaching is particularly helpful at this stage to uncover resources, provide feedback and build confidence in using the new skills that are being adapted to bridge the gaps.
  • Unconsciously Competent: Individuals who achieve the final stage of the learning process have completely integrated the new skill into how they think/act. The skill has become so automatic that it no longer requires conscious thought and effort to display. This final stage often outlasts the coaching engagement as the skill becomes integrated in the overall makeup of the individual.

Closing thoughts on Psychometric Assessments   

The combination of psychometric assessments as a source of information and feedback alongside other sources and one-on-one coaching is a key strategy for supporting people to acknowledge, understand and improve their behavioural skill sets to reach their full potential as individuals and leaders within the workplace.

Without the coaching support people rarely know what actions to take and have no support in bridging the gap from their current to desired behavioural state. Without the personality profile alongside other practical information to guide the coach and participant certain behavioural or ability gaps might be left undefined or unrecognized in terms of impact and importance. The combination of both methods increases the comprehensiveness and effectiveness of the coach/participant relationship.

If you are considering using a psychometric assessment within your team or business it is important to be clear about the outcome you are seeking. Identifying the most appropriate psychometric to achieve this outcome will be important to the success of your initiative. If you would like to know more about the benefits and limitations of each psychometric assessment we would be happy to share this information with you. Please feel free to contact STS at stsgroup@stsgroup.com.au, or myself directly at ARooke@stsgroup.com.au if you would like more information on psychometric options.

 

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Post written by Andy Rooke, Project Manager, STS Consulting Australia.