Assessments are a vital part of a successful coaching+advising engagement. Simply put an assessment is the process of gathering and interpreting data from diverse sources in order to develop awareness and understanding. They also provide information which is often measured against a set of standards or guidelines (quantitative) or to offer a new lens for seeing an individual or situation (qualitative)
Quantitative Assessments are the most common. They started in the 1960 measuring behavior, style, motivation and competency of the individual against a specific population of geography, age, gender, etc. During the 1990’s this measuring a set of questions against standards was adapted into the well know practice of 360° assessments; a common replacement for job reviews.
Although the value of Quantitative Assessments are high, they miss the underlying theme of developing self-awareness for the individual, team, group and organization; the narrative.
Qualitative Assessments create the narrative. In their base form they look like a simple interview. We all know, however, that all interviewers are not alike. A simple banter of question and answer is not only boring but doesn’t get to what really motivates and moves people.
In the famous interview of former US President Richard Nixon by David Frost in 1977, Frost was able to penetrate Nixon’s protective shell utilizing follow on questions and challenging why he believed what he did. This is the stuff of great qualitative assessments. Coaches skilled in the Socratic Methods, which all Impact Coaches are, will penetrate the protective shell of your employees and extract what they really feel about the company, its products, processes, co-workers, managers and leaders.
When to use Assessments
When and how often to use assessments are the two questions that never seem to be fully answered as they are traditionally identified as tools. When assessments are presented as opportunities to build awareness and explore new ideas they are reflect a higher value to all parties involved. Simply put, assessments can uncover areas of strength and weakness, drive an employee’s motivation to change, and provide a roadmap for individual development.
Assessments are used in one or all of the following situations.
- Before the formal coaching begins
- Within the first 3-4 coaching sessions
- Create more awareness when the client gets stuck
- To evaluate change over time