Career Coaching and Strategic Organizational Advancement

Skill Assessment and Testing Instruments

Clarity, direction and performance are the three prongs of effective coaching and skill skill assessmentassessment can assist with these efforts. Helping you get clear about goals and career path and how to strategically get there is obviously important. Making sure we move in the right direction at the right pace is critical to moving you from where you are to where you want to be in your career. And finally, enhancing work skills and specific performance areas that need attention will give you the edge of success in your career.

Skill assessments and testing clarify goals and help set direction.

Skill Assessment is value clarification, a process of making decisions and putting rank ordering to those decisions. So even a simple screening test like the Strong Interest Inventory asks you to make choices between various options. For example, if you know that you choose to work indoors rather than outdoors, that you prefer to work alone rather than with people and that working indoors is more important to you than working alone gives you critical information about yourself and the conditions necessary for your optimal performance. Testing can assess your skills and  provide this kind of useful feedback.

At the same time, the results produced by assessment devices have a tendency to be taken as literal fact. If you have taken the Myers-Briggs inventory you have ended up with a four letter summation  of your preferred psychological operating style. So, if those letters are “INTP” (introverted, intuitive, thinking, perceiving) we are inclined to assume that is the sum total of our personality functioning style. Ironically, many personality tests and other assessment procedures fail to remind us that we as persons have multiple capacities, some stronger than others, and multiple intelligences, some of which we use better than others. The true picture of a self is complicated and many faceted, always changing and context dependent.

If you’re going to use tests and assessments, which I have no problem with, I will help you remember that at best, those testing results are but clues as to how you function best but in no way the sum total representation of who you are and your capabilities. Use the testing information to broaden your sense of self and capabilities, rather than limit and put your career in a box.

One of the often overlooked benefits of taking a battery of tests is to focus on the more minor or less developed aspects of the person and see how the absence of those skills or aptitudes is holding a person back. If, for example, you wanted to be a lifeguard, but measurement devices indicated that you prefer to be on land rather than in the water, it could be that without giving it a second thought we assume you have to look for a different career. Another possibility is to teach you how to swim which then gives you capacity to function well on land as well as in the water.

In addition to using the 16 Coaching Questions which I have put together for you, I recommend these three testing devices below, which are well-established and reliable instruments you can use to learn more about your unique, strengths and growing edges. All are computer based testing you can take online.

This article from the Wall Street Journal, “Can Skill-Assessment Tests Identify Your Dream Job?” highlights the strengths and values of each of these tests I recommend and what each test can do for you. Cost to take each skill assessment test is also indicated.

(image – Salvatore Vuono)