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Are Leadership Assessment Tools Really Worth It?

Thoughts on effective leadership

Are leadership assessment tools really worth it?

The road between where you are and where you want to go is full of possibilities and discoveries. When you open up your eyes and embrace them, they can take you far beyond the place where you’ve set your sight.

In leadership coaching, “success” is always defined by you – the person being coached – and the goals you want to achieve. This picture of what success looks like to you provides the frame and the focus for every coaching conversation.

The coach’s job, however, is also to see what is possible for you that you might not even see…and then knowing how to get you there. This process requires you to get to know yourself on a much deeper level and learn to discern how you thrive and when you are being your worst enemy.

What Leadership Assessment Tools Can Do

When used right, leadership assessment tools can provide the foundations for this self-discovery and open the door to much greater transformation. There are several assessments that I like to bring into the coaching, for this particular purpose. They are very powerful because they help exponentially expand my clients’ “field of vision” and understanding of who they are and whether they act in accord with it or not.

Informal Interviews 

Confidential interviews with the people the client works with more closely. They cover things like the client’s strengths, what they need to work on, and what others would like to see them do differently; crucial feedback that the people interviewed would not share directly with the interested party and is then presented in the form of a confidential themes report. 

An Online 360 Report

The people who work with the client complete an online survey and answer open-ended questions about the client’s leadership skills. Different 360 leadership assessment tools focus on different areas, like specific leadership skills, emotional intelligence or executive presence. In this case, too, the feedback is confidential and usually organized by the groups they work with – for example, their bosses, direct reports, peers, clients, or key stakeholders. 

Strengths Assessment

The Strengths Profile reveals the client’s strengths (framed as the skills they perform well AND give them energy) in contrast to their learned behaviors (skills they are also very good at, yet exhaust them) and their weaknesses. The distinctions are often very eye-opening. Gaining a good grasp of where they fall in each area helps leaders work from strengths and recognize where they need support from others on their teams to avoid getting in a rut and exhaustion.

Innate Talent Assessment

The Kolbe Concept gives clients a solid understanding of how they are naturally inclined to work and problem solve, and whether they are going against those natural tendencies in their day-to-day. It also helps them understand how others work best and how to build the most productive teams. The results almost always generate answers to struggles that the client has been aware of for longer but never been able to figure out.

Each leadership assessment tool provides the client with a different perspective; a piece of the puzzle to help create a complete picture of where they are and where they need to be to achieve their goals.

Where the Tools Fall Short…and How to Bridge the Gap

Of course, reading and understanding the assessment reports is one thing; using them to radically improve the way you work, lead, and collaborate is another matter altogether. That’s where the breakdown often happens and that’s why skillful coaching is required to bridge the gap between your new self-awareness and its practical implementation.

When working with my clients, I usually share the results of the leadership assessment tools gradually and we then contextualize them into their unique work reality. This is important to give the client time to process them without overwhelm and learn how to apply their findings until it becomes second nature and the client is ready to move to the next level of awareness, performance, and impact.

When that happens, be ready to see dramatic improvements in all areas of your life. That’s the magic of the coaching process! 

For example, recently I was at a company dinner function. While chatting over cocktails, the spouses of two of my clients thanked me for the improvements the clients were making at home as a result of their coaching.  Each had been receiving coaching for about 10 months, during which we had been working to apply their 360-leadership skills feedback and innate talent assessment results.  While their interactions at home were certainly not the goal of the coaching, their increased self-awareness and improved communication skills had a positive impact on their homelife as well!

On To You 

Powerful coaching accompanied with the right leadership assessment tools opens up possibilities and creates shifts that may not even be defined or targeted when the coaching begins. 

Where do YOU want to go? Are you curious to see what other bold results you could achieve if you were to broaden your perspective of yourself through the right combination of leadership assessments and skillful coaching? If so, let’s chat!

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