Hi, My Name is Roberta and I am an Assessment Addict
By Roberta Hill
Just label me an INTP, Di, 5, Green with Orange (but red in another model), Driver, Theoretical, Synthesist with high expressed control needs and a fact finder / quick start action mode. Yes, it is true; I am an assessment
junkie. And if you know what most of this means, then you too need AA--Assessments Anonymous!
Not only do I take every quasi assessment that I can get my hands on, I keep a record of them all. Recently, while I was clearing out my papers for my move to Geneva, I stumbled across an old file that had some of my earlier results from before 1980. Scary, isn't it? What is more disturbing is that over the years, I have retaken many of the same instruments or variations therein and my results really haven't changed. There is definitely a pattern and a consistency... as there should be. That's the good news.
Some people tell me that they don't like assessments because "They all say the same thing." In some instances, particularly with behaviorally-based instruments there is some validity to this observation. This is a good thing. How many times do we have to hear the same message before we choose to do something about it? There should be continuity and relationships between the various instruments, even if the models and theories are different.
In my view, assessments give insights into who we are and how we may show up in the world. They aren't about trying to reinvent ourselves. Different assessments do this from various starting points and use languages or concepts that each of us relate to in different ways. So one instrument may
build on another, and coaches can use this information to assist clients to make better choices and decisions.
The bad news is that we tend to easily label people, box them in and stereotype them, based on our biased understanding and interpretation. We either make excuses for behavior or we limit our beliefs about others. In other words, we're bigots. I confess to you that I do it more than I care to admit.
I tend to justify it by explaining that I am just using it as quick language to help the person I am talking to "get on the same page." It is still dangerous unless used in generalities and NEVER to explain some action by a specific individual. We have all seen it done. "Oh, well you know, he did that because he is a... (you fill in the blank)." It is unacceptable in gender, cultural and religious discussions, so why should we tolerate it around assessments?
To counteract these tendencies, I have started a new AA group with my very own Twelve Step program. Here are the principles for the Assessments Anonymous Recovery Group:
- We admitted we were powerless over assessments--our analysis had become BORING to others.
- We believed that a Power greater than WABC, ICF or IAC could restore us to be the coaches we were meant to be.
- We made a decision to give up our will and our "expert advice" by relying on active listening and good questions instead of the "answers" in some assessment report.
- We made a searching and fearless inventory of ourselves without reference to ANY assessment or instrument.
- We admitted to our mentor coach, to ourselves, and to all those we have labeled that most of the time we really don't know what we are talking about.
- We became entirely ready to continue to develop as coaches and limit ourselves to no more than two assessments per client--EVER.
- We humbly asked clients to forgive our shortcomings and promised to stop debating whether MBTI is better or worse than DISC.
- We made a list of all clients where we let the assessment become the agenda, and became willing to make amends to all those clients.
- We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would only validate that we are indeed boring.
- We continued to be ever present, and when we slipped into using assessment acronyms and jargon we promptly admitted it and stopped it.
- Through our own self-work and continuous learning, we listened to our inner selves, took ourselves a little less seriously and followed our own spiritual path without labeling others or ourselves.
- Having had a reality check as the result of these steps, we carried this message to assessment junkies, and practiced these principles in all our affairs.
If you have recognized that this program may be for you, contact Coach Roberta to find out about our next meeting. By the way, first names only!
Author's note: I strongly believe in the power and work of those involved in Twelve Step recovery programs and this tongue-in-cheek article is in no way meant to offend.
Hill, MBA, is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC), as well as a Professional
Mentor Coach (PMC) and Certified Teleclass Leader with Corporate Coach U International.
Roberta owns www.AssessmentsNow.com,
an online assessment provider with a network of more than 40 qualified coaches worldwide.
Read more about Roberta in the WABC
Coach Directory. Roberta may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.