In the context of development, a psychometric tool is a way of looking at individual differences and feeding that back to raise self-awareness. Often using a tool can give people the language to help them think about them self in relation to others, which can raise their social awareness. In turn this can make a difference to future choices in thinking and relationships.
How can you get the best value from psychometrics?
Resist choosing psychometrics too early in the coaching relationship, unless you have a clear indication of what is needed. The danger is that you are more likely to offer your favourites, if you pick early, rather than those which truly relate to your client challenges. Different psychometric tools look at different dimensions of human experience. Make sure that the psychometric you choose fits both the overall purpose and context of the coaching and also fits the needs of the unique individual. You will be in a better position to assess potential value of tools once you have got under the surface of the coaching need.
When you are contracting with the organisation and when you have your three-way conversation (between coachee, their manager and you – the coach), talk about the value, purpose and likely costs of choosing and using psychometric tools, so it is clear up front and there are no surprises. Be clear on who else will see the report, and once this is agreed, stick to the agreement.
Tools relevant early in the coaching could be around values, goals and motivation. 360-degree feedback can help you discuss what is most significant to work on, what outcomes are most meaningful to stakeholders, which can help people focus their development efforts and prioritise. Personality, drivers or emotional intelligence could be explored later to take the conversation deeper into the patterns of feeling, thinking or behaving a particular way. If you decide on a tailored 360-degree feedback tool, consider co-designing it. You making sure it is relevant to coachee and stakeholders goals and likely to yield a balance of affirming and challenging feedback.
Check what previous experience coachees have of psychometric feedback. What they got out of it and how well it was handled may influence how they respond to you. It is considered best practice to provide the report only when you can talk it through.
What is the role of coach in the conversation about the psychometric feedback?
Once you have the results from a psychometric, your role as coach is to:
1. Establish the context that sets the frame for the conversation. What is the purpose of the coaching conversation and what is the function of the psychometric within that conversation? What do they hope to learn or get out of the experience?
2. Provide a framework for the individual to glean the information they need from the report. Invite them to explore the sections of the report (so you must be familiar with it) and ask them what seems relevant to their goals.
3. Answer their questions on correct interpretation of the information, (so you need to be clear about how the information in the report was arrived at and how to interpret it). Be ready to gently correct any misinterpretations and clarify the report. Help coachees work through their emotional responses to the information.
4. Establish what learning they take and what meaning they make of the report, so you will need to be prepared with great questions to help them focus on meaning making. Recognise emotions arising and help the individual to process these as further information and resolve these into committed action plans.
5. Run through different perspectives or scenarios to check that the action plan is sound and deals with the most significant points arising from the psychometric.
6. Re-emphasise strengths and positive points from the psychometric. Many people will find it easy to focus on what they need to change, or to dwell on information that they see as a weakness. Do what you can to balance the conversation, without glossing over areas for change.
7. Remember that there will be a lot for the client to digest, so ensure you have a follow up session to understand what has landed for them and what they now want to act upon. Follow up at intervals to check the individual’s progress with their plan, where you can, relating it back to the information on the psychometric that started the line of thinking.
Learn more about psychometrics:
Each publisher of psychometrics has best practice guidelines and/or training, so they can help you become knowledgeable and skilful in your use of their tools. In addition, the British Psychological Society reviews tests which can help your selection of robust, well-researched and well-reputed tools to help your coaching work go well.
A further source of help comes in the form of a book, which challenges coaches to consider which tests, if any, are appropriate and in what circumstances: Psychometrics in Coaching – using Psychological and Psychometric Tools for Development, an Association for Coaching book, edited by Jonathan Passmore, published by Kogan Page.
We believe that it is important for coaches to have a good understanding of all the tools of their trade, and that includes psychometrics. In addition, we believe that it is crucial for coaches to raise their own self-awareness and social awareness, to expand their capacity to work skilfully in relationships.
Our own Experiential Coach Development Programme, includes two psychometric instruments so that coaches are reminded what it is like to receive real feedback first hand, and then use this experience to learn how best to incorporate psychometrics into the coaching conversations they have with clients.
Learning about coaching has never been such good value! Our accredited programme kicks off soon. Do join us – read more by clicking below.
Do you want a Coach? Lorenza Clifford and Michelle Lucas are both well reputed Master Executive Coaches and have availability to work with new people. We are always happy to discuss our working approach and how we might help you on your unique path.
Do you want to join a coaching programme, to become an accredited coach yourself? On 17th May, during International Coaching Week, we are offering a free webinar: “A day in the life of a coach – what’s it really like?” The intention is to encourage an “eyes wide open” discussion forum for the growing numbers of people interested in becoming a coach. It is planned for 17th May 12:30 for forty minutes, and Michelle Lucas and Lorenza Clifford will be on hand after the call to take further questions. This is a free way to “Dip your toe in” and discover if coaching might be for you. We will share our own experiences and answer as many questions as we can. As Accredited Coach Supervisors with decades of coaching experience, we can help you get a feel for whether this route will be right for you. Book through our Events page
Looking forward to meeting you.
Michelle and Lorenza