5 Mistakes Assessment Users Make

Feb 04 , 2016

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Far too often when a coach, consultant or trainer provides a person with an assessment, the debrief is more of an event than a life-shifting catalyst for positive change.

This is because people are not sure what to do with the assessment. They are overwhelmed by the information, the accuracy and the intimacy. Too often the person who provides the assessment does not give enough information for how to use this powerful information.

So it ends up in a file, in a drawer. This is a huge lost opportunity!

It is incumbent upon coaches, trainers and consultants who use assessments to both drive home the meaning and context of an assessment and to offer opportunities for how to apply the language to life.

Here are 5 common mistakes assessment users make:

1. They use one assessment regardless of what the issue is. 
Assessments are growing in use throughout the business landscape. But far too often, people who use assessments keep going back to the same tool — usually DISC — to solve all problems. Different assessments should be used to address different issues. For example, when a leader cannot pinpoint the source of disengagement, we would recommend using DISC and 12 Driving Forces (motivators) and our Stress Quotient™ assessment to uncover the issues that need to be addressed. One assessment does not fit all.

2. They fail to use the information to bring about improvement or development
— it goes in the file rather than into their lives. While assessments are commonly used in the workplace, what you learn about yourself through an assessment can be used in relationships, decision-making and in other life situations. Knowing your behavior style and how you prefer to be communicated with comes in handy during parent-teacher conferences, during conversations with a significant other. The assessment is a tool for life not just for work. Apply it everywhere.

3. They focus on one statement and thus degrade the rest of the report.
In all my years of debriefing assessments for individuals and organizations, I’ve witnessed this occurrence thousands of times. Despite the variety of personalized statements, most of which are neutral, positive or constructive criticism, people tend to focus on the most critical statement. They then obsess over it, letting it overpower the information in the rest of the report. If this occurs, be sure to point it out. Have them physically highlight the positive statements around it. Redirect their attention to how this criticism could be a positive in certain situations. Do not let our brain’s wiring to replay negatives and short circuit the positive power of the assessment.

4. They keep it to themselves.
This frequently occurs when mistake No. 3 is made. Assessments are made for sharing! Sharing the information we learn about ourselves is essential. How you do it is up to you. Here are some options: use the assessment to improve your communication with other styles, use it to realign your work to satisfy your core motivators, or use it to build the skills that are less developed. And right when you receive an assessment, before you tuck it away, share it with a spouse, a mentor or even with your team.

5. They do not use it to appreciate differences.
Life is about appreciating one another’s differences and understanding how to relate to, empathize with and appreciate people different than them. Sometimes when confronted with an assessment that focuses on you, the idea of using it to appreciate how other people behave, what drives them and what their skills are is lost. We are all different! That’s a positive thing, because it makes life and work interesting and possibilities for collaboration and innovation abundant!

Information is only as powerful as the extent to which we can apply it in work, life and relationships. Its power is unveiled during the first conversation about the report results. But that’s just the beginning — not the end of the journey.


About the Author

Bill J Bonnstetter