ON PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILE TESTING

I went through my files last weekend and found some Executive assessments that were made of me some years back at the time the whole team was assessed as part of a team development process. I read from there that “it is important to her to believe in what she is doing” and “to agree with and understand the strategy”. A bit strangely put, I think. Of course every company should make sure that it has a sound strategy that is communicated so that it is understood and accepted by the employees. Also any company should ensure that the work is seen meaningful and motivating. Luckily, my self-confident attitude was seen more of an asset than a burden. I’m smiling here.

There was also an earlier assessment there from another company. With only couple of years in between, some assessments were quite contradictory. Could it be that you sometimes give the answers that you know are expected from you or that you think support a certain profile you want to show, even if you want to answer honestly? And most of us have different profiles at work and at home which confuses even more.

I recently heard from one company that their experts hate the profile tests and do not believe in them while the HR team loves them. Perhaps there is some Expert profile left in me from the legal counsel years. Otherwise, during my journey from Executive Director to Business Coach and Entrepreneur, I can see that my profile has changed quite a lot. Or to be more precice, I think my profile has changed and that has made me choose another path.

Catherine Fitzgerald wrote in her book Executive Coaching about the change of personality in midlife. She refers to the work of Carl Jung who asserted that the goal of the first half of life is to win for yourself a place in society, focusing on being a specialist whether as a parent, profession, business or way of life. In the second life, in contrast, the focus is being a generalist, on revisiting and incorporating all of the parts of yourself that you had put aside in order to make your way in the world in the first half of life. The goal here is individual integration and wholeness. The first signs of this change can be disturbing because we don’t understand them. A tough leader suddenly gets passionate about gardening? According to Jung, this period is one of preparation for a significant, although not necessarily conscious or obvious change that is about to take place. If we accept these developments and expand our sense of who we are, we initiate a rich, although not usually easy, process of integration within ourselves, Fitzgerald writes.

Many are familiar with the Jung’s profile test of three dimensions of individual difference: 
Extraversion – Introversion
Sensing – Intuition
Thinking – Feeling
I did the test when reading the book this year and, indeed, the result was quite different from the one I got some 10-15 years ago.

There is an interesting article on Action Logics Leadership Profiles on HBR. They also are steps in leadership development path. You can read the article at https//hbr.org/2005/04/seven-transformations-of-leadership. If you are interested, I can help you do the test with analysis by psychologists.  

Fitzgerald writes that a coach can help in understanding where you are now and can support in clarifying your present values and goals. Coach can help you in understanding and benefiting from the reactions that indicate new directions for work. This could mean expanding the present work role, developing the organization one step further, getting a new approach to work e.g. more as a team or with the customers or in a cross border project.  Coach can help stabilise the change. This journey can be a huge learning experience and boost to anyone. I have had the privilege to be part in such journeys with my coaching clients and indeed -it has not always been an easy journey but an important one and a start to something better.

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