Foolish Psychometric Choice

9th June, 2016

Those who work with me at a much deeper level will know that I am all about generative wisdom and emergent exploration, however some clients really benefit from starting with a little more structure. Some require a boat and some navigation tools before setting sail into the level of fluidity that free-thinking requires. And this is where many NLP models come in – as do psychometrics.

I enjoy introducing psychometrics as an entry point into exploring how different we all are. The profile element eases discussions relating to differing preferences… whilst caveating their necessary generalisations and challenging potential confirmation bias.

We can feel safe when we have formulas and models and well administered psychometrics provide a great foundation when we have a team who may have very experienced varied levels of self development.

In the hands of a well-meaning individual without depth of insight, perhaps¬†printing off a quick online test and heading off to label colleagues as a colour, shape or element… psychometrics can be devalued and this can lead to them being disregarded as credible development tools… when they certainly do have their place.

Sounds patronising doesn’t it… and perhaps so… It is after-all a tendency of mine to be provocative. But here is the rub…

My friend Grant Soosalu uses the term “mother as surgeon”. It is a great analogy to describe foolish compassion and it goes like this…

Imagine you needed heart surgery, you could absolutely guarantee that the one person who would have the greatest interest in your survival would be your mum / dad or most loved one… Their desire for your survival would vastly outweigh that of any external professional – Fact! ¬†So here is the question… Would you hand your family / loved one the scalpel? (assuming of course they aren’t a trained medic!)

NO of course you wouldn’t!

You would trust the skills of a trained surgeon with in depth knowledge to address any challenges and complications that arose and navigate the best outcome.

Now this isn’t to say the use of psychometrics is wholly remedial like heart surgery – some businesses use them to resolve team challenges and for others they are a proactive intervention to begin to really maximise the potential of an already highly performing team.

Much like preferences and personal attributes each psychometric tool has it’s benefits and limitations depending upon the context.

Whilst I would consider them a starting point – psychometrics provide an excellent orientation point.

Part of the role of a psychometric profiler is to transcend their limitations avoiding potential labelling and coaching to identify where the insights these tests provide can add the greatest value for the individual, their teams and those they interact with.

And so… the true value of psychometrics comes within the conversations and reflection that they promote, rather than the paper and online reports they create and this is where engaging a professional profiler will assist in ensuring depth of analysis.

Psychometrics represent a not insignificant investment (unless of course you are going for the false economy of the quick and dirty online option above).

So before you get swept away with the latest beautifully packaged product, that could potentially offer style over substance… Please take a look at my webpages on psychometrics and if you are thinking they might be useful for you and your team – let’s chat.

As a learning and development professional it is my aim that you make an informed choice based upon your desired outcome, sometimes that might include a psychometric and sometimes it won’t.

About Lizzi Larbalestier

Professional Blue Health Coach, mBIT and NLP trainer specialising in coastal coaching. Creating meaningful conversations, facilitating action and change for the results that you deserve. #bluehealthcoach #oceanempathy #bluemind