Sunday, April 24, 2011

Do you have the right assessments in your coaching toolkit?

One of the questions that fellow coaches often ask me is “What kind of assessment tools do I need?” There are hundreds, if not thousands, of coaching tools in the marketplace. Choosing among them can be daunting or confusing.

I usually tell coaches the following:

  1. If you plan on doing any leadership coaching, then it is essential to have a Leadership 360 tool in your toolkit.
  2. It is very useful to have a “style” or “preference” tool in the toolkit, too. Most individuals will run into challenges dealing with different individuals, and if they have a sense of their own style/preferences, as well as the other person’s, they will be well-served. The top three that come to mind are Social Styles, Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), or the DiSC tool. They are different, but share certain aspects of trying to identify style. My personal preference is Social Styles. It is behaviorally-based and grounded in great research.
  3. Emotional Intelligence is such an important aspect of overall effectiveness, that the coach might consider an EQ tool. There are several good tools out there, and many coaches I know use the “EQ in Action” profile.
  4. Another great tool for helping guide individuals through significant transition is the Personal Directions tool by MRG.

If I were only going to pick one tool, however, I would choose a leadership 360 tool, if my primary audience is mid- to senior-level leaders working in organizations. While many exist in the marketplace, my personal favorite is the Zenger Folkman 360. Zenger Folkman has built a proven process around debriefing 360s, focusing on strengths, and helping leaders know how to leverage what they are best at to make a difference. I am certainly biased, but I believe that this tool is the best 360: it is simple to administer, easy to understand, and is well-grounded in a large body of research. People I know have compared the Zenger Folkman 360 to other 360s available in the marketplace. They typically say that the differentiators include:

  • a strengths-based approach
  • well-grounded in research, with a large database supporting the findings
  • easy to use and interpret, from both the coach’s and user’s perspective
  • a comprehensive toolkit to support a leader in building a development plan
  • a foundational “textbook” which supports the overall philosophy and implementation: The Extraordinary Leader book, authored by Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman
  • comparison to the “best” leaders versus an average or 50th percentile norm

Zenger Folkman has recently made this unique 360 available to independent coaches, who wish to add a 360 to their toolkit. Please join us for the Coaching the Extraordinary Leader certification training on July 7 – 8 in beautiful Santa Barbara, California. All participants will not only receive their own 360 feedback, but they will also be able to register a client and receive/interpret their client’s feedback report in session. For more information on this event, contact me or visit the Zenger Folkman website.

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