The importance of proper Feedback when Psychometric Assessments are used for leadership development & coaching
28 November 2022, By Paul Lillywhite
Background to the leadership development program
Lisa (not her real name) was on a leadership development and training program with several other colleagues of a similar age. Lisa was a young mother with 2 toddlers and all the challenges of a young working family. Our task was to provide coaching to her and the other leadership trainees in the peer group, giving them insight into their own motivators and fears but also to gain an understanding of how others will react to their emotional expressions and actions.
We selected two of our psychometric assessments
InterDISC is a behaviour assessment that measures an individual’s behaviour across four dimensions: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance. The assessment identifies ‘how a person will do things’ and the motivational drivers for success. Most importantly it highlights the behavioural fears that dictate the individual’s leadership style. We selected this assessment for the exercise, because the reports are almost self-explanatory and the assessment is non-threatening.
The Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue) was also selected for the exercise, as it plays a very important part in allowing people to function effectively within any environment or setting. EQ influences how a person understands themselves and others with regards to what they need and what others need emotionally. It also enables you to recognise and manage your own strengths and limitations and those of other people.
Furthermore, TEIQue is different to other El instruments because it does not suggest that the person can have “good” or “bad” scores. Instead, the scores should be looked at in the context of the situation and this in turn will lead to a platform for discussion and potential development opportunities.
The InterDISC Assessment’s results of Lisa in an abridge version of the full 5-page report
- Lisa will likely be an effective listener, is sensitive and empathetic in discussions.
- She will normally prefer to prepare in advance and ask the questions “what, why and who” to encourage others to provide her with the information from which she can provide advice, guidance or agree solutions to problems.
- When giving advice, Lisa will use her natural empathy to develop rapport and discuss how to move forward.
- When presenting, the content is likely to be well-organised, engaging, informative and even paced. For some personalities Lisa may take too long to get to the point.
- If running meetings or one-to-one sessions, she will appreciate time to gather the information she requires in advance in order to plan a productive discussion.
Motivation & Engagement
- Lisa is motivated by feeling secure, being an integral part of the organisation and being sincerely valued.
- Praise and recognition will also be welcomed but should include her team or colleagues who also made contributions.
- Lisa should be given a fair amount of autonomy and independence.
- Although she will seek and follow clear directives, Lisa will work best if she feels trusted to do the job her own way.
The TEIQue Assessment’s results in an abridge version of the full 29-page report
The scores are shown as percentiles, and broadly fall into three categories: 1-29 percentile suggests the person exhibits this facet less than most people, 30-69 percentile similar to most people and 70-99 percentile more than most people.
Lisa’s’ overall score on the TEIQue (known as the general mood indicator) was higher than most with a 75 percentile. Overall, individuals with high scores feel positive, happy, and fulfilled. In contrast, individuals with low scores tend to have low self-regard and can be disappointed about their life as it is at present.
Lisa had a range of scores, but the significant variance was in connection to the facet of well-being, where both her Happiness (short term) and Optimism (longer term) scores were in single figures, falling at the bottom end of the “less than most” banding. This would mean that Lisa is sad, dissatisfied and pessimistic but that there is a great deal of room to improve and to recognise the upcoming challenges. Put differently, Lisa’s psychological state at the times focuses on the ‘half empty glass rather than the half full glass’.
The Feedback Method Used
The Feedback Results on interDISC
Lisa’s behavioural profile description fitted well with the role she was in, and the feedback went really well. She thought the profile was a really good reflection of herself at work and said it was extremely accurate. We explained that no assessment is 100% but if she answered the questions honestly and spontaneously generally the results are accurate and depending on the candidates’ level of self-awareness, they either think the report is extremely accurate or pick up on a few areas of variance for discussion and or clarification.
At the end of the feedback session during a general chat, she said she was really looking forward to seeing the results of the rest of the team and expressed her excitement to compare their results later that day. – This is something we always recommend with teams as we believe it increases trust and understanding amongst teams and leadership groups.
The Feedback Results on TEIQue
This appeared to be at odds with our earlier feedback around the InterDISC and Lisa’s high “Influence factor” where we talked about her positive and outgoing behavioural style and now her Well-being Traits around Happiness, Optimism and Self-esteem measured in the low percentile group.
We started the feedback by asking her an initial question around do any of the facets stand out to her or are they generally in the right area in terms of where she felt they should be? We unpacked each facet and discussed the positive and negative value of each facet in terms of her results. Lisa kept on commenting on the accuracy of the results and was almost in full agreement. We then focused on the results of the two independent facets of Adaptability and Self-motivation of which both were in the more than most people banding. She spontaneously provided the reasons as to why that was the case and how she exhibited and use these traits in her leadership and personal life. Working around the Windrose graph we got to the two lowest scored facets Happiness and Optimism and explored the pros and cons of the low scores. Contrary to seeing it as being at odds with her InterDISC results she believed that the low scores were indicative of her actual psychological state.
Interpreting the Matrix of InterDISC and TEIQue results
Lisa described her understanding of the feedback of the two assessments and the matrix of the results as follows: “The InterDISC is only a reflection on the behaviour at work and the TEIQue is a reflection of the whole person both at work and in their personal life”. She went on to explain that the happy, easy going, positive, glass half full person was a mask she puts on (just like her makeup) for work, it was her way of coping with the busy, stressful environment of her job. However, it didn’t reflect how she felt at home with a young family, big mortgage etc.
This opened the door for a constructive discussion and discovery of looking at the various options and avenues she could pursue in order to get a better balance as she realized that in the longer term her current lifestyle was not sustainable, because she was finding it harder and harder to maintain the “mask”.
The Moral of The Case Study
It demonstrates the importance of qualified feedback, developing a conversation, a trained person interpreting the results and asking questions to understand the individual better and ultimately improve their own self-awareness. To use a variety of tools to get to the true answer, we often refer to feedback as peeling away the layers of an onion to get to the heart. Using in this case two assessments that complement each other very well in this development/leadership arena, helps to a greater level of understanding because when you really understand yourself, it becomes far easier to understand others and be a leader.
Learn More About TEIQue & DISC
Want to learn more about TEIQue and DISC assessments, and how they can help your business? Request to take a free test yourself, and we will provide you with feedback on your results.