Note: This article is a guide for coaching assessment tools. If you’re looking for coaching tools in general, check out this article on our blog.
Coaching assessment tools come in really handy when you’re working with your coaching clients.
Whether you’re a life coach, a performance coach, a leadership coach, or any other professional working with people to create transformation in their life, the first step is helping your coaches understand themselves better.
Here are some of the most powerful assessment tools for coaching, to integrate into your practice (Pro Tip: you might want to save this article).
But First, Why Do You Need Coaching Assessment Tools?
Your job as a coach is to help your clients reflect on themselves and where they are in life, so that they can move in the direction they desire.
We all love a good a-ha moment during a consultation, when our client’s eyes sparkle and we know that in that moment of silence, they’ve just discovered a whole new version of truth about themselves.
But if you’ve been coaching for a while, you also know that a lot of the work happens in between the sessions.
We don’t always process information in real-time and we often need a day or two to reflect, or hear the same insight from multiple sources for that new lesson to really land for us.
Additional materials can help deepen the insights your clients experience, so that they can arrive more prepared the next time you meet them.
The other reason why a great coaching assessment tool can supercharge your work as a coach, is that they are basically concentrated versions of a scientific experiment. What that means is that most coaching assessment forms are based on extensive research and data, distilled into a compact, nifty tool of pattern recognition.
It allows us to see ourselves in context. In other words, not just what our personality and competence are like, but also what it isn’t and how it sets us apart from other people in our lives and careers.
And since the first step to any change is gaining clarity, these assessments can do a great job bringing those puzzle pieces into your work with clients. You will have more material to work from so you can guide the people under your wings through transformation faster and more effectively.
So How Do You Know Which Coaching Assessment Tools to Use?
When assessing assessment tools (see what I did there?), you need to look at two things: credibility and relevance.
As a coach, you should only use assessments that have been well researched and validated.
Of course, not all clients are created equal, and you never know where the next big insight might come from. But it’s important to differentiate the tests that are merely entertainment (i.e. which Disney princess are you) from the ones that come from a credible source (just like the ones below).
Some might take a long time to complete, others can be finished in a matter of minutes, and it’s good to set these expectations before you assign them as homework. Either way, you can’t go wrong with the ones we listed below.
The other important thing to consider is whether the assessment is relevant to your goals set in the coaching process. Is your client looking for a new, more fulfilling career? Do they have conflicts with their manager or their team members?
Define the question that your client is trying to answer for themselves, and choose the right assessment based on that.
OK. My Client Filled the Assessment, What Do I Do Next?
If the work was done right then and there, they wouldn’t need you as a coach, right? This is the time to dig into how they can use this information to advance in their life and career.
Some assessment tools do a great job in explaining their results, others require you to provide more context to your coachee. So first, get clear on what the results of the coaching assessment actually mean.
Next, ask your coachee to reflect on the information they’ve just gained about themselves. Do they resonate with it? Do they think it’s wrong? Have they learned something new about themselves? Which part was the most surprising to hear?
These questions will be more important than the actual assessment itself because they will allow them to verbalize how they see themselves in the context of their environment and define the parts of themselves they aren’t happy with, aka the parts they want to change.
And, you guessed it, that’s exactly the change they came to you for in the first place.
So let’s look at some of the most effective business, career, and life coaching assessment tools out there to help you move your clients forward in their life and career.
Life Coaching Assessment Tools
The Big Five
The Big Five Aspects scale was developed by Dr. Colin DeYoung, Dr. Lena Quilty, and Dr. Jordan B Peterson, author of the famous book 12 Rules For Life. These scientists have gathered data from thousands of people across all cultures in the world and have identified five main aspects of human characteristics.
This 100-item test goes beyond the usual dimensions personality quizzes look at and helps individuals to see themselves in a more nuanced way. They look at Extraversion, Neuroticism, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness to Experience as the five main aspects of personality and further break them down into two variables.
In the end, your clients will receive a detailed report about their character traits that they can use to understand themselves better in their relationships, career, and life in general.
VIA Inventory of Strengths
The VIA Character Strengths Survey is a free coaching assessment form that takes less than 15 minutes to fill and allows your clients to gain new insights about their biggest strengths and weaknesses. The VIA Institute of Character lists 24 main strengths and their definitions, out of which 5 will be highlighted as your main strengths and 5 will be highlighted as your “lesser strengths.”
This assessment isn’t as much about building your competence in certain areas, but about discovering what your natural strengths or gifts are and focusing on them to become more successful in life. Interestingly, these strengths often overlap with our values, which shows that what we value the most is what we get good at.
The Mindvalley Assessment
Mindvalley, the #1 personal growth platform has partnered with Lifebook, the lifestyle design framework to create a 360 life assessment for individuals.
This assessment tool is perfect for life coaching sessions, as it explores the level of awareness your clients have in all 12 categories of their life. It provides a compass in terms of what your coachee needs to focus more on to feel more balanced and fulfilled. This way, you’ll see more clearly what problems they face and what your coaching sessions should revolve around.
5 Love Languages
Knowing what our love languages are is super important for nurturing conscious and thriving relationships in our life. The 5 Love Languages assessment helps your clients find out how they (secretly) want to give and receive love from their romantic partner, friends and family, and gives them a definition for each languages.
This free coaching assessment tool isn’t only handy in relationship coaching, but as a team-building tool in the workplace too. Oh, and it helps build a rapport with your coachee as well.
Enneagram divides character traits into 9 primary personality types in a number system. The assessment is based on our motives and fears that are influenced by biological factors and environmental influences, such as family dynamics or parental relationships.
What’s interesting about the Enneagram assessment is that it doesn’t just describe your personality as a static character, but also the nuances of how our behavior changes when we are high or low on confidence.
Business & Career Coaching Assessment Tools
The Myers-Briggs Assessment
The Myers-Briggs test is perhaps one of the most widely known assessment tools used by individuals and companies worldwide. The 16 personalities version of this test is backed by hundreds of studies and supplemented by plenty of explanations about each personality type.
Your coachee can educate themselves about what career path might suit them, how they might behave in their relationships, and even their workplace habits.
Project Implicit’s Assessment On Unconscious Biases
This coaching assessment tool should be a must-have in all workplaces. Seriously. Especially the ones which operate with culturally diverse teams or with few women on board.
This coaching assessment form was developed by scientists from Harvard University and other notable research institutions, focusing on unconscious biases toward certain societal groups. You might be surprised to learn that we all have a bias towards certain groups of people, even if we consider ourselves highly aware. Sometimes these biases might even include prejudice against a group that we are a part of e.g. seeing men as more competent than ourselves as women (crazy, right?)
By helping your clients make these hidden biases conscious, you can help them reshape these beliefs so that they can learn how to collaborate better with other people and develop healthier beliefs about them (and themselves).
Interactive Leadership Style Assessments
The first step to helping your clients grow into better leaders is to give them a way to discover their unique leadership style. And the best way to do that is by helping them create a leadership development plan. This isn’t just relevant for corporate leaders and entrepreneurs but also for community builders, group facilitators, and transformational guides, like us coaches.
Every professional context and life situation needs a different leadership style, so it’s best to ask your coachee to fill in the questionnaire with their current situation in mind.
Team Effectiveness Assessment
If you’re working with team leaders or organizations, this is a great assessment tool to measure how well a team functions. According to Harvard Business Review, 3 out of 4 cross-department teams are dysfunctional because of issues with coordination, motivation, or competition.
That’s a crazy number right there which screams for your help. If you’re an organizational coach, this is a great place to start to assess the team you’re working with and create a plan of development for them.
Remember, human beings are complex (and that’s the beauty of our vocation, right?) so no one coaching assessment is sufficient for your clients to solve their problems. But they are a great anchor to use in between your sessions, to uncover the focus areas for your transformation process.