FAQs on Personality Assessment & Coaching.
To learn more about Aalto Potential's approach, here are some frequently asked questions regarding the construct of personality, strengths and limitations of personality assessment, and information on what coaching is and how it can be of benefit.
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A: Personality can be defined as our unique characteristics, our way of adapting to life, and the way we experience the world, influenced by our genetics, beliefs and environments. These relatively stable characteristics manifest in diversity among people. Personality can be considered to refer to both conscious and unconscious patterns of one's typical behaviour and qualities, as well as integration of both internal and external experiences of the individual. However, due to its complex entity, there is ongoing debate on the most accurate definition as our understanding of ourselves is ever evolving!
Q: What are psychological tests? What is a personality assessment?
A: In general terms, psychological tests are a standardised measures of one or more psychological attributes. These can include attributes such as career interests, values, motivational needs, cognitive ability, or personality attributes. More specifically, the aim of a personality assessment is to understand individual's psychology by defining personality constructs and using scales and statistical methods to measure them. It is most commonly in a form of a self-report questionnaire with multiple choice questions. As well as to measure, they are designed to describe, predict, and explain aspects of one's personality and behaviour. Aalto Potential utilises a range of psychological tests, including personality assessments, and can recommend the most suitable ones depending on the client's needs.
Q: Are personality assessments reliable?
A: Due to the expanding market, there is an overwhelming amount of psychological tests available globally. It is therefore important that a personality assessment, or any other psychological test, has adequate psychometric properties, such as test reliability and validity – it consistently measures what it claims to measure. This means identifying how the test was constructed and the demographics of the norm groups used. The aim of personality assessment is to explore the ways individuals differ (or are alike) from each other and to measure it as objectively as possible in relation to others in a relevant comparison group. Personality profiling can therefore help to make aspects of one's personality more tangible and comprehensible for the purpose of feedback, self-awareness, goal-setting, self-management and team cohesion development.
A: Whether the personality assessment has been taken as a part of selection, on-boarding or coaching process, it is vital that the results are fully explained to you as it is very easy to make biased, quick assumptions on what the results may indicate. The feedback meeting will allow you not only to understand the results more in-depth, but it also allows you to validate or ask questions on your profile. The assessments used at Aalto Potential are in-depth measures of personality and will therefore require integrated understanding of one's personality makeup, identifying strengths and limitations. Feedback and validation interview is therefore a vital part of the process. It is important to understand that no personality assessment by itself can provide a complete picture of an individual - the person's contribution of personal insights and real-life experiences will bring additional, unique perspective to the result findings.
A: To make the assessment process as valid as possible, it is important that you answer the questions based on your most typical behaviour, who you are right now. There are no 'right or wrong' answers in personality assessments and it is important to be as truthful and transparent as possible. You might be unsure or indecisive about some answers and that is completely fine – the assessments are designed to take this into account. Also, the validation meeting will clarify any aspects you may have been unsure about. If the assessments is taken as a part of your development process, it is important for the results to show where you are now, rather than where you aspire to be. Similarly, if the assessment is taken as a part of selection process, it is important to give the employer an understanding of who you are now, rather than who you aspire to be. This will ensure a more congruent representation of you and your personality.
Q: Does personality change over time?
A: In the most recent decades of personality research, it has become more affirmative that personality is in fact static and adaptable to some extent. Even a personality assessment profile is generally considered valid for two years maximum. From a personal development perspective, if you work on an area of your personality that you wish to alter, behavioural change techniques can make a difference. However, some of the more fundamental parts of your personality, which can vary for each individual, are likely to be more rigid and this is why it is important to value and accept our individual diversity. Furthermore, a lot of the research in personality change vs. stability has also been linked to the predictability of one's environment. In other words, your personality and behaviour is less likely to change if your life circumstances allow for a more stable and predictable environment.
Q: What is personality?
Q: What happens after I take a personality assessment with Aalto Potential?
Q: Should I answer the questionnaire based on who I aspire to be or who I am at the moment?
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.
Q: What is coaching?
A: Coaching can be defined as a forward-focused process for improving performance, attaining goals and unlocking a person's potential. In a more intrinsic level, it is about discovery, awareness, self-confidence, self-reliance, and empowering one to find the answers and take charge of their own choices. So not only can coaching help one achieve results, it is also about personal growth and can help one discover who they really are.
Q: Do I need coaching?
A: Coaching can be beneficial for absolutely everybody. Individuals most often seek coaching when they want things to be different, sometimes without being able to pinpoint exactly what it is they want to change. This can be explored throughout the coaching process. However, the key thing to remember is that the coachee (you) is ultimately responsible for moving forward and obtaining their goals so you need to be prepared to take action in order to see results. The coach will in turn support, motivate, challenge, and believe in you and your potential throughout the process. In an organisation, coaching can be beneficial for the employees, supervisors, managers, and leaders to further their personal development and enable team cohesion. Coaching can also contribute to the overall organisational success by increasing employee engagement, personal fulfilment and inclusiveness.
Q: How can I benefit from coaching?
A: Common benefits from coaching include enhanced performance, leadership skills, motivation, self-reflection, decision making, and work-life balance. Coaching can also help dealing with change, both individual and organisational. In leadership roles, the benefit of executive coaching can be for the leaders themselves as well as their followers as the overall quality of communication can improve, which can further enable psychological safety – the climate of being comfortable expressing oneself and one's ideas, as well as challenging others and being challenged.
Q: Will I be given advice on what to do?
A: Rather than advisory or mentoring relationship, a coaching relationship is more harmonious, supportive and co-active. This means that instead of the coach giving direct advice to the coachee, they will steer the process by challenging, probing and empowering the coachee to take accountability, whilst exploring different options and plans of action.
Q: What are the differences between a coach and a mentor?
A: The main difference between a coach and a mentor is that a coach does not necessarily have specific industry knowledge, where a mentor does. Coaching is about facilitating self-directed learning, where mentoring is about giving specific advice. Also, a coach will focus more on performance and self-awareness, where a mentor focuses on helping to obtain the right skills and is therefore more 'single-focused' rather than a coach who is more holistic in their approach - looking at the individual as a whole.
Q: When do I start seeing the results of my coaching process?
A: First of all, each coachee - their goals, traits, and behaviours – is unique and therefore each will have different results. Also, importantly, the coachee is responsible for their own development and will retain ownership of the outcomes, whilst the coach will steer and motivate this development and bring another point of view into the process. Due to the fluid nature of the coaching process, there are no specific timelines - change will always take time, focused energy and attention. However, you are likely to become more aware of your unique characteristics and behaviours as well as internal and external obstacles and even after your first session and can start building on these to achieve your goals and objectives, step by step.
You have a measure of choice and control of what you are aware of, but what you are unaware of controls you.