I recently did some career coaching and it was definitely a learning experience. I feel like a lot of coaching is about helping you ‘learn’ things about yourself that you may have always known – somewhere deep inside of you. One thing I found interesting that my coach told me was I am already a very self-aware person. Sometimes, when you have a certain quality, it is so second-nature, that you don’t realize there may be others out there who don’t have that quality.
Self-awareness is defined as “conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires.”
It is so important, especially as you search out long-term career options, to have some level of self-awareness. This self-awareness can be a starting point for finding the right fit for you – whether professionally or in other areas of your life, like through your personal relationships. Oftentimes, we let outside factors influence our decisions and don’t listen to ourselves – and what is truly important. Ever hear someone talk about how they have the perfect job or life ‘on paper’? This is usually a prelude to their realization that something is missing, usually because they thought they were pursuing what they wanted, but really they weren’t.
So how do you gain more self-awareness? One way is through personality assessments. Coming from the human resources field, personality assessments are something I enjoy taking part in. Each one allows me to discover something new about myself – or perhaps to rediscover something about myself that has been buried through years of training and conforming in my ‘day job.’ Although you may not have the budget to allow for long-term career coaching, coaching and assessments can complement each other rather well. Even a short-term coaching relationship can help you to gain some perspective and clarity.
“Career coaching can help you to identify and embark on a meaningful professional path that fits your unique qualities and desires. To identify the path, it’s important to get clear on which careers best fit your unique strengths, values and motivations (which is why assessments can be so useful). And to embark on the path, moving forward with confidence and professional savvy is tantamount. A career coach can help you to successfully navigate this process by providing resources and support to ensure accountability and action,” explains Josie Robb, a certified career coach at www.awakenyourwork.com.
There are many assessments available online, but here are some of the most popular and widely-recognized:
Myers-Briggs (http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/): This is the classic, and most often cited, assessment. I took this at some point in college. It provides your rating in four different areas to give you your ‘type’ from among 16 different possibilities. As easy to understand review of the types can be found here: https://www.16personalities.com/personality-types Just in case you were wondering, I fall somewhere between INFP and INFJ.
Strengths Finder: This assessment provides you with your top 5 strengths from a list of 34 that includes things like Connectedness, Discipline, Harmony, Responsibility and Woo. Used in a team setting, it can help you understand your own motives and how you interact with others who may have very different strengths than you. Given the right situation, I am not against putting your strengths on your resume. I may have done it once or twice. The Strengths Finder 2.0 book comes with a code to take the assessment online, and then guides you through each of the strengths. If you are in a leadership position, or simply want to understand your team (or spouse) better, you can get the Strengths-Based Leadership book for further discussion of how to work with people of differing personality types.
True Colors: This assessment is a bit more simplistic in that it provides four colors into which various ‘personality temperaments’ are grouped: blue, green, orange and gold. Taking this assessment will provide you with an output that shows which color or colors you are strongest or most dominant in. As an example, I am blue-dominant, meaning I am a ‘helper’ and feel things more emotionally, whereas many members of my work team are green-dominant, in that they are focused on logic and using mind over emotion.
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