Popular psychological assessments (psychometrics) used in leadership coaching

Dec 3, 2017

What does coaching do?

By most definitions, coaching moves clients from their current situation to a desired situation. The new situation is desired to be free of constraints faced by clients in current reality, empowering them to higher performance in line with their potential.

What blocks people from enhancing performance to potential?

Timothy Gallwey says that this movement is an Inner Game. What lowers performance are interferences – mind games. Coaching helps create the awareness needed by clients to identify these inner barriers and motivate them to anchored action.

Many of these internal barriers are not fully recognized at a conscious level. Coaches help clients become aware of what blocks them at the unconscious level through detailed exploration. In order to explore, coaches need to understand the conditioned baggage carried by clients and the drivers that may help cleanse them. This baggage and drivers are unique to each client, forming their personality.

Psychological assessment tools, often called psychometrics, help clients and coaches gain awareness of their personality, of who they are. This, in turn, helps coaches guide the process to shift clients from where they are to where they wish to be.

Good assessment techniques help in several ways. They:

  • Establish baseline personality
  • Uncover what may be inner blocks
  • Correlate personality with work & life skills
  • Uncover hidden strengths and blind spots
  • Enable monitoring progress
  • Support customization of coaching process to client

Many of the well known psychometric tools have been developed from personality models conceived by Freud, Jung, Maslow, Rogers, Eysenck, Goldberg, Marsten, Johari and others. The following are some of the most popular psychometrics.


Jung’s book of Personality Types listed the following three natural personality types:

  • Extroversion Vs Introversion
  • Sensory Vs Intuitive
  • Thinking Vs Feeling

Myers and Briggs, in their hugely popular MBTI tool, added:

  • Judging Vs Perceiving

Most organizations use MBTI to get the hang of what their people are about. While not helpful in deeper analysis of limiting beliefs, the tool helps with understanding intra and inter personal factors in relationships.

Big Five

Goldberg’s listing of

  • Extroversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Neuroticism
  • Open to Experience

still remains a powerful way to understand oneself and others, and along with Marsten’s work has led to creation of many commercial tools.

  • Commercial Tools

Among popular commercial tools (other than MBTI listed earlier) that use a combination of legacy psychological models are:

Some of these can be applied to group feedback as in 360 feedback, and some help in deeper analysis through identification of blind spots. Most require paid certification to practice as assessors.

Multiple Intelligence

There are several tests based on emotional and such other intelligence factors that help with better understanding of why we do what we do. Of these emotional intelligence tests and strength tests are most popular.

There are a few good sites that help provide basic understanding to help learn the fundamentals of these tests.

Many coaches get themselves certified in one of the well known assessment tools both to fulfill organizational client needs and also apply to individual clients through paid or free sites, to make coaching more effective.

With a strong trend towards evidencing results of coaching in performance and behavior, assessment tools can provide the means to measure behavioral progress, which in turn can be linked to performance.

Ram Ramanathan, MCC
Ram Ramanathan, MCC


Ram is the Founder and a Principal at Coacharya. As the resident Master and mentor coach, Ram oversees and conducts all aspects of coaching and training services offered under the Coacharya banner.

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