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Formal assessments are typically leveraged in coaching relationships and provide more objective insights into the capabilities and development needs of those being coached. Unique to coaching (i.e., not typically used in mentoring), formal assessments are used to identify both strengths and weaknesses and can be leveraged to build specific targets into coaching plans and goals. There are four basic types of assessments, each with their own value and usage.
A self-assessment is any test that is a) self-reported, and b) provides insights into one's own evaluation of their personality, behaviors, motivations, beliefs, attitudes, style, strengths, or preferences, and c) is not formally validated as a predictor of current or future capabilities. They are widely used in leadership development programs and provide a certain level of awareness that a leader can use when reflecting on their preferences or strengths as a manager of others. They can provide useful data on an individual's preferences for certain types of work or tasks, people with whom to collaborate, the style they prefer to use when leading or collaborating, etc. As a result, those can be leveraged in career and progression discussions, team-building with a group of employees to understand different work styles and preferences, etc.