Psychometrics & Mentoring- A perspective

Are Psychometric Assessments accurate enough? Is that the right approach to use? What if the assessment does not match? Will it be a problem for my child?

With the experience of using psychometric assessments and having compared many of the assessments that are available in the market today( There are too many available in the market today.. so I shall not take any name here), one thing I can say for sure is that parents need not worry at all. Because a Psychometric assessment is a “Nice” to have tool, and not a “Need” to have tool. If some one claims to be a counsellor or mentor or guide or coach, whatever terminology you may want to use, the knowledge of basics of psychology and skill of understanding the personality is paramount. There are some basic foundational theories and principles of psychology that are generally used in the industry for eg.: Holland’s RAISEC code for understanding Interests, MBTI ,DISC, Big 5 ( OCEAN), 16PF and many more such theories and models for understanding the behavioral styles, and then there are a plethora of “Aptitude” tests to understand the “cognitive abilities”. There are other attributes such as “skills”, “values( Hidden motivators)” , “expectations”, “aspirations” and the list can go on. Psychometricians are working on developing assessments for each of these attributes and if interested, anyone can get all the assessments done and you can start analyzing each attribute in detail. But the fact is that most people are only likely to get more confused with so much of data and information, unless there is someone who can help to understand the basics and how it is relevant and can be used correctly for “decision making”. All this is true only when all the said assessments have been tested for reliability and validity and are accurate enough to be used. Unfortunately, in the market today, there is no guarantee that this is true. Even if they are accurate enough, the interpretation and application is way more important than the “detailed report” and the “amount of information” gathered ( eg.number of pages in the report and the number of factors or number of dimensions being measured are just good for marketing) . Most of the times, there is so much focus on the “psychometrics” and its accuracy, that we lose the focus on the “subject” viz. the child. Every child is unique and needs to be treated as that and not the result of an assessment. The result of a psychometric is just a pointer towards certain characteristics, the real nature of the child will be much more and many times a combination of many different personality types, and needs to be understood through conversations and during the conversation in the session with the parents as well as the child.

A good mentor or guide is one who will just use the psychometric to get the initial data so that he/ she has a starting point to begin the “validation” process, in order to fully understand the child. This is the most important step in the process, because one cannot rely completely on any psychometric report. Human beings are way too complicated to be caught by any single assessment, as they adapt to situations and are capable of changing also over a period of time. What is more important is to understand them properly in order to enable them to take the right decisions, or rather should I say avoid taking “wrong” decisions based on the “extraneous influences“. A good mentor will focus on understanding and helping the child communicate and open up to identify the “intrinsic inclinations”, and rule out the “extraneous influences“. This is a skill which comes with a lot of practice and cannot be taught in classrooms or cohorts. It is complicated because teenagers have a natural tendency to be influenced by the environment, and therefore it is extremely complex and difficult for them to differentiate properly between the two elements clearly. And there could be overlaps and even mistakes, which is fine as long as the child feels strongly about it and is consciously taking the decision with realistic information and data, and not in a superficial manner. Which is the second quality needed for a good mentor, to have good knowledge and research data of the world of work, and its various demands.

If we are guiding someone for decision making for a role in the industry, then the realistic knowledge and even experience of the industry is essential for a mentor or a career guide. If we are not aware of the reality, we may land up giving them wrong understanding and the child may be very happy for the time being with an illusionary understanding about the career, only to regret and repent after completion of the higher education and getting into the first job, to see that “reality” and “expectations” are Poles apart. There have been so many cases of people misguided only based on “aptitude” testing and this is why many parents dread going to a career counsellor, and prefer the child to take their own decisions. But remember, a teenage child is heavily under the influence of the environment and to separate the “external noise” from the “inner voice” is not at all easy. You can be easily convinced that what the child is saying is the “inner voice” and not realise the power of “peer pressure” that plays a huge part in the mind of a teenager.

To conclude, Mentoring and career guidance is not about “psychometrics” at all, it is about “impacting” the long-term decision-making correctly, keeping in mind the “intrinsic inclinations” and “behavioral attributes” and many other factors as mentioned above, which are only unraveled in the course of the mentoring session in exhaustive and engaging conversations, in which the parents have to be necessarily present. This ensures a complete validation of findings and also making the parents equal partners in the process of mentoring, without which the mentoring process can never be successful and impactful.

“Jeevan Pravaas” Life mentoring services offers personalized Mentoring with a powerful psychometric tool, as well as complete involvement of parents as partners in the decision making process to create a “Win-Win” situation for all, keeping the “Intrinsic Inclinations” of the child and the “behavioral traits” at the core to enable a “Happy“, “purposeful” and “energetic” life for the child as well as the family. It is not a one-time session, rather an ‘outcome based‘ approach to enable the right decision making and continued engagement till we achieve the desired outcome.

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