The Value Of Assessments

“Coaching without assessments should be considered malpractice.”

–Bill Bonnstetter

I love assessments. I have always been a data kind of guy — data that could be turned into information and information that could be used to resolve problems. Every one of my coaching engagements involves assessments of some kind. Why you may ask? Because how do you know whether you’ve improved unless you have a baseline of where you are? Assessments give you that baseline. Assessments provide objective data pertaining to a situation, organization, team, or person. It’s the objectivity that’s important. We are all biased in one way or another and, in every situation, our biases affect our decisions and in my case, how I coach someone.

So assessments are important to me, but you may be wondering how or why they would be important to you. If you are an HR professional, recruiter, executive or a mid-level manager, or business owner, then assessments are important to you as well. Let me ask you a few questions:

Staff Coaching Assessments – What do you use currently to develop your staff? I hope that you do goal setting and year-end reviews and have some kind of reward and recognition program set up. But how do you know what motivates your employees? Most managers think that the only motivation they need is to dangle the money carrot. Unfortunately, not everyone is motivated by money.

How do you identify your employees’ soft skills and competencies? How do you know the best way to communicate with them? And if you don’t know these things, how do you know that they are best suited for the jobs that they are currently performing?

Imagine being able to have your team take an assessment that would identify these things. Wouldn’t it make your job and their jobs easier and wouldn’t it produce a more efficient and effective team for you?

Job Benchmarking Assessments – When you hire someone, what do you look at? If you’re like many, you have a resume to look at, maybe a LinkedIn profile, and your notes from the interview or interviews. Does that give you enough information to be able to know that the candidate can do the job and will fit in with your team? The answer is no. You have some of the information, but not all of the information. You go by your gut instinct when you hire people. They look like they have the experience. They interviewed well and they seem like they would fit in, but you really don’t know how well they will do until they are actually on the job.

Studies have shown that it costs upwards from $30,000 to hire a mid-level employee. Add to that the cost of training once they are on the job and the cost to let them go if they don’t work out.

Wouldn’t it be a good thing if you could identify another piece of the puzzle before hiring a candidate? What if you could identify the key accountabilities of the open position and then measure your candidates against that benchmark? Wouldn’t that help to identify the best candidate for the position and potentially save you thousands in replacement costs?

Stress Assessments – Everyone says that they’re stressed at work, it’s just part of the job. Companies waste millions of dollars each year as the result of stress-related absences. Wouldn’t you like to avoid those absences or at least mitigate them as much as possible? Do you really want to take a chance of losing some of your top talent?

What if you could make some minor modifications to specific things within your company, organization, or group that would reduce the stress levels of your employees? You can. But first, you have to find out what’s stressing them out. Wouldn’t it be good to identify the areas where the majority of the stress lies so that you would know exactly what actions to put in place to actually help? Wouldn’t it be good to know whether it’s job stress, organization stress, control stress, manager stress, or something else? Without the baseline, you can’t know where to start to alleviate or reduce the stress level.

Sales Coaching Assessments – Have you ever seen a sales person let go because they weren’t producing? Have you ever heard someone say that the particular person was good, but they just couldn’t sell? How many times did the company or the manager try to discover in which part of the sales process this particular person was weak? Probably not too often. It’s easier to let them go and replace them. The problem with that kind of thinking is that you never get to the root cause. Finding perfect sales people is not an easy task. Developing sales people into better sales people is much easier.

What if you could identify where they were strong and where they needed help? Wouldn’t it be a good thing from a sales training aspect to have people who were really proficient in one aspect of the sales process teach those who were a bit weaker in that area? Wouldn’t it help the entire sales team and the company if you discovered everyone was weak in a particular area because that might indicate that it’s not a sales person problem, but perhaps a sales management or sales script problem? Wouldn’t that kind of information be useful?

Organizational Design Assessments – Have you ever had a 360° survey done on yourself to help you identify what all those around you perceive your strengths and weaknesses are? What about an employee or customer feedback survey? Did you ever use the information to improve your managers, organization, products, or services? Many of these types of assessments are taken for granted these days and many companies who use them, don’t fully utilize the data. They never turn the data into information, so in turn, they never resolve any of the problems identified by the assessments.

Wouldn’t information about your management team be vital to ensuring that they were effective managers and coaches? Wouldn’t information about your employees be vital to retaining your employees? Wouldn’t product and service information be important to resolving customer issues and improving your products and services? This is more vital than it’s ever been before because of social media. Now if someone has a bad experience, they share it with everyone instantaneously. Wouldn’t you like to do everything you could to avoid that kind of viral exposure?

I love assessments. They make my coaching life easier because I get an objective baseline on which to help my clients build and improve. That same objective baseline is exactly what many are missing so they stumble along trying to improve things before they actually know what to improve and why.


Ron Feher
Ron Feher
“Making your business better by making your people better,” captures Ron’s commitment to helping people. He possesses a breadth and depth of experience in a variety of disciplines including job benchmarking, staff development, manager mentoring, executive coaching, employee and management training. Ron has over 30 years of experience working in large, mid-size, and small companies in both technical and management roles with responsibilities covering management and technical training, strategic planning, tactical implementation, P&L, budgeting, vendor and relationship management, user design and testing, PMO, and process/project management of corporate-wide. He has worked for large, midsize, and small companies in a myriad of industries including telecommunications (AT&T), computer manufacturing (Gateway), mergers and acquisitions (RSM EquiCo), real estate, IT outsourcing and publishing (Spidell Publishing). He possesses an MBA in Technology Management, certifications in project management, international management and eMarketing. He is a Value Added Advisor with TTI Success Insights™, a certified Behavior and Motivation Analyst and certified Career Direct® consultant. Ron is currently serving as Irvine Chamber of Commerce Leads Group Chair, FUSION Leaders Chair and Board Member along with being actively involved with several task forces and committees. As an outreach to the community, Ron offers a Career Transition Workshop to churches and non-profits and was a founding member of the Career Coaching & Counseling Ministry at Saddleback Church. Ron’s favorite quote is “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll still get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers

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  1. I see assessments as a could counter measure for biases, prejudices, and wishful thinking. How else can we know we progressed from how things were, to how things are, to how things will be? We need assessments.

    The problem with assessments is how they’re used. Especially when they’re used for politics, covering up incompetence, and purposely used to get people fired. This is not the fault of assessments; it’s the fault of those real baddies out there.

    • Chris, I can’t agree more. Assessments can tell us a lot as long as the people taking them are honest and don’t try to beat the assessment. They are tools, and unfortunately, like other tools out there, they can be abused in the wrong hands when being used for the wrong reasons.

    • IQ tests are a prime example. To qualify for Mensa there are some that have taken IQ tests more than 40 times. Eventually they learn how to beat the test.