Using PI Behavioral Assessment™ for Coaching

The Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment™ (PI) is a scientifically-validated tool that helps individuals and teams identify and understand their behavioural drives, needs and personality traits.

As a coach, using the PI can be a powerful tool to help your clients identify their natural tendencies, strengths, and areas of improvement and to develop effective coaching strategies to achieve their goals. This article will explore how coaches can use the PI to help their clients better understand their behavioural tendencies and needs and how to use this information to develop tailored coaching plans that support personal and professional development.

Understanding the PI Behavioral Assessment

The PI Behavioral assessment™ measures an individual’s behavioural drives, needs, and personality. It is an untimed, free-choice, stimulus-response assessment based on four primary behavioural drives: dominance, extraversion, patience, and formality, each of which has several sub-traits that help identify specific behavioural tendencies. These traits provide valuable insights into a person’s work style, communication style, and approach to problem-solving.

Dominance: This behavioural drive measures a person’s inclination to take charge, make decisions, and drive results. People who score high on dominance traits are often more assertive, competitive, and direct.

Extraversion: This drive measures how friendly, outgoing, and talkative a person is. People who score high on extraversion traits are often more enthusiastic, energetic, and persuasive.

Patience: This drive measures a person’s preference for stability, routine, and consistency. People who score high on patience traits are often more reliable, methodical, and cautious.

Formality: This drive measures a person’s inclination to follow the rules, procedures, and traditions. People who score high on formality traits are often more compliant, organised, and focused on detail.

Understanding these four primary behavioural drives and the sub-traits that make up each can provide valuable insights into an individual’s personality, work style, and preferences.

These four primary factors are reported for three domains. First, the Self domain illustrates how the respondent describes him or herself. The Self-Concept domain illustrates how the respondent feels they are expected to behave by others. Averaging the Self and Self-Concept scores yields a third, implied, Synthesis domain, which can be interpreted as reflecting a respondent’s likely observed behaviour in the workplace.

The Predictive Index organisation employs a team of experienced scientists and researchers who develop, maintain, monitor, and document; PI’s assessments to ensure they are valid, reliable, and fair. The PI Behavioral Assessment™ has been extensively used in business since 1955, and various PI researchers and external organisations have scrutinised its integrity and consistency.

The PI Behavioral Assessment™ was reviewed by independent auditors who evaluated the assessment against the guidelines published by the European Federation of Psychologists Associations (EFPA, 2013). This audit covered validity, reliability, fairness, development, norms, reporting, supporting documentation and training, and pricing and distribution. The PI Behavioral Assessment™ passed this review and was certified under the EFPA model in September 2018. PI continues to maintain this certification through periodic reviews.

Using PI Behavioral Assessment™ for Coaching

Coaches can use the PI to support their clients in several ways, including: 

1. Better understanding their natural tendencies and preferences and identifying areas where they can leverage their strengths and address their weaknesses.

By understanding the PI assessment, coaches can develop strategies tailored to their clients’ unique needs and preferences. For example, a coach might use the PI to help clients identify areas where they may be naturally inclined, such as leadership, problem-solving, or communication, and develop strategies for leveraging these strengths to achieve their goals. Alternatively, a coach might use the PI to help their clients identify areas they need to improve, such as time management, conflict resolution, or delegation, and develop strategies for addressing these weaknesses.

The clients might use the data and reports to identify strategies to enhance self-awareness of strengths and development opportunities. Some examples include:

  • Identifying career paths or roles that may best suit them
  • Setting goals for the upcoming year or quarter 
  • Reflecting on areas of relative strength or where they might improve their performance
  • Considering projects and what actions they can take to leverage their work style and behaviour

2. Developing tailored coaching plans that support personal and professional development.

The PI can also help coaches develop tailored plans for their clients’ needs and preferences. For example, a coach might use the PI to help their clients develop time-management strategies that consider their natural inclination towards patience or communication strategies that leverage their inclination towards extraversion. By developing coaching plans tailored to their client’s unique behavioural tendencies, coaches can help their clients achieve their goals more effectively and efficiently.

3. Assisting in improving cooperation and relationship between managers, direct reports and peers.

Some assessment tools are most useful when a team leader manages an individual, but they can also be beneficial when trying to understand others on your team. For example, the Predictive Index Relationship Guide compares two people to discover how they work together. It plots two people’s behaviour preferences side by side and provides both strengths and areas of caution. It synthesises tips managers can use when working with a specific employee.

The Relationship Guide is a helpful tool for gaining a deeper understanding of both new and current team members, particularly in the following scenarios:

  • Evaluating the optimal approach for communicating with an employee or enhancing the relationship
  • Establishing mutually agreed-upon methods for initiating conversations, improving interactions, and delegating tasks for follow-up
  • Implementing essential measures to enhance interactions or resolve issues, in order to improve the relationship.

4.Team Coaching

The PI Behavioral Assessment™ can also be used in group coaching to help team members understand each other’s behavioural tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses. By assessing each team member’s behavioural drives and traits, coaches can help team members work more effectively together, identify the best communication styles for each member, and develop strategies for resolving conflicts. Coaches can also use the PI to develop team-building activities considering team members’ behavioural tendencies.

When working with groups, coaches can use the PI to identify behavioural patterns that emerge within the group as a whole and to develop strategies for addressing these patterns. For example, suppose a team is dominated by individuals who score high on the dominant traits. In that case, a coach might develop strategies for ensuring that all team members have an opportunity to contribute to decision-making processes. Alternatively, if a team is dominated by individuals who score high on patience traits, a coach might develop strategies for encouraging team members to take more risks and embrace change.

The Predictive Index, Team Discovery module, can be a valuable tool for coaches looking to understand their team’s dynamics and improve team performance. Here are some ways a coach can use the Team Discovery module:

  • Identify individual strengths and weaknesses: The Team Discovery module provides insights into each member’s behavioural patterns and work style.
  • Understand team dynamics: The module also provides insights into how team members are likely to interact with each other.
  • Improve communication: The module can help coaches identify communication styles that will likely be effective with each team member.
  • Build trust: The Team Discovery module can help coaches identify the factors contributing to team trust.
  • Set action plan for goal achievement: Coaches can use the module to set goals for the team that consider each member’s strengths and weaknesses. This can help ensure that each team member contributes to the team’s success and that the team works together in a way that maximises everyone’s strengths.

5.Improving performance in the current position.

The Self-Concept of PI Behavioral Assessment™ will give insight into the degree of stress somebody may feel in their job due to the amount of adaptation they need to make from their natural behaviour.

Pairing newly updated data with the original assessment makes it possible to understand better how an individual may be stretching away from core needs and drives to perform in each role or as part of their team. Having up-to-date self-concept behavioural data can enable helpful conversations between managers and employees to clarify expectations and guide future behaviour. It can be helpful to get a fresh insight on this after the employee has been in their role for a while, after a change in role or team, and generally as they progress through their career.

Working with a PI Practitioner

Working with a trained and certified PI practitioner is important to use the PI assessment effectively in coaching. These practitioners have the knowledge and expertise to administer the talent assessment solution, interpret the results, and develop tailored coaching strategies based on their client’s needs and preferences.

A PI practitioner can also provide ongoing support and guidance as coaches work with their clients to develop and implement their coaching plans. In addition, they can help coaches identify areas where their clients may need additional support and develop strategies for addressing them.

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