By Benedicte Flouriot
"The Strong, a comprehensive tool to help you identify what you need to find in a job in order to reach fulfillment."
You chose a career because you had to. You were 15, 18 or 20 years old and you didn’t really know what you wanted to do for the rest of your life. The “rest of your life,” oh my gosh, such a lifetime decision! Like most teenagers, you didn’t know which career path to take right out of high school, so you chose a job that your parents, your friends or your school suggested, without really knowing what it meant.
Hitting a dead end in your career path
And now, you are in this job. You’ve been in this role for a few years but you don’t remember why you chose this career path over another one.
You’ve reached a place where you want a job that will be more aligned with who you really are, that will leverage your natural talents, that will bring you more meaning. You don’t want that unfulfilling job anymore but you don’t know where to start.
As a career coach, the first thing that I do with my clients is help them remember who they are, what they like doing, what they are good at and what they value. To get there faster, I use the Strong Interest Inventory®, one of the world’s most widely used and respected career planning tools. It maps out general interest patterns to describe a personality and preferred work environments. So, stop being in the dark and start with this simple exercise that will help you list what you really enjoy in life and make a living out of it!
What is the Strong Interest Inventory?
The Strong Interest Inventory® is based on the RIASEC model and was developed by psychologist John Holland. His theory was that there are six types of personalities—Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, Conventional and six types of work environments that can be matched to the different types.
The Strong mainly looks at your interests, but will also help you identify:
- What motivates you (personality)
- What you enjoy doing (interests)
- What you need to get from your work in order to be satisfied (work environment)
- How you learn, work, play, and live (approach to life)
How the Strong Interest Inventory can help
It is used by individuals who need help identifying careers that suit their strengths, preferences and abilities, but also by organizations who want to attract and retain the brightest talents and use them the most effectively. It is most recommended for:
- Career exploration – opens up the world of work to first-time career seekers and those considering career transition by identifying their interests and demonstrating how they relate to various occupations and careers.
- Career development – helps heighten individuals’ self-awareness and provide deeper understanding of individual strengths and blind spots, including work style and risk-taking orientation.
- Employee engagement – helps employees align their interests with areas of responsibility in their job that reflect those interests.
- Reintegration – helps individuals navigate the reintroduction process after a period of disconnection.
(From cpp.com – The US distributor for the Strong Interest Inventory)
How the Strong Interest Inventory helps in the coaching process
- It saves time – while a standard coaching process takes several sessions to identify your values, motivations, interests and work environments, the Strong allows only one session to build the toolbox necessary to help you self-reflect.
- It brings valid and reliable information – the Strong has been around since the 1920’s and known as the “ancestor” of career assessments. Being around for so long, it is a well-researched, valid and reliable instrument that brings valuable information for exploring career options. The instrument is regularly updated and adapts to the current professions and social-economic trends. You can trust the results and use them with confidence to explore the career options that make more sense to the way you behave.
- It lists careers that match your personality type and your interests – the report suggests a list of recommended jobs and industries that best fit your personality. It’s inspirational and sometimes highlights professions you don’t know, or would have never thought about before.
- It becomes your lifetime support – it’s a 19-page report demonstrating how you function as a professional. It has been proved that the scores are stable over time so you will be able to refer to it even once the coaching partnership ends. For every new decision, you’ll have a road map to follow that will give you the chance to make conscious and logical choices.
But don’t get me wrong! The Strong is not an advocate of truth! As in all assessments, accuracy is never 100% and no one but you know what you want. It is a beautiful tool to feed coaching conversations, and bring on the table potential careers you may not have considered.
Be aware that the assessment is only effective as part of a coaching process. Partnering with a Strong certified coach will not only tell you about your interests but will help you explore your career options, focus on your decision-making, make a plan of action and carry it out.