I am a self-confessed sceptic of any skills and tools I use as I like to see the results and the impact.
It’s not that I don’t trust what I do, but being a sceptic keeps me looking at what I do and how I do it from new perspectives.
One of the best tools I use is a psychological tool called MindSonar. You see, I am a language and behaviour profiling consultant, NLP trainer and executive coach and last year, this fantastic online psychological tool arrived on UK shores.
Every time I use this tool I always ask myself: ‘Is this online tool more flexible and reliable than other tools that businesses use?’
On 29th June, the answer to the question became a resounding ‘yes’!
Why? Well, it was the first ever International MindSonar E Summit featuring ten people from around the world, myself included, giving a five-minute presentation each how MindSonar practitioners use this psychological profiling tool in their own particular area of work and expertise.
The presenters at the E Summit were from diverse backgrounds; human resources, psychology, business & executive coaches, teaching, training, counselling and recruitment.
Reliable and flexible
Having listened to everyone else’s views, as well as my own, I am being totally open and honest with you when I say that Mindsonar is both reliable and flexible and certainly has a place in the world’s personal and organisational development.
Its reliability is tested regularly using the nationally-recognised Cronbach’s Alpha and its flexibility becomes apparent when you listen to the E Summit on webinar and listen to the ten different approaches to using the tool.
So what is special about this tool compared to psychometric tools, please note that I do not call MindSonar a psychometric tool as it does not label your personality as being like x or y.
This tool is context-specific. It measures your value base, how you learn and how you think and thus behave in that given context.
Developed in 1990 by Dr Jaap Hollander, a Dutch psychologist who now runs the Institute of Eclectic Psychology, the tool has practitioners across three continents.
Its beauty is that it does not confine you to being a set personality. What is unique about it is the flexibility and diversity of its application. I am yet to come across a situation where the application of MindSonar is not helpful.
The varied speakers and subjects were fascinating to listen to. They were:
Jennet Burghard, Netherlands: MindSonar and Start-Ups.
Scott Morris, USA: Finding Hero – Capitalising on Individual Strengths in Team Building.
Monica Castañeda, Perú: Empowerment through self-knowledge and MindSonar.
Michelle Akel, Ecuador: MindSonar in Market Research and Consumer Behavior.
Tomasz Zawadzki, Poland: The evolution of Influence.
Bianca Negron, Puerto Rico: The Value of Personal & Employer Branding Powered by MindSonar.
Ian Clarke, United Kingdom: Recruitment in a Boutique Label Printing Company.
Carlos Arguello, Ecuador: MindSonar in HR: Hiring & Recruitment.
Debbie Yarhi, Guatemala: Successful Leadership with MindSonar and Lego Serious Play.
Bianca Mackintosh, Netherlands: A New Workshop Powered by MindSonar.
Building blocks to innovation
I like to think the goal of the E Summit was most definitely met and that was:
To create awareness about the different uses of MindSonar and to promote collaboration between different MindSonar professionals around the globe.
This collaboration was fantastic to see and will be the building blocks to new and innovative, yet specific ways to support the development of those of us who use the tool.
A consistent message came through from everyone and that was to say that it is an accurate and cost-effective targeted solution.
Since we launched Mindsonar in the UK, I have had many people say to me: ‘What exactly does it measure?’
It’s a good question. There are so many psychological profiling tools out there for consumers that all work in different ways.
The beauty of Mindsonar – and one of the main reason why I am a passionate advocate of it as a learning tool – is because it measures two things i) your thinking style and ii) what is important to you.
Let’s start with the second of those things – what is important to you? That may be simplified as your criteria. You may see that as your value base as a person. Or what you see in others and maybe what you appreciate about an environment. What you believe in.
We codify that within a value base called Graves Drives which derives from spiral dynamics and there are seven Graves Drives that it measures.
Then it measures 12 different styles of how you think. Are you pro-active? Are you reflective? Do you like to create possibilities? And so on. It also identifies how you take information in and how you learn. Or you visual, auditory or kinaesthetic?
Mindsonar measures a lot but it is very granular and precise. As you know, your thinking style changes on a regular basis, whether you are with the kids, your partner, going to work or cutting the lawn, in a project meeting or closing a deal.
Mindsonar can work in different environments and can solve different problems. Its appeal is broad in so many walks of life and yet so specific .
It has the ability to be multi-functional. It has the ability to not have a set way of judging and saying a leader is like X, a coach is like Y, and a teacher is like Z.
Strengths and blind spots
What it will say is ‘this certain style of thinking will be more useful in this context’. It identifies strengths and blind spots (and I intentionally don’t use the word weaknesses because Mindsonar assumes you can change your thinking style).
It doesn’t say you are a colour, or a set of words. It assumes you think differently within a different context.
In my previous career as a nurse, I would spend time listening to patients (external pattern) and think of the different possibilities for care (options pattern). But should that person suddenly have a cardiac arrest, I would move straight into a procedural mode and jump in and start to resuscitate (proactive, process and activity pattern)
That shows we all have different thinking styles in different contexts and that is why Mindsonar has such a broad appeal as a modern-day thinking tool.
I speak from personal experience when I say that the world of the self-employed business person is a lonely field to be in.
You spend a lot of time with yourself, with very few teams around you.
I have spoken to a lot of people in the same boat too and they all seem to face similar problems – especially those working from home.
“How do I make the most of my working day and get things done?”
Well, it’s a learning process. Few people begin life as a self-employed person and nail the workflow process straight away. It takes time.
It takes time to avoid procrastination.
Identify strengths and weaknesses
We have all felt that feeling where you know you have to do something but you get waylaid doing something else instead.
The Mindsonar tool can play a big part in allowing you to avoid procrastination where you can.
It can also enable the self-employed to identify areas where their strengths are and where there might be weaknesses.
What is that area for you? Where do you know you excel and where are there areas you feel you can improve upon?
Help improve yourself
Taking the Mindsonar test in the context of: ‘me at my self-employed best’ can identify what you do really well and other areas where you could improve upon or, crucially, where you may bring in additional resources to improve yourself.
For example, me as a business person running Workforce Solutions, I know that I am not strong in the area of following processes and writing out plans. So I realised that I have to go out and get that from other people.
That took me quite a while to realise after a spell of procrastination over what I should be doing. I used to lament myself for not doing it properly instead of recognising that my strengths are in creating new training materials and being pro-active.
Mindsonar can help the self-employed in the same way. It can identify where a person is making mistakes and will help identify how to do things in a more systematic manner.
Before running an executive coaching business, I followed a career in health, starting nursing in 1986. I have been privileged to work with a variety of professionals and as my career progressed from clinical to strategic management, people would come to me for advice about their career and next steps.
Most of the advice I gave was based on my experience of what worked for me: CV structure, responding to interview questions, preparation, clarifying meaning and how to interview prospective employers.
As a coach, I became more adept at asking those precise unlocking questions that would support a client in looking for their next role. However, having recently started to use a new online psychological tool called MindSonar to support career coaching, I look back at how much more I could have supported people in their decisions, getting to the heart of what they wanted.
What is the benefit of using MindSonar in the context of career coaching?
This month I have completed two career coaching sessions powered by MindSonar. It is based on meta programmes, which means that the tool explicitly identifies a person’s thinking style and their values, that is what is important to them. It is also context specific and assumes thinking styles change depending on the context.
So how do you career coach using MindSonar?
I ask the client to think about when they are at their best in work, or in a flow state at work. The context the client and I usually set is, “at my best in work.” This elicits the client’s best thinking style when at work and their blind spots, along with what is important to them.
Why is this important in career coaching?
Firstly, by identifying what is important we can establish what a client values in other people and the environment. This provides an objective and accurate picture of their prospective employer and narrows the search. It allows the client to prepare to ask questions pre-interview and at interview to identify if the company is suited to them. After all, why would you work with a company who does not share your values?
Secondly, we establish a client’s strengths and blind spots but more importantly, we can show how a combination of thinking styles works for them. How does this help? The client gains clarity about their thinking style and can review the job description to establish if they can meet the objectives. They can refine their CV based on the analysis in a short, punchy brand statement, “This is who I am and what I can do.”
The client can also identify how they may come across to an employer. For example, a highly proactive thinker and options client will tend to talk very fast and move from topic to topic. They may need to practice slowing down their speech and keeping to one or two points. Together as coach and client we can identify and challenge the blind spots in their thinking. Knowing thyself and being honest with an employer allows for an open and stable footing, as opposed to getting through the door and ending up on capability report!
How did my sessions go?
The coaching sessions I ran highlighted some great insights and changes for both clients, most notably it opened their eyes to new horizons. One client stated at the beginning of the session that his outcome was to walk away with new ideas of what to do and who to work for, also stating that his ideal role was in policy writing. His thinking style and value base when analysed did not appear to be a match for a policy writing role. What he enjoyed about his current role was shaping policy, working with a team, leading people and creating possibilities. He is now focused on what he wants to do and what type of employer he wants to work with.
Does MindSonar do everything?
No, MindSonar powers the coaching, it’s not a personality profile you post and leave people to read. MindSonar gives a specific advantage to both you and the client to challenge assumptions and achieve the best outcome.Your skills as a coach are still essential.
You will appreciate I have covered only a few aspects my coaching session, but as coaches, you will know how much work you take a client through. With MindSonar in my coaches toolkit, the coaching and any change work are more precise, getting to the heart of the matter. As a coach, you are able to quickly support a client who is, after all, paying for your expertise.
MindSonar certification starts June 11th to find out more click here.