CliftonStrengths: So You’re a Skeptic…

You aren’t the first skeptic I have met. As a matter of fact, I’m a bit of a skeptic myself and I have respect for skeptics. We might be stubborn, but we are also good at keeping people honest. In this next blog let’s look at the validity of the CliftonStrengths assessment and more importantly, why you might not agree with your own assessment results. So, if you want to learn more about the “trustworthiness” of the CliftonStrengths assessment or why you might not believe your own results, read on…

The first thing that I want to quickly address is the actual, scientific validity of the assessment itself. NOTE: this is an assessment, not a test. This is an important difference that can be summed up by noting that you can’t “fail” the CliftonStrengths assessment. It simply measures talents. You can go to the Gallup website, or simply do an internet search for “Reliability of CliftonStrengths” and you will find plenty of articles and research. While I did not read them all, I can say that from a scientific reliability evaluation, the CliftonStrengths assessment is very reliable. As you might imagine, these reports are very technical and chock full of statistics and information about Internal Consistency and Test-Retest Reliability. Trust me, CliftonStrengths did pass this test! But, if you don’t trust me you can read about it here: The Clifton StregnthsFinder 2.0 Technical Report.

That means that there is a very high probability that your results are accurate. So, from a scientific perspective, I suggest that you set aside your skepticism and embrace your results. That said, no assessment is perfect and results may in very few cases be inaccurate.

Ah, but you’re a skeptic because you don’t personally agree with your results. I have occasionally run into someone who is surprised that a talent showed up or may even disagree vehemently that a certain talent is in her top 5. What then?

Four Primary Reasons: Ignorance. Opportunity. Culture. Your other talents.

When I am coaching someone who is surprised that a certain talent showed up in the top 5 I first ask my client to suspend judgment and assume that the assessment results are correct. Let’s take a deeper look at this talent and the ways it shows up in that person. In the majority of cases, as we discuss the nuances of a given talent, skepticism gives way to acknowledgment. 

It is more common to have someone take issue with a specific characteristic of a talent such as “people with Input are collectors,” “Restorative means you like to do your own home/auto repairs,” or “Competition means you love to win and hate losing.”

If this is the situation that you find yourself in, I invite you to read about your top 5 talents in my blog entries. Bear in mind that the talent theme descriptions are generalities and not universally true for all people with a given talent. That said, the talents may show up very differently in different people. This makes perfect sense since our talents are shaped by our values, culture, experiences, skills, and knowledge. 

So, still skeptical? Or do you perhaps know someone who is skeptical about this assessment?  In the next post we’ll look at the first of those Four Primary Reasons for our skepticism: ignorance – and it’s probably not what you think! Ignorance is simply a lack of information, but it seems many people think ignorance means a lack of intelligence. 

If you’re impatient to learn more, feel free to contact me and set up a free 30-minute coaching call to explore your talents. 

“CliftonStrengths” and the 34 CliftonStrengths theme names are registered trademarks of Gallup, Inc. The graphic elements copyright © CoreClarity, Inc.

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