Are you an introvert or extrovert? Are you a “giver” or “peace-maker”? What is your leading style? And does it even matter?

You may have crossed paths with one or more personality assessments, from the Enneagram, to DiSC, to Myers Briggs. You might naturally love to analyze What is your leading style? And does it even matter?yourself, or you might be skeptical whether putting yourself in a box is helpful. You wonder if it’s useful to somehow assess your clients or students, even in a more informal manner.

According to Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, assessment is not only helpful, but crucial to being able to guide someone appropriately. Not necessarily using the above methods, but there must be a method. Just like it is important to assess IQ and ability before teaching information, it is equally as important, if not more so, to assess personality, emotional ability and circumstances in order to help someone achieve personal growth.

In The Principles of Education and Guidance (Chapter 6), Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak writes that the mentee’s character and circumstances are the two central pillars upon which guidance rests.

It goes without saying that the soul is unlimited and cannot be contained in labels. However, every person has unique expressions of the soul, and it is important to know someone’s strengths and abilities in order to know how far and in which specific area they can be encouraged to stretch themselves.

If someone is coming to you as a personal coach or mentor, they are probably facing a challenge. They might be struggling with their weight, their relationships or their ability to cope in a given situation. If you want to help them move forward, by encouraging them to make small goals for themselves, it is crucial for you to have guideposts to know what they can or cannot handle.

Some character questions: Do they get stressed easily? Are their challenges coming from anger problems? Do they get easily depressed? Do they have a lack of confidence?

Some circumstance questions: Did they grow up in a challenging family circumstance? Do they have financial issues? Do they live a hectic urban life or a calm rural one?

These questions are not asked arbitrarily, but in order to know where the client is, so they can make a practical plan to go forward.

If you are coaching someone to reach a certain goal, it has got to be cateredTheir goals must be attainable to that individual. Their goals must be attainable and within the range of capabilities G‑d gave them. If you push too high or too far, you can unwittingly cause your client to fail. The Talmud teaches: “Many attempted to emulate the ways of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, and were unsuccessful” (Brachot 35 b).

Don’t set the bar too high that it gets missed.

The only way to know whether a student, child or adult is able to work on a goal you wish to hold them accountable to is by taking the time to ask questions and assess whether they are indeed able to reach that target.

Self-Reflection: Have you made an assessment to glean insight into who you are talking to?

Source: “The Principles of Education and Guidance,” Chapters 6 and 7