For many of us, they started at a young age. Perhaps as early as five or six when a kind, but somewhat intimidating adult asked us to count to 20 and recite our ABC’s before signing off on our entrance into first grade. Later on, our correct and incorrect responses governed which math class we were allowed to enter as we nervously started middle school. And the stakes only got higher. Prepping to take the ACT or SAT, we knew that our responses would determine which college we could attend, possibly shaping the trajectory of our entire life.

In each of these cases, we stretched for the right answers. We knew the assessment served as a gatekeeper, allowing us in or keeping us out.

Learning-centered assessments couldn’t be more different. Far from determining exclusion or admittance, these tools focus on self-awareness, shared understanding, and team cohesion. When administered by professional, certified coaches and consultants, learning and development assessments often lead to unforgettable “ah-ha” moments. Whether utilized with a high achiever who is preparing for her next stretch assignment or manager and direct report who just can’t seem to communicate effectively or a whole team that is committed to finding the pathway to high performance, they often lay the groundwork for positive, transformational change.

Two of our favorite assessments Everything DiSC® and The Five Behaviors have helped thousands of teams clarify and achieve their shared goals and prompted millions of leaders to uncover their blind spots, spurring both personal and professional growth.

So, forget the extra sharp #2 pencils, the sweaty palms, and racing hearts. Forget the quest of the “right” answer. It’s okay to relax. This is going to be fun.  And you are bound to learn a whole lot about yourself, your colleagues, and your team. We’ve broken through the gates.