Understanding Ourselves and Others Through Personality Profiling
As a qualified and award-winning career coach, Jenny Gleeson's origins in the Goldfields region, along with her fervour for working with regional not-for-profits, give her a unique perspective on addressing challenges related to disability, mental health, youth at risk, and Indigenous spaces. Jenny's involvement strengthened this project's leadership and ensured a holistic approach.
In a world characterised by diversity and complex human interactions, the quest to understand ourselves and others takes on paramount importance. Personality profiling, a method that delves into the intricacies of human behaviour, has emerged as a valuable tool in this endeavour.
During this article, I will share with you how three organisations came together to deliver the objectives of the National Career Institute Partnership Grant (Round Four) funded by The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources to assist young Aboriginal people reach their full career potential.
Through a comprehensive exploration of Personality Dimensions®, a profiling system designed to foster effective communication and self-awareness, staff from the successful organisations, employers in industries of interest, and employees from various education and training providers, came together to discover how the tool effectively supported our young people in exploring careers of interest.
As the saying goes, "Know thyself." The depth of this saying resonates across cultures and generations. However, comprehending the multifaceted nature of human personality is a task that requires nuanced methodologies.
The collaborative efforts of Keipa Boodja Aboriginal Corporation, Breakaway Aboriginal Corporation and I culminated in a first for the Southwest of Western Australia. Operating on the traditional lands of the Noongar people, our organisations not only acknowledged the significance of cultural heritage but also the contemporary need to empower young Aboriginal individuals with the tools to navigate their career paths effectively.
Breakaway Aboriginal Corporation, established in 2016, has evolved into an organisation with a diverse portfolio aimed at addressing social barriers, supporting marginalised communities, and fostering growth. Through programs such as "90 Degrees," "Housing First Support Service," "Time to Work Employment Service," "Target 120," and "Accordwest Throughcare," Breakaway's lived experience approach delivered by qualified employees, creates a powerful synergy of knowledge and empathy.
Keipa Boodja Aboriginal Corporation, operating for 14 years and coordinated by two female Noongar Elders, is deeply rooted in the local community. Armed with a team possessing diverse credentials and experiences, the corporation has consistently delivered culturally sensitive services encompassing mentoring, cultural awareness, leadership, management, and understanding the impact of substance abuse. This expertise serves as a beacon of guidance for Aboriginal youth seeking to bridge the gap between diverse backgrounds and ambitions.
As for me, I saw the opportunity to bring together two Aboriginal Corporations who service and support young Aboriginal people in their community. Many of the employees of both Aboriginal Corporations were already familiar and impressed with the Personality Dimensions® tool, so when I approached them, they jumped at the chance. I took on the role of Project Lead and also supported the delivery of the tool to the young Aboriginal people on a weekly basis.
This initiative had a comprehensive set of objectives, each directed toward empowering young Aboriginal individuals to achieve their career potential. The program sought to create awareness of career pathways, bridge the gap between education and employment, and cultivate stronger partnerships between stakeholders in the education and employment sectors. Through increased understanding of sought-after skills, enhanced collaboration, and improved quality of career guidance, the project aimed to transform the way young people perceived and approach their career journeys.
Central to the project's methodology was the utilisation of Personality Dimensions®. Originating from Canadian experts and backed by robust empirical research, this profiling tool served as a unified language to bridge communication gaps between educators, parents, guardians, employers, and young Aboriginal people. It facilitated not only better self-awareness but also a deeper comprehension of others through colour types (the tool uses colours to describe different personality types. This colour-based language makes it easier for people of all ages and educational backgrounds to grasp the concepts).
Incorporating this profiling tool into the project proved to be a transformative step. By becoming Certified Facilitators, the staff and members of both Aboriginal Corporations equipped themselves to guide the young Aboriginal people they serviced on their career journeys. The tool's simplicity and effectiveness allowed the young people to input their scores into personalised Score Cards, revealing their preferred modes of interaction in various aspects of their lives from how they deal with conflict to communication styles, what they value above all else, and how they manage stress.
In a world characterised by diversity and complexity, the tool offered all involved a deeper level of insight and understanding in a simplistic way. Through the collaboration of these organisations, the young Aboriginal people were provided with a non-judgemental and casual way to embark on a journey of self-discovery and relationship-building.
This funding round concluded in the first half of 2023, having guided over 40 young Aboriginal individuals aged 14 to 18. Those who participated unanimously recognised the influence of Personality Dimensions® in aligning their career aspirations with their distinctive personality traits. It not only broadened their comprehension of potential career pathways but also fostered stronger collaborations among employers, educational institutions, schools, and community groups. Through every interaction and discovery of colour type, this project guided everyone involved towards a world where understanding helps bridge gaps. It empowered the young participants to not only to understand themselves but to also communicate more effectively with the adults who support them and the employers who wish to engage them.
A true story
Imagine thinking you're limited to one path because of your family's talents. Unfortunately, it happens all the time. That's where this story begins. A 15-year-old Aboriginal girl, passionate about art, believed drawing was her only option due to her family's artistic background.
But then, she attended a Personality Dimensions® “Taste of Colour” activity with TAFE lecturers who had been invited along for a half-day session with the students, giving them an opportunity to chat with them about their interests, sparking creative career ideas.
During this event, which is an interactive, hands on, unobtrusive activity, an Art Lecturer connected with our aspiring artist. They casually talked about what TAFE offers and the Lecturer told her about local art events she could join. Although our young Aboriginal girl was very introverted, with the support of the Art Lecturer, she took a leap and enrolled in a community art class. Suddenly, her creative world blossomed beyond drawing.
This story shows that self-understanding dismantles self-imposed limits. With mentors believing in potential and understanding self, there are no bounds.
It's more than her story – it's a reminder that knowing ourselves and having supporters who believe in us, supports the path to growth. Not only did this program build career confidence for the young Aboriginal people who participated in the program, it also built the capacity of the Breakaway and Keipa Boodja Aboriginal Corporation staff, who obtained a Level I Personality Dimensions® Certification and can now implement their understanding of the tool into other programs they run. Additionally, this program enhanced the relationship between other education and training providers, family members and employers.
Jenny will be presenting on this topic at the upcoming CDAA Good Theory Good Practice event in Perth and the Career Development Association of New Zealand International Conference 2023.