Why is it So Hard to Talk About Our Needs?

Courtney AbrahamTimeline for training

  • Personal 1:1 to go over results
  • 101 Workshop – explore similarities & differences
  • 102 Workshop – increase effectiveness and communication practices among team members
  • Triad Coaching – comparative reports reviewed side by side
  • 201 Workshop – debrief work relationships and effors with simulations

Sample Workshop

  • Birkman history and fundation
  • Do something active
  • Life Style Grid learning & flip chart activity
  • Life Style Grid Needs – if yuo were coaching a person with Green Needs, what do you need to know, be aware of, and do?
  • Key Components
    • The lesson
    • The learning
    • The voting
    • The discussion and line up
  • Personal action planning
  • Experiential activity


This was another session that wasn’t what was expected. I was looking for more specific discussion on a persons’ Needs and tools for talking about them. What ended up being discussed were activities that can be implemented with new hires. But there was no tying back to Birkman, unless it was implied and I just happen to miss it. I think the activities that were mentioned were really cool, but wish there was more correlation to Needs.

General Session, Part 2

Now that we’re back from the break, here’s part 2 of the General Session!

The Birkman Signature Report

  • Softens the learning curve post-training
  • Recommended format for appropriate amount of data for a first feedback
  • Elegantly walks users through the Birkman data in a logical way.

Why signature? Everyone’s signature is unique. With a signature, there is no implication of right or wrong, good or bad.A great thing about this new report is the interactive PDF format, which allows the consultant to include some data about that person in the report. Because of the interactive PDF format, there is an interactive table of contents allowing you to jump to specific parts of the report. This new report starts with a very high-level overview of the Birkman Method and then begins to drill deeper into each portion.I think that this new version is going to be great for implementation. In the old report, I’d jump around because it wasn’t displayed in a logical format. This version is much better. On a side note – I don’t think I knew what “reversals” were. I mean, I know what the underlying meaning/debrief is for that, but I didn’t know the exact term for that. I guess that explains the visual aspect of the report that I couldn’t explain a few weeks ago…The end of the signature report is part of the Birkman Insights report – Your Strengths

  • Good for end users to take back to bosses – this is how I stand out
  • Makes people feel better

This version of the Career Exploration Overview is only 2 pages. I don’t know about other Birkman consultants, but this makes things much easier. I always hate this part of the Preview Report because it’s always a strange topic. I like the take from Birkman that we don’t want to spend time/space emphasizing what people aren’t good at – especially if their current role is on that list.Report wraps up with an action plan – YES!! This makes things so much better/easier for coaching. It makes the coaching session much more interactive and not one-sided.The Pocket Guide is now called the Birkman Signature Companion Guide. This is really cool for consultants because I use this all the time. Birkman is giving each participant a copy of the Companion Guide as well as our own Signature Report.That’s it for the overview of changes to the Birkman. TONS of changes and every one of them has great implications to the future of Birkman consultants (myself included).

Additional Information from Michael Wilk

  • The new website is mobile optimized.
  • Additional staff hired for training – new training modules & facilitator-led training

Training levelsIn an effort to be consistent in the training experiences Certification is every 1 year, not every 3

  • 3 different levels
  • Birkman is creating a process to audit for current instructors to place them into the correct level

CEUs/BLC (Birkman Learning Credits) 

  • 8 credits required annually
  • Ways to earn credits
    • Attend conference – all 8 credits
    • Experience – up to 4 credits
    • Social learning/exposure – up to 2 credits
    • Training & formal learning – up to 2 credits


    • Beta use/testing will start on 9/12/16
    • New site and all changes will be availalbe on 1/17/17
    • Consultants can choose when to upgrade
    • Old site will still be up for 1 year after in order to make the transition
    • Information about the Perspective Report is not yet available

    In short… AWESOME!

    Birkman General Session – Part 1

    What seems like another week, another conference. This week I’m in New Orleans for the Birkman Conference.I took a look at the schedule this morning. Prior to arriving, it didn’t seem like I’d have much interest in the sessions being offered. Luckily it seems that my interest has changed. Not sure why, but it has. I’m hoping that this conference provides some help in delivering Birkman trainings to employees with my full-time job, but also with potentially using it with some of my freelance clients.The Conference opened with a Welcome Session and General Session (done in 2 parts). Here are some thoughts for part 1. The Welcome session showed that there are over 300 registered attendees at the Conference, the largest Birkman Conference that they’ve ever had, with 16 different countries represented.https://twitter.com/donnyitk/status/760901520514625536One of the things I learned is that Birkman has had annual conferences since 1991, and that some people have been certified for more than 20-25 years. Wow. https://twitter.com/donnyitk/status/760902181440462849After Sharon Birkman Fink finished her intro, Amy Shepley took the stage to begin talking about some of the innovations. The first thing that she showed is a new video (1 of 4) that Birkman has created to help consultants reach/connect with clients/customers. The video was very intro-level to what the Birkman provides. I definitely think this could be helpful when marketing the Birkman, especially from a freelance perspective. From a full-time perspective, I think I’d still prefer to give an overview of the product rather than having a video do it for me. Maybe as a time filler if needed…https://twitter.com/donnyitk/status/760903899003838464Amy then began giving a brief overview of Birkman Next, the upcoming changes to everything related to Birkman, including eLearning modules, webinars, user interface, reports. Essentially an overview of everything we’ll be learning about in the next 2 days when they start going into more detail. A few interesting points about Birkman Next:

    • All of the changes will be rolled out during 2017
    • Rollout will be a process, not a flipped switch
    • Clients will decide when they are ready to opt-in to the new information and reports

    Amy mentioned that one of the reasons that these changes are coming about is because people pay to get certified but then after they leave, they don’t run reports/questionnaires for a while. Then when they go in, they get overwhelmed. “It’s very sad for many reasons.”https://twitter.com/evinsmj/status/760905416226185216They are also unveiling a new color scheme based on the theme of a kaleidoscope, because people aren’t just 1 color, they are shades of colors. 

    Birkman Components

    All of the components are changing names, and being reduced down to 9 (from 11). Challenge and Freedom are being removed because they are based on attitude rather than behavioral. A new report is being released for attitude measurements and this is where Challenge and Freedom are being included in this new report.Key: <<old component>> –> <<new component>>

    1. Esteem –> Self-consciousness
    2. Acceptance –> Social energy
    3. Structure –> Insistence
    4. Advantage –> Incentives
    5. Authority –> Assertiveness
    6. Activity –> Physical energy
    7. Empathy –> Emotional energy
    8. Change –> Restlessness
    9. Thought –> Thought (why change what’s not broken?)

    In addition to the changes in names and standard definitions, a new set of icons is being released to represent the (now) 9 components.I’ve never really thought about the order of the components, but apparently the order matters. So the new order is:

    1. Social energy
    2. Physical energy
    3. Emotional energy
    4. Self-Consciousness
    5. Assertiveness
    6. Insistence
    7. Incentives
    8. Change
    9. Thought

    They decided to put the 3 energies together to get a quick snapshot of where a persons’ energy goes (physical, social, emotional). Then the sensitivity-based components (how they receive feedback). Then there is the control-based components (how does someone take control). It seems like the last 3 are just thrown in there.

    Life Style Grid

    The Life Style Grid has been renamed to the Birkman Map. They’ve also changed the horizontal axis to measure extrovert/introvert, rather than direct/indirect communication.

    “Are you an introvert with extrovert tendencies or vice versa?”

    The shades of colors on the LSG/Birkman Map indicates an intensely (green), moderately (green), or a blend of all colors.Birkman InterestsThe new Areas of Interest is now Birkman Interests. 

    • Clerical –> Administrative
    • Mechanical –> Technical

    The page now has a lot more helpful information on each of the interests. I think that overall, this is going to make it much easier for each of respondents to understand the definitions for the Areas of Interest. The new layout now makes it easier to tell respondents to focus on the “top 2-4” and avoid the bottom “2.”

    Job Families

    Now a Career Exploration Report that allows a visualization to quickly identify most common relations.


    Birkman on Demand is now Birkamn Insights. Information shown on Insights now provides information on where the results are pulled from (needs, interests, etc.). BoD is now rolled into 1 platform with Birkman Direct.Differences to Watch / Issues to Watch reports have been combined into Birkman Comparative Report. This is a report that I haven’t done anything with, but could be helpful for Local Companies or 2-3 individuals who have conflicts.Career Management Report is now the Career Exploration Report. 

    Report Packages

    • Birkman Insights
    • Birkman Basics
    • Birkman Signature
    • Birkman Signature Suite

    Birkman Insights and Basics does not require certification. The other 2 packages require certification. What this also means is that you can start working with a customer/client at a lower/cheaper level and increase their level based on interest.The line between Basics and Signature are the Components.

    New Platform

    Birkman Direct will be going away and myBirkman will be coming out. Some highlights

    • 1 universal login for all Birkman accounts
    • Access to all 4 packages in 1 platform
    • Upgrades can be self-service
    • New visual Report Catalog
    • Universal search feature
    • Ability to manage accounts, sub accounts, and groups
    • Optimized for mobile

    Perspectives Report

    4 measurements based around Emotional Intelligence (EQ). 

    • Individuality – Previously Freedom (usual)
    • Distinctiveness
    • Social Acuity – Previously Freedom (need)
    • Image Management – Previously Challenge

    This may be one of the closest things that measures EQ that is out there currently.


    • Executive coaching
    • Leadership development
    • Increasing self-awareness
    • Identify blinds points/management barriers

    Note to self: Free Perspectives webinar… Sept. 23 @12pm CSTI think that’s it for part 1… Now a break and on to part 2!