Know Thyself: The Highlands Ability Battery (HAB) self-assessment tool

How can young people prepare for a future that few of us can define? How do we equip our young people to navigate their future? The answer is to know as much about yourself as you can.

And the Highlands Ability Battery experience is a unique tool to do just this – because it is all about YOU!

  • The HAB provides you with objective information about your natural abilities.
  • The HAB experience equips you with valuable tools so that you can make informed decisions to better manage your decisions throughout life — in both your career and your personal life.
  • The HAB is an assessment, but experience is a better description of what it entails.
  • Taking the HAB is a journey that involves far more than a simple internet quiz; it is a valuable investment that will yield returns throughout your entire life.
  • It gives you for the first time, an acknowledgment of who you are, with tangible resources to move forward.
  • The HAB is intended to provide self-awareness to the participant about natural abilities for use in career and life decision-making, which means that it applies to just about everyone.
  • As a self-management tool, the HAB also provides lasting information participants can learn and use for future decision-making, making it a worthwhile, life-long investment.
  • Students use the HAB experience to explore careers during both high school and college; to consider potential certifications, majors, work experiences; and to decide which schools to attend.
  • Students also find it useful for fine-tuning study strategies – even graduate students find valuable information from the HAB.

What is the HAB Experience?

The HAB is an internet-based assessment that is comprised of a series of timed, objective, performance-based worksamples. The proprietary internet platform allows for participant access from any location with a reliable connection to the internet, at home, work, school, computer labs, etc. Instructions are provided by a Highlands Certified Consultant to ensure the participant can feel confident in the results.

Part 1: The Instrument

The Experience: Taking the HAB (all three hours) is the first major step in the HAB experience. Understandably, part of the experience is anticipating what the results might reveal. You can expect to feel a degree of nervousness – even if it’s is simply from not knowing what to expect. When you actually take the assessment, you’ll experience different things as you take each section — some activities seem easy or difficult, while others might be frustrating or fun – and of course there are the time constraints. Have I been wasting my time in my current situation? Am I really cut out to be a leader?

  • The assessment consists of 19 worksamples.
  • A worksample is performance-based: participants must do an activity (objective measure) rather than self-report the degree to which they think they can do it (subjective measure).
  • Each worksample is representative of a reasoning ability such as Classification, Concept Organisation, and Spatial Relations Visualisation.
  • Most worksamples are not language-based. They measure a wide range of natural abilities including three that are hearing-related (implications for musical pursuits).
  • Instructions are in English, presented on the screen and heard, and can be reviewed for an unlimited amount of time prior to the timed activity. There are no “accommodations.”
  • Each worksample is timed and lasts between 5-10 minutes. The timing allows for the separation of natural abilities (which stabilize at around age 14) and for separation of one ability from another.
  • The worksamples may be taken all in one sitting or separated in time. In total, the HAB takes just over three hours to complete.
  • Everyone takes the same set of worksamples.
  • The resulting percentile ranking scores provide participants with information about their ability level for each worksample relative to all others (12,000+) in the database (regularly checked and updated).
  • The score does not represent the percent correct/incorrect. Detailed results are provided in a variety of reports and interpreted by me during our feedback session.

Part 2: The Report(s)

The Experience: The next part of the experience is understanding the results. Your report provides detailed information; each of your abilities is described and then combined in a way that is uniquely you. You’re provided with guidance on how to use your abilities to makes choices about work roles and responsibilities. Of course, all of the options generated are based on natural abilities alone and don’t take into account other influences critical to making work/life decisions.

The information might feel like it conflicts with your experiences or what others have said about you. The report provides a launch pad for exploration, not an answer. This part of the experience can feel a bit overwhelming because there is so much information. This is where I bring in my coaching experience, to deliver the information in a way you can understand it and know how to use and refer to the reports later. Parents are welcome to join the feedback session, if the student agrees.


Part 3: The Debrief

The Experience: Hands down, participants describe the debrief as the most beneficial part of the experience. During this 1.5 to 2-hour session, we meet either online or in person while I  explain your reports in detail, and further customise the interpretation based on your reason for participation. Most participants experience the debrief in a personal way as I incorporate your life into the explanations, and bring in my 13 years of career coaching and my intuition to bear.

Most participants enjoy engaging in the process. I ask questions to learn more about you, to encourage reflection, and to reveal personal examples. These questions help you learn what to look for and questions to ask as you’re exploring. Sometimes the debrief reveals gaps in information you need. You may feel you want to stay connected with me for check-ins and future support for life decisions.

The Debrief is a required part of the HAB experience. It takes 1.5 to 2 hours and is participant centered.

I will review each ability by providing a definition, the worksample that measured it, and an interpretation of the score. Every ability is reviewed and its implications are discussed. Abilities are described as falling on a continuum and scores are described as “home base”. Sometimes even more interesting, is how the combinations of abilities work together. It is these combinations that can guide career exploration and change.

I guide you on how to use all the tools connected to the Highlands Ability Battery, and ensure an understanding of individual and combinations of abilities.

Whole person module

Part 4 – The Whole Person Model

The Experience: If you want to take the HAB a step further, and feel acknowledged by the Whole Person Model, we can discuss the influences of Skills, Interests, Personal Style, Family, Values, Goals and Career Stage. You will see the importance of being intentional about including other influences in your decision-making. You will also realise you have just experienced a process you can use throughout your lifetime. Regardless of next steps, the HAB experience is rarely forgotten and often remembered as pivotal in a participant’s life.

About the Author: Diana Ritchie

Diana Ritchie

Diana Ritchie has supported professionals and students with their career development and self-development as the owner and founder of SCC Sàrl, a Swiss-registered company established in 2007. She holds a BA in Economics from McGill University, Canada and an LLB in Law from the University of London, England.

Diana supports young people with their future direction through her vast international knowledge and the use of the above tools. In particular, the Highlands Talent Ability Battery which is a self-assessment tool that supports students and those wanting a change in career to better understand their natural abilities, what comes naturally and what jobs are possible. Highlands tests their natural ability as driving abilities and specialized abilities as abilities that enhance how they use natural abilities.

Diana is presently certified and accredited within:

  • Frameworks Coaching Process
  • Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) coach within the Classic code and the New Code
  • Sophrologist (registered with the Swiss complementary health insurance (ASCA)); practitioner and teacher
  • Insights Discovery and the Highlands Talent Ability Battery self-assessment tools
  • Systemic Change Coach with Nowhere
  • Peter Koenig system, a master class 2014 graduate
  • Business Model You methodology; coach and trainer
  • Certified Masters Hypnosis