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FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)

Since 1980 the IDAK Group has assessed natural talents for thousands of adults throughout the United States and Canada. Typical questions asked by clients about talent assessment are listed below.


1

Q: How are talents identified or tested?
  A: This is a very important question; the answer has several parts.
  1. Talents have a consistent behavioral pattern which can be observed beginning in the high school years. The key is to look for consistent expression in different types of activities.
  2. An important foundation is identifying reliable traits and defining their predictable behavioral pattern. This is the rich resource of IDAK's 25 years of research and experience, along with observation of thousands of individuals using their talents in everyday life.
  3. Talents can be tested two ways. First, through an exercise or test such as the IDAK Online Talent Discovery Guide™ or the IDAK Career Match™. Second, talents can be tested by interview which helps avoid the bias of a person's opinion regarding his/her talents.
  4. The identification of one's talents can be hindered by periods of excessive drug/alcohol abuse, depression, unfavorable home life, present financial crisis or low self-esteem. An experienced and certified IDAK counselor can help overcome some of these barriers through use of the IDAK Autobiographical Interview process. This process is further described on our home page under Mid-Career Counseling Services.

2

Q: How are talents different from occupational skills?
  A: Talents are defined as innate, part of your DNA. Through practice the talents can be developed to a performance level of mastery. Occupational skills can include talents, as well as learned abilities through rote, repetitive application. Skills which are not innate do not grow by frequent use or by intuitive trial and error.

3

Q: What are transferable skills?
  A: Your transferable skills are your natural talents which can easily adapt to different job applications, cultural environments or working conditions. Skills learned by rote application are not as transferable and can be rigid.

4

Q: What is my most effective leadership style or position?
  A: Leadership positions can be classified in two ways. First, there are leadership positions which influence the thoughts and activities of others such as a professor, lawyer, writer, speaker, etc. These leadership positions require a person to be an expert in a specific field. The leadership is demonstrated through the respect others have for the leader's mastery of his/her field. A second leadership position includes influencing others, yet adds coordinating or harmonizing the activities of others in a group effort such as managers, presidents, executive directors, department heads, etc. These positions require an intuitive know-how in supervising people. Knowing one's talent strengths will make a big difference in helping you choose which leadership role fits you best.

5

Q: How does one's age impact talent use and growth?
  A: Midlife and beyond is a positive factor for the learning and development of most talents. The exceptions are talents related to body-motor coordination which can lose their agility in the sunset years. On the other hand, using your strengths as a master craftsman at age 60 and beyond adds vitality and purpose to your life. The great physicist, Albert Sweitzer, was still producing great research at the age of 80. Those who are 30 and younger can benefit significantly from identifying their talent strengths so that they can bring focus to their energy and attention. Youthful zeal to experiment in all areas does not necessarily promote productive use of one's talents.

6

Q: Are one's interests a result of one's talents? Do most people like what they are gifted to do?
  A: Yes and no. It is not a valid conclusion that whatever a person is interested in he/she will be good at doing. Too many people want to pursue a goal or imitate a hero figure yet they lack the talent to master that objective. The goal or image becomes more important than the use and development of one's talent. On the other hand, when a person has been successful in the use of a talent and recognizes their unique capacity, usually the interest to grow further will follow.

7

Q: What is the difference between personality traits and natural talents?
  A: Personality characteristics are usually defined as interpersonal or temperament traits. Examples are being tolerant, disciplined, laid back, angry, domineering, depressive, etc. Natural talents are more task-oriented such as writing, teaching, mechanical troubleshooting, athletics, problem solving and/or hand-finger dexterity.

8

Q: What is the difference between supernatural or spiritual gifts and natural talents?
  A: This is a common question for those pursuing ministry service careers. Supernatural or spiritual gifts are documented aptitudes and are expressed in many manifestations. The Bible is a reliable resource in defining and historically documenting the occurrences of these traits. There does not appear to be volitional application and control in the use of these traits as in one's talents. Natural talents, on the other hand, have no preconditions for use or expression. They are easily measured by observing one's life pattern. Talents can be used at the volition of the person whenever they choose. One's supernatural or spiritual gifts can appear to be similar to one's talents but can also be different.

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