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John L. Holland

John L. Holland’s Holland Codes/RIASEC Codes

A brief overview of the theory and applications of John Holland's Holland Codes/RIASEC Codes, and their uses in vocational and career coaching.

John L. Holland created the framework of the Holland Codes, also known as the Holland codes. These are a set of six vocational dimensions people are scored in through a simple assessment. The six dimensions are:

  • Realistic;
  • Investigative;
  • Artistic;
  • Social;
  • Enterprising;
  • Conventional;

A high score in the different dimensions means:

  • Realistic: Has a tendency to work in the real world, with machines, plants, animals, nature. Likes to walk, travel, physically be close to others;
  • Investigative. Has a tendency to process and synthesize volumes of information, finding patterns and drawing conclusions;
  • Artistic. Has a tendency for unstructured, creative work, expressing themselves as a person;
  • Social. Has a tendency to help, coach, train, mentor others and care for their well-being;
  • Enterprising. Has a tendency to convince others, influence their behavior, persuade, sell and perform in public;
  • Conventional. Has a preference for structured, repeatable, defined work, for example with numbers or computers;

A low score in any of the six dimensions means the opposite. For example, someone with a low Realistic score does not have a tendency to want to be in the real world, interact with others, travel, or work with plans, animals or machines.

The test is standardized, has several applications and can be taken quickly.

Applications in Coaching

I personally use the RIASEC assessment for many of my clients for vocational optimization (for job crafting), or for vocational/career coaching.

I specifically use it for vocational coaching in financial services, for example.

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