Myers-Briggs and Executive Coaching

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Gaye asked me to interpret “INTJ”.

LIFO Test

I am sure you remember the LIFO?  An oldish test that casts people into 4 type?

  • Controller-Taker (extraverted neurotics)
  • Adapter-Dealer (extraverted stable)
  • Conserver-Holder (introverted stable)
  • Supporter-Giver (introverted neurotics)

Myers-Briggs

The Myers-Briggs is also old.  It is based on Jung’s types from circa 1920.  The test itself was developed and published after WWII.

It casts us into 16 types as follows.

  • Introverted or Extraverted (I or E)
  • Sensing or Intuiting (S or N)
  • Feeling or Thinking (F or T)
  • Judging or Perceiving (J or P)

Myers-Briggs and Executive Coaching in business

The test is still widely used for coaching and people often know their ‘type’.  And as with all personality classifications, we are also quite ‘fond’ of our type and believe it is the best type in the world!

Introverted – Extraverted is quite easy to follow: we like to spend time alone or feel better in company.

Sensing types like dealing with hard data.  They will often be in jobs which deal with facts and figures though a surprising number of accountants and engineers are N and see the world as patterns.  In the HRM world, the high S will be trainers and OD specialists.  The high N will deal with strategy and more abstract issues, quite possibly being quite out-of-it on the front-line work.

Feeling and Thinking is also obvious.  Feelers and Thinkers have a hard time understanding each other.

Judging and Perceiving can be confusing.  Judging people are planful but also judgmental.  Things must be just so but they also get things done.  Perceivers let things ‘unfold’.   They go with the flow.  I used to tell people visiting Zimbabwe to be High J, be ultra planful, but expect everything around you to be high P and go with the flow.  High J need to be doubly planful so they can adapt readily.  High P, of course, ignore High J and just smile sweetly and carry on as they were regardless.   Judgers also have to be careful not jump to conclusions and should always stop to think and ask themselves: Do I have all the relevant information?  Have I looked at this from all points of view?  Simply, they need to listen to the high P who see the bigger picture much more easily.

The interpretation of the types becomes a lot more sophisticated with what-you -see and what-you-get following some complicated patterns.

For most purposes, it is instructive to know someone’s preferred style.   But it is that, a preferred style.   By understand the ecology of preferences in an organization, we learn to appreciate people who “jump” in a completely different direction to ourselves and to build a mixed team around us.

Here is a link to an online Myers-Briggs questionnaire.

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