Coaching using Type: insights from Myers, Jung, Adler, Cookie Monster and you! Part 1

Posted 16 July 2015 by
Jean Kummerow PhD - psychologist and author
Cookie Monster

This is a two-part posting based on Jean Kummerow’s keynote presentation at OPP’s MBTI® User’s Conference on 19 June 2015.

It was a pleasure to join everyone at this year’s conference. I had the opportunity to meet new people, reconnect with some I had trained on the MBTI years ago, talk about some favourite type applications, and learn more about type– all in a lovely setting hosted by long-time colleagues at OPP! What could be better?

As you already know, the practice of coaching has many iterations and even several definitions. The one I like to use is “a method of assisting individuals to improve their performance in some area”, from Davison & Gasiorwski in the 2006 Journal of Individual Psychology. That definition encompasses so much of what we do with personality type.

I use type in coaching as both background and foreground with every client. The MBTI instrument is an essential tool. First, I pay attention to my style and occasionally find myself needing to flex and try a different approach. As an ESTJ, I prefer being direct and to the point. I can sometimes have answers even before the question is asked. Coaching involves listening carefully to clients and encouraging them to seek their own solutions. (For more on your own coaching style, see the OPP publication, Coaching and Management Development using the MBTI Instrument).

As a contrast, I like to show this YouTube clip of Cookie Monster in a life-coaching role. (By the way, there is a website identifying Cookie Monster as an ESFP).

I administer the MBTI Step II assessment early in any coaching session and use it to help me connect quickly with the client. It also forms the content of some of the coaching, as I often refer back to it with the client during our sessions.

One outcome for coaching includes aiding clients in their own individuation process, which according to Jung means helping them fulfil the collective qualities of human beings through developing their type to its highest capability and bringing into consciousness the non-dominant attitudes and functions. In other words, being the best of your type that you can be.

A second outcome is to achieve core needs in the three Life Tasks of social, work and intimacy – the model described by Austrian psychotherapist Alfred Adler (1870-1937). These core needs are explained through the Crucial Cs, an easy-to-understand model developed by Bettner and Lew (see their book, Raising Kids Who Can, Connexions Press, 2005).

The four Crucial Cs are as follows:

  1. Connect – Everyone needs to belong. When you belong, you feel secure and can reach out and develop relationships.
  2. Capable – Everyone needs to have skills and feel they can do it (whatever it is). With this comes self-reliance, competence, and self-control.
  3. Count – Everyone needs to find significance and feel they can make a difference. They believe that they matter and can contribute and are motivated to do their best.
  4. Courage – Everyone needs to have resilience and to handle whatever comes. They have what Rudolph Dreikurs calls the “courage to be imperfect” and to try things and be resilient. Courage often comes from the encouragement of others, both for what you’ve done and for what you are trying to do.

In part two of this article I  describe how type can be used to achieve these four Crucial Cs.

© Jean M. Kummerow, Ph.D., 2015, All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. Jean is the co-author of Introduction to Type in Organisations and numerous MBTI Step II resources including the Step II Interpretive Report.

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