Life Coaching Session One: Myers-Briggs and Temperament

by Paul Goodchild on March 18, 2009

As outlined in an earlier post about life coaching, my intention for the following series of “Life coaching” articles is to detail and document the process.  Granted, this is just my experience of it as played out by my particular coach and my own interpretations, so it may not be representative for your experiences.

Before I actually went to see the coach, I was given the task of completing a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) questionnaire with the view to working out my in-born character preferences. 

What is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator?

The questionnaire consisted of 70 multiple-choice questions and they all had to be answered one way or the other.  This system is based on many years of research and stems from the of Carl Jung.

It defines 4 pairs of dichotomies, namely:

  • Introversion <…> Extroversion
  • Sensing<…> iNtuition
  • Thinking<…> Feeling
  • Judging<…> Perceiving

You can take a look at the wikipedia page for a more in-depth review of what these types are.  The point that was stressed to me was that, as the theory goes, we each of us are born with certain in-built preferences and they generally do not change over our life time.  We fall at some point along the ranges for each of the four pairs.

The first coaching session involved an explanation of these types and that while we each fall under one or the other, we can and do lend ourselves onto the opposite side of the scale.  It’s in these times that stress and frustration can much more quickly arise.

The emboldened letters above are used as short-hand, and based on these and after my questionnaire/self-assessment I came out as a clear ISTJ.  This was by no means a surprise to me, though I felt a little ambiguous with the S<->N as I thought there were more characteristics of the N in my personality than came out in the results of the questions.  That said though I definitely do have a preference for Sensing over iNtuition.

The personal gain from taking the MBTI test

The biggest take away from this session is an improvement in my ability to articulate types of people and why interacting with certain types of people and working environments lends themselves to strain and stress, if I’m exposed to them for extended periods.  Nonje of this is breaking news for me but it has just simply my awareness of these characteristics in everyday life.

I guess it also makes me more compassionate towards others, and myself, when we acting out of our in-born preferences – being more aware helps me to predict more readily circumstances that would cause me to become stressed, and thereby offset it or avoid the situation altogether.

Besides MBTI, the first coaching session didn’t really deal with much else except for a mention of my Keirsey temperament, which based on my ISTJ scoring makes me a Gaurdian Inspector.  Those that know me might find that description in that link a little too close to the mark for my liking 🙂

My homework for the next session, which is not for another 2 weeks is a Career Anchors Self Assessment questionnaire that is designed to help drive my thinking about what I want out of my career, what my competence areas are, and what most satisfies me.  I’ll know more about this when I’ve done it and will elaborate then.

Give the MBTI test a go.  The online test may not be up to par compared to doing it with a trained coach, but I feel it’s worth giving it a shot anyway.

Please feel free to offer feedback if you’ve done the test and let me know your opinions of it and how you think it helps you, if at all.  I’m keen to know about your experiences as well as sharing mine.  The comments section below is ideal and I will respond to your comments time-permitting.  Thank you visiting!

← Previous Article:

→ Next Article: