Using Personality Types As A Tool In Coaching
Do you find it hard to get to know and understand your clients?
Do you sometimes deal with clients that are hard to talk to and communicate with?
Do you find that your usual strategies don’t always work on certain individuals?
In this article, let’s talk about personality type coaching. I will show you how you can build a strong relationship with any client, and fine-tune your coaching to their specific needs and personality. By using personality types, you can make the process a lot easier, and you can already get started by doing a quick personality test with your client during enrollment, or by having them take a self-assessment online. By walking through their results with them, they can offer you important advice on how they like to communicate, how they think, solve decisions, and what their motivators are.
But a lot of people don’t use personality types the right way. At worst, personality type coaching can lead to a fixed mindset, where clients become stuck in a mindset which can be tough to break. Instead of growing and improving as a person, and actively resolving blindspots and issues, the client can simply say “that this is just who I am – this is just my personality!”. Therefore, it’s important that you start the conversation the right way. So what is the right way?
My name is Erik Thor. I’m known for my expertise and knowledge about personality types and personality psychology. I’ve used Jungian psychology to help people achieve more flow, well-being, and happiness in their life. I coach coaches on how to work with their clients based on their own individual personality and needs.
Before we get into that, let’s explain what personality types are!
What is a personality type?
To orient ourselves around how we think and make decisions, we often refer to ourselves as introverts or extroverts, more abstract intuitives, or more practically oriented, sensing types, or perhaps, more logical and thinking, or more emotionally engaged and feeling. Some people can be more conscientious and organized, and other’s more free-flow and flexible. When we talk about these matters, most people tend to have some idea about what they prefer to do.
If you ask them if they like to plan their vacations, or if they prefer to wing it, that’s already going to tell you something about your client. If your client comes to you with issues related to social anxiety, become easily overwhelmed in crowds, and struggle with people, you might assume they could be more introverted. Understanding this, can help you identify effective and constructive strategies for them to become more comfortably outgoing, without necessarily expecting them to single handedly dominate a crowd from day one. Using personality type coaching means you listen to your clients present day needs and work with them to solve problems in a way that works for them.
|Personality Inventory||Number of Dimensions||Theoretical Basis||Main Focus|
|Big Five||5||Empirical||Personality Traits|
|MBTI||4||Jungian Theory||Cognitive Functions|
|Enneagram||9||Spiritual and Psychological||Motivations and Fears|
|DISC||4||Marston’s DISC Theory||Behavioral Traits|
There are many personality inventories. The Big Five is the most respected by clinical psychologists, but also the most theoretical and dry when working with people in more day to day coaching. The MBTI or 16 personalities model is great for getting to know the interests of your client, while a tool like the Enneagram can be used to map out past traumas and emotional struggles, or issues related to mindset. Other tools, like DiSC, may be more effective in company settings or businesses, that prefer a more quick, surface-oriented tool they can apply right away. Feel free to browse alternatives until you find your favorite.
Now, how do you use that to your advantage?
1. Use personality psychology as a tool – not a science
Carl Jung, the creator of the 16 personalities system, argued that personality type’s don’t exist, but rather, that they are simply a tool, a means to orient ourselves and start a conversation about who we are and how we think. He argued that we should study and compare ourselves in relation to different archetypes and personalities to learn more about our own unique interests and personality.
As a coach, it’s important that you don’t present this as something absolute, but simply, talk about it as a spectrum. Avoid words that invoke a fixed mindset, like forcing people to choose one specific personality, if they are in doubt between two, and don’t pigeon-hole your client into one specific personality. Make sure that they have room to move inside the spectrum and make them more aware of when they are doing so.
2. Make people become more aware of their own script
To understand my clients, I ask questions about their history, childhood, upbringing, and the choices they’ve made and how they got to where they are today. Understanding this base, I want to make people aware of their own “life script”. Most people construct their own identities, and don’t recognize that they’ve gotten where they are today as a result of not just what happened to them, but how they chose to let that influence them.
Personality psychology is a way of making people aware of their own unique life script and the choices they are continuing to make over and over on a daily basis. Helping people understand why they make the decisions they make, give people more control over the process. They can now start making new – different choices.
3. Find effective ways to motivate people by working from their strengths!
Most people have specific trigger words, words that make them immediately more happy, calm, confident, and energized. Just as they have words that make them instantly more annoyed, tired, or stressed. By knowing somebody and their personality type, you can better understand common trigger words, words you can use to communicate with them, to immediately improve their well-being.
When helping a client reach a goal or overcome an uncomfortable or challenging situation, it’s important to make people aware of their present day strengths. By working from their strengths, it’s easier to build a bridge so that they can cross into new territory. Find ways to use their strengths to help them address their weaknesses. Being a coach takes creativity.
4. Better understand the relationship you have with your client
We are all different, and that means, your clients can be different from you too. Your goal is not to make your client more like you, but to inspire and empower them to find their own way and their own unique strategy. By knowing yourself and your client and their personality and how they talk, you can adjust your communication style to better connect with them. Avoid projecting your own needs and values onto your client, assuming they want the same thing you do, and instead, work from what your client says they want and need, and help them in their goals.
There are many ways you can use personality type coaching to improve your current coaching repertoire and to make a bigger impact for your client. If you need any help or training, consider reaching out to me via [email protected] or via my Patreon page.
Start now by having your client take a personality test, or why not take one yourself? By knowing yourself, you can also know blindspots better.
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