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  1. #1
    Senior Member edcoaching's Avatar
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    Default Finding best-fit type

    Ygolo asked me the "orthodox" way to help someone find best-fit type and I thought I'd start a new thread. This applies to people who are using "official" Class B psychological instruments such as the MBTI, Golden, PTI, etc.

    • A "client" should take the instrument before hearing about type theory. Obviously, a lot of people already have some knowledge of type. You ask them to take their "shoulds off" and answer the questions as they prefer to operate
    • Before they see their results, provide a thorough explanation of type theory and let them self-select the four preferences that they believe best describe them. The explanation can be done in a group setting and may include exercises that illustrate type differences. They could also be provided with readings.
    • Then, compare instrument and self-reported type. If they match, provide a full type description and have them decide for themselves if it seems to describe them. If they aren't sure, ask whether there are any preference pairs on which they feel less certain and read the alternative description. So if they're debating ENFJ/INFJ they'd read both...
    • If they differ on letters, every trainer has their own bag of tricks for helping people figure out which type describes them best. Here are some of mine

    • Read the first 3-4 paragraphs in the appropriate type chapters of LifeTypes (Hirsh/Kummerow) which describe childhoods of each type. There are stories written by adults looking back and a lot of people can see themselves.
    • Ask about work style/home style/family of origin to help them think through the factors that influence the behaviors they've learned vs. their natural preferences.
    • Ask them to think back to high school to consider how they acted then (especially effective past midlife...)
    • Use dominant and auxiliary function characteristics to help them sort through their childhood and adolescent preferences. Since the type formulas are tied to the order in which preferences develop this can bring clarity.
    • Go at it from the inferior function standpoint--what gets them in trouble the most
    • Or, the dominant function. One way is...Which is most upsetting? S--when people doubt your command of facts? N--when people ignore your ideas? T--When people fault your logic or competence? F--When harmony is destroyed?


  2. If people still aren't sure, I usually want to get them involved in experiences so they can see how their preferences play out. For example, I worked with one INxJ school leader. While I was pretty sure she was INTJ based on the issues at the school, ethically she needed to reach that decision herself. For a conflict exercise, I suggested she first join the TJ group and come on over to my group if it didn't seem a good fit. She stayed with the TJs and later, when another colleague asked her about it, she turned a bit red and said, "It was a blast working through the issue with them. No handholding, no nice guy nonsense...I'm INTJ..."
Last edited by edcoaching; 10-04-2008 at 05:37 PM. Reason: Bullets all screwed up.
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  • #2

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    Thanks again. I've updated my reading list.

    I am curious.

    What are the rudiments of development in type?

    And also, is there an informal way to use type in every day life we could "take away" based on the concept of Best-fit type?

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  • #3
    Senior Member edcoaching's Avatar
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    What are the rudiments of development in type?
    Type development is all about good use of Perception and Judgment.

    We all have a Perceiving function (Sensing or Intuition) that we use to take in information. It's fairly irrational according to Jung--information floods our brains at all time and our preference for S or N filters what we pay attention to first.

    We also all have a Judging function (Thinking or Feeling) that helps us come to closure or "judgment."

    Type development is about skillful use of these two functions, which usually comes about as we enter adulthood. Think about it...immaturity is often described as, "She just rushes to decisions, doesn't consider the alternatives, never asks for advice..." which is an example of someone who hasn't adequately developed a Perceiving function. Or, "He can't make up his mind about anything. He's been drifting from job to job [or school to school or major to major]..." which is an example of someone who hasn't adequately developed a Judging function.

    Hopefully by early adulthood these dominant and auxiliary functions have developed enough that we use them well and were able to establish our careers and relationships and fulfilling interests. That's what the first half of life is all about. Then in the second half of life (and this process can actually begine around the age of 18...or not at all, which is where we get curmudgeons...) we start to develop the third and fourth functions because
    • for true maturity, one must be able to perceive the trees (S) and the forest (N)
    • And, one must know when to add to judgments objectivity (T) and subjectivity (F)


    We never gain as much faculty with these third and fourth preferences, and in fact most people need to use learned skills and behaviors to use them well, but the growth and richness in the second half of life are from working on these functions. There are some great, obscure books out there, Navigating Midlife by Corlett and Millner and Creative Aging by Millner (who passed away this year...) that convey stories of people developing their third and fourth functions that provide hints to all of us on how we might make aging as rich a process as possible.
    And also, is there an informal way to use type in every day life we could "take away" based on the concept of Best-fit type?
    Do you mean for typewatching--trying to figure out other people's types--or for interacting to help them figure it out, or something else?
    edcoaching

  • #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by edcoaching View Post
    Do you mean for typewatching--trying to figure out other people's types--or for interacting to help them figure it out, or something else?
    Either trying to figure out people's type, interacting to help someone figure out type, smoothing out communication and interaction with people--anything informally applicable. Staying away from armchair psychology, but still accurately using typology in an informal manner.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  • #5
    Senior Member edcoaching's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Either trying to figure out people's type, interacting to help someone figure out type, smoothing out communication and interaction with people--anything informally applicable. Staying away from armchair psychology, but still accurately using typology in an informal manner.
    Okay, I'm going to tackle this from my personal uses so it doesn't sound like I'm lecturing.

    • I have the advantage in knowing the types (best-fit) of almost everyone I'm close to or work closely with since the majority of my work involves type. And, my family was willing to be gunea pigs early on as I learned about the theory. I use it all the time to think about how to best communicate and to step into their shoes to see what they might need. For example, our carefree lifestyle really slammed to a halt when our second child was born. No more spontaneous Saturdays. Knowing my husband was ESTP made it easier to not go postal when he arranged for 100-mile bike rides, came back and mowed the lawn, and then slept the rest of the afternoon. I found other ways to get my downtime and let him take Saturdays.
    • At work I back up when my messages or ideas aren't received well. Usually I haven't adjusted my style well enough. And it isn't that hard to think through a person's dominant function and reframe my message.
    • Parenting. Use The Developing Child by Elizabeth Murphy to figure out a child's type. My kids are night and day and I'm not sure we would have survived their middle school meltdowns if we hadn't understood their idividual pathways to motivation. And, it really helped as our son looked at colleges, almost a neutral lens for talking through his choices and what made sense.
    • Personal development. I'm enough aware of my weaknesses that I can often recognize when I'm about to really stress out. I know what mechanisms will snap me out of it. For a seemingly trivial but actually destressing example, my last birthday I had a concrete plan to run a 10k just to prove to myself I still can. It was going to be really hot so I was going to start by about 6:30 am (usually I don't run more than 5k). Woke up around 2 am, couldn't get back to sleep, started obsessing on how my plan wouldn't work if I didn't get back to sleep, which got me really wide awake. Finally turned off my alarm, thinking that I could always do a shot of espresso rather than a more leisurely cup of coffee pre-run,etc...and let go of the plan and it all worked out. But it worked because I realized I was obsessing on my external plan and needed to stop being so INFJ.


    When I don't know someone's type for sure...if we really clash I'll start from the assumption that their communication style is close to opposite my own and adjust my style accordingly. I find it's really hard to type people unless I actually work with them, for all four letters that is. Well, book club...after several meetings, seeing the books they like/don't like, their comments, how they host, etc. does it to

    If I can figure out the dominant--are they driven by accuracy/common sense/practicality (S), ideas/possibilities/change (N), logic/critique/analysis (T), harmony/inclusiveness/caregiving (F)--then I'm halfway to knowing how best to communicate with them and motivate them...

    I think the best resource for developing typewatching skills is The Art of Speedreading People by the Tiegers. Paul worked on developing the best system possible for doing this because he knew people were doing it anyway!
    edcoaching

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