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Are You Really A Type Expert?

I used to facilitate the MBTI ® Certification Program, and over the years started type logo.001hundreds of consultants and counselors and OD specialists and educators—and more—on the path to effective use of psychological type theory.

Note that I said started them on the path, as did my dear colleagues all over the world. Whether you sat in my course, or in one taught by a type world giant such as Otto Kroeger or Hile Rutledge or Sandra Hirsh or Naomi Quenk or Gordon Lawrence or Roger Pearman (and look them up if you don’t recognize the names of these pillars of knowledge that form the foundation of type as we know it), I would like you to ask yourself,

 Are you a type expert?

I’m not asking how many people you’ve trained. Or how many additional courses you’ve taken. Or what research you’ve published. Or who calls you a type guru.

Instead, because I too often hear horror stories of trainers who stereotype or who infer that some types are better than others, my measure of expertise is this:

Can you describe each type—all 16 types—as a phenomenally valuable way of being?

And, after you finish describing each type, not some but every single one, does your audience say, Oh, I wish I could work with someone like that. Add their approach to mine and we could change the world!

Or, What a delight it would be to parent a child of that type. To be witness to their perceptions of the world, to hear their ideas, to watch them blossom into maturity

Or, How I need a friend of that type—to help me think differently, to challenge my ideas in enriching ways, to teach me new ways to embrace life and ponder what I don’t understand and…


Can you do it? Can you describe each in a way that makes YOU want them in your lives? If not, start practicing. Follow the links to what the giants mentioned above said about them. You too can be a type expert and help the world embrace these normal ways of being human.

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Jane Kise is a consultant and executive coach. The founder of Differentiated Coaching Associates and author of over 20 books, she works with schools and businesses worldwide to help create environments where everyone can flourish.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Jane: You are kind to list me among those who has contributed to your experience and to type. And I celebrate your proposed standards of how to measure approaching being a type expert. I love your suggestion of being able to describe the 16 types which are sorted by the MBTI as a “phenomenally valuable way of being”. I may well plaster this statement on the wall. I am sure your readers have made note of the number of times people have said that feeling heard and understood, respected and appreciated are transformative moments. Mary McCauley, Isabel Myers right hand, commented to me that Myers had come to the view that “we would be better off if we focused perception on the world and judgment on ourselves.” Such a perspective moves us closer to the respect implied by your standard. I speculate that her insight came from the realization of how hard it is to achieve the standard you suggest which everyone serious about using type should be able to do. There is an additional level of consideration I would propose, Jung noted that the purpose of his book was to explore “the psychology of the types”, by which I think he means how the type operates in adapting to the world or to the challenges which face each person from day to day. Jung further notes that this adaptation has developmental outcomes. I wonder if we might also include a standard that says we recognize the developmental complexity of each of the types, which is to say that we learn to listen and empathize from the perspectives of the types in terms of where they are in their own development–that we literally strive to step into their world view, and seek to understand their “psychology” and embrace the wisdom each holds. How different would be the use of type and the MBTI if individuals sought to achieve both goals–articulate the “phenomenally valuable way of being” and the developmental complexity presented with each person with whom we work. Best to you, Roger

    1. Thanks, Roger–being able to empathize with each type’s developmental path takes one from merely being a type expert to being someone who can truly enjoy others, and benefit from their viewpoints and strengths, in all their human diversity.

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