The use of MBTI® in Coaching

MBTI® (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) is a personality types assessment that aims to make understandable and useful for each individual the theory of psychological types,

as it was described by Carl G. Jung in his book "Psychological Types" in 1921. The essence of the theory is that much seemingly random variation in the behavior is actually quite orderly and consistent, being due to basic differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their two cognitive functions: perception and judgment.

C.Jung did not see the types as dualistic, but as preferences. People have both sides of each dichotomy, however the scale of their preference, meaning what comes more natural to them, leans towards the one side in each dichotomy.

At around the same period of time, since 1917 Katharine Cook Briggs had initiated investigation over the personalities. After the translation of C.Jung’s book in English in 1923, K. Briggs identified that the written theory in the aforementioned book while it looked like her own outcomes, was going far deeper in research and conclusions.

After extensive studying upon Jung’s consignment, Briggs along with her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers broadened their interesting towards the human behavior and aimed to create a theory of psychological types that would be easy and practical to use. The most noteworthy addition of Myers and Briggs in the initial theory of Jung is the addition of the fourth letter of the type, which indicates what the preferred cognitive process of a person is in order to deal with the outer world.


MBTI® is one of the most commonly-used psychometric tools in coaching, since it assists an individual in dealing with issues such as communication style, emotional intelligence, conflict, decision making, leadership, reactions to stress, change, team development, career development, etc. Boosting the self-awareness, MBTI® assists an individual to better understand themselves and at the same time focus upon the area they wish to work upon and improve. The results of MBTI® go far beyond the 4 letters of the type. The added values are the type dynamics and the type development. The type dynamics may explain why a person’s whole type is greater than the sum of the parts and it assists in understanding the dynamic side of the type of each individual. Type development concerns the shift in balance between conscious and subconscious processes over the course of a lifetime. That is the reason why MBTI® is ideally combined with a targeted goal-focused approach, therefore with Coaching.

As for a right-handed person is difficult but not impossible to write with the left hand and vice versa, as the MBTI® type of a person does not indicated what they can or cannot accomplish, but what the preferences of this person are in the four dichotomies. There is neither right or wrong psychometric tool nor one that is panacea. The human is a complex creature and thus it is wise to keep in mind both the culture that someone comes from and their personal experience and individuality, that make them unique. Each one knows themselves better and with the assistance of Coaching with MBTI® they may acquire a more holistic approach and set targeted goals and actions which will lead to a greater opening on the road of fulfilling the overall goals a person has along with the realization of their vision.


1. The Myers-Briggs Foundation,

2. Passmore J. (2012), “Psychometrics in Coaching: Using Psychological and Psychometric Tools for Development” 2nd edition, Association for Coaching, pp. 79-94

3. Briggs Myers I. & Myers P.B. (1980), “Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Types”, CPP Mountain View California


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