The Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI ®) is the best-known personality assessment in the world, with credentials based on 70 years of testing and research. Over 2 million assessments are completed annually!
Yet how accurate can a personality assessment be? And can it really tell us everything about a person? You might have heard people talking about their MBTI type: ‘I’m an INTP so I don’t like…’ or ‘I’m an ESTJ so I’m always…’ Is just an easy label – or is there more to it?
What is MBTI®?
The MBTI assessment is based on the work of Carl Jung and was developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Briggs to identify 16 personality types that help explain differences in how people take in information and make decisions about it.
Isabel Briggs Myers summed up the approach as follows: ‘Whatever the circumstances of your life the understanding of type can make your perceptions clearer, your judgments sounder and your life closer to your heart’s desire.’
Essentially, MBTI helps you to understand your personality type in a broad, non-judgmental, flexible framework. No type is better than another…but your awareness of your own preferences, and how they are different from others, can help you be more self-assured and, ultimately more successful, in life and work.
MBTI can be taken as a stand-alone assessment or it can be integrated into a broader coaching programme.
MBTI Step I Assessment
MBTI Step identifies your personality type, made up of four basic preferences. Following an online assessment, you will receive and explore an in-depth personalised report, giving you the opportunity to explore how your distinct personality type influences the way you perceive, communicate and interact across a range of topics including leadership and decision-making; managing stress, change and conflict; and how you work in a team.
MBTI Step II Assessment
If you’ve already taken MBTI Step I, and would like to delve deeper, MBTI Step II goes to the heart of who you really are – by tapping into the facets within each Step I Type preference. It can help you to understand the DNA of your personality, revealing what makes them different to others of the same Step I Type, and similar to those with a different MBTI Type. The result is a highly personalised profile and development plan across a range of key topics.
(hyperlink to https://www.opp.com/en/tools/MBTI)
There are various assessments available on the market. And none can provide a full picture of which you are, or a precise definition of your personality. As human beings, we’re too complex! But the very fact that so many people have taken the assessment means that there is a common language – providing that we avoid the easy labels for ourselves and others!
I believe that the true value of MBTI® is when you it’s used as an input to a broader personal or professional coaching and development programme. MBTI helps you explore – Who can I be at my best?
It can also be a great starting point if you’re looking to address questions such as: ‘What do I really want to do with my life?’ ‘What career should I choose?’ ‘Why am I finding my job so difficult?’ ‘Why do I have trouble communicating with some of my colleagues?’ ‘Why do certain situations cause me so much stress?’
As a qualified MBTI Practitioner and a Coach, I’ve seen that my clients have found the process interesting, insightful and with some immediate practical applications. One commented: ‘I learned more about why I enjoy some things at work, and not others. I’m focusing now on making some positive changes.’ Another said: ‘it has allowed me to understand my current situation and develop a roadmap toward my goals with actionable steps to execute upon to reach them. This has helped me enormously both personally and professionally.’
So while MBTI isn’t a necessity in a coaching programme, it can give you great new insights about what makes you tick, why sometimes your tick slows down, and what you can do to get it working again!