By Barry Cook. Part 6 of a 6 part series. Read Part 1 titled Personality-Based Winning first, then Part 2 Learning is a Cycle. Part 3 is Learning Driven. Part 4 is Perception or Reality. Part 5 is Say What You Mean.
This article appeared in the Athletics Weekly November 22, 2013 printed edition, reprinted with permission. For more coaching advice, visit http://www.athleticsweekly.com
The gap now in elite performances is so small that coaches need to use whatever knowledge they have to give their athletes an advantage over their opponents
As a coach or athlete, do you know which personality type you are?
In the constant pursuit of excellence also applies to coaches in how they perform and not solely to athletes. So what can coaches do to improve their performance that will also help their athletes?
Coaches observe, make decisions and change things and are therefore leaders. The ability to communicate better allows us to change things more easily and be better leaders. Just as we would not train all athletes in the same way, we cannot communicate with all athletes in the same way.
In my previous article on personality types, I discussed how coaches may use psychometric profiling to better understand how they communicate with their athletes based on their individual preferences. This knowledge can help improve the quality of our communication and thereby enhance performance.
This article is intended to further develop the understanding on the various types described in the type dynamic indicator (TDI) tool and give type descriptions (see key at bottom of table). The TDI is one of a suite of tools in a type-mapping system that can give coaches a comprehensive insight into their athletes and other tools will be covered in a further article.
The four pairs of opposites were described in the previous article and how for most people, one from each of the pairs feels more natural. A combination of these four pairs of preferences helps us summarise our more natural style into 16 possible types.
We probably recognise some of all these types within ourselves at different times and in different contexts such as at home, work and coaching and different contexts mean we will behave differently. Remember, there is no right or wrong, but they are just different — the type simply helps you identify some of the shared patterns. A summary description of those shared patterns of the 16 types is shown in the chart opposite.
You can use this to compare your own preferred style with those of your athletes to give you insights into their motivation and help you decide how to adapt the way you communicate and conduct your interpersonal relationships with your athletes to their preferred style.
Knowing an athlete helps with insights into motivation, communication and interpersonal relationships.
Observation and Enquiry skills
Learn and observe from other people and discuss what matters to them. You can use the table above as a blank template to record your perceptions. By writing the names of people you know well in the relevant boxes you will soon outgrow one of the biggest traps — that of regarding a psychological type as a way of classifying people and thinking that those of any one type are the same. You will be struck by how all people, even in one box are so different. Type simply helps you identify some of their shared patterns.
The 16 Personality Types
INSPECTORS (ISTJ) Inspectors are careful, thoughtful and systematic. Outwardly composed and matter-of-fact, they can be people of few words. However, they are dependable, loyal and precise, making sure that responsibilities are taken seriously and that work is completed steadily and systematically.
SURVEYOR (ISTP) Surveyors enjoy roles requiring action and expertise. Socially revered but loving action, they can be highly energetic when their interest is aroused. They work towards tangible goals in a logical and practical way. They deal well with the unexpected, but can become impulsive and detached.
TROUBLESHOOTER (ESTP) Troubleshooters are sociable, confident and adaptable pragmatists. They love action and happily use their experience to make things happen. Often charming, straightforward and energetic, they live on the edge, treating life as an adventure.
COORDINATOR (ESTJ) Coordinators are systematic and delivery-focused. They like to take charge and get results. Their style will generally be steady and organised and they are often described as tough, but efficient, leaders. Practical, rational and efficient they may neglect people’s feelings and may not champion change.
PROTECTORS (ISFJ) Protectors are patient, modest and diligent. They show great compassion and support for others — often by taking care of the day-to-day practical details. They are not particularly interested in logical or technical things, preferring a more personal touch and they enjoy being helpful, persistent, organised and thorough.
SUPPORTER (ISFP) Supporters are quiet, friendly people who do not need to force themselves, or their views, on others. Caring and sensitive, they accept people and life’s realities as they are. They do not need to over-analyse, but live for the present, being personable, adaptable and sometimes disorganised.
ENERGISER (ESFP) Energisers are drawn towards others, living their life by engaging, interacting and bringing optimism, hope, warmth and fun to the situations they encounter. They seek people and action, are always ready to join in themselves and usually create a buzz which encourages others to get involved.
HARMONISER (ESFJ) Harmonisers are sociable, friendly and persevering. They bring compassion and a focus on others which creates a warm and supportive environment. Generally organised and able to attend to practical issues, they are nurturing, loyal and sympathetic, while keeping a clear focus on getting things done.
GUIDES (INFJ) Guides are warm, imaginative and amiable. They can be guarded in expressing their own feelings but they show high levels of concern and support for others. They also like to get things organised and completed.
IDEALIST (INFP) Idealists are drawn towards others who share their values and who feel deeply about certain issues. These issues guide them in their life and relationships. When all is going well they are seen as warm and gracious individuals who care deeply and who contribute interesting ideas and values.
IMPROVISER (ENFP) Improvisers are personable, imaginative and sociable types. Willing to turn their hand to anything, they enjoy exploring ideas and building relationships. Their style is generally enthusiastic, engaging and persuasive, tending to be spontaneous and flexible rather than structured and detailed.
ADVISER (ENFJ) Advisers are enthusiastic, personable and responsive types who place the highest value on building relationships and showing commitment to people. Generally comfortable in groups, they can be good with words, happy to express their feelings and strong in the promotion of their values.
INVESTIGATORS (INTJ) Investigators are innovative visionaries with a determination to achieve results. They can be highly independent, needing a great deal of autonomy. Their clear-sightedness and willingness to take decisions makes them conceptual, goal-focused and visionary leaders. They come across as tough and incisive but perhaps lacking the personal touch.
ARCHITECT (INTP) Architects are great thinkers and problem solvers. Usually quiet and reflective, they like to be left to work things out at their own pace. They can be complex, theoretical, curious and prone to seeking underlying principles and fundamental understanding.
CATALYST (ENTP) Catalysts are energetic change agents who are always looking for a new angle. Often pioneers and promoters of change, they look for active environments where they can discuss and debate new ideas. When with people they inject energy, innovation and fun into their activities.
EXECUTIVE (ENTJ) Executives are direct, goal-focused people who seek to influence and get results. They value good reasoning and intellectual challenges. They seek to achieve results and can be tough, visionary leaders who make things happen.
KEY: Extroverted (E), Feeling (F), Introverted (I), Judging (J), Perceiving (P), Sensing (S), Thinking (T), iNtuitive (N)