Personality System Coaching

personality systemCoaches are often called on to coach a client in their personality type. Fortunately there are a number of excellent personality system models that have been used over the years. Here are a few of the better known personality systems—and advise for coaches using that system:

Myers-Briggs (MBTI) Personality System: Developed 60 years ago from the psychological theories of Carl Jung, this system is administered millions of times a year. The most used, best validated and most richly documented personality system.
For Coaches: While spin-offs are available on-line, special training or academic credentials are required to purchase and administer the assessment. Whole catalogs of books and resource are available, on topics like MBTI and leadership or type and prayer styles. Professional report generating tools are available.

DiSC™ Personality System: Originally created by William Marston in the 1920’s, DiSC™ profiles four fundamental behavioral styles. One of the more widely used systems.
For Coaches: Since the original work was not copyrighted, many versions of DiSC™ have evolved, making training easier and less expensive than for MBTI. Versions are available using biblical illustrations, as are professional report generating tools.

Temperaments Personality System: Popularized by Keirsey and Bates’ bestseller, Please Understand Me, these are the original four categories of Plato/Hippocrates correlated to four basic letter pairs in the MBTI.
For Coaches: There are many systems based on these categories with a variety of type names (for instance, Lion/Otter/Golden Retriever/Beaver). A simple, low-cost system with free on-line tests.

Motivational Gifts: The seven categories are based on the gift types listed in Romans 12. Popularized in the 1970’s, the best known version by Don & Katie Fortune describes seven types with different motivations and styles.
For Coaches: Very low cost, biblically-based and fairly simple, this is a good system for working in churches or with ministry leaders. The “God language” means it has less utility in the business world.

The Enneagram Personality System: A system of nine types displayed in a geometric relationship fully developed in the 1960’s. It has been used in a variety of spiritual contexts.
For Coaches: The “official” assessment is free on-line—you can even post the actual assessment on your site. A less-well-known system with fewer resources.

Tony Stoltzfus is a best-selling author, leadership coach, master coach trainer and director of the Leadership Metaformation Institute. Additional information on this topic can be found in Tony’s book, The Christian Life Coaching Handbook.