Self-awareness can be like getting the keys to a Ferrari- but it’s worthless if the…
Today was the final day of training for the MBTI Step III. After 2 days of studying the theoretical underpinnings of the instrument as well as the construction and validity, today we practiced using it under the watchful eye of our esteemed instructors. We examined 3 different cases of people who had donated their Step III report for the purposes of training. Therefore, these were real people who had answered inventory questions and received a report that was based on the rules they triggered resulting in specific statements about their current behavior and accompanying suggestions for personal growth. Everyone had the opportunity to play the role of the client, the coach and/or counselor, and the observer. Final questions and answers about our own reports or any other topic were also discussed.
The first thing I noticed about using the Step III report in a real life setting was even though it was rich with information and feedback, there was infinite flexibility in how this information could be used to promote a discussion. Because the report is not a diagnosis or a final rendering of an individual’s personality, a statement contained in the report could be discussed in any number of ways. For example, a statement might read: “You seem to be indifferent to or ignore logical consequences in matters that are of immediate concern to you, perhaps because other things are more important to you at the time.” From there, a client might say, “Well yes. I don’t tend to worry too much about what I consider small stuff.” Or, “You know, I am just not myself these days. I usually pay my bills on time but lately, they have been piling up on my desk. My mother broke her hip 3 months ago and it seems all I do is tend to her needs.” For one individual, ignoring certain things that are of immediate concern is simply a reflection of their laid back attitude. For another, it is recognized as an important problem that requires further discussion.
Another observation I had about the report is that it is important to keep an individual’s known type as well as dominant function in mind when evaluating the data. For example, an INFP and an ENTJ might both receive the following statement in his Step III report: “You find it hard to deal with situations that require you to take a detached and logical approach in making a decision.” Well, for INFP who is a dominant introverted feeler (and whose inferior or least preferred function is logical, detached thinking, this statement might no raise any special concerns only to point out that many INFP’s do not tend to use “detached, logical thinking” when approaching a situation. They are more likely to think of people or values first. They may add logical thinking into their cognitive mix but it is likely to require a little extra mental energy. An ENTJ, on the other hand, IS a dominant thinker and should therefore be using detached, logical thinking competently and with relative ease. If this is not the case, it may be important to probe for some sort of stress that might be compromising optimal functioning which is often the case when someone is not using his dominant function well.
Also, certain responses might yield statements that give the opportunity to discuss an individual’s type development. Let’s say an individual is an ESFJ whose dominant function is extraverted feeling. However, she has grown up in a household where feelings are sign considered a sign of weak-mindedness. Kind treatment toward others is regarded as “coddling”. This individual might receive a statement like this: “You appear to have little inclination to appreciate anyone or anything at this time. This is probably having an impact on your relationships.” Now, a client can reject this by saying, “This doesn’t sound like me at all.” Well, then you leave it alone. But it may also reveal how this individual’s efforts to use values and concern for others in making her decisions has not been appreciated and so she tries to use her inferior function, thinking, to deal with matters that she would be more likely to resolve successfully if she could appreciate her strong suit, feeling. Coaching efforts might be used to help her see her special and unique gifts and urge her to use them more often.
Finally, it is important to note that the Step III instrument, by virtue of the fact that it uses questions from Form M, Q, and F, allows the report to be personalized enough to reflect the Step II (Q) facet statements. Fifty-percent of the respondents will generate statements that are facet-based. Fifty percent will have no facet statements. There is no qualitative significance to whether or not an individual has any facet statements in his/her report.
My take home message from this training: The MBTI Step III is a user friendly instrument whose main purpose is provide the opportunity for personal insight. We learned that when clients have a new awareness, a change in perspective, or a new way of understanding, they typically experience a release of energy leading to an enhanced sense of self, new motivation, and greater willingness to tackle problems. A major goal of the Step III interpretation process is to make sure new energy is available for enhancing the way a client functions.