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Using Awareness of Psychological Type to Formulate Strategies

Much has been written about the importance of formulating goals to achieve success.  First, you appraise your current situation.  Next,  you decide what you wish to achieve.  Then you identify specific activities that will help you reach that goal.  Simple, right?   Unfortunately, many people fall short of their goals not because they don’t know what they want or can’t identify activities that will lead them there.  Instead they fall short because they don’t know know how to overcome the force that leads them back to their  default mode or comfort zone.

Every psychological type has both strengths and developmental challenges.  For example, an ENFP type is full of creative ideas and schemes but is also prone to losing focus and follow through once the newness has worn off.  An INFJ  may be able to mediate complex interactions among individuals but at the same time, be reluctant to intrude upon others and thus keep too much to himself.    Why isn’t  it enough to implore the ENFP to “just do it” or to encourage the INFJ to just share what he is thinking?

It is natural for an ENFP to want to move on to the next challenge because her dominant function is extraverted intuition.   Her brain is excited by new ideas, patterns, and insights. This is her default mode similar to the default settings on the computer. In the absence of a deliberate effort to bypass this natural tendency, she will enthusiastically jump from one intriguing curiosity to the next.  She may be aware that she has to finish a given activity in order to meet a stated goal.   However, the key to accomplishing this is an effective strategy to help her manage a natural tendency.

Perhaps she learns to write down ideas as they pop into her head rather than immediately following her nose to satisfy her curiosity.  With the advent of Google, it’s easy to get sidetracked by wanting to know something right now rather than later on.  Or maybe there is some mundane task like writing the bills that she often ignores in favor of a more exciting task.   Maybe she has has to take them to a coffee shop to work on them so she can be around people but not be distracted by other more intriguing stimuli in her home.

What about the INFJ who won’t share what is on his mind?  Maybe he needs to remind himself that many people he will be sharing his thoughts with are not as sensitive as he is so he can afford to be a little more forthright.  Or, he can capitalize on his effective writing skills by putting his thoughts into a letter or, using a journal to formulate what he is going to say so he is fully prepared to speak his mind.  He needs a strategy that goes beyond the goal that he will “speak up more often in meetings”, for example. He needs to know how he can do this without creating so much anxiety that he avoids it altogether.

Effective coaching has 3 main components:  1. Increased self-awareness.   2.Goal setting and identification of activities leading to those goals.  3.Strategies that will increase the likelihood that those goals will be successfully met.   Awareness of psychological type through the use of the MBTI instruments can provide needed insight on how these strategies are formulated.

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