Coaching for impact - Leveraging Type

All 16 Types visual descriptors_grid.png

Bernie Goldstein, MBA, PCC, gave a presentation at the New York chapter of the Association for Psychological Type (APT NYC) in October. I really enjoyed the session and learned a lot about how different personality types prefer to coach.

Schopenhauer said that people define the limits of their world by the limits of their own vision. What type was Schopenhauer?

We did an exercise as a group and everybody answered questions about their coaching style. Here are some of the answers from the participants in no particular order:



  • Excel at intuition, sizing up, making people comfortable, valuing goals, and planning
  • May overdo closure
  • Frames feedback by using language and having a good rapport, always telling the truth
  • Like to receive feedback openly, to learn and grow, but may quietly feel hurt. So, it is important to frame the feedback
  • Success is to see results, to structure the methodology, and to have community
  • Procrastination is annoying
  • Motto is “take action and get results”


  • Excel at listening, creative, empathy, connecting pieces, using past experience
  • May overdo definitive speech, inflexibility
  • May overlook facts
  • Look for real meaning in feedback and be encouraging
  • Prefer to receive gentle feedback, feel that they’re understood
  • Motto is “you can improve”


  • Excels at being flexible
  • Feedback does not need to be too gentle, appreciate fact and planning
  • Motto is “motivate and support”


  • Excels at providing incremental, measurable steps
  • May overlook allowing enough time for the insight to come to the client, not sure how to change the structure and communicate it
  • Needs little schmoozing for feedback, better to be straight to the point, the gems are in the constructive aspects
  • Likes to receive constructive feedback, have to be better all the time, “don’t let me down by holding back”
  • Needs a goal to be successful, prefers realistic goals, has to ”get people there”
  • Gets annoyed by no energy and the vagueness
  • Motto is “you can do it, make a plan, make it work”


  • Excels at listening, intuiting, empathizing, making them feel understood
  • May overlook details
  • Prefers feedback in context for success
  • Success is an a-ha moment, when the client realizes part of their potential
  • Can get annoyed by too much detail, context always matters
  • Motto is “Knowing yourself”


  • Excels at listening, connecting the dots, naming insights and the elephant in the room
  • May overdo listening in the hope for new information, not everything is related
  • Prefer truthful but palatable feedback
  • Like to receive direct but human feedback, consider it and look at merit
  • Success is paying attention to the whole person, having clear expectations and responsibilities
  • Get annoyed by people being late, or sounding like a broken record


  • Excels at openness
  • May have too many ideas and overlook what’s really going on
  • Only accept feedback from trusted people
  • Success is in the structure
  • Gets annoyed by being told, ”allow me to notice”


  • Excels at talking, listening, normalizing, compassion, empathy, and connecting
  • May overdo the optimism and overlook listening and boundaries
  • Focuses on possibilities when delivering feedback
  • Takes feedback personally, is quite sensitive, needs a positive outlook and spin
  • Needs positive feedback, a-ha moments, good evaluations, and progress towards the goal to be successful
  • Finds no emotional reaction and silence annoying
  • Motto is "Go be awesome!"

At all times, remember to coach the person, not the issue. Always question what is going on behind the scenes, what is their capacity for growth, and how is the client dealing with the process?

In terms of structure, for the INTJ it is more of a mental framework whereas for the ESTJ structure is more about linear steps. The INTP has to feel the whole structure.

How would you shift your perspective? After all, the coach’s vision is important but it is the client’s vision that ultimately matters.


Image by flattop341, Flickr, Creative Commons License.