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Coaching with your Personality Type in Mind


Coaching with your Personality Type in Mind

Coaching support in its essence accompanies you through a change process. You're no longer satisfied with where you are, so you take action to reach a new place; physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. 

Depending on your Type preferences, you'll approach change in different ways. You'll have certain needs that have to be met for the change to be successful. You'll be paying attention to certain information and need support with specific areas.

These innate preferences might make it hard to understand that not everyone thinks and feels about change the same way you do. 

If you don't know your Type yet and would like to find out, contact me or find another Master Practitioner in your neighborhood. If you do know your Type, here's a brief excerpt from Introduction to Type® and Coaching, by Sandra Krebs Hirsh and Jane Kise. Use this awareness to prepare for your next change process more effectively, and to provide others with what they need to be on board. 

Introversion-Sensing (IS)


During change, ISs' emphasis is on preserving what is already effective and important traditions. To adapt and thrive during change, 

  • Explore how to relate the change to past experiences or familiar knowledge
  • Ask about the practical reasons for the change (e.g. cost or time savings, new regulations, etc.)
  • Try to understand the ways in which the changes will be an improvement over the status quo

Extraversion - Sensing (ES)


During change, ESs' emphasis is on taking action and ensuring efficiency. To adapt and thrive during change,

  • Seek to relate the changes to your specific role
  • Concentrate on the practical results change will bring - ask about what will be faster, more cost-effective, easier, and so on
  • Find evidence that the changes will help you work more effectively

Introversion-Intuiting (IN)


During change, INs' emphasis is on envisioning, or researching how things could be different. To adapt and thrive during change, 

  • Ask for information on books, technologies, theories, or frameworks that are driving the change
  • Seek involvement with the conceptual aspects of the change
  • Consider alternative ideas and concepts as well as "what if" scenarios

Extraversion-Intuiting (EN)


During change, ENs' emphasis is on embracing novelty or new ideas. To adapt and thrive during change,

  • Connect the changes to themes, theories, or overall corporate goals
  • Engage your imaginatino to envision what good might result from the changes
  • Take an active role in enacting changes, especially if the impact goes beyond your own responsibilities

I'll be presenting on Type and Coaching at the DFW APT Chapter meeting on March 18th, starting at 6.30 pm at the King of Glory Lutheran Church, 6411 Lyndon B Johnson Freeway, DallasTX. If you're in town, I'd love to see you! RSVP here


Ireland's Other Patron Saint is a Lady


Ireland's Other Patron Saint is a Lady

Next Monday, most of the Western world will probably drink Guinness and kiss people wearing green.

Why does St. Patrick get all the credit? He wasn't even Irish!

Born in Scotland, Patrick was abducted as a teenager and sold into slavery. He herded sheep in Ireland until he escaped, aged 20. He became a priest and eventually was ordained Bishop, and returned to Ireland. Legend claims he rid the land of snakes, but what people probably meant was St. Patrick worked to get rid of Druids and Pagans. He died on March 17th, 461 in Saul, Downpatrick. (1)

Two of the many Irish people he converted were parents to Brigid. She was friendly with St. Patrick, and took the veil "in her youth" (2). St. Brigid went on to found a convent (the first in Ireland, where she served as Abbess), several monasteries, and an art school.

Not to be confused with St. Brigit of Sweden or Brigid the Goddess, St. Brigid of Kildare is not only patron of Ireland, but also: babies; blacksmiths; boatmen; cattle; chicken farmers; children whose parents are not married; children with abusive fathers; children born into abusive unions; dairymaids; dairy workers; fugitives; infants; Ireland; mariners; midwives; milk maids; nuns; poets; poor; poultry farmers; poultry raisers; printing presses; sailors; scholars; travellers; watermen (3)

She died on February 1st, 525, and is buried in Downpatrick, together with St. Patrick and St. Columba. 

St Patrick and St Brigid stained glass at the St Francis' Abbey in Kilkenny, Ireland - by CaptainOates on flickr, Creative Commons license

St Patrick and St Brigid stained glass at the St Francis' Abbey in Kilkenny, Ireland - by CaptainOates on flickr, Creative Commons license


What Personality Type is Frank Underwood?


What Personality Type is Frank Underwood?

Hello! Thanks for visiting and please enjoy the free info below!

Just fyi, you can find me over at from now on, where I'm making custom lettering and calligraphy.

This archive will be discontinued next month. 

"House of Cards", the American version, is an original Netflix series. It's a political drama following the main character, Frank Underwood.

He's ... interesting. Manipulative, superior, condescending, egocentric, scheming, planning, talented in tactics, strategy, and diplomacy, cunning, highly intelligent, and ruthless.

So, naturally, I wondered - which Personality Type fits this description?

Given the right circumstances, every single one, I'd say.

Still, these particular circumstances are the political arena. We know that Frank, or Francis, as his wife calls him, attended a military college and despite poor grades graduated with a Law degree from Harvard.(1)

One could argue that the Types most likely to be drawn to public service are the Stabilizers(TM): ISTJ, ISFJ, ESTJ, ESFJ. They are inherently skilled at logistics, and have the deep-seated psychological need for membership, belonging, responsibility, and duty.

While people of all Types are drawn to serve their country or practice law for different reasons, Frank's reasons seem to be power and influence.

“Money is the Mc-mansion in Sarasota that starts falling apart after 10 years. Power is the old stone building that stands for centuries.”(2)

The Interaction Style(TM) that's most likely to be driven by a need to achieve and exerting control is the In-Charge(TM) style. Types in this group are ESTJ, ENTJ, ESTP, and ENFJ.

He's often seen sitting by the window and smoking all night, connecting with his wife and making plans. He's analyzing long-ranging cause and effects, mentally juggling dozens of representatives, their affiliations and pressure points in his head, showing tremendous ability of analysis. Introverted Thinking (Ti) is the function often associated with this skill, and the Types with dominant Ti are ISTP and INTP.

His success might be attributed to his analytical skills, but what if there are deeper forces at work? Frank's success rate in knowing and predicting how different scenarios are likely to play out is impressive. This gift for foresight might point us to the skills of introverted Intuiting (Ni), dominant for INTJ and INFJ Types.

Out of the 16 Types, these broad strokes covered the following possibilities:





Though planning, analyzing, and strategizing are traits usually associated with the Thinking preference, I'm reluctant to rule out Feeling altogether. Introverted Feeling of Fi is also known as the valuing function, that thing we do when we run something through our internal filter of right-wrong, yes-no, like-dislike. Frank grew up as a child of a peach farmer in rural South Carolina, which might have instilled a value of money and luxury in him, which in turn may be the driving force behind his need for power. Either way, Type doesn't explain everything, the environment plays an important role as well.

If we're looking at Temperament again, what is his inner motivation? Is it responsibility and duty (SJ), meaning, significance, and personal growth (NF), the freedom to act and ability to make an impact (SP), or mastery, knowledge, self-control, and competence (NT)?(3)

My vote would go to the latter, which leaves us with INTJ, INTP, ENTJ, and ENTP. All NTs have innate strategic skill sets. The TPs excel at analyzing, the TJs at organizing and getting things done. The NJs are great at intuitively knowing, the NPs at seeing themes, patterns, and possibilities.

I'm inclined to go with INTJ for Frank Underwood, because of his elaborate planning. He doesn't seem to prefer acting at the spur of a moment, although he is able to do so and frequently must. INTJs have a Chart-the-Course(TM) Interaction Style, which places them at a vantage point, overseeing how all items come together in one play.

Leading with introverted Intuiting (Ni), INTJs seem to have superior knowledge of the universe, dipping into wisdom pools of the collective unconscious. Supported by extraverted Thinking (Te), they see their ideas realized in the world. Fi is in the third position, enabling them to have fun with their values. Extraverted Sensing (Se) is the "inferior" function, meaning he's likely to indulge in bad foods when stressed, while at the same time he's aspiring to get fit with more exercise.

Yeah, I feel pretty good about INTJ. For now. Haven't seen the whole season yet. Then again, it's called "House of Cards" for a reason - everything can collapse in on itself in an instant. ;-)

Have you seen the show? What do you think?


If you'd like to know your Type and compare it to others, consider investing in a license to access Matrix Insights - the software that provides not only your in-depth profile, but also comparative reports, development strategies, and actionable tips on how to take Type to work. 



3 Essential Motivators, Linda V. Berens

4. Interaction Styles, Linda V. Berens

Image by peterjroberts, Flickr, creative commons license


Your Brain and Love


Your Brain and Love

Valentine's Day may be over, but I hope you're still feeling loved and connected. 

Oxytocin is the hormone that is also known as the "love" hormone. Levels in your bloodstream go up when you hug or kiss someone. It increases bonding between mother and child during and after childbirth, and oxytocin receptors are distributed throughout various regions of your brain. 

Experiments show that people who receive oxytocin e.g. via a nasal spray are more likely to empathize and collaborate with relative strangers (1).

More recently, oxytocin may also find application in children with autism, as it seems to stimulate those brain regions that encourage social behavior. (2)

Other studies suggest that children also respond to invitations to play. They may be experiencing more stress than their peers, as measured by increased levels of cortisol in their saliva, but they more easily interact when invited. (3) 

Before you grab that spray, be warned of the consequences: You may find yourself more focused on facial expression, and able to identify e.g. fear more easily. Unfortunately, one side effect of too much oxytocin can be over-sensitivity and misreading of such social cues, meaning you might completely  misinterpret what's really going on. (4)

What about the different stages of love?

Mentalfloss published an article last month going into some detail. For example, when you first fall in love, there's a mixture of dopamine and nerve growth factor coursing through your veins. It's effects have been likened to OCD. 

The longer the relationship lasts, the more a mixture of serotonin and oxytocin help balance things out into a less obsessive and more stable and trusting kind of love. 

Since harmony and connection are integral pieces to the extraverted Feeling function, I can't help but wonder if ExFJ and IxFJ personality types show more oxytocin receptors or better connections between the involved brain regions. If you know of any studies, please share them!

If you'd like to explore your romantic connection with your partner, or get clearer on what you're looking for in a partner, contact me to learn how knowing your personality type preferences can improve your relationships. 






"You're a Human Being Before You're a Human Doing"


"You're a Human Being Before You're a Human Doing"

Entrepreneurs are at risk for depression when they over-identify their self-worth with the success of their business.

Strategies to avoid this pitfall, and "create resiliency against the violence that often happens at work":

  • Practice the art of non-attachment: do your best, give it your all, and don't be hung up on the result.
  • Engage with a multi-generational community. Learn from one another, and realize you don't have to do it all alone. 
  • Adopt the notion of practice. "Practice being a CEO."
  • Allow yourself to *be* (yourself) at work. 

Jerry Colonna, executive coach and former venture capitalist, interviews Parker J Palmer, author, educator, and activist, about "Surviving the StartUp Life". They discuss "standing in the tragic gap" - the place between harsh realities of life and knowing what could be possible; aka the "eternal human yearning to be connected with something larger than my own ego". 

Life in a startup (anywhere, really) is hectic, and it's easy to forget self-care. Unfortunately, our bodies and minds are more likely to break down when under prolonged stress. Clinical depression becomes a real issue. 

Here's Palmer's description of how he experienced depression (transcribed-ish):

He is not surprised when he hears someone under depression commits suicide. Clinical depression is utterly exhausting, and eventually you just want a rest.

The faculties he (and most of us) usually depends on are:

  • Intellect
  • Emotions
  • Will
  • Ego

In depression, each of these are rendered utterly useless. 

Intellect: You can think yourself into a depression, but you can't think your way out of it. 

Emotions: A depression is not about feeling bad, it's the terrifying knowledge that you can feel nothing at all. 

Will: It barely exists. At the advice of a therapist, he kept track of any minor gains he made every day. He learned something about using a gentler metric because his will was non-existent.

Ego: While living in ego is lonely, a depression will shatter even that. 

What he came to see is that he has another faculty, the Soul. He learned to honor his being and how to hold the other faculties more modestly. They were no longer the main tools. Nowadays, his intention is to be in the world in a more soulful, authentic, truthful, way. He is honoring his potential and his limitations. At 74, he feels it more important to be in the world as he truly is. 

The video continues with a Q&A with the audience. Here's an excerpt.

What is the one thing that stops entrepreneurs from being successful?

(Jerry) The fear of failure.

First, be sure you know how you define success. There's so much pressure, but if you apply the notion of practice to the startup and you find a way to pay the bills, then the definition of success starts to change. Take the fangs away from the monster of fear and failure. 

(I would add the old coaching adage: "there's no failure, only feedback". Didn't get many signups for the call? Try a different marketing strategy. Didn't get a high opt-in conversion? Try a different call-to-action, or change the color of the button. And for the love of chocolate, don't define yourself by the number of Twitter followers. Building a business takes time.)

How can I hold myself together in the multiple roles I play? What if I succeed as an entrepreneur but fail as a father? 

(Parker) Community has healing power. When I struggled with depression there was one phrase I needed to hear: "Welcome to the human race; we're all in this together." This experience doesn't set you apart, it pulls you closer to us. The failure or the success don't define you; they're both equally toxic. We're often taught to play different roles and segmenting our lives, but we do have control over whether we're the same person everywhere we show up. As we do it, we incrementally add to our own sense of well-being and wholeness. 

(Jerry) I went to watch a movie with my son, and was moved to tears. A part of me said, "I can't do this in front of him" - I was afraid he would love me less. But what he expressly said was, "Dad, it makes it easier to love you, knowing that you struggle."

It's ok to share your struggles with your family and kids, because you'll be modeling the wholeness of who you are

(I would add Brené Brown's books as a resource, they are powerful tools to help put vulnerability and courage into perspective.)

Here's the video:

If you can't see it, the link is

"Violence is what happens when we don't know what else to do with our suffering." Parker Palmer

The violence that happens at work can be a harsh word (self-talk or said out loud), not taking a lunch break (denying yourself basic nourishment), withholding information, feeling resentful (envy and greed both have green eyes), sabotaging yourself or others. I invite you this week to be kind to yourself, and to recognize your (or, if you are) suffering.

Sad Clown image from flickr by Shawn Campbell, Creative Commons license


Valentine's Across Cultures


Valentine's Across Cultures

A popular origin story for this day of friends and lovers is that Valentinus went to prison for marrying soldiers and tending to persecuted Christians in Rome.

It became the romantic feast of chocolates, flowers, and jewels not through Hallmark, but with the help of poets like Chaucer in the 14th century. 

If you're a teacher with a diverse class, make sure providing hearts or cards for all other children is optional, as parents with a Muslim faith may have objections.

I hope you take this day to appreciate and love yourself, as well as your friends or partners.  

It's true, American schmalz has largely taken over and most of your stores will have at least one pink and red aisle right now. 

Paper Valentines became so popular in England in the early 19th century that they were assembled in factories. (Wikipedia)

The British Empire included Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Sudan, and other African countries at the time, so it's no wonder it's widespread and celebrated. 

Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Italy, and mainland Spain celebrate Valentine's same as most Anglo-Western cultures, with the exception of Cataluña - here it's on Sant Jordi (April 23rd) where boys give girls a rose, and girls give boys a book.

In India, different states and different religions have different customs. Many celebrate Spring Goddesses around early February, and traditionalists see Western Valentine's as yet another commercialized event.

Estonia and Finland call it "Friend's Day", so getting a rose doesn't mean he loves you.

The Greek have another Saint to protect lovers, Hyacinth of Caesarea, and she's celebrated on July 3rd. 

In Spanish-speaking South America it's a hybrid día del amor y de la amistad (day of love and friendship), so nobody has to feel lonely. 

Guatemala calls it día del cariño (affection day).

In Brazil and Portugal, it's dia dos namorados (day for lovers / those who are in love).

The Philippines and Sweden call it heart's day or all heart's day. It's the busiest day for florists. 

South Korea and Japan have joined the feast in the 20th century. Japanese boys give dark chocolate to the girls they like on February 14th, and the girls reciprocate with white chocolate on March 14th. Days and chocolates are reversed in South Korea. 

How are you going to celebrate this year?



Image by terren in Virginia, flickr, Creative Commons License


Perfect Valentine's Gifts for every Type


Perfect Valentine's Gifts for every Type

How we show our love and appreciation is influenced by our Love Type and our Personality Type. 

If you don't know what to get yourself or your lover this year, read on for suggestions. 

If you wonder why your lover keeps getting you sucky gifts, read on for explanation - and then point them here so they might learn how to better please you. 

I try to live by the Platinum Rule:

Treat everyone the way THEY want to be treated. 

That means not getting my husband a cuddly bear, or a card, or anything remotely sentimental and useless. In turn, he asks me every year what I want. Birthdays, anniversaries, Hallmark Holidays, Christmas - Every. Single. Time. I know that's because only when he knows what I want can he be sure to get me the perfect gift. But I'd like for him to, just, get it

And every occasion my answer is the same: "Yes, Darling, I'd appreciate a token of your appreciation in the form of flowers, chocolates, or anything personal and thoughtful. Ta very much." 

If you're in a similar boat, here are some thoughts:

Since we all assume everyone thinks and behaves like us, you may not be aware of a difference between you two. So, first you need to know how you and your partner like to express and receive loving gestures. A quick and easy way to do this is the 5 Love Languages questionnaire.

Your results may vary between these five lenses:

Once you know your and your partner's preference, it should be a little more straightforward. For example, for someone who loves

  • Words of Affirmation, consider writing a love letter.
  • Acts of Service may be a book of coupons for household chores to be used throughout the year.
  • Receiving Gifts may be more along the chocolates, flowers, or jewelry line. 
  • Quality Time can be spent at a museum, a walk in the park, or a weekend mini-break.
  • Physical Touch can be an invitation to a spa, or a couple's massage course you take together. 

Another way to honor your and your partner's preferences would be looking at your Personality Types. Let's focus on the Essential Motivator™ or Temperament lens, as they give us an indication of core psychological needs. 

The Catalyst™ Temperament, or if you have an NF in your Type code

The core needs are for the meaning and significance that come from having a sense of purpose and working toward some greater good. They need to have a sense of unique identity. They value unity, self-actualization, and authenticity.

In other words, don't get them a toaster for Valentine's, even if theirs just broke. This is a special day, and your love is special, and should be celebrated as such. 

Your lovely Catalyst™ will likely appreciate a personalized display of affection, something that shows you spent time and forethought into pleasing them. They'll take pleasure in preparing the same for you, so be sure to appreciate it exuberantly. 

The Theorist™ Temperament, or if you have an NT in your Type code

The core needs are for mastery of concepts, knowledge, and competence. People of this temperament want to understand the operating principles of the universe and to learn or even develop theories for everything. They value expertise, logical consistency concepts, and ideas and seek progress. They tend toward pragmatic, utilitarian actions with a technology focus.

In other words, spending time on a thoughtful, romantic gesture may receive a neutral response. 

Your lovely Theorist™ is more likely to appreciate a nice dinner, or a gift card to their favorite book- or gadget store. Which is what you might receive from them, as well. 

The Stabilizer™ Temperament, or if you have an SJ in your Type code

The core needs are for group membership and responsibility. They need to know they are doing the responsible thing. They value stability, security, and a sense of community. 

In other words, an extravagant, lavish gift may have an unexpected reaction of doubt, worry about the expense, or guilt. 

Your lovely Stabilizer™ will very likely appreciate a traditional present like flowers and a card. If you want to take it a step further, personalize the process and suggest establishing a Valentine's tradition just for you two. When they surprise you this year, think of all the memories you'll be creating together. 

The Improviser™ Temperament, of if you have an SP in your Type code

The core needs are to have the freedom to act without hindrance and to see a marked result from action. People of this temperament highly value aesthetics, whether in nature or art. Their energies are focused on skillful performance, variety, and stimulation.

In other words, don't repeat yourself

Your lovely Improviser™ is more likely to appreciate an experience with you - the more spontaneous, the better. They're the ones you want to go all out for, and who'll go all out for you. 

Hope you'll have a lovely February, and why not treat yourself as well. <3

Essential Motivator descriptions by Linda Berens

Image by me - that's what hubby prepared for our last anniversary. He's still milking it. 


Your Brain on International Assignments, or: Wired For Connection – Improving Expat Adjustment


Your Brain on International Assignments, or: Wired For Connection – Improving Expat Adjustment

Scientific evidence is piling up that we’re indeed social animals. No matter what your personality type, your brain will light up when you feel like you don’t fit in, or when you’re being excluded. In international settings, this social pain is often called “culture shock”. Those feelings of exclusion and different-ness activate the same neurons that fire when you break your foot and experience physical pain.

What does this mean when you’re in a new country?

You look different, you talk differently, you probably dress differently, too. When a local looks at you, and wonders whether you can be trusted or not, their brain function will change accordingly. The same is true for you. If you like and want to collaborate with someone, your brain will release oxytocin, aka “the love hormone”. If you don’t like someone and see them as a competitor, you’re less likely to empathize with them.(1)

For international teams, that means work may get sabotaged, because crucial information might not be shared. At any rate, your (and their) brain will be flooded with stress hormones like cortisol, which limits your ability for creative problem-solving and optimistic future-planning.

Love is the Answer

(…) being pushed out of social relationships and into isolation has health ramifications. In fact, there was a book done by health advocate Dr. Dean Ornish, called Love and Survival. There has been study after study done on the positive impact of loving relationships. What he had said at the time in that book was that if we had a drug that did for our health what love does, it would far outsell anything that has ever been made. The efficacy is that potent. But we downplay the importance of love and connection in a culture based on the success of “the rugged individual.” People in our culture need to understand that healthy connection can reduce pain on all levels. (2)

No, you don’t have to start romantic relationships with all the locals. But you should try and find things you have in common with your new colleagues and neighbors.

You should try and understand their culture and learn that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Teach them about your culture without trying to impose it.

Your brain can learn; the more you expose it to the new culture, the more it will get used to it by rewiring existing connections and creating brain-maps (representations of the new terrain) for easy access.

You can teach your brain to recognize strange-looking faces, street signs, or produce labels as something you can handle.

Know someone who could use some help?

If you’re finding yourself a little more depressed than usual, you might be experiencing culture shock.

If the partner you relocated with isn’t sleeping well and has a shorter fuse than usual, they might be experiencing culture shock.

If your team isn’t working effectively together, they might be experiencing uncertainty of how to deal with the different cultures within in the team.

The neural link between social and physical pain also ensures that staying socially connected will be a lifelong need, like food and warmth. Given the fact that our brains treat social and physical pain similarly, should we as a society treat social pain differently than we do? We don’t expect someone with a broken leg to “just get over it.” And yet when it comes to the pain of social loss, this is a common response. (3)

You can snap out of social pain or culture shock about as easily as you can mend your broken foot by willing it stop hurting. Healing takes time, and support can help. Contact me to see if working together might help you to come up with strategies of how to re-wire your brain faster.  


[1] Rock, David, SCARF – a brain-based model for collaborating with and influencing others


[3] Lieberman, Matthew D, Social – Why our Brains are Wired to Connect

Image by pshutterbug, flickr, Creative Commons License