Are personality tests suitable for coaching sessions? Absolutely, but the question you really should be asking is: how can I adapt my coaching style to fit my client’s personality? Indeed, using personality tests to help a person know themselves better is a good place to start, but to ensure you are offering the highest quality of support, you can also use these tests to adapt your own method of approach. In this way, you can fully grasp the idiosyncrasies of each of your clients and strengthen your working alliance, since every personality type has a unique way of operating, a preferred channel of communication, distinct avenues towards heightened self-awareness as well as personal challenges that will foster growth.
Here you will find a practical breakdown of how to adapt your coaching style to fit the eight main personality types.
Benefactors have an assertive and friendly nature. Often described as influential leaders, they play an active role in the lives of those around them, offering advice, directing others and their ways of doing things and influencing the decisions they make. Their tendency to act as a good-hearted mediator gives them a natural ascendency over others; they feel they have been vested with a mission, they enjoy having responsibility, they know what is best for others and they are able to anticipate the consequences of their own actions as well as the actions of others.
That said, handling the context of coaching in itself will be an excellent exercise here since they will be forced to reverse roles, to take on that of a client receiving help and support. By achieving this, they can discover how it feels to relinquish control of their external environment, allowing them to reduce their tendency to micromanage, a key step when learning how to focus more on one’s personal needs. However, to avoid a complete overhaul of their personality, leave them with a bit of leeway, since they will probably try and chip in wherever they can as the sessions go by and ensure that the process is stimulating enough for them.
Entrepreneurs demonstrate high levels of independence and self-assurance. They exude strength and determination, are fuelled by direct action and risk-taking, and nothing seems out of their reach. They also strive to push themselves to their limits and to stand out from the crowd. Just as they are curious and open to discovering the world around them, they are also social and open to the opinions of others when it serves their interests.
Direct by nature and used to making their own way, they aren’t ones for dilly-dallying and will want to see exactly what you have to offer them. They won’t think twice about chiming in if they feel your approach is not up to scratch. Take advantage of these remarks by helping your clients to reassess the value of their objectives, to take other people into consideration more during their decision-making and thought processes. To achieve this, you just need to play up to their natural tendencies and come up with an original way of turning this development opportunity into one big challenge.
Motivators are by far the easiest type to get along with. Cheerful, almost always in a good mood, few things bother them and when they do, they probably won’t show it since they don’t like to impose themselves and tend to steer clear of conflict. They will look to preserve their existing relationships first and foremost as they need to be liked and feel part of a group. Moreover, they are always up for trying new things and find it easy to go with the flow. Respectful, cooperative, and quick to encourage others, they are instinctively attuned to the needs of those around them and always ready to offer their assistance.
These clients will benefit from working on their assertiveness and from thinking more about themselves. As they are fond of novelty and value team spirit, a group approach would be very fitting. They will need to start by taking stock of their own needs, values, and interests so that they can learn how to express them and make their voices heard. You could also, in a safe environment, have them enter into a confrontation with someone, allowing them to realise that by expressing a difference of opinion they actually strengthen the bond with that person and make it more profound.
Inventors are the rarest personality type since they only make up 2.1% of the population. Free spirits, they grow and move independently through the world, or rather through their own worlds, since their creativity and originality are as characteristic as their curiosity. Without going as far as saying that they don’t like to be like everyone else, the nuance here would be that they like their own way of doing things and this generally is very different from everyone else’s. They are rather autonomous, they don’t like to be answerable to anyone, nor do they seek to be anyone’s role model. They enjoy learning and have a clear preference for activities that get them to think outside the box and to create.
More comfortable navigating the world of ideas than the world of human beings, Inventors will have much to gain from stepping out of their personal bubbles and into the real world. Their unique and rare nature, which may appear misunderstood by many, deserves recognition. Coaching sessions will help these clients to open themselves up to interactions with others where they can try out a more active mode of communication, with the aim of having them play a more prominent role in group interactions, all while remaining true to themselves. With this in mind, you can help your clients put their best selves forward and fully unleash their individuality, allowing others to also reap the benefits of their truly original personalities.
Supporters are defined as people you can trust – once they make a commitment, they will go out of there way to see it through. Fun to be around, determined, and always keen to make themselves useful, supporters won’t hesitate to lend a helping hand, all while paying close attention to how procedures should be carried out and to instructions given. Proud collaborators, they are excellent support providers within teams. They like to be social, generally get on well with everyone and have no trouble with following the group to help strengthen the team dynamic.
Though sociable by nature, Supporters can find themselves being pushed into the background. Used to living for the good of the group that they hold so dear, they can forget themselves as individuals. Because of their commitment, dedication, and reliability, their contributions form an important cog in the team’s machinery. That said, these clients will benefit from taking their own opinions into account more often to help them discover and fully showcase their uniqueness, with the realisation that it can bring real added value to the group.
Achievers act as your ever steady right-hand man; they uphold their commitments with loyalty and determination. With specific tasks, clearly defined rules, and a clear objective, they are equipped for accomplishing any task. They will proceed with a methodical and logical approach, and they will not let themselves be thrown off by any problems they encounter along the way. Careful and patient, they will take the time to analyse a situation to find a durable and proven solution to address difficulties. If they are supported by a set of clear procedures, these perfectionists will use their constancy, tenacity, and attention to detail to get the best results.
Achievers love a job well done and tend to thrive best in the heart of the action. Who is better placed to understand their life experiences than they are themselves? However, their nature will encourage them to let others take centre stage and to avoid sharing their ideas or suggestions, even though they would be of great use to those around them. At times overly confined to the role of following instructions, you will be able to help these clients become aware of the wealth of knowledge that they possess, as well as helping them build up their self-confidence and assertiveness so that they can become a real driving force in their teams.
Making up almost a quarter of the population, Instructors are a type that you’ll often encounter. Both conventional and compassionate, they enjoy being in charge of a group and directing its members from point A to point B, by marking out the tasks for each person to complete. Dynamic, methodical and efficient, they ensure that work is carried out properly and they are quick to step in if they notice any discrepancies. They know how to rally up their troops and are ready to offer support whenever necessary. They will thrive in the polite and pleasant surroundings of a familiar environment, where they are up to speed with the tasks and developments of those around them.
Sticklers for procedure with a tendency to control their environment, their way of going about things can give rise to a certain rigidity, exacerbated by their powerful need for organisation and forward planning. Instructors will benefit from giving more freedom to others and allowing them to do things how they see fit. Learning to loosen the reins when guiding others will be sure to help these clients grow and allow them to put a more positive spin on change.
Coordinators are the population’s most common personality type. Reliable, rational, and organised, they need to know where they are headed, who they will encounter and what their assignment is in order to properly structure their activities. They have their own vision of what works and how things should pan out and they tend to impose this on others since it’s the optimal approach, in their eyes at least. Independent and confident, they rely on their common sense when making choices and take pride in proceeding with a methodical, consistent, and forward-thinking approach to avoid any nasty surprises.
These pragmatic and somewhat stubborn types will do well to adopt a more lenient approach on two counts: on one hand, by introducing more tact and sensibility into their interactions with others and by being more receptive to their ideas, needs and experiences.
On the other hand, by recognizing, by learning to let things go, that not everything can be predicted and controlled, and that by being accepting of life’s ups and downs and the opportunities it brings, we are better equipped for anticipating the changes to come.