Aged to Perfection: Developing Type over Time Okay, so perhaps the title of this blog is a tad misleading. However, it does reflect the very essence of why we use an instrument like Type when helping our clients develop. Once we understand our natural preferences, or the ‘sticking points’ of our natural style, our work is only just beginning. By realizing what we do naturally, attention is also drawn to perhaps those perspectives we tend to overlook or avoid, because they are slightly more uncomfortable. However, through coaching or in facilitated sessions, we begin to encourage individuals to embrace these non-natural perspectives more often, in accordance with the demands or task at hand. This is done not to change who they are, but to recognize the benefit that comes with using their personality – and all the parts of it – much more mindfully and appropriately. This process – whereby we become much more intentional in using both the preferred and non-preferred functions of our personality type – is what Jung referred to as our ultimate purpose and transcends just the situational or momentary choice of behaviour. Instead, it generalizes across our entire lifetime. While we can never be perfect (despite some of our best efforts), good type development refers to our lifelong pursuit of individuation or ‘completeness’. In type terms, the ability to use all of our mental functions as appropriate to the task at hand is our ultimate goal. That said, every person is different and no one wakes up at age 25-30 and says “Time to develop my third function!”. Additionally, even people who have the same personality types will progress differently based on early experiences, time and self-awareness. However, as coaches, it is useful to have a guide for helping individuals understand what phase of development they may be currently, and support them in furthering that growth or moving onto something else that may warrant attention. After you’ve been able to pinpoint the function your client is developing – whether it’s first, second, third or fourth – it can become much easier to further the conversation around what more they could be doing to embrace the function, or whether they can now shift their attention to a different aspect of their personality. Try using the following with your clients to help them understand their current stage of development. You can also use these insights as ‘tips and hints’ for developing each function if the individual is unclear as to how to begin the process. Developing Sensing People who are developing their Sensing function tend to focus more on the present moment and their day-to-day activities.New attitudes that often coincide with developing Sensing include: *Becoming more aware of how they are experiencing things: taste, touch, look, smell, feel *Find themselves enjoying nature and being outside *Becoming more interested in facts, details; begin to value accuracy more *Think more realistically, especially with regards to the duration of projects and realities of completing them New interests may include: cooking, building, exercise, hiking, gardening, greater interest in music or reading Developing Intuition People who are developing their Intuition may become more open to change and seeing things in new ways. New attitudes that often coincide with developing Intuition include: *Becoming more interested in meanings and what things tend to represent or symbolize *Developing or deepening interests in spiritual matters and bigger meanings (ie meaning of life) *Becoming more imaginative, creative with ideas and concepts *Thinking about how people or things are all related or connected; more big-picture thinking New interests may include: art, design, religion, inventing, creative reading, traveling to learn about different cultures Developing Thinking People who are developing their Thinking become better able to stay objective when considering data, and value more the ability to challenge, debate or think critically about ideas. New attitudes may include: *A greater emphasis on fairness and quality, even at the expense of harmony *A new awareness of cause and effect, as well as logical consequences of actions *Becoming more critical in evaluating people and ideas *Greater interest in efficiency and competence New interests may include: negotiation/arbitration, debating, political interests, being aware of others’ standards, and valuing consistency Developing Feeling People who are developing their Feeling function gain a new awareness for how their actions affect others. They also tend to reassess their priorities in more human terms. New attitudes that often coincide with developing Feeling include: *Providing more support for others, showing concerns for their needs *Cultivating friendships, sharing personal experiences and feelings *Greater interest in communication and listening skills *Greater appreciation for the contribution of others in work and in their personal life New interests may include: volunteer work, mentoring, re-engaging previous relationships, writing or journaling, praising others Wherever your client is, there are great insights that can come from helping them understand their current phase of development, as well as what they can expect next based on their type preferences. Happy coaching! *Special thanks to “Do What you Are” by Paul D Tieger & Barbara Barron-Tieger as an inspiration for this blog. **For more great insights related to dynamics and development, check out Gifts Different by Isabel Myers. It can be found here.