Tips for Type Practitioners: A Guru’s Perspective Recently, I sat down with Patrick Kerwin – an MBTI® Master Practitioner, author, and certified counselor- to get his views on some key things practitioners should keep in mind as they either head into the world of type, or continue in their practice and application of those preferences we all know and love. He had some great insights and anecdotes for us that appeal to new and experienced practitioners alike. What are the key questions you ask before doing something like a teambuilding session with an organization? 1. “What are your goals in having an MBTI team building session?” (to make sure the MBTI assessment is the right solution) 2. “What are the team’s strengths in working together? Challenges?” (I like to hear responses from the leader and the team members, if possible) 3. “What do you know about the MBTI assessment?” (to get a baseline on the leader’s knowledge and use of the assessment) What is the biggest challenge you (and other type practitioners) face on a regular basis? There are several. The biggest challenge is getting type to “stick.” Most leaders and team members who take the MBTI assessment are already incredibly busy. The challenge is to not only provide them with an enlightening and fun type experience, but one where they can actually go back to work and apply what they’ve learned. A second challenge is debunking the many stereotypes that people have about each of the preferences. People often light-heartedly describe the preferences by using “caricatures” of the preferences, e.g. “E’s can’t stop talking, and I’s never say a word!” Those definitions, if left unchecked, can sour people on the MBTI assessment. So the challenge is to interrupt the “light-hearted” moment and inject a “teachable moment” with an accurate description of the preferences. A third challenge is helping people understand that the MBTI instrument doesn’t measure, it sorts, and that the PCI doesn’t measure their preferences either. Participants and type professionals alike are so accustomed to measurement assessments — standardized education tests, college admission tests, performance appraisals, etc. — that it’s easy to view the MBTI assessment as a measuring tool and ascribe inaccurate meaning to the numerical portion of the assessment. I’m always saying, “There is no fence to be on, there is no chart to be off of!” What advice would you give newly certified practitioners who just getting started? Three things: 1) Keep it simple. Don’t start off trying to explain type dynamics or type under stress! 2) Do your interpretations in a way that makes sense for your type. In other words, if you have preferences for ENFP, start off by doing your workshops or interpretations in an ENFP way, and try to bring in some I, S, T and J along the way. Doing that will help you integrate the material more easily, and will make it easier to bring in I, S, T, and J more completely with time. 3) If you can, choose clients that will be nice to you! Try not to work with the most complicated person or the most challenging team as you’re starting out. Finally – and perhaps as a reflection of my own Feeling preference- I had to ask Patrick a question that resonates for everyone. I wanted to know what the most rewarding part of his MBTI career had been. “When people understand themselves and the people around them, they can affect incredible and positive change.” About Patrick Kerwin: Patrick Kerwin is principal of Kerwin & Associates in San Diego, California, specializing in the development of organizations, teams, and individuals. A Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® Master Practitioner, Patrick works with corporate, education, and non-profit organizations to put the MBTI® instrument into practice for team-building, communication enhancement, change management, stress management, and individual development. He has worked with organizations including Microsoft, Google, Amgen, Heinz, Genentech, the U.S. Navy, the Air Force Space Command, Lockheed Martin, Monarch Healthcare, the California HealthCare Foundation, the University of Notre Dame, Purdue University, and Thunderbird School of Global Management. Patrick is also one of a small cadre of faculty who conducts the intensive, four-day MBTI Certification Program in the U.S. and Canada. Patrick holds his MBA and Career Counseling Specialist Graduate Certificate from California State University, Long Beach, and is a National Certified Counselor.