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    Mar 23, 2016    |   Aidan Millar

Type and Development: Preference Practice

people-desk After learning about Type and personality theory, most individuals quickly realize that we all have certain preferred ways of gathering information, making decisions and interacting with our world. Once people understand their default approach, the next intuitive step may be to assume that ideal development must stem from equal use of all 8 preferences – that way, I’m capturing everything, right?
However, Jung was very adamant that development is not about using all parts of our personality in equal proportions; this would lead to inconsistencies and unreliable judgements and perceptions as we attempt to formulate identity and purpose in our every-day life. Instead, the goal should be to develop the ability to use each preference with some comfort and skill as appropriate to the task so we can choose how we respond, rather than simply enacting habit.
Often times however, as we seek to establish development plans, it can be difficult to conceptualize how we can start to develop overlooked or under-practiced parts of ourselves. In coaching clients, the question – especially when speaking about dominant and inferior functions – usually becomes “how can I start to do these things more often, so they become more comfortable?”.

Indeed, most agree that the best way to become better skilled at using the different preferences is to experience them intentional exchange-of-ideas_pencil mouth (3) ly. Therefore, why not consider the following for yourselves and clients as you seek to explore development opportunities:

Experiencing Extraversion – Jump into an activity without thinking it over. Enter into a discussion before you have your position thought out. Join a group activity that requires interacting with others that may be less familiar to you.

Experiencing Introversion – Choose an activity that lets you spend time by yourself: reading, writing, or working on a hobby. In a group discussion, try not to immediately jump in, but reflect first on what others are saying.

Experiencing Sensing – Focus on what is around you. Do not draw conclusions, look for explanations or think about what you have experienced before. Pay attention to all of your different senses.

Experiencing Intu thinking-outside-the-box-33399_1280 (2) ition – Listen to your “sixth sense.” Think about things without dwelling on physical details. Describe things with the phrases “It’s like..” or “It’s as though…”. Look for patterns or recurring themes behind what’s presented.

Experiencing Thinking – Look at making decisions like you would solve mathematical problems. List the pros and cons of your options. Take a detached view from the decision making process.

Experiencing Feeling – Value each individual’s experience and ideas and use them to make decisions. Try to identify individual’s underlying values and how your decisions will affect them.

Experiencing Judging – Plan your day and live your plan. Ignore the temptation to make last minute spontaneous changes to your schedule. Finish a project before the deadline.

Experiencing Perceiving – Be spontaneous for a day, seeking to experience life rather than control it. Do not set a schedule for the day, instead, do whatever seems most important or fun at the present time. Keep some of your options flexible and open.


This is only a brief overview of some opportunities for preference practice and development. If you are interested in more tips for coaching clients, a great resource is Introduction to Type and Coaching® by Sandra Krebs Hirsch and Jane Kise.