Systemic Coaching with Personality Tests: MBTI & EUM

Jul 30, 2019

The Myers Briggs personality tests are mostly based on the Jungian Personality Type Theory. Though the primary purpose of the test is to discover what one’s dominant personality could be in terms of 16 parameters, it is also highly useful to understand how we interpersonally relate with others. Therefore it helps us understand how we can function better as a team systemically.

My interpretation of MBTI is not a scholarly one but a very practical approach. I have found it useful in systemic work with individuals and teams. There are four polarities in the way Jungian Personality theory looks at the way we think, feel and act.

These are:

– Extroverted (E) versus Introverted (I)

– Sensory (S) versus iNtuitive (N)

– Thinking (T) versus Feeling (F)

– Judging (J) versus Perceiving (P)

E or I represent the way we energize ourselves- whether working with others in groups or individually.

S or N represent the way we gather information- whether sensorily by reading listening etc or by going into ourselves intuitively to look back on the wisdom of past experiences.

T or F represent the way we communicate- whether cognitively from our headspace through thinking or emotionally from our heart space through feelings.

J or P represent the way we act- whether through a structured approach all rules and processes established from the past or based on a present moment flow of how we feel.

Any score above 65% in any parameter is significant and over 80% highly significant in influencing how we behave and how others are impacted by us. In some senses a near neutral score of 50 to 55% provides a balanced approach that allows us to situationally act the way to provide the desired impact.

In my experience, in the corporate executive space the dominant personality type appears to be STJ with a random split of E or I. This is in line with global statistics that show significantly higher percentage of STJ amongst the 16 personality profiles. It is possible that this personality type of sensory, cognitive, rule bound behavior is a carryover from the hierarchical manufacturing industry based corporate structures in which the leaders were the ones who knew and the led were unskilled.

In today’s knowledge based corporate space in which there is a great diversity of age, culture and gender, often with younger people with more knowledge in many critical areas than older ones, STJ behavior is least likely to work in leadership.

Moreover, in today’s VUCA world of accelerating change requiring cross fertilization, co-creation and collaboration, which require teamwork and breakdown of silo barriers, the desired profile it is more likely to be NFP rather than STJ.

In the systemic coaching approach, therefore the focus of transformation is to create emotionally linked teams from disparate groups, aligned to larger systemic goals, by helping leaders understand the need to shift from STJ personalities to NFP personalities.

Some processes that help with this shift are

  • Sharing what other people may not know about us with vulnerability and emotional honesty
  • Listening and providing feedback appreciatively on how the speaker impacts us
  • Influencing by connecting and co-creating

A powerful corporate cultural assessment tool I use in preference to far more expensive globally reputed models is This offers both individual and organizational analytics for groups of leaders that provide information of how each individual views oneself, the organization, and the organization as part of a larger ecosystem.

A combination of these tools helps the systemic team leadership coach to curate the process to enable the group to open up in order to form an emotionally bonded team. I have seen this process work near miracles in transformation of group attitudes and behavior.

Ram Ramanathan, MCC
Ram Ramanathan, MCC


Ram is the Founder and a Principal at Coacharya. As the resident Master and mentor coach, Ram oversees and conducts all aspects of coaching and training services offered under the Coacharya banner.

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