Who they are and how they tick

Written by John Cavill

Part 1 - Understanding personality

I believe that coaches don’t get the deserved credit they should for the skills and understand they require to get the best out of their players. Experience is essential and depending on the coach’s personality, motivations and philosophy, they will approach their coaching differently.

Knowing your player is a priority. Knowing their background, peers, likes, dislikes, behaviours in different situations, home environment and much more will help a coach build a profile of the player which will shape their approach to coaching.

‘Understanding Personality’ is a key factor and I wanted to share with you some of my discoveries. Understanding a person’s personality is extremely useful when establishing relationships and this article outlines ways of identifying people’s personalities. The idea that people have a personality type was introduced by the famous psychologist Carl G. Jung. According to Carl G. Jung, people can be characterised by two dimensions, each represented by two opposites:

  • Sensing vs. Intuition (S-N)
  • Thinking vs. Feeling (T-F)

This produces 4 possible personality groups, each having distinct personality characteristics, marked as ST, NT, SF and NF:

Determining Personality
To find out if a person is a sensing (S) or an intuitive (N) type, the characteristics below are described:

S (Sensing)

  • Practical.
  • Rely on facts, numbers and specifics.
  • Present-oriented and concerned about the problem in hand.

N (Intuition)

  • Insightful and inspirational.
  • Rely on insights, theories and trends of development.
  • Future-oriented.

To find out if a person is a thinking (T) or feeling (F) type, one of the following charactisitics will describe that person most:

T (Thinking)

  • Governed by a rational beginning and reason.
  • Objective, cold and impersonal.
  • Use logical analysis and objective methodologies to solve problems and make decisions.

F (Feeling)

  • Governed by emotional beginning and feelings.
  • Shows sympathy, warmth, concern and support to others.
  • Makes decisions and solves problems based on “gut instinct”, values, “good/bad”, “like/dislike”.

Once you can determine what characterisitcs best describe the player, there will be one of the four combinations; ST, NT, SF or NF. This is the personality group they belong to.

Introverts and Extroverts
To further enhance the understanding of the players personality, you can look introversion and extraversion. According to Carl G. Jung’s approach to personality, extraversion is when people tend to making active actions as a dynamic response to events and information from the external world. Extraverted people draw the energy for their undertakings from the outside world. The outside world is the main driver of their actions and the main motivational factor. They typically have numerous contacts with others, even if their job does not require it.

Introversion is when people tend to reflect on one's own perceptions, thoughts and feelings. Introverted people draw the energy for their undertakings mainly from their inner world. The inner world is a very significant stimulus for their actions and is a very important motivational factor. They are unlikely to have numerous contacts with others, unless their job requires it.

When at work, both extraverted and introverted people may have numerous contacts, this fact in itself cannot be used to conclude a slant to extraversion. Differentiating characteristics are better observed outside of workplace and in an informal environment. An extravert will energetically participate in conversations and activities. An introvert will try to find a place of solitude where he or she can avoid active contacts and can focus on their own thoughts and things they like.

Here are the characteristics of Extroverts (E) and Introverts (I):

E (Extraverts)

  • Draws on energy from outside.
  • Responds to and initiates events in the external world.
  • Has numerous contacts with others, even if their job doesn’t require it.
  • Doesn’t mind interuptions.

I (Introverts)

  • Draws energy from inner world.
  • Is focussed and reflects on the inner world.
  • Has few contacts with others unless their job requires it.
  • Prefers communicating one on one.
  • Dislikes interruptions and needs quiet to focus.

By using E-I with T-F and S-N you can draw 8 combinations from Carl G. Jung’s typology of which each group has distinct behavioural qualities: EST, ESF, ENT, ENF, IST, ISF, INT, INF.

As a bit of fun, I have found this simple online personality test which applies Jung’s typology and I welcome you to take it and share it with your players http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp. If you are like me, you’ll be very interested to know what the results will say!