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Putting the Practice in Practitioner

Putting the Practice in Practitioner

It is so gratifying to hear from newly certified practitioners and to learn about how they are putting their new MBTI® knowledge into practice.

Jennifer Overbo, MBTI® Product Marketing Manager, recently had the pleasure of meeting Mary, one of our 2011 graduates, at a local event. Mary provided her with some feedback about how she is using the MBTI instrument to help leadership teams improve their relationships-and their effectiveness.

She shared both her successes and challenges, so we wanted to share this with you on ICON Success!

Know what the issues are ahead of time. When you begin your work with a leadership team-whether you are an internal practitioner or an outside consultant-make sure you understand what the issues and expectations are before you design your training initiatives. Remember that no version of the MBTI instrument is appropriate for use if the group is in extreme upheaval or in the face of unrealistic expectations. Mary found this out the hard way when she was called in to present a workshop on team development and then later realized that there was much more to the situation than she thought at first, as the organization was planning to restructure.How can you make sure you have the full picture before you get started? Consider conducting one-to-one interviews with the group members and/or team leaders beforehand to determine the best course of action and whether or not the MBTI assessment is the best first step. In addition, make sure you have the support and participation of the key leader; it is critical to your success.

Know which tool to use when. Mary prefers using the MBTI® Step II

instrument with leadership teams. She’s found that it offers leaders a deeper insight into how they and others prefer to operate and that it is especially effective with leaders who’ve completed the MBTI assessment in the past and are interested in “exploring something new.”If time and budget allow for using the Step II assessment, this is her first choice for leadership development. Mary has also found that reviewing individuals’ four-letter type is a necessary precursor to Step II training activities, so she always wants to make sure she has enough time to adequately “set the training stage before launching into the more complex world of Step II facets.”

Have more than one trick in your training toolbag. As you build your experience with the MBTI assessment, don’t be afraid to try something new. It’s easy to keep presenting the same workshop over and over again, but you’ll feel more confident and be more entertaining if you can flex to the needs of the group, the organization, or even the specific situation.As a means to further her own professional development, Mary offers some “gratis” workshops in her local community and uses these sessions as opportunities to take some risks.Of course, she still adheres to her standards but she feels a greater sense of freedom in these weekend workshops, which are usually more focused on communication and relationship building. She also invites other practitioners to join her-she finds that she improves as she observes fellow trainers react and respond to the group at hand. She’s adapted activities, perfected them on the side, and then brought them back to her leadership work. And, as a result, she has some fun stories to interject into her training deliveries.

Develop your technical knowledge of the MBTI tool. When you are dealing with leaders, whether they are senior or on the move up the ranks, Mary says, “you are dealing with sharp individuals who really want the time they spend in training and development initiatives to be valuable.” And she feels that it’s very important that she deliver value for the training dollars spent. When she first started using the MBTI assessment, she knew she wouldn’t be perfect, but she began using the tool right away to keep the learning fresh and to grow from the experience of putting her knowledge into practice. In addition to using the tool within her own organization, she used it with colleagues and friends on the side, offering both one-to-one interpretations and workshops to build on her skills.Even after becoming certified, Mary has continued to develop by attending advanced MBTI trainings and webinars, but she also finds it helpful to continue reviewing basic technical information. She refers often to the manuals as well as to the MBTI® Step II

User’s Guide for support and to “refresh her facts” as needed. “People are going to have questions and some are going to be difficult to answer,” she admits, so she suggests that you know your own limitations and be honest when you don’t know the answer. In her view, there is nothing like a question to keep you on your toes and to give you a reason to follow up after the training session has been completed.

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