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The Introverted Trainer

The Introverted Trainer

It’s absolutely true: Any type can do anything. In fact, Isabel Briggs Myers believed it was an advantage for an organization to hire employees with personality types different from those types that most often self-select into specific job roles. We need to remember that personality type is never intended to limit anyone.

You might be wondering how someone like me with a preference for Introversion can train groups of people as a full-time job. I’m standing right up in front of people two to three weeks, 10 to 20 days each month. While I will admit to being exhausted at the end of each day, the charge I get from making a difference in people’s lives never fails to renew my energy. You see, I also have preferences for Intuition (taking in information from a big picture perspective) and Feeling (making decisions based on how they affect people). When combined, these preferences explain my interest in encouraging peoples’ development.

I make it a point to fuel my preference for Introversion with time alone in the gym each evening, followed by a quiet meal alone or with one or two other people I already know and am therefore comfortable with. I think that my preferences at times actually give me an advantage as a trainer. Recently I was working one-on-one with a participant explaining how to “crack the code” of type dynamics. I asked him to “show me how you understand it.” At first he just gave me a puzzled look. I imagined he was thinking, “If I understood it, I wouldn’t be asking you.” I gave him a large piece of flipchart paper and markers and told him to just give it a try, speaking only to correct or encourage his process. After a few tries, he got it! I said very little, while he talked his way through it (he has a preference for Extraversion).

I make it a point to provide time for participants to ask questions in the larger group as well as to ask questions with me one-on-one almost anytime during our four days together.

21 Comments

  1. I’m an INFP and spend a lot of time facilitating and training groups. I totally get it, and yes, although I need downtime after the event, the making a difference to people keeps me energised.

    • So true Brian. I will say that my weekends after doing a training tend to be very low key. I spent most of today in doors and then went on a nice long hike with my partner. No going out tonight either. May sound boring to some….it’s heaven to me.

    • Hi Brian!

      I am relatively new to MBTI Type and hence this late reply!! I share the same type but am confused if the stress indicators can be different from the typical ones over a longer period of time? Any idea?

  2. It’s not surprising actually that introverts can make good trainer/teachers. When I ran a teacher education progam, the large majority of the pre-service students were ESF or EST types. But there would always be one or two (in a class of 25) that were INT types. It appears to be a diametric opposite, but the INT types tended to be Math/Physics/Chemistry (Intermediate/ Senior) teachers, and did well at it…

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. One of my very favorite teachers/mentors happens to be an INTP.

      • I’ve often heard that people with a Thinking preference would be the one’s who would be more interested in subjects like Mathematics. However, if I have a preference for “Feeling”, could a subject like Mathematics still be my favourite subject? How can we explain this contradiction? Or is it that I’ve been under stress since the past 10 years or so and hence now instead of me showing characteristics of INTP, I’ve started showing characteristics of INFP? Is this possible?

        • Thanks for your question. In short, any type can do anything. The MBTI(R) tool is meant to identify your preferences. This will sometimes result in behavior predicted by type, but not always. It’s true you will find more people with a preference for Thinking attracted to math and science. However, data shows us that all types can be successful and happy in every occupational area. I typically let people know when they are attracted to a career where they might not find lot of people who share their preferences that they might feel different in that setting. However, these people might come up with a new and original way to work in that area. In other words, I encourage differences in all occupations, but am sure to include a dose of what a typical day might require in terms of the required flexing. I hope this helps.

  3. I am an INFJ an are good with one on one, I want to get more comfortable with group interaction in trainings, any feedback?

    • I find group interactions work best when I just let them happen. I tend to sit back and serve as more of a moderator who can then bring observations back to participants. I jot down what I’m seeing as it happens and them report out. While I might be envious at times of people who dive in to the heart of the action, I remind myself that I don’t have to pretent to be someone I’m not. I hope this helps. I would love to hear others thoughts on this.

  4. I am an INFJ and have loved the one-on-one interactions I have had over the years when I was working in the human resources field. Over the last couple of years I have participated in training groups and you are spot on about getting charged over helping people. Although I covet that alone time afterwards(and need it), the experience truly gives me a great sense of contributing to one’s understanding of themself and that is what I live for! :)

    • I could not agree more. Well said.

  5. I found your post very interesting because I am an introvert also. I have taken the MBTI and the Kirsey on several ocassions and my type is INFJ or INTJ, seems it depends on what’s going on. What I find interesting is that my score for Introversion is always very high… almost at the high end. However, I now love speaking in front of groups and as a professional counselor I am making my way to have this be part of my living. I love the feeling of teaching and helping people, and seeing them light up when they have an ah-ha moment.

    • Thanks Mariana for your comment. It’s important to remember that very clear results on any of the MBTI(R) preferences relates to your consistency in response to the instrument’s items. I find that regardless of a PCI of 1 or or 30, people can flex to the other side of that preference pair. Good luck in your future training endeavors.

  6. Hi !
    I must say that I found your article very interesting ! Congratulations !
    I am an ISTJ or ISFJ I am not very sure… I am an OD professional and very good in one to one coaching. During my career i had the opportunity to conduct a lot of development sessions as project manager, not as a trainer. I am not confortable with this role. Speaking in front of an audience is … very difficult for me. I delivered workshops and chapters in different training programs but never a complete training program…. I think to myself that I do not have energy and, to be honest, courage. Do you have any suggestions ? Thank you and my Best Regars ! :)

    • Your answer was just what I needed. It’s made my day!

      • Glad to hear. Thanks!

  7. Hello Michael-

    This article was very interesting for me. I’m an INFP and I love the MBTI. I would love to use it in some capacity professionally. If someone wanted to be a trainer as you are, or wanted to be a consultant who people could go to in order to take the MBTI, what would you recommend as additional education if they don’t have experience in this field? I’m currently a career advisor at a university, but we focus more on resumes, interview practice, and how to find a job more than helping students assessm what they want to do or the environment they want to be in. If I was looking to do a Masters program in addition to MBTI certification, would it be more beneficial to go with psychology, Human Resources (with a focus on training and development), or maybe education administration and a focus in adult education and training? (My Bachelors was actually in French).

    • You may want to consider a coaching certification. Also, have you completed MBTI(R) Certification? Here’s a link: http://www.cpp.com/mbticertification. Do you know any independent consultants who have been doing this line of work for several years? Perhaps it would be helpful to spend time discussing this further with someone like this. CPP also has site that you might find useful: http://www.cppiconsuccess.com.

      Regarding my path, I like to think of “chance happenstance” (coined by Dr. John Krumboltz). After graduate school, I joined a test publisher in Texas learning about research and development. I then joined CPP where I have been very lucky to expand my learning about assessment development, administration, feedback, and training.

      I hope this is helpful.

  8. I have started using the CPP site regularly since certification. The cert learning gave me renewed sense of my comfort zone. I do developmental training and reading the different responses of people who are introverted trainers was enligtening to the aspect that it confirmed my experiences in dealing with my type and professional requirements.
    Kathyren

  9. Yes so true! I am exhausted after a full day of working with people that I have the priviledge to help (I’m an INFJ). But folks at work are so certain I am an extravert! I can lead, face the crowd, and mingle as long as I know I am helping others. Then I go home and nearly pass out.

  10. As an ISTJ I am a teacher at a Voc school I enjoy the teaching and seeing others move on in their lives to better theirselves. I like the detail of training people. I very much like my quiet time. I love to take off for rides and take photos. This energies me it is is also my time to reflect on my day or week.

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