Using psychological type for developmental coaching: the inclusion of intrapersonal type dynamics, effectiveness related to aspects of ego development, and the individual's capacity for development

Bennet, Angelina Anna (2011) Using psychological type for developmental coaching: the inclusion of intrapersonal type dynamics, effectiveness related to aspects of ego development, and the individual's capacity for development. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


This thesis explores several themes related to the field of individual development and, in particular, developmental coaching.
The exploration begins with a literature review in Chapter One, which considers the nature of coaching, how it has evolved from goal focused performance coaching to developmental coaching. Similarities and differences between developmental coaching and therapy are discussed, as is the importance of psychological knowledge for developmental coaching. The conclusion to the literature review suggests that, rather than different types of coaching being described in categorical terms, a continuum approach may be more appropriate. In response to criticisms that the Myers-Briggs theory of psychological types lacks comprehensiveness as a theory and that, as a result, its applicability to developmental coaching is limited.
Chapter Two explores factors which may add to the current theory and enable more extensive application in practice. This is achieved by four empirical research studies. Study One describes a focus group interview with experienced Myers-Briggs practitioners to provide a preliminary exploration of the topic. This study indicates that coaches' use of the Myers-Briggs for developmental coaching is indeed limited, and that an indication of effectiveness of type use or level of type development may be useful. Study Two explores whether Myers-Briggs practitioners perceive a gap between the current and desired applications of the Myers-Briggs model for developmental applications, and what this gap may involve. Again, this study indicated that a measure of effectiveness or development may be useful in developmental work. Study Three uses the repertory grid approach (Kelly, 1955) to obtain definitions of 'effective' and 'ineffective' type use. From the definitions obtained, it appears that many of the characteristics seen in individuals who are effective in their use of type can be related to aspects of Ego Development theory (e.g., Loevinger, 1976). Study Four uses a quantitative approach to exploring the impact of Neuroticism and Ego Development on perceptions of effective and ineffective type use. Using logistic regression analysis, the results indicate that aspects of Ego Development are associated with perceived effectiveness of type use. Overall, this chapter suggests that developing the Myers-Briggs theory further to include aspects of Ego Development would enable coaches to work with type in more depth when engaged in developmental coaching.
Chapter Three looks at another way of using psychological type theory in developmental coaching, by setting psychological type theory back into the original Jungian context. A coaching case study, underpinned by the systems-psychodynamic paradigm, is presented to demonstrate how the dynamics of the psyche in relation to psychological type can enable more extensive use of type theory in developmental coaching.
Chapter Four, the process intervention analysis, describes how the personal characteristics necessary for successful engagement in a leadership development program were identified and assessed. The selection criteria were derived from the existing research and literature, and designed to assess potential as opposed to current competence.
The evaluation makes recommendations for future assessment processes, and, in particular, there is discussion regarding the use of the Bar-On EQ-i in a test-re-test model of evaluation. In conclusion, this chapter suggests a model of leadership development potential and methods of assessing this.
The recurring themes that emerge from the thesis are (1) the skills and knowledge, particularly psychological knowledge, that the coach may need in order to work effectively with in-depth development, and, (2) the characteristics and perspectives of the client that enable them to benefit from in-depth development (3) the importance of the client's level of development.
Throughout the thesis, the contribution of the research to current knowledge and practice are discussed.

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