Using the MBTI in Career Counseling,
Coaching, and Advising:
Moving Beyond the Basics

Watch this video for a welcome message from your instructor. 

Welcome to this workshop/course using the MBTI results for client and student career counseling and development. The course is divided into five parts and requires you to answer some questions found on the worksheet  and conduct some self-analysis.  You will download  the worksheet below.

Your task is to move through each part of the course, read the information, watch the video when asked, and answer the questions on your worksheet. Once you complete the worksheet, mail it to your instructor, Edythe Richards, for her review.  She will review your worksheet and will recommend that you receive a certificate of completion for the associated clock hours for your certification and professional development. You will earn 5 clock hours toward your recertification. 

You have 30 days to complete the course requirements. For efficiency and your understanding of the concepts, it is recommended that you complete each section in a single sitting. There are five sections or parts to this course.

This course is for your knowledge and use only and it
should not be shared with any other person.
Doing so is a violation of copyright law.

It is highly recommended that you have some initial understanding of the MBTI types and their interpretation as this course will advanced your knowledge and use of the information for your students and clients.

Throughout the course you will be asked to read material, watch videos, visit Internet sites, and perform various other activities.  When you are asked to do something specific it will be MARKED IN RED.

DOWNLOAD this worksheet now and save it to your computer.  COMPLETE the worksheet as you go through the course, section by section.

At the end of the course, you will be asked to complete an evaluation.  One of the questions will ask you how much time you spent to complete the course. Please record the amount of time as you start and stop the sections of this course. This is for our record keeping purposes only but is important for our work with credentialing agencies.

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Understand the 4 dichotomies of the Myers-Briggs® Type Indicator as they relate to career counseling
  • Present Type® Dynamics as a development and counseling tool
  • Understand the differences in communication styles and counseling needs based on personality type
  • Anticipate counseling needs on the basis of Type® Dynamics
  • Apply Type® Dynamics to a client’s career development plan
  • Provide feedback in a Type®-sensitive yet accurate manner
  • Assess your strengths as a career development specialist; recognize areas for development

Ready to get started?  Great!  GO TO PART 1.

Review of the MBTI

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI® traces its history to Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Gustav Jung’s “Psychological Types”, first published in 1921. Jung’s theory of psychological types suggests that people are innately different, both in terms of the way they see the world and take in information, and how they make decisions. Mother/daughter team Katharine Briggs and Isabelle Briggs-Myers had studied Jung’s work extensively and wanted to make them accessible to a wider audience. They believed Jung’s ideas would help laypeople understand themselves and make best use of their talents. Thus, they set out to create a tool, which came to be known as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI, first published in 1942. 

WATCH the video below to learn more about the history and purpose of the MBTI® as well as how it can be applied to your career counseling clients, and in what situations and instances it is not appropriate to use the MBTI®.  

In the 70+ years of the MBTI®’s use, every attempt was made to keep the assessment as true as possible to the theory of psychological types. All decisions concerning items, scoring and validation were driven by the demands of the theory. The goal was to yield an instrument that could reliably sort people into types, not traits. The MBTI® operates outside the normal presumptions of measurement. It is therefore called an Indicator – not a “test.” Jung’s typology also doesn’t depend on measurement and the items on the MBTI® don’t have the same purpose and intent as items on a trait instrument.

Reliability and Validity  of the MBTI  

To work well, an instrument must have high reliability or consistency of measurement. This means that all else being equal, an individual gets the same results each time he or she completes the assessment. If an instrument does not have high reliability, it is difficult to believe the accuracy of the results. If the reliability estimate is low, which result do you believe? Which one represents the individual in the truest form?

An assessment’s results should also show validity, that is that the instrument provides information or evidence that it measures an idea or predicts a particular  outcome. There are many types of validity, but the evidence that is presented by the publisher or researcher show show that it is legitimate to use the results in the way that is suggested.

READ the following article concerning reliability and validity of the MBTI®:

In terms of reliability and validity, the MBTI® appears to be as good, if not better than other personality measures currently available.  It is strongly supported by research, and is continually being reviewed and revised for psychometric improvement, while preserving its integrity.

The MBTI® is not a pseudo-science, however, because it does have validity, is proved to be as reliable a measure of personality as other assessments, and ultimately gives us insight into why we exhibit certain behaviors over others. Additionally, it has been successfully implemented in various business and educational settings.

On your worksheet, please ANSWER Questions 1 and 2 in Part 1.  Once you have finished this section, you can move on to Part 2.

Recognizing the 4 Dichotomies of the Myers-Briggs® Type

 This section will provide an overview of the 4 dichotomies of the Myers-Briggs.  It is assumed that you already know your 4-letter Myers-Briggs code and have a basic understanding of Type Theory. 

The Myers-Briggs is based on the theory of Carl Jung, who believed that personalities are innate and relatively stable. This means that you are not going to change the personality of the people you meet and interact with. The greatest value of understanding the 4 dichotomies is how to “read” others and help them understand their own personality type. In doing this, we learn to highlight strengths and learn strategies to mitigate weaknesses.

This is not possible without knowledge of your own style. Understanding the 4 dichotomies in-depth can help guide your own behavior. Behavior is the thing over which you have the most control. 

VIEW and download the The Four Dichotomies, which provides an overview of the 4 dichotomies.  Feel free to download it and save it for your own use. 

Be aware that the entire code is important, but it’s the middle 2 letters – or the “heart” of the Myers-Briggs are the most significant when it comes to career choice.  These 2 letters indicate how you perceive information and make decisions, and we will be taking a closer look at these 2 letters in parts 3 and 4 of this course.

To further familiarize yourself with the 4 dichotomies of the MBTI®, please WATCH this short YouTube video (5 minutes 37 seconds):

WATCH the video below to learn more about appropriate usage of the MBTI® with your career development clients, and how you as a career practitioner can use the MBTI® to best facilitate meaningful interactions with your clients. 

There will be many times that you work (or have worked) with clients who question their career choice, or who are unhappy in their current choice, but unsure of what to do instead. There are several factors that may be contributing to your clients’ uncertainty and/or unhappiness, including lack of self-awareness, which can be enhanced by learning more about their Myers-Briggs type. However, using the Myers-Briggs can also be a springboard for discussions about values, skills, and interests – all of which can affect career decision. To understand how the Myers-Briggs may assist in these areas, as well as how it may be used in conjunction with other tools in your career development work with clients, please READ this article:

Research over the past 25+ years has shown that people self-select into careers and career fields based on personality type.  As we have seen, when you as a career practitioner best understand your own style, you will be more empowered and skilled in helping your clients. The following link will give you an overview of Myers-Briggs type descriptions as they relate to career and workplace issues.

Please READ  Pay particular attention your own Myers-Briggs description so that you may clarify your own career and/or workplace style, reasons behind your own career choices, and the how you may continue to put your career development expertise to use in the future. Please save this link for future work with your clients. 

So that you may learn more about how a more in-depth understanding of the MBTI® can assist with yours and your clients’ personal and career development, leadership, teamwork, team building, workplace diversity and business management, please read “Career Choice and Career Development:

ANSWER questions 3, 4, and 5 on your worksheet and move to Part 3.

Type® Dynamics

Your 4 letter Myers-Briggs code explains your preferred order of your 4 mental functions.   This is called Type® Dynamics, and it is an important concept in understanding your MBTI® Type. 

  • Dominant Function: the function that has the most influence over you. 
  • Auxiliary Function: your second strongest preference. It brings balance to your Dominant. 
  • Tertiary Function: your third strongest function. 
  • Inferior Function: your least strong function. 

There is one function that each person tends to “show” first to the outside world. 

  • For those who prefer Extraversion, the dominant function is extraverted because Extraverts use their favorite function (dominant) in their favorite world (the outer world.)
  • For those who prefer Introversion, the dominant function is introverted, used in their inner world, and what they show to the outside is their auxiliary or second favorite function.

It was mentioned earlier that the middle 2 letters, or the “heart” of one’s Myers-Briggs type is integral in selecting a career and work environment.  The “heart” is referred to as a “Function Pair.”  There are 4 distinct function pairs.  So that you may understand their differences in terms of approaching work and life, please READ about Function Pairs here:

As you are beginning to learn more about the depth of the Myers-Briggs, you’ll note that the mental processes are expressed either in the outer world, or the inner world.  Sometimes, mental functions are referred to as “Cognitive Functions”, and these terms are often used interchangeably. 

The 8 Cognitive Functions are a very important part of understanding the Myers-Briggs. In order to understand your own Myers-Briggs type in more depth, and to better assist your clients in understanding how their Myers-Briggs types play out in their career development, please read about the Cognitive Functions here:     

You can refer to this type dynamics chart as you read the selection above. You can download a file with this chart shortly.

Please NOTE your own your own Dominant, Auxiliary, Tertiary, and Inferior functions. DOWNLOAD the following file for your personal and/or professional use. Type Dynamics Chart for your use.

WATCH this video on Type Dynamics to get a better understanding of the interplay between and among the functions.

ANSWER questions 7 and 8 on your worksheet and move to Part 4.

Assessing Your Strengths and Weaknesses as a Career Development Practitioner

By now, you have seen how the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® can help your career development clients in obtaining a newfound confidence in their skills, as well as an understanding of their weaknesses in the world of work, in making an informed career decision, and in career planning.  Additionally, you have seen how an understanding of Type Dynamics can help your clients have a deeper understanding of why they are attracted to the career fields, work environments, and people they naturally gravitate toward.

Please keep in mind that the Myers-Briggs should be used in conjunction with other assessment tools and/or discussions about your clients’ histories, values, interests, skills, and goals. 

Type® practitioners often say that it is the responsibility of the individual with the greater knowledge of Type Theory to “flex” to the other person who is not as knowledgeable. Flexing is when you consciously or unconsciously use the opposite preference of the one you naturally prefer. Before you can do that, however, it’s important that you understand your own strengths and weaknesses as a career practitioner by understanding how Type Dynamics plays out in your own career development.  For an introduction into this, I invite you to listen to my podcast series, “MBTI® for Mid-Life Career Changers, located here:

LOCATE the podcast for your Myers-Briggs type and LISTEN to the audio. Feel free to listen to any and all of the audios.

















For contrast and to better understand the concept of “flexing”, LISTEN to a podcast of an MBTI® type that is different from your own – perhaps for a client or a person whom you know. 

Now that you have a deeper understanding of your own Myers-Briggs preferences, you can begin to recognize the 4 dichotomies in others. The following article will give you a guideline for spotting the 4 dichotomies in your work with clients. These tips will help you tune into the other person’s preferred style or needs.  Abiding by the ethics of the Myers-Briggs, it is important that you, as the career practitioner, “flex”, or respond to the other person’s Myers-Briggs type cues rather than behaving in a way most natural to you. 

READ Quick Ways to Spot MBTI Types

Finally, READ the article from CAPT “MBTI® Code of Ethics” to familiarize yourself with the ethical integrity of the assessment, which protects and preserves the rights of your clients.

ANSWER questions 8 and 9 on your worksheet then go to Part 5. 

Using Type Dynamics When Working with Clients

In the first 4 parts of the course, you’ve learned theoretical aspects of using the MBTI® in your career development work, including why you may choose to use this tool, instances when it should not be used, and how your own MBTI® preferences may affect your work with your clients. Implementing the practical tools in this section will help you hone your knowledge and understand how it will fit into the larger context, and this is integral in becoming a consummate professional. Coaching can only be learned and refined by doing and experiencing.

As you near the end of this course, the time has come to apply what you’ve learned in your career development work with a client. In order for you to be an effective career development practitioner, you’ll need to understand what drives your client, help build connections between your client’s MBTI® type and the work they do, provide timely feedback, and helping them grow and develop.

In this section, you will be choosing a real or fictitious client to report about. 

Follow the 6 steps below:

Assess client’s MBTI® type. Make sure a qualified MBTI practitioner has administered the instrument and the client has selected his/her “Best-Fit Type.” READ and have your client read through his/her full Type description on, and

It is recommended that several resources are used, so you may use other MBTI® resources/publications that you are familiar with. 

Determine Strengths and Challenges. On your own, review and record your client’s general strengths in relation to his/her Myers-Briggs type. Make note of your client’s Dominant, Auxiliary, Tertiary, and Inferior functions. Determine and make note of which qualities are assets and which present the greatest challenges.

Evaluate Individual Needs. Help your client evaluate his/her needs by discussing a series of questions in the document below, “Coaching Questions.” You may choose from the list the ones that will best help determine coaching issues for your client. You may keep this document for your personal and/or professional use later.

MBTI Coaching Questions

Assess Skills and Interests. In addition to the Myers-Briggs, determine other areas in which your client may benefit from your assistance.  To add the knowledge of Type Dynamics to the process, have your client complete the matrix below or one that is similar. Focus first on the things your client likes and does well, and then, for areas of coaching, things your client finds difficult to do.

DOWNLOAD and USE Coaching Matrix REV

Develop Action Plan. The key to successful coaching is clear identification of next steps to be taken, timelines, and desired results.  To facilitate this, have your client:

Identify a person who will hold him/her accountable (this person could be you, a family member, or friend).

Develop specific action items with timelines. Set accountabilities. 

Practice the necessary skills/behaviors they have identified. Develop a form on which your client can record skills that were practiced.  Allow space for comments on the outcome. 

Meet to report back to you. Determine next steps. Share insights about your own Myers-Briggs Type as a guide for your interactions if it is appropriate and you are comfortable doing so. 

Encourage your client to provide feedback about what is and what is not working. The document below is a sample action  plan that you can use as a possible framework for your work.


Evaluate progress.

LISTEN to these two audios that gives you an idea of how to use the MBTI information in a coaching session.  

COMPLETE items 10, 11, and 12 on your worksheet. 


 You have completed the course! Bravo! Please email your completed worksheet to Edythe Richards for review.  Once the instructor determines you have completed the requirements, she will ask that a certificate of completion be be sent to you.

COMPLETE the course evaluation as it is a requirement of the National Board for Certified Counselors.

We hope that you gained much from this course and come back for more professional development from