This study explored how executive coaches use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to develop coachees. An online survey was administered to screen executive coaches for MBTI certification, coaching hours with executive coachees, percentage of clients with profit and loss responsibilities, and regular use of the MBTI. Of 169 respondents, 31 qualified for the study and 15 executive coaches, primarily from North America, were interviewed to determine what, if any, common practices were used. Interviews were analyzed using a grounded theory methodology to determine if a central phenomenon emerged. The findings overwhelmingly showed the executive coaches use the MBTI to raise the awareness of their coachees, which is divided into both self-awareness and organizational awareness. Substantial mention of the central phenomenon of raising awareness outweighed all other topics mentioned in interviews by more than 3:1. In addition, executive coaches reported key causal conditions of helping the coach to work more effectively, responding to organizational goals, and supporting type-different clients. Executive coaches also reported using 2 strategies of discussing and planning actions and then implementing action steps in their work with coachees. Contextual areas of defaulting to use the MBTI, administering it by the second meeting, having a preference for the MBTI Step II instrument, and use of a self-discovery process were present. Intervening conditions that influenced strategies included the coach's knowledge of psychological type, the type preference of the coachee, neutrality of the MBTI, and data from other instruments. Finally, executive coaches reported consequences of MBTI use including giving language to the coachee, the coachee receiving growth, and the client organization receiving either benefit or loss. Comparisons to the literature substantiated past research on the executive coaching process and the use of psychological type for leadership development. However, differences were found when considering the amount of executive coaching this study showed being done on behavioral issues. Implications for both client organizations and executive coaches are discussed, including recommendations that both executive coaches and organizations recognize a standard process in coaching with the MBTI.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Myers-Briggs Type Indicator; Mentoring in the professions

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Allen, Mark;