As a loyal and active MBTI trainer and thought leader for over twenty years, I was intrigued but skeptical about the Pearman—Type’s newest assessment tool, published by MHS in late 2015. Long a fan of both MHS (the Pearman’s publisher) and Roger Pearman himself (one of Type’s and the MBTI’s best authors and researchers), I had no doubt of the tool’s quality, but I was not sure Jung’s Type theory needed a new approach. However, now that I have studied, used and trained with the Pearman Personality Integrator for about six months, I love it, and I even find it difficult to use the MBTI now for a few very specific reasons.
The Top 5 Pearman Features
- Natural vs. Demonstrated
I have never taught an MBTI class within which people did not struggle with the difference between Type (hard-wiring) and behavior (what people actually do). The introverted presenter, the detailed intuitive, the person who feels she is one way at work and another at home—these are common reactions that the MBTI’s approach to Type does not address.
The Pearman allows me to present what is most natural for me (my Type) as well as what is most demonstrated (my behavior). Now my voice track and approach to this most common of struggles are supported by the tool I use.
- Scores on a Continuum
MBTI is and has always been about the sort—being in one bucket or the other within this dichotomous theory. Results are THIS or THAT, and the only numbers associated with MBTI results are clarity numbers—how clear are the results. How much confidence do we have that the sort was accurate? MBTI is a sorting tool. I actually like this—within Type, the sort is important, but presenting the results as so starkly either/or does not speak to most people’s experience of themselves or others around them. OK, so you and I both prefer Introversion, but you seem more introverted than I do. The “amount” of Type feels relevant, even important to so many, and the MBTI is not equipped to illuminate or address this.
The Pearman does. The Pearman’s output (an elegant new construct called the circle score) communicates the preference (what is most natural) and the behavior (what is most demonstrated) in terms of a percentile—how natural it feels to me or how much I demonstrate that function or attitude compared to the rest of the population. For years, the official MBTI answer was, “Don’t get hung-up on your scores. The sort, not the score is what is important.” Now, the score becomes a valuable and powerful piece of data in this self-awareness and development process.
- The 8 Mental Functions
The theory behind the MBTI asserts there are eight mental functions—the fundamental forms of mental/cognitive activity—an introverted and an extraverted manifestation of Sensing, iNtuition, Feeling and Thinking. These eight mental functions are—and have always been—the foundation of Psychological Type. A challenge the MBTI has always had is that it does not speak to or in any way illuminate these functions. Trainers or coaches need to translate MBTI results into Type codes that can then lead to a discussion of these functions. The MBTI has always made a function-level approach to Type challenging.
The Pearman fixes that by being the first validated tool to measure Type on the function level. How natural is extraverted Sensing for me, and—separate from that—how much do I actually extravert my Sensing? How much easier is extraverted Feeling for me than extraverted Thinking? These are powerful questions that feed an actionable development plan, and with the Pearman, they can be answered with specific assessment data.
- Development Focus
The MBTI—which I do and always will adore—is a simple sorting tool, and while the Type profile that it yields can lead to countless insights and growth opportunities, the MBTI is about the static profile—the sort.
The Pearman, by avoiding this hard sort and profile focus, is about Type development—moving beyond what is natural to access and even get good at all of the functions of Type. The MBTI is about Type identification; The Pearman Pearman is about Type Development.
The Pearman is loaded with data that highlight and illuminate stretch-points—the fact that so much of what we do and how we develop is in the opposite direction from what is most natural. The underpinning belief is that there is no growth, no development—there is not even effective living without the ability to stretch. But all this stretching requires flexibility. The Pearman includes the FlexIndex, a measure of your agility and resilience.
The FlexIndex is comprised of five component pieces that each contribute to our resilience and ability to grow and develop—Proactivity, Composure, Connectivity, Variety Seeking and Rejuvenation. Each of these flexibility components—measured along a traditional continuum—can be increased, and each can be (but need not be) related back to the individual’s Type results. The FlexIndex is brilliant way insure that the focus of the Pearman is growth and development. With resilience being such a hot and urgently searched topic these days, the FlexIndex is also timely and resonant for this reason as well.