Actually, I only thank those 37 people who commented on FB or here on the blog or via email. I'm not thanking the rest of you lazy asses who read the blog but didn't take the test.
Okay, so 37 people responded. There are 16 types, and of that 16, 10 were represented here. The breakdown of types was as follows:
Not represented at all: INTP (Andy is one, but he didn't participate, the stinker), ENTP, ESTP, ISTP, ESFP, and ISFJ. What I find interesting is that our population breaks down very differently than the population in the U.S. general population. (I have some responders from Europe, too, but I could only find a US population breakdown chart.)
|The Sixteen Types|
|US Population Breakdown|
|Estimated percentages of the 16 types in the U.S.||(I copied this chart off Wikipedia.)|
You might note that the LEAST represented type in the country, INFJ, is represented very well here, and also that two less popular types, INTJ and ENFJ are the most popular types in our little study. Interesting. Likewise, ISFJ is one of the most popular types in the U.S., yet that type is not represented in our sample size at all. You might conclude from this that those people who are triathletes are different in temperament from the majority of our peers. But we already knew that. And anyway, there is a rather large problem with that conclusion.
In doing this little experiment I wanted to discover the typology of a subset of the triathlete population. I've often wondered whether there are one or two types who gravitate to this sport most frequently, and coincident with that whether one could coach an athlete based on his/her type. The problem is that I didn't control for the "just triathlete" aspect of my testing. My population of responders actually represent an amalgam of characteristics.
They are, in order:
- people who read blogs--and my blog in particular
- people who read blogs and comment on them--or comment on my blog in particular
- people who are inclined to take a personality test online when asked to do so
- people who are likely, but not invariably, runners, swimmers, cyclists, or triathletes.
So it makes sense that our population includes few Ps. Ps dislike the options-limited aspect of a personality test, so are unlikely to respond when asked to take the test in the first place, and also I suspect there are fewer P triathletes than J triathletes out there. J's like the planning involved in being a triathlete. Ps, I would think, would recoil from it somewhat.
N's are more likely than S's to be interested in personality assessment, which is why there may be so many ENFJ/INTJ responders. It actually makes sense that ENFJ was the most popular type of our sample size. ENFJ's are often writers, so they keep blogs, readers, so they read blogs, and also are more likely to feel they can relate to my blog, because I am an ENFJ and express ENFJ sentiments--the fear of not being liked, the battle with confidence, the obsession with betterment and goals, the need to truth-tell in a public sphere.
Although I feel like my little test revealed little in the way of determining who the triathletes are and what their Myers Briggs preferences are, I still think there is benefit in considering MB typology when looking at the athlete/coach relationship.
For example, an ISTJ coach is likely to be excellent in terms of analysis of numbers. He will put together a plan that is based on sound principles and works. However, if you are an NF athlete under an ISTJ coach you may struggle with the fact that an ISTJ coach will usually not give you kind, warm snuggles. He will be modest in his praise, maybe even Spartan if he is a very pronounced T type. Conversely, an ESFJ coach will likely be a very good cheerleader. She will be in constant contact with you and will make you feel special and important. However, an ISTJ athlete may be turned off by this. The ISTJ athlete more likely wants hard numbers and critical examination/deconstruction of his performance. This is not to say that an ISTJ doesn't need praise and encouragement, or that an ESFJ doesn't like numbers and analysis. It's just to say that their expectations of their coach and what they provide may differ.
What I wonder is whether being clear on the athlete type/coach type might help the athlete/coach relationship Knowing your athlete is an NF/SF or an ST/NT allows the coach to know what type of response the athlete needs and wants from you. Likewise, knowing your coach is an ST when you are a feeling type may help you understand that it's not that your coach doesn't like and respect you, he just doesn't feel the need to affirm those things daily. More to the point, he believes that "like" does not enter the equation. He is there to do his job--and that is to give you the appropriate training at the appropriate time and with the appropriate, not touchy-feely feedback.
As always, I'm interested in your thoughts.
I reckon I'll hear from you ENFJ's... ;)