MBTI Counselor / Introspective Introvert's Insights
Ploy Suriwong, the MBTI Counselor, shared insights on using introspection and personality theories to understand herself and others, and overcoming challenges as an introvert.
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About the guest
Ploy Suriwong is an MBTI Counselor (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). She designs and facilitates workshops on MBTI, in relations to leadership, teamwork, and self-discovery, for companies and anyone interested in personal growth. She is an introvert who has overcome her fears of public speaking and working with people who are usually much older than she is. Listen to Ploy's experience on being an introspective introvert in an extraverted field, and using insights from personality theories to understand herself and others.
Check out Ploy's company Potentia on MBTI certification and training programs.
Past jobs: Architect, Interior Designer
Home country: Thailand
MBTI: INFP / Enneagram: 4
Age at interview: 28
Ploy's book recommendations
Her favorites on MBTI, Jungian psychology, and facilitation skills.
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Timestamps & Quotes
0:37 Who are you as a person?
1:47 The difference between coach v.s. facilitator
3:54 What do you do as an MBTI Counselor?
6:32 Basic MBTI workshops
7:26 Advanced MBTI workshops
8:23 Full day workshop walkthrough
9:39 Typing people through scenario
11:08 Why it’s ethically wrong to tell people their type
12:30 Why online MBTI “tests” are inaccurate
14:31 Overcoming fears as an introvert
16:23 How have INFP qualities helped in your job?
18:08 Teammates of other types, their strengths & weaknesses
19:04 Liking the self-learning aspects
20:21 Integrating your passion into your life
22:01 Disliking the business aspects
24:07 Using type unique strengths in teamwork
25:31 Childhood dreams
26:53 Being an empathetic kid
29:07 Architectural school
30:57 MBTI certification program
32:23 How did you figure out your passion?
32:37 Recommended uni courses for becoming an MBTI practitioner
33:38 Always expand your knowledge
35:18 Is having an MBTI certification enough?
36:48 How long it takes to become a good counselor
37:50 How would other people get into this field?
38:09 Qualities of a good MBTI practitioner
39:06 Difficult parts about being an MBTI Counselor
40:19 Starting an alternative school that teaches self-awareness
42:18 How young can you type kids?
43:01 Further education in learning innovation & facilitation
ADVICE TO YOUNGER SELF
44:20 Special advice for intuitive introverts
44:55 The mindset to overcoming your fears
45:54 Be kind to yourself and others
47:09 Nurture your friendships
47:50 Make mistakes
48:21 MBTI books
48:54 Keirsey temperaments v.s. cognitive functions
49:37 Different ways to group MBTI types
50:45 Jungian psychology books
52:58 Facilitation skills book
Transcribed by Rebecca Zhou Hong, thank you!
Taime: Hey there Pathfinders, welcome to the Pathfinders podcast. My name is Taime Koe, I am your host, and I interview people with interesting and uncommon jobs and life journeys, because sometimes life is not as straightforward as you think. And by hearing about their journeys, hopefully you can learn and get inspiration about your own passion and purpose in life and find out what you want to do for a career. Please welcome our first guest. Sitting with me is Ploy Suriwong.
You call yourself an MBTI subject matter expert. Generally, you run workshops for people who wanna learn more about themselves and understand others more. I’m gonna let you introduce yourself.
Ploy: My name is Ploy Suriwong. In terms of personality, I am a soft-spoken person.
Taime: In MBTI terms, you’re an INFP, right?
Ploy: Yup, I am an INFP.
Taime: An Enneagram Four?
Taime: For the personality nerds out there on my blog.
Ploy: As an NF, I value kindness and gentleness, and I’m very much interested in people’s development.
Taime: In terms of things you like to do in general. Like, I know that other than your work, which is coaching people, you do watercolor painting?
Ploy: For the work thing first, they don’t really call me a coach, coz that’s a different role. Besides being an MBTI subject matter expert, I am also a consultant, and they call me ‘facilitator’ -- usually just someone who facilitates a workshop.
Taime: From my understanding, I thought of a coach as someone who teach people about something, but then in your field, there’s a distinction?
Ploy: Yes, in my understanding, facilitators talk more than the coaches. They usually facilitate a program where people start thinking. But for the coach, they don’t talk much, what they do is they ask questions, they really focus on people’s development as an outcome. So, for example, if you come for my coaching session, and you said you wanted to change yourself in this aspect of time management, at the end of this coaching session, you’d be able to manage your time better. I don’t teach you anything, I don’t facilitate anything. What I do is, I ask you questions, what are some of the commitments that you’d like to do, what are some of the steps that you’re willing to take, and how you’re gonna take care of yourself and make sure you have this time management thing.
Taime: So, you do more facilitating than coaching.
Taime: How would a close friend describe you?
Ploy: My close friend would say … besides ‘weird’, they’d say I’m artistic, and deep? That’s what they called me. I don’t particularly like this word.
Taime: Why not?
Ploy: Because it is almost impossible for you to be understood and that’s something we care very much about, being understood at some point. If it’s not work-related, I would call myself an artist, because I paint a lot and I do all sorts of media, like, I do pencil drawings, I do acrylic, and I also do water color. Sometimes I do crafts as well. And I love reading very much, and also attending self-development workshops. It’s one of my hobbies.
Taime: Okay, let’s get into the career part. I think a lot of people are interested in the MBTI coach because the personality theory blog that I run is full of MBTI enthusiasts, but most of them learn from internet. Probably, I don’t know, 99% haven’t taken the official test or read anything official, at all. But you know the official resources very well. People would be very interested to know about what you actually do on a day-to-day basis.
Ploy: The thing is, because I work in a small company, I do so many things. So, if it’s the subject matter kinda work, it’s almost like they hire me to learn and read all of the books that’s related to MBTI.
What else do I do… I design courses. So, in our company, we actually talk MBTI, and we know who’s good for what task, and if it’s designing and knowing deeply about what to do with the workshop, they’d send it to me. They say I know it the most.
I’m not particularly good at facilitating. There are people who are good at facilitating, but if it’s the subject itself, I know a lot. So, I’d usually be the one who’d design the course outline, sometimes I come up with new modules. For example, the client says, I really want an MBTI for an application of communication effectiveness. So I’d go through all of my books and all of the workshop-related materials and come up with new models for them.
Taime: Coz you generally go into different companies and run workshops inside those companies, right? And you mentioned that each of them is different and you usually design completely new workshops to suit their needs. How do you figure out those needs?
Ploy: As a HR strategist and partner in that turn, we ask them about the company’s values or competencies or vision/mission. For example, a company may say, ‘This year, we have this task of building team effectiveness. What are some of the workshops that you can help?’ They would say this group of what they call the ‘talent’, have this problem of not being able to influence the team members. Please come up with workshops that can help.
Taime: This example, would it be MBTI-related?
Ploy: Yup. So MBTI has really huge applications, you can do so many things with MBTI. I do a lot of communication workshops sometimes, sometimes team effectiveness, stress management, EQ development… leadership effectiveness, or even change management, so any topic can really relate to MBTI. And what we usually do is that everyone has to go through the basic introduction of MBTI first.
Taime: For the MBTI nerds out there, the basic would be dichotomy? I/E?
Ploy: There’s a little more of theory before that, which is Carl Jung’s theory. They talk about two mental functions, Perceiving function and Judging function. And we talk about how people have a preference for each of the function, and we also talk about how he said there are two worlds that we live in. One of us prefer an extroverted world and another one prefers an introverted world. And we talk about how type doesn’t change, it’s innate. There’s a nurture part, as well, not just a nature part. So if you know MBTI, it doesn’t mean that you know everything about that person, because there’s still so many layers of that person, so all this is basic stuff that they’re supposed to know.
Taime: Could you tell us a little bit about more advanced workshops you offer?
Ploy: We start to combine letters together, for example, the first two letters talk about people’s learning styles. The second and third dichotomies talk about the interests of the mental functions for example, that really influences their communication styles, and their influencing styles. And then once they know that information, I actually have them try to convince the opposite using the function, for example. We also mention type dynamics. We talk about stress management, which is from type dynamics as well. Sometimes we talk about type development, so each type develops with you as you get older. For example, if you’re an NT, after the age of 26, you’re starting to develop the S and the F function.
Taime: It’s usually like a full day activity?
Ploy: Yes. So usually the process goes like this. They do an assessment, and then we put the report away so they don’t know their type. Then I would give them information about different preferences. After that, they try to verify their type, so we have a booklet for them to see which one suits them the most, and they choose a type and then in the afternoon, we do a splitting activity, which is an exercise where we separate people into different dichotomies, and then they learn the differences through the activities. Like, I would give just one question and see how an extrovert would respond and how an introvert would respond, and then we do a sharing session after that.
Taime: The second part you mentioned is interesting, because I attended one of your workshops. You’d ask people to do something. For example, there was a question about what would you do when you buy a new car, what kind of information would you look for, the reasoning for why you buy that car, like how would you want the salesperson to treat you… you ask that type of scenario questions, and then have people talk through the thought process, and everyone in the whole room can actually see the differences between how people reason through things. I think it’s a really useful way to type themselves, by seeing differences between their answers and other people’s answers, rather than just reading theories on books or blogs, like a lot of us do.
Ploy: And that’s actually the last process of verification. Sometimes they confuse which type they are, and once they’re in the activity, they can feel the energy, and then they’re like, ‘oh, nope, I’m not an extrovert, I’m probably an introvert’, for example. So it helps them a lot.
Taime: Yeah, it’s also interesting that some people were very obviously Feeling type, and they were really insisting on being a Thinking type, but after seeing differences, they kinda come to that conclusion on their own. I think that really makes your role as a facilitator stand out, that you help them see something by themselves as opposed to saying, ‘oh you are this type’. And I think one of the interesting things you told me which I learned recently is that you’re not supposed to tell anyone their type. You cannot go and say, ‘oh you’re INFP, not this other type that you think you are’. Can you explain why?
Ploy: That would be ethically wrong to say so, because for us, we all believe that we know ourselves the most. We’ve been with this body, this soul, for so long. And we’re the one who knew ourselves the most. And usually when you see someone else, maybe they’re just acting upon the persona. They may choose a persona to behave that way and it’s not really themselves, so they would know themselves the most. I guess-type a lot. But the way I do it is I say, ‘I see these behaviors and if I don’t know you, it belongs to this preference, what do you think?’, and have them respond. I never say, ‘this is your type’, coz it’s wrong.
Taime: But then what’s the difference between you not telling their type and the test result telling their type, which may or may not be accurate?
Ploy: Because the assessment that they are doing, we’ve been developing it for over 300 forms already. And when it’s psychologically-related kind of assessment, we have to be very careful, that we give equal importance to both preferences, in each dichotomy. You can’t just make an introvert sound so miserable, and an extrovert sound so nice. You just have to make sure there’s no bias.
Taime: When you’re writing the test?
Ploy: The test itself is proven that it's not biased. Like, it’s proven that they have chosen the words that give equal importance to each preference. So this is why people who do an MBTI assessment, a test online, they always get a different type all the time. Maybe it’s because of the word choice, and it's also important to have the right kind of mindset. That’s why MBTI is usually done with a certified practitioner, coz we also have to train ourselves to use the least biased word as possible. Imagine if I lead a workshop and I give so much importance to a Sensing type, and I totally ignore the Intuitive type. Most of the participants would be choosing the Sensing function for sure.
Taime: Wanna expand a bit more on the word choice that you use within the workshop? Because you run a lot of workshop in Thai, and you have to translate to something that’s as neutral as possible. Like, a lot of online descriptions paint Intuitives as really interesting, intelligent people, and when you choose neutral words, you would try to avoid bias as much as possible, right?
Ploy: Yes, and it’s so painful when I hear people say, ‘I’m a Sensor, and they say I’m not creative and stuff’, and I’m like, ‘no that’s not true, who told you that’. Because each of the types, they’re creative in different ways. Like Sensors, they can be very creative with the things they use, they use it so often that they can come up with new ideas of how to make it more refined and more usable. While the Intuitives, maybe they focus more on the new things. It may not be practical, but its new, its refreshing, so that’s another kind of creative. That’s why I’m very cautious with the words used, because it’s about people’s personality, and if they hear you say something, it can be with them for the rest of their life, and I really don’t support people who say, ‘you can’t be this or that’, because it’s nothing to do with behaviors, this is personality.
Taime: Let’s switch it up a little bit and talk about how who you are as a person affects what you do. You would describe yourself as an introvert, right? But this kind of workshop, you work with a lot of people. You lead them, basically, because you lead the workshop and you run it for pretty much the whole day and sometimes multiple days at a time. How do you think being an introvert comes into play with that?
Ploy: You have no idea how far I’ve come. Like, I mean, my close friend, who is also the partner working with me, she’s also an introvert, right. The first time we went out facilitating, we’re both introverts. My friend, she was checking with the paper, and I couldn’t really looking people in the eyes at all. And that’s when we started going to Toastmasters actually and we also tried different things. Like we told ourselves, let’s try a swing dance club. Because that’s where we can actually meet weird people.
Taime: Weird people?
Ploy: Okay, sorry, you can meet new people every time you go there. And what you do is you have physical contact with them, being very close to them, and really do all those extroverted activities. It was really challenging for us. For a while, we get these things going and we started to get better at facilitating, but it’s still hard. Every time we’re done with the workshop, the battery is gone. Like, we’ve run a workshop one time that lasts for four days, and we both got sick after that.
Taime: Like, physically sick?
Ploy: Yes, we actually got ill, we caught some cold. Coz we didn’t really know how to channel the energy. It was so tiring. We went back home and we sleep at 6pm but still wake up really tired.
Taime: What about being an INFP. Like, stereotypically, you would be described as very introspective and understanding. I watched the presentations by Dario Nardi, who’s one of the famous psychologists in MBTI, he would say that INFPs have the best active listening. When you listen to someone, you really focus on them instead of listening to reply, like what most people and I do. Would you describe yourself like that, being introspective and understanding and a good listener?
Ploy: Introspective, yes. Empathetic is one of the things they say I have. I try to be. A good listener is a little harder. The thing is I have this workshop about listening, and they talk about how you have to have this blank space and just be with them in the present. I’m still working on that, coz I always try to compare what they say to the books that I know, so I can make conversation with them, so my head is not actually blank, but I would really say that the strength I have for this job is that I bring the depth into it. I really try to understand them and try to not judge. I would guess-type people normally. For example, I see you and I’d be like, ‘oh you’re probably an INTP’, but if you think you’re not, and you said, ‘oh but I have this behavior and stuff’, then I try to really understand you as who you are and not really as the type that I think you are.
Taime: In your field of work, you’re pretty much helping people understand themselves, and your type seems quite perfect for that, except for being introverted. What are other people and their different strengths and weaknesses within your team?
Ploy: Most obvious one would be with an ESTJ. For example, I noticed that the participants, they’re not their type. And I think they misunderstand some concepts of preference, and I will go to them and say, ‘oh this is what I see in terms of behaviors, would you like to consider this type and read about it, and tell me what you think about it?’ But the ESTJ facilitator, they’re not usually aware of this, so they would just believe whatever the type the participant thinks they are. But in terms of the strength they have that I don’t, it’s the art of facilitation. They can naturally be out there with the people. They can joke around, they observe people, pick up the actions, make jokes about it… that’s something that’s really hard for me.
Taime: What do you like most about your job, and what do you dislike the most and why?
Ploy: The thing is, I like my job very much and it’s a little hard to come up with the dislikes. I learn about people every day, and that’s my interest. And I also learn about myself every day, which is also my life goal, to always learn more about myself, and I get to do that every single day. People are really interesting and complicated. Like, I can see ten INTPs and they’re all different, and it’s amazing to observe and investigate and watch them.
Taime: Do you usually build long-term relationships with your clients?
Ploy: Oh, I’m really bad at that.
Taime: I was wondering, coz you love learning about people, as you say. Does it bother you that you only meet them for one day and then never again?
Ploy: In that case, no, because I have a group that I am responsible for, which is the group called Thailand Accredited Practitioner. So they are all MBTI certified people and I get to watch their development over time. But we meet two to three times each year and I can actually observe their personalities in terms of behaviors and also what I do is I use this in my real life as well, like, with my family, friends… And that’s like a lifetime learning. So I can see them in one condition, when they’re stressed, they’re in another condition. When they grow two to five years older, they have another kind of behavior, for example.
Taime: And does your family know MBTI as well?
Ploy: I think so, everyone’s talking in letters.
Taime: That’s interesting. For me, I’m pretty much the only one who knows MBTI. Well, I have some friends who know basic, but it’s more difficult when you understand why they are a certain way, but they don’t understand you.
Ploy: Yeah, I used to feel really bad about that, but slowly I tried to inject it into their heads. I’m not quite sure. But I’m so passionate, like, everything I talk about is people and why they’re that way. They have to understand it. It’s like, one of my languages. They also love it. Everyone loves knowing about people and themselves. So, for example, my brother would run to me and be, ‘oh I have this new friend, he’s probably my type, we have so much fun together’ and stuff, and I’d be, ‘oh, he’s your type? Can you explain to me what are some of the behaviors as to your type?’, and he’d just explain behaviors, and I’m like, ‘oh, you’re so good at this stuff’, and he’s encouraged, and he uses it so often. My sister also uses it, and my mom… not quite sure about my dad.
Taime: It’s really awesome to hear that you love your job so much that it integrates into other parts of your life, and you get your family and friends interested as well.
Ploy: I think it’s also an NF quality, coz my friend, she does the same thing as I do.
Taime: Okay, let’s go into the dislikes. Something that’s difficult for you and why do you think that is.
Ploy: Okay, I already mentioned the extroverted part. There are parts where I have to remember people’s names and faces. Coz when I have to attend a random seminar, they’ll run to me, and they’d be like, ‘oh, Ploy, that day that we met, we talked about blah blah blah…’ and they started talking to me, and I’m like, ‘I have no idea who you are’. I always get so nervous. Sometimes, I hide behind a wall or something, but that’s really hard.
And you know, being a consultant and knowing this much about people, people around me, they have expectations. So, they always think I’m gonna understand them, and sometimes when I don’t understand them, they don’t understand that I don’t understand them, and we fight about it, which is funny. I mean, I don’t know everything about you. And sometimes they really think I would.
Another thing that really bothers me is that I still work in a company, corporate. And when it’s too business-like, I get really uncomfortable, you know, we have to go out, and find clients, and pitch for it and everything, and I always find it very conflicting, because helping people, and charging them for it… like, it doesn’t go together, in my head. So, that, I hate, but I know it has to be that way, coz I have to have money to live a life.
Taime: Ideally, if you were to run your own MBTI facilitating workshop business --
Ploy: I would fail.
Taime: You would?
Ploy: I would have to hire some marketing people to do it. I don’t want to deal with it at all. Like, it’s really hard for me to deal with this financial-related stuff. I always feel like I’m mean coz in my heart I wanna help them, but then I have to charge them money, as well.
Taime: So you do the actual pitching as well?
Ploy: I go out and tell them information about what they should know and what’s a workshop gonna be like, and then I have an ESTJ, who’s a marketing director, there with me, doing all the details, and also, all the financial-related stuff. It’s always like this, coz we know type in our company, so we’ll match up. For example, INFP with an ESFJ, or an ESTJ, and then let’s go together. So one of them talk about the big picture, another one would talk about all the details. And when we go to see the clients, what we do is, we’d be like, elbowing each other, and say, ‘she’s that type, she’s an extrovert, you take care of it’. And then sometimes, when an extrovert would give too much power or energy, and most of them are extroverts, I’d be like, ‘hey hey hey, lessen your energy, so they’re gonna listen to you’. All these kinda things are in our company.
Taime: That sounds like a really awesome company. I’d be like, ‘hey, ESTJ, go talk for me’.
Ploy: Oh, we actually do that. We actually do that. And sometimes, we’d be like, ‘oh, Ploy, coz you’re an Intuitor, can you help me with this big picture thing, come up with this proposal, and I’ll take care of all the details that you have to do. Let’s switch’. These stuff is really helpful.
Taime: Yeah, sounds awesome. I wish every company did that. Let’s talk about your journey. The path that you took to end up here. Let’s start from the very beginning, like, when you were little. Did you kinda know that you would want to work in something like this?
Ploy: No. All I know was that I love languages and drawings. I mean, arts and languages are the two things I cannot live without. What I planned to become when I was a kid in elementary school, I said I wanted to be a good wife.
Taime: Really? Why?
Ploy: Because I really wanted to be a mother. Like, I mean, I have so many small siblings, and I take care of them. Maybe that’s an NF part -- coz it’s like the nurturing part, I would teach them stuff, I would do summer school for them, like I’d come up with schedules of what they had to learn.
Taime: So when you were in elementary school, you planned summer school for little kids.
Ploy: Yes. For my own brother and cousins. And I’d teach them stuff, like he would have to do crafts and learn about language, and yeah, he’d do that.
Taime: Then you were a teacher since you were young?
Ploy: Yes. My mom got so mad coz I would kinda take all the real books and I would write things on it, and act like I’m a teacher and stuff.
Taime: Would you say that you were introspective since you were little?
Ploy: Yes. I am very aware of people’s emotions, thoughts and values, since I was a kid. Sometimes I don’t say things, but I think I know what they’re thinking. That’s what I have always thought that I had. That’s why, as a kid, it’s really hard when mom’s trying to lie to you and I’d be like, ‘no, that’s not it, you’re wrong’. For example, if she has a problem with someone, and she comes to you, and I’d be like, ‘mom are you okay’, and she’d be like, ‘yeah I’m fine’, and I’d be like, ‘no you’re not’, but then I have to keep this with myself, coz if I say it, they say, ‘you’re a kid, this is adult business’.
Taime: Did you always wanted to be able to help people in that way? Coz like you couldn’t really help adults when you were younger, but now you can, and you’re the person that everyone comes to.
Ploy: I think I’ve always been trying to help people, even back then in that moment. If it’s not through the way I say it, coz they won’t listen, coz I’m too young, I’d do it through action. Like I would try to please them in that moment, so that they are a little happier…
Taime: Would you say that you understand yourself very well since you were younger as well, in terms of what you like, what you dislike, what you wanna do?
Ploy: Coz I’m an introverted F, what I know is that I can’t do anything that I dislike. And I’m lucky because my family, they never forced me to do anything. They always allowed me to be myself, so I always drew, I always read, so I always get to be an INFP. I know what I don’t like, but I also know that if I try hard, then I can really accomplish it. But it’s always going to be a conflict. Like, if I really don’t like something, it’s really conflicting inside that I really don’t wanna do this. So what I usually do when I go to school is I make friends with all of the teachers. So if I like the teacher, then it means that I have to try very hard with the subject. So the teacher is happy.
Taime: When did you first hear about MBTI? Like, is MBTI the first personality theory that you became interested in?
Ploy: Yes, the thing is, this is my aunt’s company. So when I was about to choose my major for university, she had me do the assessment, and they said I’d be good with people, I’d be good with creativity-related stuff, that’s why I chose architecture. I actually graduated from an architectural school, and that was suffering, coz if you know, an architectural school is like an INTP type. A little more structure-like and system-related, and I’m really bad at it. I didn’t know. I thought architecture is like art. Coz in Thailand, career guidance is not very famous. And nobody tells you what each major is. But I don’t regret at all, actually, because it really helped develop the Thinking side of me. I’m better with critical thinking, when it comes to thinking of the new course outline for MBTI, for example. So it’s applicable in that sense.
I was an intern for an architectural company, and I found myself being very miserable. My artistic side is diminished, so I came up with a concept and worked really hard for it, for like a week or so. They would come up with a paper and said, ‘I want this kind of house instead, I don’t care about the thing that you designed anymore’, and then, my dream was crushed, coz I tried so hard, but they don’t really value it. So I said, ‘I don’t wanna do this architectural work anymore’, I asked my aunt and she said, ‘do you want to try to come to this MBTI certification program’. Usually HR leaders and coaches and trainers would go to it, so they can use the tool, but for me, I went for the purpose of self-finding, and I did the quiz very well.
Taime: The quiz as in the assessment?
Ploy: No, the MBTI certification program lasted four days, and each day they test your knowledge, so out of a hundred score, I scored one hundred.
Taime: Wow. I wanna know how I would score, without taking the class.
Ploy: They talk about assessment and how to give feedback and stuff. So there are some aspects that’s not just MBTI-related. My aunt was like, ‘you must be interested in it somehow, you wanna try and work in the company’? Since then, almost four years now, I’m still working with her.
Taime: Did you know what you were getting into before you started?
Ploy: No idea. At that moment, I was like, ‘I want something to do with people, that I can still do some arts, that I can still do some reading’, that’s all I knew. And I... before that I tried out many things. I tried out product developments kind of design, I tried architecture already right, I tried interior design already as a short course, and I found out I’m not really into any of those. But then, with this, I don’t get bored at all, and I really like it the more I read about it, the more I love it, and then I start to know it as my passion, coz I eat with it, I sleep with it, my hobbies become MBTI-related stuff as well, all of my books I read are MBTI-related stuff.
Taime: Yeah, I think it’s a good indicator of someone really loving what they’re doing that it goes into every parts of their life.
Ploy: Yes. Yes. And you talk about it, your friends know about it, also your family members as well.
Taime: So, you didn’t study psychology or anything like this at all, but what would be the ideal courses to study, for example, if a high school student is interested in becoming an MBTI facilitator?
Ploy: I would say any general psychology. Perhaps organizational psychology is mostly related, can do human resource development. But I think, the most important thing is the passion. If you have the passion, then it’s all good. Coz then you’ll surround yourself with related books. I also read a lot of psychological-related books as well, and I take courses that relates to it, like during the weekend.
Taime: Are you trying to expand into other things? I know you’re starting on Enneagram.
Ploy: Yep, the thing is, the MBTI, after the first year of using it, I got really skeptical, and I’m like, this is weird, I cannot find any fault in it. What are some of the disadvantages of this tool, I don’t know it at all, am I being too one-sided, am I being too into it, am I being blind? So I started taking random courses, like Enneagram was one of them. I did all of the psychotherapeutic -- like Veal, Panning, Satir…
Taime: I don’t know any of those. What are they?
Ploy: Satir is… they talk about the iceberg. How in deeper levels, besides the behaviors, you have feelings, feelings of feelings, you have the yearning inside… you have the life energy inside and stuff. They talk about how, if you have a problem, for example, if you fight with someone, you say mean things to them, you usually… what you actually wanna say is, ‘please listen to me, I want acceptance’, but you don’t really say that out. So this is a model to help you notice what you’re really yearning inside. Yes, and during the past one year, actually, I’ve just been really interested in the Jung’s theory, and stuff. Carl Jung’s theory. All those complexes, shadow, mana personality… all those sort of deeper stuff. Dream interpretation, synchronicity… all these things, I’m also interested as well. Like, I went to the Carl Jung Institute in Switzerland to learn about these stuff, and it’s really helpful for my job.
Taime: So, to become an MBTI consultant, basically, the only requirement is that you have the certification?
Ploy: Yes, you have to be certified. It is a four-day program.
Taime: That sounds really easy for anyone to do, right? Would you say that it’s enough requirement to be a good counsellor?
Ploy: Okay, if you say good counsellor, I have a really high expectation of it. The coach who conducted an MBTI certification program, he said these four days is like you getting a driving license, and it doesn’t mean that you’re a good driver. What you have to do is go out, practice observing people, reading more and more about MBTI-related books and discuss about it, talk about it, do all the things… like, indulge yourself in these MBTI-things. And I would say for about half a year… then you’ll get this thing settled, and you’ll also get punched back with all those stereotyping that you have as well. Coz when you first learn about it, you go about typing people, right? And then you’ll learn for about half a year that you can’t really do that, there’s actually a really wide spectrum of each type, for example, an INTP can be very geeky, or can be task-oriented for example. And you really have to notice all of these differences within a type.
Taime: So, how long would you say that it takes you from getting the certification to overcoming public speaking to becoming a good counsellor?
Ploy: I think for me, it would be a year and a half. And this means 24/7 being with MBTI, coz you have to overcome your problem as well. Like you mentioned before, what does it feel like when you understand people and other people don’t understand them. Would that be hard to feel, like, ‘oh I don’t wanna do this anymore, what does it mean anyway? I understand them, and so what?’ So you have to overcome all of these stuff, and once you get all of these things together, you have to be out there with the people… it’s a totally new chapter, as well.
Taime: You mentioned that you got to work in your aunt’s company?
Ploy: We’re called Potentia, Thailand and Vietnam. We are the only company that certifies people, so please find us.
Taime: In Thailand.
Ploy: Yes, in Thailand and Vietnam.
Taime: If you’re in Thailand, please do! For someone who wants to be an MBTI counsellor but doesn’t have connections, where would you recommend that they start?
Ploy: Search for MBTI certification program. More than 70 countries are using it now, so I think it shouldn’t be that hard to find a certification program.
Taime: How would you know that the company that you’re going into actually has good counsellors? Is there a way to tell if someone is a good counsellor, that they might want to work with and learn from?
Ploy: Watch the language they use, I would say. Like if they’re very biased, and they’re very judging, that’s not a very good MBTI practitioner. And see if they’re very open, and if they really listen to you, coz these are really the key, because they can only guide you through, they’re not supposed to tell you anything about who you are, at all. If they start to do that, then that’s not a very good practitioner. And see if they really have in-depth knowledge, not just the four day thing. For example, you can actually ask them, ‘Have you read Please Understand Me by David Keirsey?’ If they have, then it’s one of the indicators that they’re really into it. And they really wanna learn more and know more about people.
Taime: I think we’ve kinda already talked about challenges within your job and challenges of getting into this job.
Ploy: For the challenges, usually people are really passionate with it, they would forget about the world, they’d be reading about it, and they’d talk about it, and they’d be in-depth about it, and they totally forget that the person they’re talking to understands nothing about MBTI. And especially if you’re working with corporates, they would be questioning, ‘You know this much, and then what? You know this much and can you revert it to money?’ All these sorts of things are also challenges that all MBTI coaches and facilitators need to know as well. Like, sometimes don’t get too much involved in the theory and forget about the realistic stuff.
Taime: They wanna know actual, tangible applications.
Ploy: Yes, and also if you go work with corporate, they talk about things like ‘ROI’, can you really measure it, and it’s a challenge.
Taime: Let’s clarify ROI for people who might not know it. It’s ‘return of investments’, like, how much money can you get back from investing into something, like an MBTI training.
Ploy: Yeah. You really have to find a way to work with this.
Taime: Let’s talk about future goals. Where do you see yourself in the future?
Ploy: The thing is, I still wanna be doing this for the rest of my life, coz it’s a very good way of spreading awareness in the business world, which I think all leaders would know all of this. Coz they work with people and they should know people, but my ideal goal actually, is to have an alternative school actually, where the way we teach students is based on this theory of MBTI and self-awareness. If possible, I want to have a community where they really promote self-awareness and people can come to it and learn more about themselves, because I don’t think they have any community here in Thailand that talked about MBTI and self-awareness for real. But it’s not only gonna teach about self-awareness, they’re also gonna have to learn about the basic stuff, but I wanna make sure it’s a school that helped them learn about themselves along the way, and perhaps understand and accept differences. They can learn more about the people and the teachers, and they can really understand people are really different, and that’s okay. I don’t think this is promoted enough in Thailand.
Taime: Would you teach people differently based on learning styles?
Ploy: Thing is, I’m not quite sure. I’m talking about elementary and high school. I want to start young, because they need to know about themselves. In Singapore, kids at the age of fourteen, they already talk about ‘in the grip’ stuff.
Taime: Oh really? They all know MBTI?
Ploy: Well, in some schools. The teachers know their students’ preferences, and they alter the kind of learning environment that would suit the average of the group, and that’s really useful, I think. If I can’t do that, I’m planning to work with teachers and parents, coz they’re also key influences to help kids. And they probably know their kids better. I don’t work well with kids. I’m too academic.
Taime: How young can you type kids?
Ploy: They say, fourteen years old. But I would say, for Thailand, sixteen to eighteen. Thai kids grow a little slower. They don’t get a chance to be themselves that much. If I go and work with Thai kids who are sixteen years old, they’re still running on the ground and they’re still not knowing anything about themselves, and they’re still, like, ‘Mom says I have to be a doctor’, for example. And I’m like, ‘Do you like it? Is there anything you wanna do?’ And they’re like, ‘I don’t know, but mom says I want to be a doctor.’
Taime: Yeah. It’s very common here.
Ploy: So, I don’t wanna that to happen again, so I really want the kind of school that can help people. And there’s another thing I really want to do. I really want to get up to my doctorate degree and be a professor in different universities, to spread all this awareness. Coz they should know. In the US, I think 95% of the MBA programs in universities, they’re already using MBTI. That’s why people go out in the workplace and they already know that people are different. And I think that’s useful.
Taime: So, what would you study in a degree?
Ploy: Okay, right now I'm doing a Master degree as well, and it’s something to do with learning innovation and facilitation. But I also want to do another Master at Sydney, which is coaching psychology, but I want to do the doctoral degree here in Thailand because you have to publish a book and go out and teach kids in universities and that’s a very good way to spread awareness. So, it’s not gonna be further away from this coaching psychology-related stuff or learning innovation or facilitation.
Taime: You have an idea of what you wanna write?
Ploy: I want to write one that’s more in depth about MBTI theory, and I want to involve all the experiences that I would collect as well.
Taime: What kind of advice would you give to your younger self?
Ploy: I’m probably gonna sound very much like an old grandma, but one of the things I would say… ‘to do more’. There are times when I would just think and not act and I believe acting and really doing something gives you the real experience and this goes to all of the Is and the Ns in the world, like they should really go out there and experience the world and do as much as they can.
Taime: Earlier, you mentioned that you had to basically force yourself to go out there and experience more of the world, like doing public speaking and doing the swing dancing. Is there a mentality that you have to overcome, or something that triggered the starting of that point?
Ploy: The thing is, this is my passion, right. And I wanna do it right. Like, I wanna be the best I can for myself and for other people. So when I see the importance of it, the only thing left to do is to act. It doesn't matter if you're like, 'oh, but I can't do this', and all these kind of things, like, don't listen to it, just do it. And you know that it's actually not that hard. Like I mean, there are times when I'm frozen in front of everyone, but I still go back there and do it again, because I wanna make this right, because I'm very passionate for it.
And to not give up. I think it’s very important. But if you're really passionate for it, I don't think you'll give up. You'll try every single way.
I also would say, to be gentle and to be kind to yourself. And to everyone around you. It’s very important. When you grow up, the world is so cruel. You feel like you have to fight and be mean to other people. I don’t think that’s the way to do it.
Taime: Have you ever been like that?
Ploy: The thing is, an NF will suppress themselves if they have some hatred or hostility, right? I don’t support suppressing either. Being kind to yourself in this way doesn’t mean to always talk nicely and pamper yourself, or to pamper other people, but it means to accept who you are in every single way. For example, if I'm so angry and I say stuff to people, be gentle to yourself that that's ok, that's normal, that's life. And then just know what happened to you, why would you say that, ask yourself, talk to yourself, and be gentle about it. Like, ‘I heard you now, you say these stuff, what are you trying to say, what are some of the messages I’m supposed to understand’, these kinda things. Don't be like, ‘You're so mean, you're so bad, why would you say that to other people?’ That's not the way to be kind to yourself.
There are a couple more things I would like to tell myself. Friendship is for life. Once you have grown up and you’re an adult, it’s really hard to have a sincere kind of relationship, so nurture it. Those people around you, those people you already have, love them, be with them. Life can take you to weird places, but they’re always gonna be there for you. So, take care of it. That’s what I would say.
Taime: Like, make effort.
Ploy: Yes, and notice them. Like sometimes, for example, you go out and you have a boyfriend. You totally forget about your friend. I think they help you, they encourage you, they be there for you, I think it’s really important.
Another thing is to make mistakes. Fall. But make sure you get up and you know why you just fell. Coz it’s really important to get over it. But if you’re gonna think, ‘I have to do this right, I cannot fall at all’, your life is gonna be very miserable. I tried that already. No one’s perfect, you can’t do that. So, fall, and get back up gracefully, I would say.
Taime: Last thing, do you have any book recommendations?
Ploy: Please Understand Me II is about the temperament theory. It helps you see people clearer. They talk deeper things about personality type, for example, the values, the language, the intellect, the interests, their social role, how they see themselves as a mate, how they see themselves as a parent, how they see themselves as a leader, for example. And self-image, even. It’s really nice to know.
Taime: In the MBTI tumblr community, people kind of dislike Keirsey, coz he grouped temperaments in a way that doesn’t make sense in terms of cognitive functions.
Ploy: It’s nothing to do with cognitive functions. So if they’re to compare to cognitive functions, it doesn’t work. Totally different theory.
Taime: So, this book specifically doesn’t talk about cognitive functions. And you’re saying, you can’t combine them?
Ploy: Two different things, I think. Coz this temperament theory, it’s not the mental functions. They have a different model to work on it. But if you know it, it really helps to see people clearer.
Taime: It’s something new I learned from flipping through your official resource books as well, that, there’s also a different way of grouping. Like, the IN, IS, EN, ES…
Ploy: Yes, it’s a quadrant.
Taime: And then there’s like, IP, IJ… or something like that. So there’s multiple different ways of grouping people and each one’s a beneficial in their own ways.
Ploy: Was that really me? It talks about people under stress. Have you read it already?
Taime: I don’t have the book but a lot of people post lengthy excerpts where they talk about being in the grip of the inferior function. I think it’s really good, and it talks about a lot of real experiences.
Ploy: Mm. They talk about how it’s normal to act out of your character, because it’s also a part of you that you have ignored. Just like the book said, ‘Was that really me?’
Speedreading People. They talk about different MBTI preferences, and they talk about how to observe them. What are some of the key behaviors.
Taime: Okay, so it’s like helping you type someone else?
Ploy: Yes. One I want to mention is Jung’s Map of the Soul. It’s the basic Jung’s theory.
Taime: Actually written by Jung?
Ploy: No. Jung’s book is really hard to understand.
Taime: Yeah, I read that.
Ploy: This one is from a guy who’s a Jungian analyst, and it’s easy to understand. They talked about different parts of your inner world, your shadow, your complexes, your ego, your Self with the capital letter…
And the last one, I’m Not Crazy, I’m Just Not You. It’s recommended by MBTI coaches and trainers. I haven’t read it, but I heard it’s good.
Taime: Have you read Dario Nardi’s book?
Ploy: No, I haven’t.
Taime: I wanna get it. It sounds interesting. I think he’s the first guy who’s actually has brain activities in relation to MBTI.
Ploy: I have to know that. I also wanna read it.
Taime: Yeah, he has an hour-long lecture on Youtube. And I’ve only watched that. I haven’t read his book, but it’s interesting, because he measured brain functions of students that he typed over a year or something. Like, they had a year to figure out their type. And then he measured brain functions during different activities, asking them specific questions, and it shows pretty consistent patterns in each type.
Ploy: Interesting. There’s actually another one. It’s called ‘Personality Types: Jung’s Theory of Typology’ by Daryl Sharp. It’s really good, it talks about different preferences in Jung’s term. You go back to the basic means. You don’t usually find it online.
Taime: So this is not really MBTI, but actual Jung’s theory?
Ploy: Well, they talk about Extroversion and Introversion, Sensing and Intuition, Thinking and Feeling. I’m not quite sure if they mentioned Judging and Perceiving, coz that’s something that Myers and Isabelle added later. But you’re gonna understand preferences in another dimension. For example, they talk about Thinking and Feeling being both logical functions, and nothing to do with emotions. So you would understand what the word ‘Feeling function’ really means.
Taime: Are there books about facilitation?
Ploy: It’s not really about facilitation, but it’s for teachers, but I find it related at some point, because being a facilitator is sometimes almost like you’re acting as a teacher. The book is called The Courage To Teach. I think it’s by Palmer. He talks about your identity as someone who’s standing there in front of the classroom. He talks about identity and also integrity, like, to not overuse power in front of the class. Coz when you have the microphone, usually what you do is you think you’re the most powerful person. But they talk about how you should spread out this power across the room, and all the learners are actually the sources of information. So they can self-learn and share information, and those kind of things. I think it’s really nice. And to have the courage to be yourself in front of a classroom. Coz your being affects other people’s being, and it’s nice to read about this thing.
Taime: Thank you so much for being in my show and being my very first guest.
Ploy: Thank you for having me.
Taime: You can find more information about this interview and about Ploy and the books that she recommended at https://www.pathfinderspodcast.com/. See you in the next episode.
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