When I first released my book Conscious Coaching, I had no idea the chapter about Archetypes would cause such a stir. Since then, the idea of using terms like Wolverine, Skeptic, Royal, and Technician to classify general patterns of human behavior has continued to ignite controversy and debate for coaches and leaders alike.
In this episode I’m going to put some of this controversy to rest because while the terms and ideas are still accurate, the surrounding context, interpretations and use of the framework have become convoluted and misconstrued.
First and foremost, archetypes are universal and recognizable patterns of human behavior. They are simple heuristics that can be used to make a complex system (humans) slightly more comprehensible. Organizing them into a unifying roadmap can be important and helpful but in no way is it meant to be a complete nor static solution for approaching human interaction.
In this episode we’ll cover:
- What archetypes are & what they are not
- How archetypes can be misperceived and misinterpreted
- Using archetypes to understand behavior and become a better leader
- Revisiting common archetypes and the overarching framework
While we’re here, I’d like to give a shoutout to our good friends at Momentous and a special thanks to my friend Chris DiSanto who always makes sure our AoC army is taken care of at live events. If you’re looking for the highest quality supplements on the market, there’s only one company we trust- Momentous. Use code BRETT15 to get 15% off!
If you’re looking for more on the concept of Archetypes, you can check out the podcast reflection sheets (they accompany every episode) and our online course Bought In (the sequel to the book that started it all Conscious Coaching).
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Brett Bartholomew 00:06
It was one of the most controversial chapters of my first book Conscious Coaching, at least amongst staunch critics who really wanted to take to their keyboards and pepper me with prattle, even though they maybe didn’t read it as closely as they should have the archetypes. And today we are going to discuss what they are, what they are not, how they can be misperceived, how that can be used to help you gain a better understanding of human behavior and regardless of the field or profession you’re in, how they can help you as a leader. We are putting this one to bed for a final time, because there are so many instances on Twitter or other forms of media where these things were misquoted and this became such a heated debate with a small coterie of individuals. So I’m happy to have you with me, because there’s no better medium to discuss this.
Now. Before we start, I want to thank Momentous, especially my good friend, Chris DiSanto, who deserves a shout out of his own. Momentous is not only a world leader in the human performance space with respect to nutritional support, and supplementation, but also Customer Care and so much of that is led by people like Chris. So whether you have a job in the corporate realm, whether you’re a doctor who works extraordinarily long shifts, and thank you, by the way, even though you get little to no sleep. If you’re somebody who loves to travel, you’re an athlete in any sense of the word, whether professional, casual, or maybe even just on the weekend, Momentous has something for you. It is an absolute mainstay for me whenever I travel, especially their elite sleep, their fish oil, their brain drive, and they focus on research back to no nonsense products for every budget, so you can learn more about them. And I urge you to do so because they’ve been so loyal to us, so great and they look at the highest quality ingredients. That’s all a source. It’s all they use. This is not for bodybuilders, not for meatheads, this is for everybody, livemomentous.com or you can check them out on our partner page artofcoaching.com/partner. Okay, let’s get into this one.
Brett Bartholomew 02:18
Welcome to the Art Of Coaching podcast, a show aimed at getting to the core of what it takes to change attitudes, behaviors and outcomes in the weight room, boardroom classroom and everywhere in between. I’m your host, Brett Bartholomew, I’m a performance coach, keynote speaker and the author of the book Conscious Coaching. But most importantly, I’m a lifelong student interested in all aspects of human behavior and communication. I want to thank you for joining me and now let’s dive into today’s episode. I remember the streets
Brett Bartholomew 02:52
were still slick with the rain from the previous night’s downpour. I walked into hotel, I looked around and I was absolutely awestruck regarding the level of detail that was etched into the wood and the stone around me. Now the structure itself, the hotel was well over 100 years old and had been adorned with a rich variety of symbolism that all really coalesced in a way that told this story of the building, the campus and the community that supported it. Now the symbolism was really ironic given what I had been brought there to speak about the next day. I tried to sleep. But many of you know how that goes when he just finished hopping multiple time zones when you’re traveling, though, you may have dreams of checking into your hotel and your head hitting the pillow, the moment you get into your room. Those turn out to be delusions, once you actually get there.
Given the amount of adrenaline that you feel, when you’re traveling to a new place, you’re navigating the airport, you’re getting your bags, you’re trying to get your bearings. I remember I got my key card and went up to the room, I dropped my bags, and upon pressing the key against the reader on my door, I was greeted with a red light, declined, no entry. So I jiggle the handle again, try it again, put it up again, closer, try the other side the third time, we know this dance goes. So completely dejected, I hoisted my bags over my shoulder, trudge downstairs smiled at the desk clerk, who by the way, looked like he needed a nap since it was nearly 1:30 in the morning. I saw it and I was like, Hey, I guess it’s one of those nights. My key card doesn’t like me and I can’t get into the room, I’m sorry to bug you. And this was another pointing example of something we’re going to talk about later.
Eventually, after he gave me another card, I got settled, I got some sleep, and woke the next morning as ready as I’d ever been to present at least. Now two separate organizations had booked me over the course of the next four days, just laying out some context here, one of which resided underneath the umbrella of the Department of Defense, right, the DOD, and another was a sporting organization. And it turns out that both parties had somehow gotten their hands on my first book Conscious Coaching. And they wanted me to speak a little bit more about my model of determinants of human behavior, message tailoring and archetypes and I’ll be honest about this when I wrote the book, I had hoped that it would cross over into other industries. But what nobody tells you is you can’t choose the parts of the book that people tend to gravitate to most. And in this case, aside from the part that detail my personal story where I was hospitalized, the one that really is the thing that put me on the road we’re on as the organization today, with Art Of Coaching, it was the archetypes that people tended to be drawn to as the most polarizing for some reason.
Now, a few months prior, I had spoken at Microsoft and with Turner Construction, about this very topic. Why? Well, they had reached out saying that they had seen these factors play at various levels of their organization. And their goal was to help figure out, Hey, how can we better understand staff differences in personality? We need to do this because they wanted a more adaptable approach to handling organizational communication, something we can all relate to, right? We know that people are different, they come with their own quirks. And sometimes it’s hard to make sense of that, because we’re trying to focus on our job, but people can get in our way, at least that’s how we perceive it. Now, those in this case, that worked in their product division had their own issues. But they also needed to play nice with those and online services, the business development side of things, servers, tools, devices, construction and the like. Now, I didn’t mind then nor do I now that organizations which resided outside of my previous primary profession, strength and conditioning, wanted to dive more deeply into this.
It’s always fascinating hearing their interpretation, what they deal with, I mean, many of you listening, we have listeners from over 200 countries that dial in, many of you are in fascinating profession. So we love hearing those problems. And you know, for the most part, whenever we went into other industries, they got it, we do the talk, we’d go into breakouts, there was no debate, because they operated on such a global scale, with respect to their products or services, marketing, problem solving, and even scenario planning, that they saw these archetypal patterns really all play out around them. prior to me coming out there, they didn’t just have a framework for it, not because I’m smarter, or what have you. But they had to stay busy doing the much more important things they were involved in. And I’d learned from them, they learned from me, it was always this tremendous symbiosis.
Now, it was the small contingent of those in the performance environment, the very one that I came from, that tended to want to fight about this. And if you followed my work for any amount of time, you know that I was a strength and conditioning coach still am for 15 years. It’s a tremendous profession. But it’s one, you can almost liken it to comedy, where, in some ages in comedy, I think it’s a lot better now it’s more supportive, because there’s so many more platforms. But when you look at like the golden era of competitive comedy in the 70s, and what have you, when people were really, or when people were trying to fight to get on Johnny Carson’s couch and make it in comedy, it was like, they have this attitude that every other comedian sucked, or somebody else was getting laughs that you weren’t. So in strength and conditioning, there tends to be this lack of an abundance mindset sometimes.
Brett Bartholomew 07:58
Now, there’s many reasons, part of it is because there’s very few jobs that work in professional sport, or high level athletes. And people dramatically, dramatically underplay the importance of working with kids and other populations. And it’s also just because hyper competitive individuals get in that field, and tend to do so sometimes for the wrong reasons, they should get into it, because they like managing people and coaching.
But sometimes they get into it because they self identify with a training method or a tactic. So anybody that threatens their beliefs, they can get really up in arms about. And of course, this isn’t just strength and conditioning, many of you listening have this as well. But I’m just trying to paint a picture of, you know, when we went into these organizations, it was kind of like, well, who are you? Are you coming from my job or what have you. Now, I’m not going to embellish here, because sometimes, I do have a bad habit of making a small percentage of people in this case, fierce critics of the topic, we’re talking about today’s like the majority, it’s sort of like when they say you almost need 10 good things to happen. For every one bad or negative life event, we all tend to focus more on the negative at times, for a variety of reasons that we’ll go into in a future podcast.
But you know, the next part of what I’m going to vent about pertains to about five to 7% of people’s reactions in total. So if we revisit that night in the hotel, for example, you know, the irony was that I prepare to be riddled by members of the DOD client, given their highly analytical and clandestine nature, everything they were involved in. Yet, you know, that in service couldn’t have gone better. They shared a lot of examples. They even helped formulate different approaches very hands on.
When I visited that sporting organization and met their head strength and conditioning coach. I remember he looked at me and upon me extending my hand and saying, Hey, nice to meet you. Thanks for having me. And he cut me off mid sentence, looked at me as if I was trying to hand him a subpoena and barked. Oh, so you’re the guy that’s going to tell me how to coach 100 plus people at the same time by giving me a bunch of goofy names for them, huh? Great. Tell me how to do it. So the irony here shouldn’t be missed in criticizing this framework he knew little to nothing about because he admitted and read my book didn’t have the time. What have you. I don’t care. Right. He knew little about this beforehand. He didn’t realize that he through his standoffish demeanor was displaying a classic archetypical persona himself in that moment. He’s a skeptic, he’s a hard ass, pardon my language, there’s going to be more of it in this episode, the one that, you know, couldn’t make it into the book.
And then here’s many like them, and there’s plenty of folks out there that are always going to fight when they feel threatened and what have you. But here was the real issue at play. His boss had brought me in because of this very issue. Here was a coach whose sole duty was to develop those under his leadership, through getting to know them better, communicating, teaching at a high level, helping them meet core objectives, which would then help the organization as a whole perform better, right, there’s quotes and mottos all the things that you can imagine in the weight room that are plastered all around, right? Like, be open minded, challenge yourself better today than you were yesterday, all the usual stuff, it looks like they just kind of ripped it from every coaching book, what have you. Be open minded was probably the most unique one. And again, ironic,
Brett Bartholomew 11:07
yet here we were. So over the years, I learned quite a bit about people and their perceptions, and how their experiences and personality shaped their expectations, and insecurities. So, you know, throughout the time, when since this book has existed, I hear all kinds of questions on this. So hey, can you create a manual that tells me and my staff how to best coach each archetype? And I’ll talk about what they are in a moment. Hey, do the archetypes apply to parents, co workers, colleagues and the like. Hey, people aren’t monoliths, you can’t label them. Hey, could somebody be more than one archetype? Hey, could you create a standardized questionnaire that helps us do this and what have you and all these questions are rational. And many of them are well intentioned, but they can also be well off the mark. And we’ll get into this. But what was really scary is when you tell people, you know, in some instances, the answer it depends, or that, Hey, you can’t treat people like they’re just, you know, little tiny puzzle pieces.
And no, there’s not going to be a worksheet that tells you how to best communicate with everybody at all times. Why? Well, because communication is a skill, even if one of us could create this sheet, right? And there’s this golden piece of paper that tells you how to interact with everybody perfectly all the time, that is still going to come down to your ability to actually communicate and use that stuff well to be socially agile. But that’s not what many people want to hear. And it makes you think if it is our increased ease of access to information, has that made us lazy? Right?
Because when I looked at my primary demographic early on streaming conditioning, I saw the irony that, you know, the strength coaches, people who often received advanced science based degrees in subjects such as physiology, biomechanics, motor learning, and other related disciplines seemingly care enough to understand the interdependent it depends nature of physical training, right. You can’t just create one program, and here you go and that would happen a lot to uh, you know. I spent a lot of my career working with professional athletes, all of a sudden, somebody, you know, would say, Hey, can you send my son a program? Or can you send me a program over social media, what, you can’t do that. Just like doctors can’t blindly prescribe medication.
But, you know, these coaches would understand that yet they expect a binary approach to the complex, messy nature of human interaction and behavior. And that is just laziness. It’s laziness. And it also shows how much we need to continue to understand that communication is far more than just soft skills. It is far more than that most leadership books would lead you to believe that I mean, that stuff doesn’t guide you well, because it just gives you this one size fits all advice. And many within our field, and those like it so desperately want to be able to break down and just systematize their interactions with individuals the same way a doctor would prescribe medication, or somebody would do sets and reps or an engineer would address the construction of some sort of machine. You know, it’s like they don’t mind if it’s complicated, as long as it fits in a model that’s easy to recognize, identify and adapt to. Where’s the effort? Where’s the work? Where’s the love of trying to figure these things out? And more importantly, where is the skill in that? And that shows the issue and priorities.
If you’re going to nerd out over all the technical aspects of your profession and you can’t sit there and understand, wow. Communication is a skill, this is pretty messy. I actually need to practice whether it’s in role playing scenarios or what have you, learning how to better interact with people outside of the job. We’d be a little bit better off, right. So I’ve already discussed the flaws of this in online courses and what have you. I’m not going to go on too much because I want to get to the archetypes, but I just want to make it clear. When it comes to being an adaptable communicator. You got to do the work. Nobody’s going to write that book for you. There’s never going to be a people playbook that you guys can operate off of, and, you know, the art of coaching this term.
Brett Bartholomew 11:07
Prior to what we’re trying to do with it, it was depicted as this ambiguous cliche of warmth and empathy. Because people didn’t really understand that it’s a tough topic to understand. So it’s easier to just say, Ha, this is what it is. But what you’re looking for is fit in any interaction conducive fit, right. When coaches and leaders of all types, we want to better understand aspects of personality and behavior, right, so we can more effectively motivate. But also so that we can see if these people are fit within our organization or what we’re doing.
And but if you were to think of, if you were to think of so many different sports teams, duo’s or, you know, organizations, businesses, whatever that you can name, that that didn’t work out, despite them having talent and smart people and all these things, but it was just not a fit, right? They didn’t know how to work together. So you know, it’s a deep and detailed thing, and people need to understand that this comes down to a level of self awareness, Now, to the archetypes themselves, to the archetypes themselves. Let’s reveal this fog, these myths go behind the curtain.
Archetypes are just best thought of as a scaffolding, or a general model to help us better key in on an individual’s common behaviors. Now, a lot of people and rightfully so, I mean, really, the person who gets the credit for archetypes is Carl Jung, born in 1875, died in 1961. I used a Swiss psychiatrist, and he was fascinated by the way societies around the world shared striking similarities, especially as it pertained to myths and symbols, and certain behaviors. Now, unlike Jung, I don’t believe necessarily that these symbols exist as part of layers of inherited memory that constitute the entirety of the human experience. And I also don’t believe that archetypical behaviors exist solely in the subconscious.
You know, when you look at the Oxford Dictionary example, or phrasing and definition of archetype, it is a very typical example of a certain person or thing, right, so this book is a perfect archetype of the fiction genre, right? That is an example if it uses in sentence, it’s an original, that’s been imitated. If you look at synonyms you can see typification, prototype, representative, original pattern, model, standard mold, embodiment, essence, quintus, essence, textbook example, paradigm idea, or a recurrent symbol or motif in literature, such as mythological archetypes of good and evil. So the gist of this is as societies grew larger, and more complex. Myths, and stories and symbolism helped create and reinforce social order.
This is what the author you’ve all known, Harari, who wrote the book Sapiens and others, talks about in his tone. Every culture has its typical beliefs and norms and values that are in flux. But in general, we also see that in every part of the world, where there are instances where people, you know, they’re brought up with certain standards, they think in certain ways, they want certain things. They observe certain rules. You know, my little boy, I tried to think about, okay, he wants this or he wants to that toy, or he wants to watch this. And if somebody else wants something, he wants it because he views that thing as desirable, these social patterns exist.
And ironically, this is a lot of what the favorite buzzword of so many in the corporate setting and the sporting setting as well. You know, when you think of the term culture, and how many people use that in their speeches and their books, and what have you. Well, that itself is baton archetypical verbiage. Oh, this place has a toxic culture, this place has an innovative culture, this place has a culture of accountability. These terms themselves conjure general, yet specific imagery. They don’t tell you everything. But they give you a hint as to what you might expect when you walk in the door.
I mean, the definition of culture itself, and this is something I talked about on Episode Two way back on episode two of the podcast, man, the audio is so much worse than and I was still trying to figure out everything I still have a long ways to go but in that we talked about how culture itself is defined as a dynamic process characterized by shared values, beliefs, expectations and practices across the members and generations of a defined group. And that comes from Fletcher and Arnold, Sand Foo and Bar Shewayn, I’m sorry if I’m mispronouncing that, Shine, Shaigen Berg, Zooeytell
Brett Bartholomew 15:03
I mean, we’re talking about when you think of what you want your culture in your workplace to be, the culture of your family, the culture, any of these things, that itself when you think of the terms, those are archetypical terms. Now archetypes can also be associated with many kinds of behavioral and emotional patterns, the ones that tend to be most recognizable or like the Wise Old Man, the Wicked Witch, the Motherly Figure, the Political Pundit, the Hero, the Villain, the Anti-Hero, right.
Brett Bartholomew 20:33
A quick break in the action here. Hopefully you value the break in intensity. I know this is a pretty serious episode. There are a couple of dates I want you to be aware of, because our live events are coming to a close for this year, we’re going to be in the UK specifically, we’re going to be in Wales, Cardiff on October 9th and 10th. We’re going to be in Asheville, North Carolina, November 13th, and the 14th. New York, 22nd of January and the 23rd. Toronto, Ontario, the 4th and the 5th of March of next year and Austin, Texas, March 12th, and 13th. These apprenticeships are open to people from all professions.
There’s not one of us who has communication master, there’s not one of us that has leadership mastered, right. This takes a village, it takes all of us coming together sharing stories, strategies, the latest research and actually role playing out these scenarios, right. Think of it as proactive perspective, guys. All of us have social issues we deal with in a wide variety of ways and work or live, come train them, come refine them, get around peers. This is a safe place, we normalized failure. The only people that don’t belong are people that think they already have all the answers. For more, go to artofcoaching.com/apprenticeship, artofcoaching.com/apprenticeship. Alright, back to the episode.
Brett Bartholomew 21:56
Archetypes can also be associated with many kinds of behavioral and emotional patterns. The ones that tend to be most recognizable are like the Wise Old Man, the Wicked Witch, the Motherly Figure, the Political Pundit, the Hero, the Villain, the Anti-Hero, right. People like characters like Venom or Loki of Marvel, Lore. If you think of movies, classic movies like The Breakfast Club, there’s the Jock, there’s the Nerd. You know, deeper look at heroes.
I remember there was this article regarding Marvel movies by Beth Daly. And the rest of this is a quote from her. She said even as we get older, role models and films can help us to think about what sort of person we want to be. When we are young. We typically enjoy stories where the goodies and the baddies are very clear. Happily, the goodies usually triumph and the baddies get their comeuppance, or they’re transformed into goodies. But as we get older, our thinking develops. And we understand that the world is rarely black and white. And as a result, our tastes change. And we begin to enjoy ambiguous gray characters who may be baddies, but may have interesting motives that we can relate to.
This links our stages of moral development. As young children, our sense of morality is tied to avoiding punishment, and gaining rewards for being a good girl or, boy. As we get older, we see morality as this agreement between people to maintain social order, and everybody’s rights, but we still also develop our own personal moral ideals. And those are based off our archetypical understanding of these things and how we identify and what you know, do we want to be this person or that person? I mean, kids grew up and wanted to be cowboys, and then other people wanted to be this and what have you. So this all fits well with the reality that oftentimes, truth in storytelling would, you know, emulate real life, especially when it comes to character development, both figuratively and literally, in many stories, you take people, you put them on a journey, they face hardship or peril and in doing so, they’re going to figure out who they really are.
Now the caveat there is if they actually want to, okay, we’re going down the archetype rabbit hole. I mean, if we’re gonna debate about this, we’re gonna go all the way in. We also think in archetypes every day. So, Johnny is a clown. He always makes people laugh. Sonia is super outdoorsy. Katya is a foodie. Deontay is stubborn, right our views of success, we think some people the archetypical view of success in some people’s mind is having money and cars. The archetypical view of success in some people’s, other people’s minds is being able to travel and have time to spend with loved ones. Do you see how archetypes play a role in our everyday life? It does it with environments to, this Silicon Valley type vibe of that business. Hey, that diners a hole in the wall. I mean, I was on the show driving diners and dives. I can’t remember however many years ago, but we even think of rest, Oh, there’s this great Italian restaurant. It’s one of those dark, dimly lit places that feels like it was an Old mob hang out. We think of movie like this, oh, it’s a great comedy. It’s kind of like an action flick. Oh, it’s a superhero movie. That’s a horror movie. It’s
Brett Bartholomew 25:09
lots of jump scares and what have you, we use this general language to give people a taste of what might come, a taste of what might come. And it’s very much tied to impression management. Now, mind you, and for some of you that are just getting familiar with my work, you know, I omitted this, when I started to think about these things. Why even wrote a chapter on this is all the athletes, I trained over the years, all the people I interacted with, you’d see commonalities.
And when an intern would say, hey, what do we got today? or what have you? Or do we have a new person in the group? You know, you eventually would kind of chat and say, hey, yeah, we have somebody that new join today. Take it a little easy today, don’t overcorrect? You know, they’ve kind of shown, you know, they don’t want to be challenged in this way or what have you. You know, first day people can kind of have the jitters or what have you, right. This person’s a little bit more defensive, this person’s a little bit more open. This person likes this kind of instruction. And so you start using kind of general terms, to just talk about general characteristics, these things were never, and I say as much in the book, this is why I get on the critics that read over it. Nobody has ever said you, you give somebody a name and we’ll go over some of the names in the book in a minute and some characteristics and that’s it. Nowhere in any of my work have I ever said, Yep, you use the archetypes to label somebody and that label is static, and it will never change, and they are the same way in every situation.
So just take what I wrote in my book, and go apply it to people blindly, and don’t think about it ever again. Never once have I said it. Yeah, that’s what some people would love for you to believe. And that’s some people. So when we talk about how this is tied to impression management, and we have a whole podcast on this for those that really want to go down the rabbit hole. Sociologist, Erving Goffman, he wrote one of the first books devoted specifically to this area, and it goes through as you can imagine, impression management is being able to showcase ourselves in a wide variety of ways or, you know, it’s our ways of controlling what others think of us. And it’s central to our working lives. I mean, people do this all the time. They do this all the time.
And so he had written a great book, I believe it came out in like 1959, called The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. And he said, impression management involves attempts to establish the meaning or purpose of social interactions. Oh, it looks like a heated argument. Oh, those people are getting a fight Oh, they’re in love. And it guides our actions, it helps us anticipate, not predict, anticipate what to expect from others. He goes on to say impression management as a sort of mutual ritual that helps to smooth and control social relations and avoid embarrassment. And he said even actions, which at first glance appear to be innocuous, might actually be strategically calculated, to show that social actor would be that person in the best possible light. He goes on to say people are performers, their main task being playing many different roles to construct their social identity.
And that’s it guys, your self image is tied to your behavior. You know, I talked about one archetype in my book, The Wolverine, the Wolverine is somebody that, you know, they tend to be a little bit distrusting, they tend to be a little bit more of a rogue. You know, it’s not like, you know, there’s anything wrong with them, but I mean, you can see, alright, is this person a little bit more complex? Are they brooding? Are they a little bit more individualist? Are they self reliant? Do they seem super self sufficient? You know, Am I seeing that they have a lot of distrust or fear or anger and what have you?
I mean, that’s something that I identify with, I spent a year of my life in the hospital, you know, and I’ve been around just like many of you have some pretty untrustworthy, unsavory people and other circumstances. And I’m a pretty self reliant guy, you know, I just like to rely on, I have no trouble asking for help. Now, not as much as I used to at least. But you know, that’s not how I always am. Right, but that can come off in my vibe, sometimes.
And so archetypes are very much our way of making sense of ourselves, and the world around us and what have you. And you know, another quote from Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens. He said, we study history not so we can predict the future. But so we can widen our horizons. What’s the same thing with archetypes and why we need to be familiar with them? We don’t study behavioral patterns because we think we can predict how people will behave in the future with absolute certainty. We should study these patterns so we can better understand ourselves, the adjacent possible choices of how we behave and so we can better adapt and broaden our horizons. You know, sure, like somebody’s going to display our archetypal or typical personas, and you may get it wrong sometimes and that’s fine. It’s a conversation starter. It’s just something to say, hey,
Brett Bartholomew 30:06
you know, I feel like this person, I talked to my wife Liz about this the other day, we were looking at candidates for a position for a contractor. And I was like, you know, I had this meeting, it just seemed this person was a little standoffish as evidenced by x, y and z. I said, you know, what was your interaction, she had a conversation about it and you can see these kinds of trends of behavior for this particular role. And so we start, you know, that’s pretty interesting. And so we have to think of this stuff, and we have to be aware of it. And it’s not hard to recognize differences, guys, you know, and it’s dangerously lazy thinking if we go through life only seeking them out.
But the reality is, there are different behavioral patterns that people exist. So we just got to be realistic. So let’s knock out some of these questions, right, that people say and talked about. Can you create a manual that tells me how to deal with each archetype? Now I’m going to talk to you about some of them in the book. In the book, we talked about the Mouthpiece, the Wolverine, the Free Spirit, the Manipulator, the Underdog, the Crusader, the Skeptic, the Hypochondriac, the Leader, the Novice, the Politician, the Specialist, the Soldier, the Royal, the Technician, there’s a million more, right, but like, nobody’s telling you that this is the answer to leadership.
This is just one piece of understanding common patterns of behavior. Want me to explain a few? Happy to. The technician, right. Think of this person, as somebody that excels in all things technical, right? Like when in the world of sport, these people would get to the details of whatever their position entailed. These are people that can be very type A Can Be, right, they love this, they’re fascinated with deeper understanding and knowledge and mastery. They’re very detail oriented, they’re analytical, they’re disciplined, you know, weaknesses, they can be perfectionistic, they can be inflexible, they can crumble under pressure, because they put so much on themselves. Right. And they can struggle in chaotic environments, and what have you. And so you think about all right, who do you know, that is like that?
What about the Royal? The Royal is a term we use for people that are entitled or show aspects of entitlement or superiority, right, they very much are motivated by social recognition and they want to hide their weaknesses. You know, they have borderline narcissistic self esteem, they’re competent, guess what? That’s not always a weakness, guys. We need people that are very competitive and very confident. You know, like, of course, I don’t want somebody entitled, around me at all time. But shoot, if I have to have brain surgery, I surely want somebody that thinks they’re amongst the best, as long as their skill can back that up. Right now, of course, all these things exist on a dimensional scale. So if somebody you know, Royals can be, they can have excessive pride, they can basically avoid activities in which they lack full confidence. They can be difficult to coach or guide in early years of the relationship, because you’ve got to break down this facade, they just feel like they have to show themselves as I’ve got it all figured out.
You know, people like the Soldier, they follow instructions, they’re dutiful, right? They’re resilient, they’re disciplined. But sometimes they don’t know when to stop. Sometimes they push beyond their limits, and that can risk their health, and what have you, you think of, let’s give you some more of the Politician, smooth operator, right? These are people that are charismatic, they’re stimulating, they’re confident, but they can also be very manipulative in the bad sense of the term, they can be overly cunning. And, you know, they can try to do all kinds of things to create environments, where they always have the upper hand. And of course, that’s going to create situations where they stagnate because they’re not, they’re always trying to wheel and deal. They’re always trying to get out of it. You know, and there’s ways to deal with it. I mean, everybody knows this in their workplace.
We have the Novice, who amongst you is an eager beaver, right. There’s a new skill, you jump right in. You’ve loved this idea of rapid improvement, keeping up with your peers, you have this idea of like, Hey, you know, I just want to jump right in. And then you’re like, hey, timeout, you know, there’s some instruction, there’s some patience, there’s some protocols that we have to follow. We can’t just throw you in the deep end there. And, you know, when you’re dealing with folks like that, it’s helpful to recall what it was like when you were a novice, being able to kind of provide ample instructions, but you know, also give them room to fail. I’ll talk about a couple more.
Brett Bartholomew 34:33
One of the ones that we talked about a lot, or we talked about earlier, is the Skeptic, right? These are people that hey, I’m not drinking the Kool Aid. They’re gonna question everything. They’re gonna question everything. They’re analytical, they’re cautious, they might be an active listener, but they’re always waiting for you to mess up. Always. They are so hesitant and distrusting, and it’s not our job to psychoanalyze, right. But you do have an opportunity to truly educate them. You know, and a lot of times a skeptic if you just show them you don’t tell, you know. That’s huge.
I remember somebody said, Hey, I avoided your work for a long time. So I remember your book blew up and people talked about the archetypes. And I thought you were just going around the world talking about the beaver and the dog and this and that. And then you know what they actually started to get to know, our work, they realized that was one chapter of one book of a piece and body of work that spans more than 10 years. And so when they started diving more deeply, they’re like, oh, okay, I get it.
This is part of this kind of overall ecosystem of what you have. And the reason you’re doing it is to give people kind of these frameworks and saying, hey, we’re gonna make judgments, we’re human beings, we’re fallible, at least understand kind of what you’re seeing at a higher level, check this kind of say, hey, does this fit with this? Does this fit with that? Does this person seem to exhibit these behaviors In all situations? Of course not. Nobody’s like that. Unless there’s a severe kind of spectral, uh, you know, autism disorder, or what have you. You know.
I’ve had people that reach out and they say, Hey, I just can’t get across to this person, we find out that they’re always meeting and, you know, their office or some environment. And I said, Well, you ever gone out and just shot hoops with them? This was in the NBA, or you ever go out and take a walk or just have lunch with them? You ever get off site? You ever meet them where they’re the most comfortable? Of course, when they do that? Different. Somebody tells me Oh, I have a problem athlete. Really. They’re problematic all the time at home, their family, just you know this. They’re problematic all the time? Did they not show any essence of being open minded? You never see him smile, right? Like, do you see it’s actually more judgmental, not to explore the archetypes because you’re blindly just saying this person’s this or this person’s difficult. And I’m gonna lay that out. There it is.
If you’re saying they’re saying, and here’s your little soundbite. This is what will play on Instagram and what have you. If you are somebody that thinks you are so good at communication, and so good at reading people, yet, you’ve never even had a framework to look at and check your bias, check the judgments that you make, check the labels, right? If you’ve never even gone into that you’ve never assessed your own bias, you’ve never even gain a higher understanding of this. Right? Like you’re a hypocrite, you are a hypocrite. And so I just always find it fascinating when somebody would say Oh, these archetypes so you know, it seems like you’re applying labels.
One, have you read the book? Two, have you done your homework? Three, do you understand the context? Four, It sounds like you’re making a judgment based on things that you haven’t engaged with, at a deeper level.
You can’t be a leader, if you’re going to do that. You can’t be a leader if you’re going to point the finger all the time without doing your homework. You got to think deeper. Now, shameless plug in our online course, if this stuff is fascinating to you, if you’re like, ah, you know, cool, the book interest me great. That’s on Amazon, we have an online course called Bought In. Now, don’t be confused by some of the language.
Of course, I talked about my background as a strength and conditioning coach, just like some people out there in the leadership community from the military talk about their background as a Navy Seal, or somebody might talk about their background running Apple, right. So you will see terminology it says athletes and coaches and what have you, these things apply across the board. We’ve had sales organizations and what have you, buy this stuff. We’ve had people engage with it, because archetypes are universal. We just talked about it. They’ve been universal. So yes, they apply to parents, colleagues, co workers, you, colleague, sport coaches.
Now, getting on to the next piece, aren’t people, people aren’t monoliths, you can’t label them. We already covered that. We’re not saying somebody is one or the other, or they’re this or they’re that, it’s fluid. You might express archetypical characteristics of one kind in a certain setting. You better believe if I’m around a sketchy environment, I go straight Wolverine. I go into myself. If I hear somebody peddling BS, I might be Skeptic, right? But if all of a sudden it’s the holidays, I’m around friends and family and people that I love and people that want the best for me, right? You’re gonna be Jovial, right? I’m gonna have more of a Free Spirit, I’m gonna see the world with childlike wonder, right? I’m
Brett Bartholomew 39:06
all about it. If somebody teaches me something new. And in a mob, I’m going to take that Novice view. We’re constantly going back and forth with this. So if somebody can be more than one, they always are more than one. Can you create a standardized questionnaire that helps us define this? No. Because, you know, this is the case with most psychological studies, sociological studies, because of the Hawthorne effect, just because people know that they’re going to be watched or observed, or what have you or if they participate in a questionnaire. They’re going to change their answers, they’re going to change their behavior, because they’re wary of being judged. Right?
So it’s too interdependent on is that person telling the truth? Have you asked good questions? Are they reliable? are they valid, you know, all these pieces. And that’s something you have to think about. So, you know, I hope this is making sense by now. Let’s rewind everything. What we’re saying as people behave in a wide variety of ways, people understand a wide variety of concepts both simple and complex, based on archetypes. Our stories of good and evil, Our stories of different various myths and legends, the way we talk about certain cultures, the way we talk about certain environments, the way we talk about certain people, the way that we see the world, right, an archetype is a mold a model, it is not static, it is not static. The only thing, shoot, this can be soundbite.
Number two, the only thing you can count on with near 100% certainty is that people will behave in a myriad of ways, depending on their perceptions of the environment they’re in, the agendas of those they’re interacting with, the nature of the requests, or what you’re wanting from them, the timing of that request, the other people around them, all those pieces. And you’ve got to have a roadmap, if you struggle with people in any sense, and we all well throughout our lives, and you don’t have a roadmap to better understand the complexities here. And you’re not undergoing that training. That’s problematic. And even after you assess all those factors, you’re still gonna have to consider the culture and how they were raised in plays a role.
I gave this virtual presentation last night, if I did give you guys a sheet and I said, Hey, here’s how you deal with the Wolverine. Here you go. Right? In the book, we do provide a lot of examples and bought in, we provide a lot of examples, you can find that at artofcoaching.com. We give suggestions. But let’s say I gave just ironclad. Nope, you should only do this. Well imagine that, is that the case of this person’s from Western Australia? And then somebody else shows that kind of characteristic, and they’re in China and what have you, right? Like, their perceptions of this stuff are going to be the same. You have to think of nurturing nature, you have to think about all these other things.
You also should consider, you know, sometimes when coaches or leaders say, Hey, I’m having trouble with this person, or what have you. I’m like, alright, well, what have you tried? How do you think you’re coming across? If you ask them? Because you’re sitting here trying to figure them out? Have you figured yourself out? Have you videotaped your interactions with consent? Have you asked for their opinion, have you sought feedback? So all of these variables, you know, serve useful tools and frameworks, you’ve got to think about this stuff. There’s never going to be a one size fits all approach to people, nobody’s ever suggested that my organization nor me will ever suggest that. Right? If somebody ever promises you, this toolkit, this playbook, this whatever, that will teach you how to interact with everyone with perfection all the time, my advice is to run. My advice is to run. The power lies in your ability as a coach and I use that term synonymous with leader to learn how to better identify, analyze, and adapt to variables that impact human performance.
That is, what the Art Of Coaching means. That is, what the Art Of Coaching means, and more importantly, and it’s the true nature of mastery within any craft. And so you have to remember whether it’s my book, the resources, other things, you guys study, research articles, right? Doing so, trying to achieve some form of mastery will never master this craft in general, because people are too complex. But it requires much more than the acquisition of information. You guys have to be committed to being an apprentice, you have to know that communication is a lifelong skill, it is a strategic and goal directed enterprise. And it does not happen simply because you’ve said something, it does not happen simply because you’re in some hierarchical position where you think somebody should listen to you.
Brett Bartholomew 43:40
That’s not how that works. That is not how that works. So listen, I know this turned in part, storytelling part, rant. Part, a lot of things. I just hope the point is clear, guys, I hope that you know, you seek out additional information, like my book, like I said, is on Amazon, we have a great course called Bought In. And for those of you that are strength coaches, it’s fully CEU approved, just go to artofcoaching.com, go to the online courses tab, it’s right there and just do the work. That’s all I ask if you guys don’t be a hypocrite, don’t go learn more about your field, whether it’s coding or this or that or what have you. And then say, I’m not gonna learn more about people. I’m not gonna learn more about myself, I’m not going to challenge my own assumptions. Right?
And don’t listen to anybody, by the way humorous note here that tries on you Oh, yeah, that book is just about this and this and this. No, guys, at the end of the day, it’s about our perceptions and how we interact and how we become a, you know, take a broader view of human nature. So hope you appreciate this rant. Hope you took some value out of it, make sure to fill out the reflection form. Those things are in the show notes. And make sure to stay up to date with what we’re doing by joining our newsletter artofcoaching.com/begin. We’d love to hear from you guys who put out a wide variety of information every month. And we’d love your feedback on this episode. Right until next time, Brett Bartholomew Art Of Coaching, signing off
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