MindSonar is a Layered Cake

When you are reading this, you probably understand that MindSonar is a contextualized measuring system, rather than a standard test. MindSonar measures your mindset in a given context. And we assume that you may have a different mindset in different contexts. I often express this in a simple metaphor: “Give uncle Fred three glasses of whiskey, and he is a different person”. If we compare it with personality tests, MindSonar is more like a thermometer and less like a box of rubber stamps. 

Now that we are mixing metaphors anyway, I would also like to point out that MindSonar is like a layered cake. Let’s have a look at how the layers will be different in different applications of MindSonar.

Layer one is measuring Meta Programs and Graves Drives. Layer two is defining a combination and what that combination does in a given context.

Layer one is always the same: defining the mindset (thinking styles and value types).

Layer two can be different, depending on the purpose we use MindSonar for. In recruiting f.i., we are looking for combinations that work well in a certain context (a job, a role, a set of tasks). This is the benchmark. We then compare candidates with that benchmark. Depending on how big the project is, we may even apply statistics to support our benchmark.

The cherry on the cake is the application, the added value. In this case: selecting a candidate that will do well in that job. Or maybe I should phrase that more carefully: a candidate that has the right mindset for that job.

Like I mentioned before: what the second layer of the cake is made of, depends on what we want to use MindSonar for. In coaching – rather than recruitment – we usually start off with a combination that creates problems in that context for that person. This combination describes how the problem arises. So in coaching, layer two is a problematic, undesirable combination.

The coaching cake has – in this phase – a different cherry too. Here the added value is understanding how the problem arises. In a sense you are baking two cakes here. That second cake, with a different layer on the same basis: the desired thinking patterns and value set for that context. What kind of mindset would this client rather have? What kind of thinking could solve the problem, or even prevent it from arising at all? Often this is a fairly simple formula saying: “More of this and less of that”. “More of this meta program and less of that meta program. More oft his Graves Drive and less of that one”.

In team building, a third example, the top layer is different again. Now it consists of looking at the interaction. How do the different mindsets of the people in the group influence each other? And how does that explain – or describe – the strengths and challenges of the team?

In team building too, just like in coaching, there are desired and problematic combinations, but now they are mixes, rather that simple combinations. In this case the cherry is not finding the optimal mindset, but rather finding and propagating the optimal interaction of mindsets.

Pro’s and con’s
The good thing about all this is, that you can calibrate MindSonar to the situation you are using it in. MindSonar will be more accurate for that situation than any standard test could be. In a sense you are constructing a new benchmark – however informally – every time you use MindSonar.

There is also a price to pay: you – as the MindSonar professional – will have to determine the benchmark for that context. Usually, of course, you will involve the client in this. It is work you need to do. You will have to mix and bake that second layer, before you can eat the cake. That makes the measurement more relevant and accurate for that context than a standard test. But is is also more work than using a standard test.

An example
To give an example, let’s assume there is a standard test for empathy. I haven’t dived into this, but there is probably a test like that somewhere. It might have a name like NCEES “The North Carolina Emotional Empathy Scale”. Measuring ‘The ability to feel what somebody else feels’.

Now, if I am hiring a group of new coaches for students in my university, I would want them to be reasonably empathic. So I could give candidates for the job this imaginary empathy test, the NCEES. And I might also want to find candidates who are congruent, and persuasive, and dependable, so I could give them tests for these three qualities too. I might end up with a whole bunch of tests, depending on how specific I want to get. This presupposes, by the way, that I have a pretty good idea of what qualities a good student coach has and what tests are available. I might even find a test for coaching ability somewhere, although that would probably not be focused on coaching students, specifically.

The advantage of the standard approach is, that I can start right away. Break out the tests and start measuring! Although, in actual practice, it might still take me quite a lot of reading  and evaluating to assemble a good testing kit. But let’s say I have done this before, I know what I want to measure and where to find good tests, so I can do this quickly. In the layered cake metaphor: I can get started without baking the second layer. A time saver. But there is a downside: I don’t know how well my combination of standard tests predicts coaching performance with our students in our university.

Enter MindSonar. I start by baking the second layer of the cake. I identify positive examples; happy and effective student coaches working at my university.  I profile them and I calculate their average profile. I discuss this with my positive examples, the effective coaches – whom I now know, since I just profiled them and I probably discussed their profiles with them. Based on my average profile plus the input of my experts, I define a benchmark profile. This is what I use to select candidates. It is more work, but with this benchmark I am much more likely to be  measuring something that is relevant for my university. And I have come know several experts, which may also come in handy during the selection process.

The Power of Frankenstein


Jantine Wijtsma

Whatever your client’s coaching question is, you can ask Frankenstein to help you to solve the problem. He is always available to help. You can ask his expertise for any client…. curious how?

In a session with a client, the ultimate way of building rapport is by matching the Graves drives and meta programs you see as a coach on page 2 of the MindSonar report. 

I’ve developed the habit of routinely demonstrating the client’s profile by
saying, “I’m you and I’ve got your drives and meta programmes, I’m associated in your context and I’m going to show you what happens when I act like you.”  Thus I play the profile in front of the client.  So far it’s really helpful for my clients to see his or her pitfalls regarding reaching their desired goal. For me as a MindSonar professional, it is good to associate in a profile because it allows me to train myself to become better at association  (and perhaps I’ll also develop an acting  career…)

For example: I welcomed a client who had a huge turquoise Graves ball and mismatching in the context of work/life balance. By acting these mindset elements for her, my client  experienced rapport and I managed to make things clear for her. She had many light-bulb moments.  I was a kind of mirror for her, reflecting where it difficult for her to look, but it worked! The next time she came she was much more positive and her matching metaprogram and yellow “learning” attitude were  much more evident.  

“Frankenstein was looking for beauty,” says Wikipedia. And that’s what I do as well.  Every profile has its beauty. Seeking  a good outcome for clients, I
imagine putting on other meta programmes and drives and I experience the difference myself. And most of the time I really experience  a client’s problem …. and the solution as well. It feels so wonderful to be able to help in that way! You might want to try it yourself, experiencing the beauty of MindSonar profiling again every time.

MindSonar Privacy Policy

What is GDPR?
MindSonar is GDPR compliant. The GDPR is the European Privacy Law, which was instated in 2018. Basically, this law gives people control over the personal information that is being stored about them. Also, you have to give explicit permission to have your information stored and you have the right to see what is stored about you and to demand it be erased.

Take, for instance, the famous ‘Download This Free E-Book’ forms. When you downloaded the e-book and gave them your email address, you would then receive promotions from that company. This was, for most people, an implicit understanding: I trade my email address for the book. But with the advent of the GDPR, this is no longer legal in Europe. You need to get explicit permission for your promotions. So this text would now read: ‘Subscribe to Our Newsletter and Get the E-Book for Free’. More explicit, more transparent.

A good thing
Actually, I think this has been a good thing. Of course there are still plenty of excessive, illegal and often invisible data gatherings going on. But at least the EU government now has some tools to fight this. So while I am not happy with all the work it entails for small companies like MindSonar, I am definitely proud of the resulting privacy upgrade!

Europeans and Non-Europeans
At MindSonar Global we decided to not distinguish between Europeans and Non-Europeans in terms of privacy. I think right now, Europe has the strictest privacy laws and we want to extend that level of protection to everyone, no matter where they live.

Our Privacy Policy describes why and how we collect and use the personal information of your respondents (people who fill out their information for a MindSonar Profile). It also describes their options to choose how we use their personal data and how to contact us with any concerns and requests.

And as always: suggestions are welcome, go ahead and comment.

Read our Privacy Policy here

MindSonar is Not a Personality Test

A colleague from the UK mailed me saying: “I suppose what I have difficulty with is … if ‘personality’ is situational, in other words we are ‘at cause’ and can choose to be whoever we wish to be depending upon our outcome and upon our context, then how could we ever measure that? Personality from this perspective is not a stable trait which can predict certain behaviours and language in certain contexts, it is simply what someone chooses to do Continue reading

The Development of MindSonar

The Dutch Society for NLP made a professional looking series of movies about the ‘Emergence of NLP in the Netherlands’.  Since Jaap Hollander and Anneke Meijer brought NLP to the Netherlands, they were interviewed too. One part of the movie is about MindSonar and it was recorded in English, so we thought we’d put it here for the international MindSonar community.

Selling Products ‘Powered by MindSonar’

Let’s talk about selling MindSonar. MindSonar professionals need customers who buy MindSonar products. And in the realms of consultancy and coaching the ‘product’ is usually a ‘project’; a custom built solution. For an individual it will be a custom planned coaching path. For a company or an agency it will be an intervention designed for that one particular organization. It may have standard components, but the combination is still one of a kind.

Passion and expertise
The way I see it, a good MindSonar product is a combination a MindSonar professional and the MindSonar system. The professional brings their passion (what they are very enthusiastic about), their vision (the ideal world they see), their mission (what they want to contribute to that ideal world) and their expertise (the content areas they know a lot about and have a lot of experience with). MindSonar adds understanding to that, based on a fine grained, in depth measurement of mindsets. It is the synergy between the professional and MindSonar that creates a great product. MindSonar would not be nearly as effective without the passion and the expertise of the professional. And the professional would be much less effective without MindSonar.

“I have a great tool!”
Many people have approached companies with a pitch like: “Hey, I have this great new tool, a test that can actually measure mindsets. With this test I can help you understand how people in your business think.This tool I can help you guys advance in all kinds of ways!”. Often they have been met with blank stares. Or with: “We already have a test”. Why? People who lead organizations are not that interested in the tools their consultants use. It is a bit like being called by a sales person saying: “Hey, we have this great new set of wrenches that can help the engine of your car run smoothly!”. Sure, I want my engine to run smoothly, but as long as it isn’t making funny sounds I am not that interested in the first place. And even if I were worried about the state of my engine, the type or wrenches is a detail I leave with the mechanics. Customers love to leave it up to you to use whatever tests you like, as long as you help them get results.

What people are interested in
People and organisations are interested in results, not so much in the tools they are achieved with. If someone feels a lot of anger, they may want relaxation as a result. If two organizations are merging, they want the people working together as harmoniously as possible. Sales people want to be selling in good quantities. Departments want happy employees. Managers want conflicts resolved as quickly as possible. Almost every business wants excited customers. Employees want to develop as professionals and as people. Almost everybody wants interesting new products being developed. That’s the kind of things organizations are interested in.

Powered by MindSonar
And when you have the ability to measure mindsets, you can offer these results, often in a relatively straightforward manner. And you will be offering them a lot more than just MindSonar. You are offering them you expertise in designing and running change projects. Often you also have some content knowledge of the business they are in. You know what’s going on in their kind of business. Plus you have a broader theory of how things work, in which mindsets are a central element. You are offering a product that is ‘Powered by MindSonar’. Just like your website is ‘Powered by WordPress’. Well, actually it is ‘Proudly Powered by WordPress’. So my advice is: make your next offer about something that you client really wants and that has been difficult for them to get. And have it ‘Proudly Powered by MindSonar’.