MindSonar is a Layered Cake

March 21, 2020
Jaap Hollander

When you are reading this, you probably understand that MindSonar is a contextualized measuring system, rather than a standard test. 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 patterns and value set.

Layer two can be different, depending of 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 function, 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 thinking patterns and value set for that job.

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 looked it up, 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 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. 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 context. And I know several experts, which may also come in handy during the selection process.

About the author 

Jaap Hollander

Psychologist, living in the Netherlands. Founded MindSonar in 1995. Directs MindSonar Global, which manages the ICT development, applications and the curriculum of the MS Certification Trainings. Working part time as a trainer, writer and coach as well as being an expressionist painter (artist name JAAPH, see jaaph.com). Has written 10 books on NLP and Provocative Coaching.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

  1. Empathy as a competence is highly relevant to people employed in my area of expertise (law enforcement, inspection), at least if they want to enjoy a safe and agreeable work day and avoid complaints to their superiors!
    Relevant metaprograms include External Referencing to a certain minimal degree (even if Internal Reference should be the higher of the two), Matching (although they obviously need a certain degree of mismatching as well), a focus on People (higher than on Activities and Information) and probably Kinesthetic (3 or 4 out of 10).
    In addition: scoring higher on Global than Specific also helps to avoid being seen as a nit picker, and scoring higher on Options than Procedure has a similar effect.

  2. That’s right … The use context is definitely a great contribution, this allows use of a precise and specific manner. It is a two-layer cake but with various flavors and colors … we can find in this context and in those layers, different ways to enjoy.

  3. I think one of the competitive advantages of mindsonar is the opportunity it gives us to do it in a multitude of contexts, which is useful, since human beings possess characteristics that may work in one context but not in another, which does not involves having certain characteristics or skills that are owned, but to seek activities to flourish me according to my skills and abilities, and work in my areas of opportunity disappear. Therefore this tool is also very useful in the recruitment and selection of personnel.

  4. One of the services of my company in Guatemala is precisely to give advice on the recruitment and selection, however, customers have lost confidence in many commercial tests, become obsolete.

    MindSonar can revolutionize these processes which I find very interesting, especially in a market with great potential such as Latin America.

  5. This is exactly why I love MindSonar so much. And also because it is contextdriven and doesn’t give people a colour like MDI-tests (I am yellow, or green….). That makes it very neutral and useful in teambuilding.

  6. Mindsonar is a very powerful tool to use in all types of Coaching. As it is a very versatile, it allows to any coach to adapt to his needs. In my experience I have met differente colleagues and all of us use it in different contexts and different process of Coaching: Team Building, Life Coaching, Personal Branding ( in my case) and many others. Not all the existing tools can adapt to our needs!!!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}