Sixteen Personality Factors – A-Z of Coaching & Mentoring

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A – Z Coaching and Mentoring – This week’s extract highlights the profiling tool – Sixteen Personality Factors and how it can be used to reveal potential, confirm suitability and help identify development needs, both professionally and personally.


Sixteen Personality Factors (16PF) is a profiling tool that reveals potential, confirms suitability and helps identify development needs, both professionally and personally.

It is an accurate predictor of behaviour and potential and is used in both recruitment and personal development. A licence is required to administer the tool.

The 16 personality traits were developed by Raymond Catell in the 1940s and are based on the big 5 personality traits of:

  • Openness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Neuroticism

The following personality trait list describes some of the descriptive terms used for each of the 16 personality dimensions described by Cattell:

  1. Abstractedness: Imaginative versus practical
  2. Apprehension: Worried versus confident
  3. Dominance: Forceful versus submissive
  4. Emotional stability: Calm versus high-strung
  5. Liveliness: Spontaneous versus restrained
  6. Openness to change: Flexible versus attached to the familiar
  7. Perfectionism: Controlled versus undisciplined
  8. Privateness: Discreet versus open
  9. Reasoning: Abstract versus concrete
  10. Rule-consciousness: Conforming versus non-conforming
  11. Self-reliance: Self-sufficient versus dependent
  12. Sensitivity: Tender-hearted versus tough-minded
  13. Social boldness: Uninhibited versus shy
  14. Tension: Inpatient versus relaxed
  15. Vigilance: Suspicious versus trusting
  16. Warmth: Outgoing versus reserved

Taken from the A-Z Coaching Handbook by Clare Smale where you will find a comprehensive A-Z, plus a full list of references.

Contact us for your copy or order through our website. Click here to find out more about ILM Qualifications.

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