Rewarding Futures

Who do you think you are? TypeCoach offers new angle on Personality and Preference

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Image: TypeCoach President, Rob Toomey

Myers Briggs (MBTI) was something most of us were familiar with many moons ago, and over the years we have seen clients use a variety of tools such as Hogan, Neo and Insights.

Last year, Vana were introduced to Rob Toomey at TypeCoach and attended an event he was running in London. Rob is a very engaging presenter, and he and his wife Carly staged a fun, informative session for a number of HR and Development people in London. From this it was clear that TypeCoach had a place in the market.

When we work with a number of start-up/entrepreneurial businesses – and particularly where there is a millennial/strong graduate workforce that are becoming first time team leaders (and in some where they are yet to hire their first HRD) – we find that some of the psychometric tests/self-assessment/team build profiles are too complex. They need something simple to understand their own style, and that of others, to help them communicate up, down and across the organisation, and get the best out of their teams – and something cost effective, easily accessible.

TypeCoach uses its own videos and animations in lieu of traditional questions to map someone's preference against the 4 letter model to establish a ‘type’ similar to the outcome of completing Myers Briggs or any other type-based questionnaire. Where TypeCoach differs is in what else it offers – and how ‘type’ is applied beyond the individual to an entire organisation.

We asked Rob to tell us a little more...


How does TypeCoach vary from traditional instruments (such as Myers Briggs®, Insights®, etc.)?

Where traditional indicators are focused on the individual (‘Am I an Introvert?’), we are focused on communication (‘My boss/client is an Introvert, what do I need to do?’). We find our clients benefit significantly more from this focus as it addresses team conflicts, drives improved sales, and allows everyone to achieve results far more effectively. And, somewhat unexpectedly, we are also seeing high impact on self-awareness as a natural by-product of improved communication. 

You’ve created a ‘Type-to-Type’ tool – what’s this designed to do and how does it work?

A group using the same access code will complete our initial Verifier program and their results populate into the Type-to-Type tool. This provides the group with communication advice based on the combination of any two personalities (ENTJ with INFP etc.). The ‘Top 10 Tips’ that are provided for each combination are simple and powerful adjustments anyone can make in their working and communication style to avoid common pitfalls. The goal is to ensure the other person is really hearing what you’re trying to say. We’re finding that, as teams go through, they want to keep adding others from their organisation into the tool to get the tips.

Who would particularly benefit from the TypeCoach tools?

We’ve seen the greatest use of TypeCoach - and the most impact – in these groups:

  • Sales teams and those in key influence or negotiation roles,
  • Newly-forming teams looking to get off on the right foot,
  • Underperforming or high conflict teams,
  • New manager programs,
  • High potential programs, usually multi-stage learning.

In what circumstances can these tools be most effectively put to work?

A key variable has to do with reaching a critical mass of usage within a group or organisation. If only a small group (say, just a single management team) use them, the impact will be lessened. When the terminology and insights becomes part of everyday interactions, meetings and communications, the impact is fully realised. Because we license our tools ‘for life’ this encourages ongoing, repeated usage - an essential ingredient.

It’s likely that people will have completed other personality programs - what more would they find out about themselves through TypeCoach?

The most valuable information people report from our programs is a realisation of how different they are from others and how much effort is required to communicate across those differences. Graduates of traditional indicators usually only learn the meaning of their own personality and not how they fit in context with others. We believe this realisation, and the accompanying focus on ‘what do I do now’, is where the primary value of personality type resides. We also have some great materials on strengths and challenge areas that participants report finding very valuable and is new information to them.

How accurate have you found these tools to be?

Our initial Verifier program is designed to educate the participant through videos and animations, and allows them to make an informed selection. In the subsequent workshop or coaching session, they have an opportunity to meet with a trained professional to ask additional questions and it’s then that they finally confirm their personality type. The vast majority of participants using our Verifier program find the results describe them very well and they do not change these after a full day workshop. By educating the participants in advance, it allows the majority of time in the session to be devoted to application, which is where people experience the most value.


Why not experience TypeCoach Verifier tool for yourself? All you have to do is;

  • Go to the TypeCoach website
  • Click Sign Up (top right)
  • Create a password
  • Enter the access code: FXEFKG

(one test per email id).

If you’d like to know more about TypeCoach in the first instance and how it could work for you, please contact Martin Spencer, Vana Assessment (who’s working with Rob on a number of projects): / 07836 353235.

I’ve worked with the team at Vana on many occasions over the years, engaging them to hire senior talent in a number of businesses. Both Debbie and Jo offer great insight and expertise, but above all they deliver results. I would happily recommend their services.

Scott Fishburn, HR Director, DFS

“Debbie and Jo are high-integrity recruiters who take time to understand organisational needs; commercial and cultural. VANA have worked in partnership with us a number of times, enabling us to secure some excellent senior HR hires.”

John Burgess, Head of Talent & Leadership Development, AXA Group

“I have worked with Debbie both as a candidate having introduced me to ING Direct and Invensys, and as a client supporting me with key hires in both organisations and more recently at DAS.  Both Debbie and Jo are exceptionally well networked, I trust their judgement completely and would highly recommend Vana.”

Kate Banks, ‎Group Director of HR & Legal Services at DAS UK Group

'Debbie and Jo are first class headhunters of HR talent. They take the time to fully understand the brief and culture of the organisation before suggesting any candidates for opportunities. Thank you Vana for sourcing quality hires for my team.'

Helen Norris, Head of HR - Nationwide Building Society

I have worked with Debbie both in the search for talent and also as a candidate, in both situations Debbie has been faultlessly professional. Debbie builds strong relationships exploring briefs to ensure she has a deep understanding of what the business and candidate need, allowing her to deliver a real match.

Ian Marchant, Retail HRD, Greene King plc

Candidate experience is really important to me in recruitment, because that is someone's first experience of an organisation - your organisation. As I see it, the recruiter is part of YOUR brand and their actions impact on YOUR reputation when they act for you. The candidate remembers the experience of applying for a job and not always the recruiter involved.

My experience as a candidate of Jo's was exceptional. Jo kept me informed at every stage, questions were anticipated and I always knew where the process was. Also, Jo was present as a person and not as a remote handler. This shows me that any candidate that Jo places would be treated in exactly the way I'd want them to be. I recommend her without hesitation.

Geraldine Buckland, Director of People, Bristol Water

Debbie and Jo are great recruiters of HR talent; they have successfully worked on a number of key senior hires for us both in the UK and internationally.

Jonathan Wright, Group HRD, Murphy Group

Debbie has recently supported me in securing my first HRD role. Her observations and feedback were very insightful and assisted me greatly in navigating the recruitment process and learning about the company and environment I'll be stepping into. Totally dependable, unbiased and a good judge of character, I would highly recommend her to act on your behalf with prospective employers. I haven't worked with Debbie yet as the employer but wouldn't hesitate to do this if the need arises.

Anita Calverley, HR Director, Yeo Valley Farms

The thing about Vana Resourcing is that Debbie and Jo actually care – about you as a person, your career and your business. Yes they deliver great candidates and opportunities but they make sure that the fit / opportunity is right, challenging both sides in a positive way when needed. They’ve supported my career for the last 10 years, including introducing me to my current HRD role, and I have no hesitation that they will be my first point of call for future candidates and opportunities.

Suzie Noble, Chief People Officer, Brightside

“I have worked with Debbie and Jo several times, they stand out from the crowd as a sourcer of talent and when managing you as a candidate, I simply haven't worked with anyone better. Commercial, thorough, expert and with a sense of integrity that means you are only ever recommended to organisations that suit you - and as a hirer you only get talent that works for your organisation. As a hiring organisation, working with a partner like Vana is simply irreplaceable.”

Head of OD, Vodafone

Debbie brings accurate and current insight on HR Talent. Her ability to recognise top people in their field and actively nurture relationships over a long period of time sets her apart from her peers. Debbie is refreshingly honest , she keeps confidences and is not afraid to challenge both candidates and hiring Executives to ensure the right outcome for all parties. I would have no hesitation in recommending Debbie or Vana Resourcing for a critical HR hire.

Barbara Duffy, International HR Director leading on Talent, L&D, Resourcing,OD

“Debbie introduced me to OVO Energy, and she not only found me the right role, but an organisation whose ethos matched my values.  I have since worked with Vana to recruit almost my entire senior HR team! From HRBP's to a Reward Lead and most recently a HR Director. Vana really understand the importance of culture fit."

Kim Atherton, Chief People Officer, OVO Energy

I have worked with Vana Resourcing for a number of years representing me in my own search and as a client. Debbie and Jo are professional and efficient but unusually for this sector, genuinely caring about both client and candidate experience in equal measure.

Jonathan Edge, HR Director UK & Ireland at Ideal Standard International BVBA

“Jo is highly professional, knowledgeable and proactive. It’s not often that a recruitment consultant really interviews you in the same way a prospective employer would.”

Simon Amesbury, SuperGroup plc

What a refreshing delight to work with a commercial partner who understood my business, had national and regional awareness, a handle on the market, an effortless connection with candidates and could tolerate my Everest-like expectations.

I will continue to work with Debbie and Jo again on my incessant drive to solve the talent conundrum of the coming years.

Keep up the great work, you are a credit to the industry.


Stephen Robson, HR Director, Global O&Supply Chain at Kingfisher plc

"The team and I have worked with Jo now on a number of occasions for various recruitment assignments. I have always found Jo to be consultative and considered in her approach but above all honest and straight forward! She has a great understanding of her market place and is always at the end of the line to offer insight and market knowledge. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Vana and look forward to our continued relationship."

Resourcing Partner, Nationwide Building Society, Resourcing Partner, Nationwide Building Society

I've known Jo for a number of years and worked with her as a client and candidate. What's great about working with Jo is that you're guaranteed an honest perspective and terrific insight to the market. She nurtures her relationships in a natural and engaging way: put simply - she knows her stuff!

Marie Aitken, Chief People Officer

I initially engaged Debbie to undertake a search for a Head of OD. She is consultative in style, and took time to gain a comprehensive insight into our organisational culture and HR journey, delivering an excellent shortlist of candidates and a super hire. The feedback from our candidates on their engagement with VANA has been equally positive. Jo and Debbie has since supported me with several other senior hires within the People organisation at RLG, and we enjoy an effective working partnership.

People & Corporate Affairs Director, Royal London Group

“I have worked with Debbie as both candidate and client. In both contexts I have found her to be super-efficient, thorough and a pleasure to do business with. She listens really well, responds quickly and is flexible to evolving demands. Debbie is up there in my top 3 recruiters.”

Sue Round, Head of Talent and Organisational Effectiveness, BP

I have worked with Debbie and Jo for many years as a candidate looking for opportunities and a manager looking for talent.  I have always been impressed by how Vana strive to ensure that there is the best fit in terms of candidate values and company culture.

Sarah King, Head of HR, Triodos Bank