Have you ever had difficulty communicating with someone? It is human nature to assume everyone thinks like we do. Understanding different personality types gives us a glimpse into the ways different personalities see situations and helps us communicate on their frequency.

Let’s look more closely at what drives each personality and how to communicate effectively with them.

Catching up with the Coach

Our first personality type is The Coach.  They are sometimes called the Type A personality: driven, goal orientated, and prone to running over people’s feelings in their attempts to Get Things Done. Speaking to them can feel like navigating a minefield!

Two tips to better communication with a Coach:

  • Details aren’t as important as the bottom line
  • They aren’t trying to be hurtful; they are simply direct and sometimes tactless. It is not an indication of how they feel about you.

The Coach personality really isn’t an unfeeling monster, although to a more tender Team Player personality it may seem so. Remember that a Coach is motivated by being in power, and by achieving objectives. Your best approach with a Coach is to stay on topic and keep emotions out of it.

Be Precise with the Manager

You can recognize a Manager by their desk space, spice cabinet or the tools in the garage. Everything is arranged alphabetically in matching, neatly organized, containers. They are introspective, quiet people who find security in order. Managers, like coaches are happiest when you can stay on point when communicating. However, unlike the Coach, the Manger wants the details. The crave lots of information from which to make their decisions. If you are ignore their need for careful thinking and precision, your relationship will be thorny.

To keep in mind when communicating with a Manager personality:

  • Give them facts and data
  • Remember they are basically pessimistic and very sensitive. Any perceived offense will wound them deeply for a long time.


You can rely on a Manager to get a job done if they know exactly what you expect. Open-ended or ambiguous assignments that don’t have absolute right or wrong outcomes are frustrating for them. If you have a disagreement with their opinion, talk to them privately. Challenging them as “wrong” in front of others is the surest way to put them on the defensive and turn you into the opposition.

Cooperating with the Team Player

Team Players are easy going and laid back. They are motivated by a need to have peaceful cooperation among people. They are also slow paced in their thinking process. Rapid bursts of conversation, followed by demands for an immediate response or decision will cause them to shut down. They need time to process information. Slow does not equal unintelligent! Given time to reflect on their options, the Team Player can be counted on to come up with practical solutions that take everyone’s needs into consideration.

Motivating a Team Player

  • Allow time for them to ponder their response. This could mean hours or even days will pass before they make a decision.
  • They need non-critical, positive reinforcement to motivate them to action

Team Players are the easiest people to get along with because they are undemanding and apt to put other’s needs before their own. However, they are also easy to take advantage of. They will give in to what other people suggest simply to avoid creating conflict. If you continue to ignore their needs and assume they are happy just because they go along with your decisions, this could build up resentment in the relationship.

Getting a word in with the Cheerleader

Cheerleaders are non-stop talkers and movers. They love people, they love excitement, they love the novel and unusual. Keeping them focused and on-task can feel impossible. It is unreasonable to expect long, thoughtful, detailed analysis of a problem from them. It’s not what they were created for. They were created to bring light, love, and laughter into the world and stifling this impulse would make the world a much duller place.

Communication with a Cheerleader

  • Give clear instructions; even place a sense of urgency on any task you need to them to get done
  • They thrive on applause. More than any other personality, they need more reinforcement and less criticism.

Cheerleaders are boisterous and vivacious. To the other personalities that could be perceived as being flakey and irresponsible. Don’t assume their lack of attention to mundane things like being on time, or remembering to bring home the milk, are done to purposely upset you. Chastising them for not being as responsible as you are will not change them. They very sincerely want to be liked and to bring joy to others. It’s possible they forgot the milk because they were busy planning a surprise party for you.

The better we understand other’s perspectives, the more accepting and effective we are in communicating with them. Just knowing that although other people have a different point of view, it is equally as valid as yours can go a long way toward relieving the pressure of trying to change them. Understand what their personality is motivated by and use words that resonate with the way they think.