Providing psychological assessment feedback: The MP

October 22, 2021 | By Maretha Prinsloo

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Assessment technique

The methodology used by the Motivational Profile (MP) allows the test taker to freely select meaningful content in terms of which they will be assessed. For this, many culturally neutral and universally applicable archetypes, metaphors, or roles such as “mother” and “warrior” are provided from which the candidate can choose the most appropriate ones to describe their life, work, and relationships. The meanings of many of the archetypes overlap but are also specific. From a socially desirable point of view, all archetypes hold both “positive” and “negative” implications.

Once the candidate has selected the content of the assessment, several exercises involving the ordering and weighting of the selected metaphors follow. These processes have been designed in line with B. Shalit and R.S. Lazarus’s methodology for the measurement of motivation.

What follows next is a targeted feedback process in which the test taker is required to rate the accuracy of the implications of their previous selections and rankings, as algorithmically interpreted by the expert-system embedded in the MP administration software.

The assessment process is non-transparent, and the outcome cannot be manipulated.

Constructs measured

Given that the MP evaluates psychological constructs which can be affected by circumstances, both situational and more enduring aspects of motivation are assessed. Therefore, the test-retest reliability of more enduring tendencies is higher than that for tendencies which are more prone to situational contingencies.

The constructs measured include a person’s:

  • Scripts,
  • Shadow index,
  • motivational patterns in life, work and relationships - indicated in terms of the Head- Heart-and-Feet (as based on Shalit and Lazarus’s research),
  • their Energy Themes (as based on Myss’s work on Chakras),
  • the values reflected by their Persona or Front Stage (as based on Graves’s Spiral Dynamics model, Jung’s Persona and Goffman’s Symbolic Interactionism),
  • their Dynamic Personality Patterns and defense mechanisms (as based on the Enneagram model),
  • aspects of Emotional Intelligence (EQ),
  • and an estimate of associated outcomes on other assessments such as the Belbin, MBTI, and the Giotto.

Many aspects of an individual are thus described in the MP report.


The MP has been developed primarily for the purposes of coaching, psychotherapy, and self-insight. It is often used as part of a holistic assessment battery which includes the CPP, VO and MP, for executive selection and placement. MP results are particularly useful for identifying people-risks within certain work and team contexts.

Interpretation and Feedback

The practitioner should ideally have a thorough understanding of the various constructs measured, Jungian Psychology in particular. An in-depth understanding of the work of Shalit and Lazarus as well as of the Enneagram, are also critical. Myss’s work on the Chakras or Energy Themes as well as on the archetypes will further contextualize a candidate’s MP results.

It is important that the assessed constructs should not be addressed as independent from one another. Instead, the complete profile of the candidate should be scanned to find a key to unlock deep understanding of the candidate’s integrated functioning. For example:

  • It may be that the Head-Heart-Feet of the person differs a great deal in Life, Work and Relationships; in combination with a high Shadow score and great discomfort on the “heart” Energy Theme. This will indicate aspects that need to be addressed therapeutically.
  • High discomfort scores on three or more Energy Themes in combination with an intuitive (small) Head and large Heart and Feet may just predict potential burnout. An endless number of such useful insights may emerge from the holistic interpretation of the full MP profile.

The MP in combination with the VO and CPP results of the person themselves, or even that of team members, can add further richness to the talent management process. For example: A Persona or Front Stage on the MP which contradicts the VO result, may indicate that the candidate is being mentally drained by having to adapt to a cultural milieu to which they are not well suited. Should the person also show a high need to perform on the Head-Heart- Feet and the Energy Themes of the MP, in combination with a Type 1, 3 or 6 Enneagram profile, yet not meet the cognitive requirements of the work-related position as based on their CPP result, serious complications can be expected.

A team leader with a Type 8, 3 or 1 Enneagram, very high Head-Heart-Feet scores, maybe Red and Orange values on the VO and perhaps a CPP profile which is not quite suitable to the role, can result in a potential disaster for team members with different VO, Enneagram and CPP profiles. In such a situation, team collaboration and effectiveness are unlikely. Therefore, both consistencies as well as contradictions in the MP profile, as well as between the MP, VO and CPP profiles, are useful to explore.

During the feedback process, all findings should be linked to practical examples and current life challenges. The candidate should be allowed to do most of the talking, enabling them to understand and internalize the implications of the results. More than one feedback session may be required. Over time, the MP can also be retaken by an individual in order to establish whether certain challenges have been resolved. The practitioner always needs to protect the confidentiality of personal data.