Archetypes and Leadership

This is a model used by Newfield Coaching network though the idea of archetypes goes back to Jung.


The Four Archetypes/ Dispositions

The archetypes are aspects of ourselves and can be seen as dispositions for action that we can embody.  Most of us have tendencies towards one or two of the archetypes but we all have the capacity to embody all of them – sometimes it just takes some work.  The archetypes have positive and negative aspects, and it is important for us to be aware not only of which archetype we are in but of how we are expressing it.

The archetypes can help us to identify our strengths and areas for development.  They can also provide us with a lens through which to view the world and our activities.  If we can identify which archetype will best serve in a situation, we can then deliberately embody it. This model is used by Newfield coaching amongst others and I highly recommend exploring for anyone interested in leadership or personal development. Thanks to Integration Training’s Francis Briers for his help with this.  Here are the four archetypes:

Monarch (King/Queen)

The Monarch is the archetypal leader.  The person who carries the ‘vision of the realm’ and has the power to command others and to recognise and appreciate their efforts on her/his behalf.  This is the essence of mentorship: to help those around you to be aware of their strengths, appreciate their efforts and celebrate their successes. Part of vision is to be able to see into others – to perceive their areas for development as well as their strengths.

The potential negative qualities of the Monarch is that they become arrogant, thinking that their vision means they know best for everyone and know all. One of the dangers of this is that instead of witnessing where other people struggle and offering caring feedback, support and development, they stand in judgement of people. With power comes responsibility.


The Warrior is the archetype of action and direction. They stride into work and get things done.  Decisions are made quickly and pragmatically.  They cut through to the heart of the matter and enable efficiency. In relationships the Warrior draws clear boundaries – people know where they stand and what is expected of them. If commitments are not met, people are challenged.

This can tip into the warrior’s negative aspect where people are not challenged for perceived misbehaviour, but instantly punished.  There is no right to fair trial under martial law: you either did or did not. The other potential negative aspect of this archetype is that in cutting swiftly to the heart of the matter the ends can justify the means.  It is a matter of efficiency at all costs.  The job gets done quickly and thoroughly, but there will be casualties.

Fool/ Magician

This is two, closely aligned archetypes in one. The Fool and Magician are highly creative.  When there is a problem to be solved and everyone is stuck on it, the fool will play with possibilities and the magician will conjure solutions seemingly out of thin air.  They think laterally and see things from angles others do not. They do not command people but rather have a way of inviting the result that they want, in such a way that seems important or enjoyable to join in.

The negative aspect of this is that the they makes requests more veiled, or one request is laden with other hidden agendas.  This is manipulation and while people will often not spot it at first, eventually it leaves people feeling used. Also, in the sheer exuberance and creativity the fool can get carried away and lacks focus. It’s just a crazy idea right, what harm can it do?  When ideas move into actions there are consequences.


The Lover is the archetype of openness and one that easily builds relationships. They are genuinely caring and people tend to like being around them.  They have a natural warmth and are often great net-workers (although they may not realise it). Their caring nature will often lead them into roles where they serve others.  As leaders they will see themselves as having a duty of care for their team and are often good listeners.

When they tip into their negative aspect they build relationships out of a need to be loved.  They need to feel secure so they try and surround themselves with people and keep everyone happy. With them as the heart of the community, anything that goes wrong is instantly taken personally.  The lover’s sensitivity tips over into victim hood.  “Why did it have to happen to me?!?”


  1. Ali
    • Mark Walsh