How Coaches are invited into the Drama and what happens next!

This week I will start by exploring how Coaches are invited into the Drama. So let me clarify what I am talking about.

The models and ideas for this series are drawn from Transactional Analysis.

Following on from last week, Coaches can often find themselves being sucked into their client’s Drama and this is unhelpful. Let me give you a couple of examples.

Case study one:

The Client brings a conflict situation to the Coaching session. On the surface, this is to understand and develop strategies to deal with the problem. In reality, the Client shares their story in such a way that instead of staying neutral the Coach gets sucked in.

Perhaps the story involves a manager bullying the Client and the Coach feels sorry for the Client. The Coach now starts offering solutions to the problem but the Client is reluctant to engage either rejecting the ideas or saying they won’t work. Often the “yes but…” refrain is heard.

Case study two:

In this scenario, the beginning is the same but instead of feeling sorry for the Client the Coach becomes irritated and “sides” with other ‘players’ in the Drama. Perhaps the Coach offers “feedback” or “challenge to the Client that provokes a response of either tears or anger.

Case study three:

Again the beginning is the same but somehow the story twists around and the Client blames the Coach for not helping enough in previous sessions. The Coach feels blamed and shamed.

In all three examples, there is some form of Transference and Counter-transference going on.

In Transference the Client is unconsciously projecting qualities, behaviours, attitudes and feelings onto the Coach that belong to someone from the Client’s past.

Counter-transference is where the Coach is unconsciously projecting their past onto the Client.

The key to transforming this situation is self-awareness and boundaries. For the Coach experiencing this kind of issue, the advice is to seek Supervision to bring the patterns into awareness.

In my next article, I will explain in more detail the model used to explore the type of Case study above, the Drama Triangle. Later next month we will also look at the Winner’s Triangle as a model for self-awareness both for Coach and Client.



If Transactional Analysis is something you would like to explore further do contact me to find out about Transactional Analysis for Coaches (on Zoom) next month, 28th to 29th October 2023. This course is available every year.


If you are a Coach and think you might need Supervision contact me directly for details of one-to-one sessions and Supervision Groups.

Melody Cheal MSc MAPP
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