Transactional Analysis: Coaching Case Study 2

For those of you who are Coaches or want to become a Coach here is my second Transactional Analysis: Coaching Case Study 2.

As you work regularly with your Client using Transactional Analysis (TA) there will be a build up of shared models and knowledge. This will allow you to use a number of models together to build some richness.

Your Client will begin to have more and more “a ha” moments as insight leads to transformation.

The Case Study

It makes sense to carry on using the example of the Client I wrote about last time. As I mentioned previously there are so many examples I could choose but by sticking with this one we have some continuity.

My Client started her journey by learning about Working Styles and Drivers. Last time I discussed how we identified a Be Perfect Driver that kept showing up when she was managing her team. As a result she was micro-managing and feeling that no one was “good enough”.

She also reported back about those times when she realised she had made a mistake or got something wrong. She felt as if she were “not good enough” and would often become very defensive.

She realised that she felt like she was not perfect enough.

Warning everyone! Might start sounding like a psychologist!

The feelings of not being good enough or perfect enough were likely to have come from early childhood. The projections of other people not being good enough would have resulted from the same source.

If you are uncovering patterns from childhood these tend to come from the client’s family of origin.

Quick time out! Where is the line between therapy and coaching? You may even have been wondering that as you read the comments above.

As a Coach it is important that you use the following models lightly and if something that is deeply triggering is uncovered you may need to refer your client on if you do not have therapeutic training yourself to help them ethically and safely. Always err on the side of caution. If you are not sure seek support from your Supervisor straight away. It is too tempting to forge ahead because you want to help. (I will write a blog later in this series about why so many coaches fall into this trap).

In most cases if you hold the models lightly and avoid digging into childhood memories you can work with these models in Coaching.

The models I used at this point with my Client were Working Styles and Drivers, adding in the “OK” Corral and Mini-script.

This helped us to explore what was behind her repeating patterns of behaviour. In this case she had a Be Perfect Driver running her mini-script. The mini-script before it is triggered has the Client in a state of only feeling “good enough” if she and others around her could maintain the appearance of Perfection.

I say appearance because it could be argued that perfection does not exist or if it does it is so subjective as to be meaningless. (my opinion so might not be true).

In terms of the Okay Corral or Windows on the World model she was maintaining:


“I’m Okay if I am Perfect enough”

“You are Okay, if you are Perfect enough”

The mini-script takes the client on a roller coaster ride of not feeling good enough, feeling others are not good enough and often leads to feelings of despair. This roller coaster can run it’s course very quickly but leaves behind negative feelings. There is a return to the precarious starting point until the mini-script is triggered again.

Self-awareness is the first step in helping the Client make changes and as a Coach you can help the Client develop strategies for recognising their own triggers.

Once triggers have been identified work can begin on finding ways to interrupt the pattern through a mixture of insight and bringing in other approaches providing practical steps to interrupt the pattern.

In a short blog like this it is not possible to fully unpack the models for you and demonstrations often makes a big difference with this work.

If you would like a good book to start your own research I recommend Julie Hay’s “Working it out at Work” book. This is a great starter book for Coaches.

I offer my Transactional Analysis for Coaches workshop every 8 months, the next one is this month, 28th to 29th March. This can be a great way to learn the models and see them in action. Contact me if you want to find out more.

Next time I will write about why so many Coaches take on Client issues beyond their experience.

Melody Cheal MSc MAPP
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