Last week I taught my Transactional Analysis in Coaching course and I thought it might be good to share some thoughts about how you can use ‘TA’ in Coaching and Supervision.
Transactional Analysis in Coaching is a great tool to help gain an understanding of self and others. As that understanding deepens you will find ways to interrupt unhelpful patterns of behaviour and thinking.
When you apply TA concepts such as working styles, ego states, stroking patterns, mini scripts or drama triangle to your own life it helps you to recognise your impact on others.
As a Coach, you will recognise if your patterns are being stimulated by your client’s behaviour or experiences. You will also be able to share the models with your client to help them gain a greater understanding of their patterns and create new strategies where appropriate.
All of this is just as important in the Supervision process. As a Supervisor, you may notice parallel processes between the client’s experience and what the Coach presents, this may also be triggering you as a Supervisor. This awareness is very powerful and is the beginning of a transformation.
A classic example can be how the Drama Triangle may play out throughout the different levels of the system. The following example illustrates this point.
The client (an office manager) talks about a team member they are trying to help and as they describe the scenario certain roles emerge. The team member seems to be playing out the role of the victim and the manager attempts to help but is in fact rescuing and a game of “yes but” begins. After a while, the original victim becomes angry and accuses the manager of bullying them. The manager now feels persecuted and victimised.
At this stage, there are some possibilities. The first is that the Coach has enough knowledge of the Drama Triangle that they can coach their client (manager) in such a way that they can understand the triggers and the dynamics. They can then go on to help the client work out how they can transform future or ongoing Drama Triangles into the Winner’s Triangles.
The second possibility is that the Coach does not recognise the Drama and gets sucked into playing a round of the game of “yes but” themselves. This time the Coach starts off in Rescuer and the client is the Victim. The conclusion parallels the previous scenario.
When the Coach goes to Supervision again there are possibilities. The first is that the Supervisor does not spot what is happening and joins the game too!
Alternatively, the Supervisor notices and uses TA principles to Coach the Coach into the Winner’s Triangle. Another possibility is that the Supervisor brings the game into the awareness of the Coach. And yet another option is a combination of the two “awareness” options above.
This is just one of the great models in TA that can be used by Clients, Coaches and Supervisors. I love this stuff and find it tremendously helpful.