Transactional Analysis: Personality as a form of Diversity (Coaching Case Study)

When you recognises personality as a form of diversity you realise how important self-awareness is. The Transactional Analysis (TA) model Drivers, also known as Working Styles provides a powerful way to help your clients understand how difference is just difference.

What I like about this TA model is how easy it is for clients to remember as the labels do what is says on the tin”; Be Perfect, Hurry Up, Please People (Others), Try Hard and Be Strong.

Everyone has a mix of all five but you will have some you use more than others and perhaps in particular contexts. The risk with these kind of difference models is where a lack of self-awareness may cause you to end up thinking your way is the only reasonable way and that others are wrong.

The Case Study

I could pick so many examples for this case study as it is so common. Here is just one.

My client was a manager in a large company and in her role she seemed to be applying her Be Perfect much of time. She complained that her staff did not operate to her standard on tasks and that she was constantly having to re-do their work. She liked to use a red pen!

As we delved into her management style it became apparent that she was using a micromanagement approach. She would not trust her team to produce results.

She came to realise she was disempowering her team. We explored the possible profiles of her team and realised some shared her profile and some were different. The people who shared her profile were often the people she trusted the most but she had noticed a level of tension in her discussions even with them.

The people that differed approached work from a different angle. My client would constantly question their approaches even though they usually delivered the results required. My client found that she had to do a reality check on standards and what was good enough.

As she learnt to take a step back her team stepped forward. She discovered that they all had the ability to do a good job. Some got the results in a way she would not have used but they still got results. When she backed off from the people who shared her profile they often did the work in the manner she would have.

My Client, the manager discovered that as she became more self-aware she could better judge if she needed to give feedback or if it was just her “driver” being triggered. Managing in a more self-aware fashion was less stressful for her and resulted in a motivated team.

There is more detail to this case study than I have time to write here but I hope you get the idea. I love this model because clients do understand it quite quickly and can soon apply their learning both at work and at home.

Melody Cheal MSc MAPP
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