Archive for the ‘Topic – Coaching’ Category

Toxicity of Trying

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Are these really Andy Murray’s motivational notes? I really do hope they are not – but there has been no denial and they appear to have been written on the back of a letter to him.

Why do I hope they are not? Well, to me they appear toxic. Toxic to a top sports person seeking to be the best they can be (in other words winning every match).

As with all top sports people, I’m sure that Andy and his team pore over huge amounts of performance data to analyse what he is doing, how he is doing it, when he is doing it, etc.  So let’s undertake a little analyse of these motivational notes:

  • There are 61 words on the page
  • These are divided into 10 points
  • There are 4 words – which are either verbs or words with 3 or more letters – that appear three or more times – ‘be’ (4), ‘your’ (4), ‘the’ (3) and ‘try’ (3).

Of that analysis, the last point is the most striking and concerning for me.

Murray is going to ‘try’ to do something.

And almost of a third of the 10 points he is going to ‘try’ to achieve.

The word ‘try’ is one of the most unhelpful – perhaps even toxic – words that can be used in relation to performance management and improvement.

How many organisations publish goals that say they are going to ‘try’ to do something?

In your personal or professional life, what do you mean when you say you are going to ‘try’ to do something? Just say it to yourself now …

It usually means one of two things. Firstly, it could mean that you might have a go, but you’re not convinced that you will be able to achieve it – because of your personal abilities, your belief or your other time constraints. Secondly, it could mean that you have no intention of doing or will to do it, but you add the word ‘try’ in to avoid the discussion around the fact you will not be doing it.

It isn’t even a word that needs replacing – it just needs taking out.

“Try to be the one dictating”, becomes “Be the one dictating”.

“Try to keep him at the baseline make him move”, becomes “Keep him at the baseline make him move”.

How different do those sentences sound and feel without the word ‘try’?

I have worked with a number of people who have struggled to pass exams – I work with them on their personal approach and exam techniques. I am proud of my success in that every person who I have worked with – all who have previously failed the nominated exam – have all passed (or even gained Distinctions) with the work we have undertaken together.

One of the foundations of this approach is that I will not permit the use of the word ‘try’. As I have mentioned previously in one of my blogs, Yoda understand this.

In the Star Wars film, “The Empire Strikes Back”. Yoda, the small and strange looking Jedi Master is training Luke Skywalker. Yoda sets him numerous challenges and tests to help mould the youth into a Jedi. When Luke is given one particularly challenging task, he responds to Yoda that he will ‘try’.  “No,” Yoda retorts, “Do, or do not. There is no try.”

As Murray’s team continues to mould him into the best tennis player he can be, they need to address the ‘try’ – “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Incidentally, Murray lost the match.

You might not be a tennis player, or taking an exam – but the principle is the same – so when do you use the word ‘try’ and what impact can it have for you if you were to drop it?

Paul

MBTI for Kids – your questions answered!

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Since my last blog on how we can now administer the MMTIC, it has been great to see how much interest it has generated. Consequently, it seemed like a good idea to respond to some of the questions and comments.

“What does the Report cover?”

There are actually three Student Reports available, all tailored to three age ranges. The age ranges are 7-11 years, 11-14 years and 14-18 years – and if you click on the relevant age category, the link will take you to a sample Report.

The Report covers aspects such as:

  • The person’s results from completing the questionnaire
  • Their likely ‘Strengths’ and ‘Stretches’
  • Practical applications for them within school and within relationships

There are further Reports that can be generated which deal with more specific aspects, such as careers.

“Who gets the Report?”

The child owns the Report as it is about them – so they get the Report. No adult should be given the results of a child’s Report unless the child is also given the results. Any Reports resulting from the completion of the tool are considered confidential.

“Who is there when the child receives the interpretation of their Report?”

The child needs to understand that the Report belongs to them – they also need to understand that in order to use it for developmental purposes it is beneficial for their parent, carer, teacher, etc, also to be there so that they can assist the child to use it and build on the findings.

In order for the child to feel relaxed about hearing the interpretation of their Report consideration also needs to be given to the number of people present. With the child, a parent and the interpreter, there are already 3 people – the potential effects of additional people needs to be considered on an individual basis. If the intention is also to use the results in the school environment, it may be that the child and parent wish the teacher to understand the results. It will usually be best for the child if this is a separate meeting, or the teacher is given the information separately – but only, of course, with the child’s knowledge and consent.

“How accurate is it?”

A young person’s Type will still be developing. Since Type is developing in children, when we interpret a person’s Report we have to recognise that children’s awareness of their Type may not be firm, especially if it is the auxiliary function (the second most prominent of their mental functions – these being Sensing, Intuition, Thinking and Feeling). Extraversion and Introversion as well as Judging and Perceiving (the attitudes) may be clearer than the mental functions.

Because of this, children are given an opportunity to discuss their profiles and disagree with the results, if they consider them inaccurate.  The obtained psychological Type profile is only confirmed when the child confirms the description is accurate. If there is disagreement, the person is helped to understand that Type is developmental and that the instrument may not be able to identify everyone’s preferences every time. The schild is then helped to become aware of the differences between Type profiles and is reassured that it is okay to disagree with the results of any instrument.

“Another example of putting people into boxes, but this time doing it when they are children. I think this is a step backwards. Hmmmm.”

The Report and interpretation is all about helping people understand that different people use different ways to communicate, to take in information and to make decisions. The better (and earlier) that people understand these differences, together with how to work more effectively with these different types of people, the more effective they are likely to be in their lives.

“How much does it cost?”

The child needs to answer the set of questions, and we then input these into our domain within the MMTC site. This generates the Student Report mentioned earlier. We then print a copy of the Report, meet with the child and parent, carer or guardian and undertake a personal interpretation of the report. This activity lasts for 60 – 90 minutes. The complete cost of this is £45.

And if you have any other questions, we would be happy to respond to them!

Paul

A New Year State of Mind

Monday, December 31st, 2012

As we head towards the start of another year, many of us will make resolutions as to what we will do differently over the coming months or year, or what we will seek to achieve. I wondered how many people who set themselves New Year’s Resolutions actually achieve them?

American research from the University of Scranton found that 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s Resolutions, 17% make them infrequently and 38% never make them at all. 8% of this total population group said that they were successful in achieving their Resolutions.

As an aside, I found these statistics interesting in relation to Shelle Rose Charvet’s Motivational Traits theory. One of the Traits – Direction – relates to whether people are motivated by having an objective or avoiding problems – whether they are ‘Toward’ or ‘Away From’. In other words, are they motivated by a carrot or a stick. Her research found that approximately 40% of the population are ‘Toward’, and approximately 40% are ‘Away from’ with the remaining 20% being a mixture of the two – these figures have some resonance with the findings of the University of Scranton.

Returning to Resolutions, according to Wikipedia, “a 2007 study by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bath involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year’s Resolutions fail, despite the fact that 52% of the study’s participants were confident of success at the beginning. Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, (a system where small measurable goals are being set; such as, a pound a week, instead of saying ‘lose weight’), while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends”.

So, if setting goals only makes a difference for 8 – 12% of the population (based on these studies), what might be a more universally productive approach?

As I was contemplating this, I recalled some statistics I use when delivering sessions on Emotional Intelligence (EI). According to Travis Bradberry, we experience 27 emotions an hour, 456 each day and so over 3,000 a week. How much notice do we take of this information?

A four year old child laughs 300 times a day, yet a forty year old laughs only 4 times a day according to this blog. I’m not sure how accurate this is, but there are other similar such statistics available – and you only have to spend some time with people of those ages to know that children laugh and smile more than adults.

Perhaps New Year could be about re-connecting with fundamental skills – skills that perhaps we think we use but which really we have let slip. Skills we used far more effectively as children.

And then I saw this book that our son bought for Peta this Christmas – “How to be an Explorer of the World” by Keri Smith.  What a great book.

Early in the book the writer provides a list of ideas for the exploration of our world:

  1. Always be looking (notice the ground beneath your feet).
  2. Consider everything alive and animate.
  3. Everything is interesting. Look closer.
  4. Alter your course often.
  5. Observe for long durations (and short ones).
  6. Notice the stories going on around you.
  7. Notice patterns, make connections.
  8. Document your findings (field notes) in a
    variety of ways.
  9. Incorporate indeterminacy.
  10. Observe movement.
  11. Create a personal dialogue with your
    environment. Talk to it.
  12. Trace things back to their origins.
  13. Use all of the senses in your investigations.

If you are one of the 90% who doesn’t use New Year’s Resolutions, or who sets them and doesn’t follow through, perhaps using this template could be an alternative approach to being more effective in the New Year?

Happy New Year!

Paul

MBTI for kids!

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

As a parent, I have always wanted to do all I can to give my children the best possible start in life. To give them that little bit extra so that they can cope as effectively as possible with the world as they find their own way through it. And I’m sure that’s probably the same for most parents.

There are lots of ways in which we can do that, but it’s not only us who are involved – there are also many other people who impact on this process. Teachers, relatives and friends all play a part.

It is also the case that our children have different drivers and motivators from us – each will have a different psychological  makeup – they will perceive the world and make decisions in different ways from us. Our personal strategies and approaches are unlikely to work for them.

How much more effectively could we support them if we had a better understanding of their makeup? How much more helpful could teachers be if they understood each child’s learning strengths?

The idea that each of us is born with a specific set of preferences is the foundation stone to Carl Jung’s theory of psychological type. During a child’s early years they begin to develop their preferences and implement their own personal style of taking in and processing information. An understanding of your child’s unique personality type provides you with vital information on how they:

  • Take in information
  • Prioritise information
  • Make decisions about information.

‘Type recognition’ during a child’s developmental years offers huge benefits to the child. When a child is provided with this tailored environment, which provides them with the freedom to develop their natural preferences, they can develop much higher levels of self-esteem and self-confidence.

The Murphy-Meisgeier Type Indicator (MMTIC®) was developed to help children and young people better understand themselves in many areas including:

  • How they approach learning
  • What their strengths are
  • What their stretches are
  • What strategies may help them improve relationships, study habits and school grades.

The MMTIC® is based on the 60 years of research which underpins the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®), the world’s most widely used personality assessment, and it has been used in schools for almost 25 years. The most recent studies (2002 – 2008) have culminated in the most accurate version of the tool which has demonstrated extraordinarily high rates of reliability and validity. Its use is accompanied by a vast array of support materials. Students can take the MMTIC® assessment on line or using pen and paper. Reports are written directly to students – and there are three levels of assessment and report – elementary (7-11), middle (11-14) and high (14-18) representing the age ranges shown in brackets.

In short, it is a MBTI® for kids.

Some people ask what it measures. It doesn’t measure anything. What it shows is whether a child:

  • Is extroverted or introverted
  • Is more likely to see the fine detail of their environment or sees the bigger picture
  • Makes decisions based upon objectiveness or personal and /or emotional values
  • Places more emphasis on bringing things to closure or would rather explore alternatives.

At Breathe Personal and Organisational Development, we are very excited to have been accredited to deliver the MMTIC®. We are one of only about 50 organisations in the world outside the USA to have been accredited in this way.

We believe that the MMTIC® offers a wonderful opportunity for parents and teachers to gain a fuller appreciation of a child’s personality preferences. Its use can reduce the potential conflicts a child might have within relationships, and increases the potential for greater success at school and within friendships. This, in turn, facilitates an improved relationship between the child and the parents, the child and the teachers, the child and others with whom they build relationships.

Paul

Skills for Growth

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

I got on the train at Harrogate. I sat behind a man who got up soon after we had pulled out of the station – he went to the toilet. The train pulled into the next station which is only about a mile from Harrogate Station, and he suddenly left the toilet and got off the train. He hadn’t left himself much time, I thought. Then he looked back into the train from the platform – he seemed to be looking at his seat. Why did he go to the toilet directly before the station he was getting off at? Why was he rushing? Why did he look back at his seat? I had so many questions.

Some of us sit happily in the ‘Reviewing the Experience’ stage of Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle (ELC) or are shown to be strong Reflectors having undertaken Honey and Mumford’s Learning Styles questionnaire. For others, this reviewing or reflecting is not a strength, not something that comes easily or naturally. As you can probably tell from the first paragraph, it sits very comfortably with me … or should that be too comfortably?

What is this process? Rowntree (1988) says reflection is, “… studying one’s own study methods as seriously as one studies the subject and thinking about a learning task after you have done it”. Unless you do this, he says, the task – as a learning experience – will almost certainly be wasted. In any learning situation, he adds, you should prepare for it beforehand, participate actively during it, and reflect on it afterwards.

Donald Schon (1983) suggested that to reflect “on action” so as to engage in a process of continuous learning is one of the defining characteristics of professional practice. He argued that the model of professional training which loads students up with knowledge in training schools so that they can then discharge it when they enter the world of practice has never been a particularly good description of how professionals “think in action”, and is quite inappropriate to practice in a fast-changing world.

The cultivation of the capacity to reflect “on action” (after you have done it, retrospective thinking) and “in action” (while doing something, thinking on your feet) has rightly become an important feature of professional training programmes in many disciplines. It can also be argued that effective reflective practice needs another person such as a mentor or coach, who can ask appropriate questions to ensure that the reflection goes somewhere, and does not get bogged down in self-justification, self-indulgence or self-pity.

If the student can be coached to identify the feelings they have experienced and the thought processes they have used – to reflect on his/her own learning – then learning will continue at a much swifter pace and ultimately with less support from the coach or mentor.

As the makers of the man’s iPhone say, “Think Different”.

Enabling a person to initially reflect ‘on action’, and subsequently reflect ‘in action’ is the key to sustainable self-development. Due to its importance, trainers, coaches and facilitators have a responsibility to ensure that this is a golden thread throughout all their contact time.

Returning to the man on the train … I got to ask him all the questions I listed above. That’s because having seen him looking back into the train, I had a look around his seat – and I found his iPhone.

When I returned it to him a couple of days later he explained that he had fallen asleep. When he awoke he needed the toilet, but didn’t realise how close to his station he was.

If he had reflected in action – as opposed to on action – he may well have not gone to the toilet, and thus not lost his phone – a significant potential return on investment! And whilst I accept that most of us are not at our most effective when we wake from a sleep, the more practiced and engrained reflection is, the more likely it is to become the default position, and so just happen.

It all made me reflect on how my son had left his iPhone on a bus a year or so ago – he also spoke to the person who found it, but they didn’t return it. Not all reflection is helpful …

Paul

Person Centred Facilitation

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

When I trained to be a trainer – over 25 years ago – I was  very lucky that the course I went on was ahead of its time. It had a far  greater focus on the intrapersonal skills, interpersonal skills and  facilitative skills of the trainer than other courses around at that time. It was  in many respects also a coaching course – before coaching was really spoken  about. Yes, I was very lucky.

And one of the foundation stones for the programme was the  work of Carl Rogers (1902 – 1987), whose work I have briefly referred to once  before (‘Problem person’ paragraph). Rogers (above) was an American psychologist who developed what  was known as the “person centred approach” and was one of the founder  of the “humanistic  approach” to psychology. His approach is underpinned by three pillars.

The first is the Realness in the facilitator of learning. This is all about the facilitator being real, being genuine. It is the most fundamental of the three pillars. Where the facilitator is genuine and open, they will enter into a far more meaningful relationship with the learner. The lack of a front or façade will help the learner gain more from the relationship. Practical benefits of this are that the learner is more likely to be open with the facilitator and co-learners, more likely to be honest about their weaknesses and more likely to accept feedback. All of which will bring about greater growth.

The second is Prizing, acceptance and trust. This is a set of attitudes that stand out in those who are successful in facilitating learning – it is unconditional positive regard for the learner. Rogers said, “I think of it as prizing the learner, prizing her feelings, her opinions, her person. It is a caring for the learner, but a non-possessive caring.” I think this last sentence fits very well with the Kahlil Gibran passage I focussed on in my last post. The ‘acceptance’ aspect relates to the learner being a separate person, having their own rights, values, desires and goals. And if the facilitator has a belief that the other person is trustworthy, there will be the required level of ‘trust’.

The third and final pillar is Empathic understanding. This has been developed further since Rogers’ work into a fundamental aspect of Emotional Intelligence (EI). Where a facilitator can listen effectively and comprehend the other person’s reactions from the inside, they will be far more sensitive to the person’s individual needs. This significantly increases the potential for a greater depth and breadth of learning –due to learners feeling valued and appreciated, not judged or evaluated.

I continue to use these three pillars to underpin my approach when I train, coach or facilitate. They are non-negotiable.

Furthermore, it is not possible to tell whether they exist within someone from a CV, qualification or tender. And so this is why whenever an organisation is hiring such a person to touch its staff, it should at the very least meet the person – even better is to witness them operate.

Rogers sadly died whilst I was undertaking my 11-week residential training course, however, the brilliance of his work lives on and I and many others attempt to bring it to life on a daily basis.

Paul

How similar is Parenting to Coaching?

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

My last blog related to Khalil Gibran and his thoughts on Teaching, from his book, “The Prophet”. This blog relates to his writings on Children from the same book. This passage was where I first learned of Gibran. Sara, who I had trained as a trainer and then stayed in contact with after the course, gave me a framed copy of this passage together with a copy of the book for my birthday many years ago. The passage moves me every time I read it:

“And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, ‘Speak to us of Children’. And he said:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.”

Read it again – I’m sure you can’t have taken it all in from one reading!

Ever since being introduced to this passage I have used it as my strategy for bringing up my children. It was very much what I think I already did, but it sums up how I wanted to be as a parent so beautifully. It also highlights how easy it is to be unhelpful to those we seek to assist in growing.

And I say ‘growing’ rather than ‘growing up’ intentionally – because I often wonder how much this passage relates to training, coaching and other developmental activities? Does is encapsulate Carl Rogers approach to such relationships? Gibran was very good friends with Jung – how much of Jung’s influence is present?  Most importantly, can it be used as a backdrop to what an exceptional coach or trainer seeks to achieve?

As a trainer or coach, my clients “come through” me when they attend a programme or a meeting. I show them unconditional positive regard, but I hope I don’t give them my thoughts. I should not “seek to make them like (me)”. And they certainly must be responsible for their own arrows, although hopefully I can assist them in making their bows more stable.

So is the passage really about children? Or is it also about teaching, training and coaching, or life or relationships in general?

I struggle with these questions every time I read the passage – which hangs on the wall in my office. But what I don’t struggle with is the brilliance of the writing, the beauty of the metaphors and the wondrous skill of Gibran’s storytelling.

Paul

Prophesising facilitation?

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Just over a year ago, I wrote a post arguing that training can never be exceptional. In short, this is because training is an output – whereas it is the outcome which is of value. I’m not sure whether people agreed with me or not, but it is actually my most read post so it has been at least of interest to people.

I do believe, though, that training (the output) can vary considerably dependent upon a number of factors, perhaps the most important of which is the trainer or facilitator.

A few years ago I was introduced to the work of the poet Khalil Gibran (1883-1931), and in particular his book “The Prophet”.  The book comprises 26 short essays where the Prophet speaks to the crowds on a number of subjects.

As for Gibran himself, he was an American-Lebanese writer, and is the third best-selling poet of all time behind Shakespeare and Lao Tzu – so there is a good chance you will already know about him.

I really enjoy his short essays as they say so much – and so succinctly. One of the essays relates his thoughts on ‘Teaching’. He tells the crowd:

“No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge.

The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness.

If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind. The astronomer may speak to you of his understanding of space, but he cannot give you his understanding.

The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space, but he cannot give you the ear which arrests the rhythm nor the voice that echoes it.

And he who is versed in the science of numbers can tell of the regions of weight and measure, but he cannot conduct you thither.

For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another man.

And even as each one of you stands alone in God’s knowledge, so must each one of you be alone in his knowledge of God and in his understanding of the earth.”

I just love that! What do you think of it? As I said at the start, the essay is about ‘Teaching’, but the term ‘Facilitation’ in relation to developing others had not been coined when Gibran published his book in 1923, but in my eyes it sums up facilitated learning beautifully.

And he makes it sound so simple! In less than 200 words he has given a wonderful account of what differentiates a poor trainer or facilitator from a great one. And within that word count the Prophet has included examples, together with visual, auditory and kinesthetic references thus appealing to the different learning styles within the crowd.

If more trainers, coaches, managers and the like went with the view that all the people they work with have all this ability which, “lies half asleep in the dawning of (their) knowledge”, what would be the effect? Too often such people are judged as opposed to being given the opportunity; closed down as opposed to being encouraged to grow – not the led to the, “threshold of (their) own mind”.

If you think there are any aspects missing, what are they? What additional sentence might you add?

Paul

Masking Tips

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Well, there I was on the shoreline, as I described in my last post. In a place I didn’t know, in a mild state of panic, with nowhere to stay and no way of leaving. I had a vocabulary of about twenty Croatian words. I was starting to freeze both physically and mentally.

In Maslow terms, I was back to basics – my physiological needs of warmth, shelter and food were not being met. My only option was to talk my way into someone’s home. As there was only one place with a light on – the shop – I had one opportunity within my one option. Not a strong position. I also felt pretty foolish for having got myself into the position, and have never liked imposing myself on others. Could my position have been any weaker?

I wasn’t confident I could pull it off. In NLP terms, this was me in “First Position”. As I thought about going into the shop, I considered how I would come across to anyone I met – “Second Position”.  I thought of Acres, from Sheridan’s ‘The Rivals’, when he says before the duel “My valour is certainly going, it is sneaking off! I feel it oozing out as it were, at the palms of my hands!”’

Finally, I took “Third Position” or the “Meta Position” – I looked at the situation from an outsider’s perspective. I then I realised what I needed to do. I needed to become someone who would always manage to succeed in such a situation – and that person was Michael Palin! He travels the world meeting new people, has a lovely way with people and gets himself into people’s homes and premises whenever he wants.

So I became Michael Palin – initially in my mental approach, and then in terms of my physical behaviours and all aspects of my rapport building. To cut a long story short, it worked like a dream! Anna, the shopkeeper – who also had rooms she let out in the summer – let me to stay and fed me for the next two days.

It is a technique I have used on several occasions since, and one that I have encouraged and enabled others to use - it can bring about strikingly beneficial results.

It obviously had more of an emotional attachment for me than Anna. I went back two years later (this time in the summer!) and stayed with her again – and even though I reminded her of my previous visit she couldn’t remember me. Perhaps it happened every week? The Tourist Information Office in Dubrovnik having a competition to see how many unsuspecting tourists they could get to visit a closed Mljet! …

Which brings me to last December, when I wrote a blog about “Being Santa”. Having got changed from being Santa, I went back to my colleagues and they were talking about how people are different when they are somebody else. It made me think more about Masquerades and being Santa – or being anyone else to be more precise (and so reminded me of Michael Palin).

Whilst I acquired my Santa outfit for fun (£2.50 in a Homebase sale!), I did by accident find an additional use for it. The office Christmas Party. I find Christmas a lovely time of the year, but office parties are not part of Christmas for me – I have never really enjoyed them.

There was one particular year when I really didn’t want to go, so I decided to go as Santa. And it was a very interesting experience. I discovered that I was able to go to it and enjoy it more than I had done previously. On reflection, I realised that I was attending as Santa and not as Paul, and so had a different outlook. Consequently I used a whole different set of behaviours. As a result, every year from then on I went as Santa – and enjoyed them far more.

The main reason for the invention and subsequent popularity of Masquerade Balls in Fifteenth Century Venice was so that people could conceal their identity and hide who they really were. The anonymity they provided to an upper class that was governed by the strictest etiquette was irresistible. They didn’t have to be themselves; they were able to be different people. Oscar Wilde once said, “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth”.

This leads me to the questions I want to pose.  Which is the real person? Paul or Santa (or Michael Palin)?

The person when they are wearing or not wearing the mask?

When is a person closest to being their innate self?

I have thought about it many times over the years since my visit to Mljet. What are your thoughts?

Paul

Name that Intervention!

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

I have blogged about John Heron’s 6CIA (6 Category Intervention Analysis) model on a couple of occasions – and this is my third and final instalment. My previous posts were an overview of the model (and 6DFS), and then an explanation of ‘Degenerate Interventions’.

I have been asked for examples of each of the Interventions, so here goes:

Within Heron’s model, the 6 Categories of Interventions are classified into two main groups, Authoritative and Facilitative as shown in more detail below below.

Authoritative                    Facilitative

Prescriptive                        Cathartic

Informative                        Catalytic

Confronting                        Supportive

Heron described each of the Categories of Intervention as follows, and I have added a couple of examples for each:

A Prescriptive Intervention is intended to direct the behaviour or actions of another person by a demonstration, the giving of advice, a command or making a suggestion:

  • “You need to Speak with Sam before lunch”
  • “Send me your Action Plan by email”

An Informative Intervention seeks to impart knowledge or information to the other person by telling them or giving them a presentation.

  • “People with colour-blindness often struggle to read green lettering”
  • “The bus is cheaper than the train.”

A Confronting Intervention is intended to raise a person’s awareness about an aspect of their attitudes or behaviour.

  • “Do you realise that during that session, every question that you asked was a closed question?”
  • “On occasions you interrupt and talk over people, which tends to frustrate them.”

A Catalytic Intervention seeks to bring about self-discovery,
self-directed learning or problem solving.

  • “How could you deliver that more effectively next time?”
  • “What was it that you did that led to him reacting in that way?”

A Cathartic intervention is intended to enable or encourage a person
to divulge or discuss their feelings about a particular issue.

  • “How did my comments make you feel?
  • “What emotions did the discussion generate for you?”

A Supportive Intervention seeks to enhance a person’s self-esteem,
for instance by giving positive feedback.

  • “You did a good job there.”
  • “You handled that situation very skilfully.”

The examples above are given to illustrate each of the types of Interventions. This model is not an ‘exact science’ and so it will not always be possible to categorise every Intervention into one of the Categories. You also need to bear in mind that each Intervention is not merely the words that are used – it is also the body language that accompanies the Intervention.

I also said in my last blog that I would cover ‘Perverted Interventions’. Whereas Degenerate Interventions are rooted in a lack of awareness, experience or training, Perverted Interventions are something rather darker. They are deliberately malicious, and intended to bring harm to the client. There are suggested reasons for why people use them – generally around such practitioners being emotionally hurt or scarred earlier in their own lives – however, as this blog is about how to be helpful and skilled, I don’t intend to spend any further time in this area.

So, as a coach, facilitator, trainer or manager, how can you best use this model? Well, I have found it really useful in co-coaching, facilitator development and similar scenarios.  Using an observer to note the type of interventions made by the practitioner will lead to a beneficial discussion on the spread of interventions used, which were used least and most and whether this was best for the client. This can also be undertaken in terms of the groups – Authoritative and Facilitative – to discuss whether the best fit was achieved here, too. The practitioner can then consider where they need to develop further and action that for future occasions.

As I said in my first post on the subject, this is one of the best trainer and coaching models I have ever come across, and yet it is known and used by so few people. Hopefully this will increase its use!

Paul