Name that Intervention!

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

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3 Responses to “Name that Intervention!”

  1. Adrian Nixon says:

    Hi Paul,
    Fascinating article, thanks for taking the time to put down your thoughts.
    One thing that occurred; this model is all about the interventions – the inputs. The outcomes are secondary.
    Would it be made more effective by framing this in terms of what you want the outcomes for the recipient to be.
    It’s a small change but may change the focus from one of a clever portfolio of techniques to one where the positive end result for the person is the focus.
    Adrian

  2. Paul says:

    Hi Adrian,
    Thanks for your comment, and I agree that the outcomes should always be the focus. The way I see it is that there should be an agreed outcome at the start and the helper users this model as their methodology to achieve the outcome. So, someone who uses it well, is more likely to achieve the outcome than a person who is unskilled (In the same way that as a trainer should have outcomes, and they chose the best methodology to achieve those outcomes). Does that make sesne? Perhaps one to discuss further at next week’s Walk and Talk?!
    Paul

  3. Azza Al Awadi says:

    thank you for the article.
    i find it very interesting

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