Recently. I was brought in by a large corporate brand, to facilitate team coaching sessions with a team of men of various ages, different cultural backgrounds and challenging economic circumstances. This was a new experience for me as up until now I have primarily worked with individuals and 80% of my clients are women. The objective of these sessions was to improve communication between the team and their manager.
I approached these coaching sessions as follows – each person had a chance to check in and then we decided as a group what we would like to focus our discussion on during that session. Depending on the topic, I would share a model that I felt was relevant and we would discuss the team’s experience within the framework of the model. This is how I often work with my one on one clients and the models I most commonly work with are Life Positions, Karpman’s Drama Triangle and Functional Ego States.
During our first session, as we were discussing the team’s ideas of what authentic communication looks like, one of them said to the group, “It’s like that Parent, Adult, Child thing. The way you say something will effect the way someone hears what you are saying.”
I couldn’t believe it! As it turns out, they had already been introduced to Ego States in a previous workshop with another trainer over a year ago. More than that, they had actually remembered it.
We went on to discuss what happens when two people have an interaction. I drew it on the whiteboard like this:
The team came to the conclusion that we each bring something unique to the present moment. The bit in the middle is the experience we have of being together. So if one person brings something different to the present moment it will change the quality of the overall experience. And, the more you get to know and understand someone, the more your shared experience expands.
They got really excited about this, as did I, as this spoke directly to our objective of improving their relationship with their manager. They ended that first session believing that they have a role to play in creating the quality of their relationships/communication.
During the remainder of our sessions, we explored Karpman’s Drama Triangle, Life Positions and Strokes. With each piece of TA theory, their self-awareness grew. They shared examples of how this was impacting their personal lives in a positive way. They showed a willingness to grow their sense of autonomy in a work environment too.
And, we kept coming back to the diagram above. It was incredible to me that this very simple diagram had such an enormous impact on them. I am not sure where this model came from, whether I saw it somewhere or imagined it myself. I used the same image in a post I created a year ago, when I wanted to illustrate what a co-creative style of workshop facilitation looks like.
I am so excited to continue working with this group of men as our contract has been extended. I love how my own frame of reference has expanded during our time together. I have so enjoyed sharing TA with them and seeing the enthusiasm they have shown for learning more.
It illustrates for me how truly universal TA is. I am so grateful to be able to share it with others as I work towards my CTA. I hope I continue to find new creative ways to share the concepts and invite others to feel as excited as I feel about using TA to become more autonomous.
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