This email continues the articles on Transactional Analysis (TA), which is a model of people and relationships that was developed during the 1960s by Dr. Eric Berne.Parent, Adult and ChildAs well as having external conversations with our clients, we also have internal conversations between ourselves as parents, children and also adults, and then we play at these roles in our external relationships.
In the previous emails I touched on the different types of roles we play when in the PAC states. The communications we have in these states are known as transactions.Communications (transactions)When two people communicate, each exchange is a transaction. Often our problems come from the transactions which are unsuccessful.
The parent child role is often triggered by the natural conversations we have and our personality gets triggered by the personality of the other person who evokes our responses. When we are dealing with young people it may be difficult for them to achieve an adult state [especially as driving instructors are usually a lot older] and contact with adults will often be parent to child. We trigger their subconscious responses by our own behaviour especially if we have adopted an instructor led approach.These relationships and the communications within them play many games between the positions, and there are rituals from greetings to whole conversations (such as the weather) where we take different positions for different events. These are often 'pre-recorded' as scripts we just play out. You may notice these happening at the start of lessons. They give us a sense of control and identity and reassure us that all is still well in the world. We also have to be careful because other games can be negative and destructive and we play them more out of a sense of habit and addiction than constructive pleasure.
ConflictAs driving instructors we are trying to avoid conflict both in the car and on the road and it is easier if the transactions are:
Complementary. They occur when both people are at the same level (Parent talking to Parent, etc.). Here, both are often thinking in the same way and communication is easier. Problems usually occur in Crossed transactions, where each is talking to a different level.
The parent is either nurturing or controlling, and often speaks to the child, who is either adaptive or ‘natural’ in their response. When both people talk as a Parent to the other’s Child, their wires get crossed and conflict results.
The ideal line of communication is the mature and rational Adult-Adult relationship.
Consequences and resolutionIf we are a Controlling Parent this will invite the other person into a Child state where they may conform with your demands. There is also a risk that they will be an Adaptive 'naughty child' and rebel. They may also take opposing Parent or Adult states.
Being a Nurturing Parent or talking at the same level as the other person acts to create trust.
Watch out for crossed wires. This is where conflict arises. When it happens, first go to the state that the other person is in to talk at the same level.
For rational conversation, move yourself and the other person to the Adult level.
Our focus as driving instructors is always to work towards creating a thinking driver who is in control of their emotions on the road. We can only do this if we ourselves are neutral and hold an unconditional positive regard for the other person. This at times can be challenging but coaching helps you diffuse any potential conflict and create great rapport that builds an equal relationship.
If you want to know how Tri-Coaching Partnership can help you then please contact us and look out for a course near you.
ReferencesEric Berne, (1964), Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships, Balantine Books
Thomas Harris (1996), I'm OK-You're OK, Avon books
Muriel James and Dorothy Jongeward (1971), Born to Win: Transactional Analysis with Gestalt Experiments, Da Capo Press Inc
Following on from the article about Transactional Analysis personality states: Parent, Adult, Child, here are some clues that might help you differentiate the different states. Again, I took this information from the book Teaching, Training and Learning by Stephen Walker and Ian Reece.
Parental state verbal clues could be:
If I were you ......
There's no question ......
That's ridiculous .......
Well done ........
This is the way to do it ......
Non verbal clues could be:
Pursed lips, wagging fingers, horrified look, pat on the back or head
The Adult state verbal clues could be:
My view is ........
In what way ........
Can you say more .........
I think .........
Why, What, Where etc.
Non verbal clues could be:
Open alertness and giving attention
The Child state verbal clues could be:
I'd like .........
I don't care ....
I can't stand ......
Oh no ........
Non verbal clues could be:
Delight, rolling eyes, shrugging shoulders, laughter, raising hand to speak.
If you are trying to achieve an Adult state there will be influences from the other two states. When influenced by a Parent state, you might develop prejudices; and if influenced by a Child state this may result in phobias and delusions.
We are not psychiatrists but we should be expert communicators and we can help people by giving them what are described as 'strokes'.
If you want to know more about coaching or are looking for a course, which will help you develop and improve your skills, then contact us at Tri-Coaching Partnership. For about the price of a cup of coffee a day you can develop to your full potential and go on, like many others already have, to be amongst the most well-paid and respected trainers in your area. Remember, the journey of learning never stops.
I was re-reading about Transactional Analysis recently in a book called Teaching, Training and Learning by Ian Reece and Stephen Walker, which I had used when studying for my teaching qualification. It got me thinking about how the personality states of parent, adult and child from Transactional Analysis influence our relationships in the car; and are, therefore, relevant to how we teach and train as driving instructors.The three emotional states known as Parent, Adult, Child (PAC) were made famous by Eric Berne as a model of human behaviour known as Transactional Analysis.
As driving instructors we can sometimes find ourselves stuck in the Parent-Child relationship. This is where coaching comes in because it helps us form Adult-Adult relationships in the work place.
If you tell your pupil about appropriate behaviour on the road and judge them when they do something silly or get something wrong; if you sometimes feel protective towards your pupil, especially if other road users are putting them under pressure, you are possibly in a Parent-Child relationship at that point. There are two sides to this personality state: one is critical and controlling, and the other is nurturing.
At other times, you might notice you can be impulsive, natural, untrained, expressive or can modify your behaviour with experience or when you are influenced by others. You might then become cooperative, obedient and often sorry. We are often intuitive, have hunches, can be creative and inventive. All these traits are linked to being in a Child-like state. There are three states described in Child-like behaviour: the Adapted Child, the Little Professor, and the Free Child.
The Adult personality state is a good state to achieve when we are driving - or teaching driving -because, in this state, we have the ability to acquire and sort information; we have choices for alternatives; and we are able to plan and make decisions. This Adult state is sometimes quite hard to achieve if our emotions are interfering with our behaviour.
Having a better understanding of emotional states helps our communication process as we are ideally trying to get both parties to communicate Adult to Adult. When we are teaching people to drive, if the relationship is 'instructor-led' rather than 'client-centred', we are likely to be in a Parent-Child relationship.
If you would like to know more about coaching and building relationships that open up communications, talk to us at Tri-Coaching Partnership. Find out if there is a course near you that can help you develop and improve your communication skills by following this link.
"Here is the second in a series of articles I have written on the subject of driving instructor training, first published in The Intelligent Instructor magazine.
I hope you enjoy it."
With the DVSA announcing that the Part 3 will be replaced with a Standards Check-style assessment, this series of articles will explore how we train people to be driving instructors and the knock-on effects of this training on teaching people to drive and, ultimately, on road safety.
In my last article, I explored the current situation with the Part 3 test and looked at what the Part 3 assesses; and whether it is fit for purpose.
This article follows on from the previous one by still focusing on the current situation with the Part 3 test; discussing who are the trainers; and asking why bother changing what we currently have.
Who are the trainers?
There are some excellent trainers in our industry, who have loads of experience in training people to be driving instructors and have kept themselves up to date, understanding the relevance to road safety of the Goals for Driver Education and the DVSA National Driver and Rider Training Standard. They either have a background in teaching and education; or they have developed their knowledge and skills in these areas; or they are naturally gifted communicators. Trainers, like this, know that a client-centred learning approach is vital when training people to be driving instructors, if only because this will then be the approach that is used with learner drivers and the knock-on effect will be newly qualified drivers, who know how to think for themselves, self-evaluate and take responsibility for their learning and the driving task. They understand that this is the best approach because they are aware of the relevant reports to our industry: MERIT and HERMES and, most recently, RUE *.
There are other trainers in our industry, who are nowhere near as well informed and believe the best approach is to train to the tests – whether this is Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 for PDIs, or the Theory Test and Practical Test for learner drivers.
Any old ADI can be a Trainer … It’s not the result of motivation, focus and positive goal-setting. It is often the result of running away from what they don’t like, such as their job as a driving instructor. Some ADIs become trainers, not because this is the career path they mapped from the outset and this is part of their dreams and ambitions; but rather, because driving instruction is not what they thought it was going to be, pupils don’t want to learn, they don’t get the pass rates, they don’t earn the money they thought they would, and they have to permanently kowtow to the DVSA. How can they expect to inspire and motivate their PDIs with this negative mindset?
We must change because Trainers teach to a test. They know inside out what is expected of their PDIs when they take the Part 3 but they do not fully get the point of the Part 3. They say,
‘It’s going to take me ages to teach you everything you need to know about the Part 3 test, how it is structured, what the Examiner needs to see, and what each subject entails, whether at Phase 1 or Phase 2. So, it might be six months away but let’s get started on it now with Cockpit Drill and Controls.’
The PDI has their mind blown with all this knowledge and information they are supposed to take on board. Where is the development of their lesson planning skills, their risk management skills and their teaching and learning strategies? It must be buried deep under the mound of information around the subject – information that they have already learned for their Part 1 and demonstrated on their Part 2.
We must change because only nine percent of those people, who receive their PRN from the DVSA, actually qualify as an ADI. This appalling figure means that 91% have their dreams smashed. Part of the reason why so few people achieve what they set out to achieve is down to the fact that Trainers train to a test. There is no client-centred learning going on here. PDIs aren’t encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning. They don’t get to set the goals and determine the structure of their learning. Trainers are not delivering the Driver and Rider Training Standard (in effect, the syllabus) to their PDIs. They are confusing the PSTs for the Syllabus.
When people are not encouraged to take responsibility for their learning, there is no real learning taking place. This is as true for learner drivers as it is for trainee driving instructors, as it is for every single one of us.
The Standards Check, with its three broad competences of:
· Lesson Planning
· Risk Management
· Teaching and Learning Strategies
is drawn from the DVSA National Driver and Rider Training Standard and this will be the assessment for the new Part 3 test. If Trainers develop the seventeen competences in their PDIs, using whatever subjects they wish, newly qualified driving instructors will have more of a chance of producing safe, self-evaluating and responsible drivers from their pupils.
Having looked at the current situation by exploring what the Part 3 assesses; whether it is fit for purpose; who are the trainers; and why do we need to change, my next article will look at what makes a great driving lesson.
*MERIT (Minimum European Requirements for Driving Instructor Trainers)
*HERMES (High impact approach for Enhancing Road safety through More Effective communication Skills)
*RUE (Road Users Education)