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.