Most people look towards another person in their life, whether as a friend, a family member or a paid personal coach, to give them direction in life through their leadership, wisdom, and values. In this relationship, an individual acts as the Parent who guides another individual that acts as a Child.
If these psychological roles seem familiar, it's because they are part of a model of psychotherapy called Transaction Analysis (TA), which was developed by Canadian psychiatrist Eric Berne in the 1960s. During that era of self-discovery, TA grew into a useful tool for improving interpersonal communication through an analysis of verbal and non-verbal exchanges (transactions) between people.
Today, companies and professional organizations use TA as one of the methods in coaching. The kind of relationship that usually forms during the coaching period is between a mentor and a learner. In Transaction Analysis, they take on the roles of parent and child respectively. Sometimes, there is one mentor (parent) responsible for two or more learners (children), but because the strongest coaching relationship is with only two people involved, it's more common to see a mentor and a learner forming a bond.
Putting together mentors and learners either as a team or in pairs seems the best method to use in any situation with any person. However, not everyone responds positively to one-on-one coaching, especially when the mentor and the learner have clashing personalities.
This set up also does not apply to people who perform better when they work or study on their own. For the solo learners and the lone wolves out there, the best approach for them to change or improve their personalities, knowledge and skills is through self-coaching.
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