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Coaching Assessment with the Process Communication Model (PCM)
As a manager and as a coach I’ve seen assessments come and go, from MBTI, Insights to colour coding. And with all of them I’ve had serious drawbacks, mostly to do with the fact that you get an assessment based on characteristics, which don’t help me as a coach or manager to deal behaviourally with the person or to help them develop.
For instance with MBTI you ARE extrovert/introvert, thinking/feeling, intuitive/sensing or perceptive/judgemental. After testing you know preferences, but it says nothing about what different behaviours to develop to grow or even if you can.
I was looking for an instrument, which was:
- Developmental: showed me clearly where it came from and what to do to change it
- Based on behavioural assessments
- Reflected reality in that when there’s no stress we can access any types of behaviours
- Gave me a guideline how to communicate with somebody based on the assessment
I finally found this tool in the Process Communication Model.
Development of PCM
In the 1970s Dr. Taibi Kahler first developed PCM to select astronauts for the NASA. Since then thousands of people all over the world, from astronauts to entrepreneurs to American presidents, have experienced greater success and power in their personal and professional lives after learning and applying the principles of Process Communication.
Process Communication teaches you to:
- Observe and understand your own behaviour
- Understand and effectively communicate with others
- Analyze conflicts and miscommunication
- Develop effective behaviour and positive relationships
Endorsement Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton:
“The Process Communication Model provides a framework for evaluating the information one wishes to communicate and the best means for doing so with various recipients of that information.”
What is Process Communication?
The Process Communication Model (PCM) provides a validated method of identifying and understanding personality structures and communication dynamics.
The basic principles of process communication are:
- Each of us has a personality structure made up of six main personality types, which influences our communication and stress management. No one type is more or less OK. Each has strengths and weaknesses.
- Without stress we have access to all our personality type behaviours and can easily shift and choose from them. It is only under stress that we revert only to our base personality type.
- To communicate effectively with others you have to adapt your communication style to theirs. How we say things is more important than what say.
Example personality structure:
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The six personality types
Dreamer: As a dreamer you are appreciated for your calm and your ability to be imaginative. You are very reflective and creative. What you need most is time to be alone. Too much stimulus leads to distress and under stress you tend to withdraw and forget to complete projects. To get out of stress you need someone else to initiate and be directive in communication.
Harmonizer: As a harmonizer you are appreciated for your warmth empathy and ability to nurture others. You are very sensitive and sensual. What you need most is recognition for you as a person. Lack of recognition for you as a person and a cold environment leads to negative stress. Under stress you tend to please others and make mistakes. To get out of stress you need unconditional acceptance and sensory stimulation.
Workaholic: As a workaholic you are appreciated for your organized way of doing things and your logical thinking. Your character strengths are in being logical structured and responsible. What you need most is recognition of your work and structure. Negative stress leads to perfectionism and attacking others. To get out of stress you need recognition for doing a good job and for your structured approach.
Persister: You are appreciated for your value-driven, conscientious way of working. You are dedicated and loyal. What you need most is recognition of your vision and opinions. Negative stress leads you to find fault in others and become rigid in your opinions. To get out of stress you need to speak of your values in a way to be heard and to be recognised for your convictions.
Rebel: You are appreciated for your energetic and playful take on life. You are fun to be with and frequently have ideas about different ways of doing things. What you need most is playful contact. Negative stress leads you to delegate inappropriately and to blame others for your mistakes. To get out of stress you need to ensure that you have fun.
Promoter: As a promoter you are appreciated for your persuasive charm. You have high energy to get things done. What you need most is an environment in which you can improvise and be action oriented. Negative stress leads to manipulative and blaming behaviour. What you need is to regularly ensure you have safe and yet challenging stimulations, positive excitement.
Benefits of PCM for coaches and managers
The great thing about PCM is that it gives you information you can use immediately, both as the client and as the manager. The Personality Pattern Inventory gives you accurate, non-judgmental, objective feedback regarding your Personality Type.
This inventory report identifies personality type, phase and the structure of the person, with individualized information about: character strengths, the way the person views the world and others, psychological needs, and distress sequences of self-sabotage. The assessment shows you in which order you’ve built up your personality types, where you’ve built up the most energy or competency, so which ones you will use most.
It tells you what behaviours you show when you get under stress, and what management and communication style would help you most to manage your stress. It also tells you what basic needs you can fulfil so you don’t get into stress in the first place.
As a manager PCM helps you to gain confidence by establishing win/win relationships with one’s subordinates and by getting clear behavioural information on the strengths of the team members, knowing how to motivate them, developing management strategies that reinforce positive behaviours while respecting each individual.
In my experience clients come to coaching broadly for two reasons: they are either in acute distress or they find out their usual problem solving patterns don’t work anymore. PCM helps you get in touch with your clients through their open communication doors even under distress.
I had one young manager come for coaching in distress. He’d accepted his first people management job three months before, having been a successful technical project manager in the firm before. Within three months he had managed to upset many of the people in his team, and his manager had warned him that if he didn’t manage to improve his people management performance within 6 months he’d be demoted to his old job.
We agreed to work on the basis of PCM, so he first filled out the PCM questionnaire online. It transpired that he had a workaholic personality base. He recognized he was very task focussed, good with details, clear headed in his analyses – all competencies that helped him greatly in his old job and also in providing structure and goals as a manager in his new job. However he also recognized that his people relational skills lagged behind and that under pressure he did the work alone, forgetting that as a manager his job was to motivate other people to do the work for him.
Our contract was to work on redefining his role to getting other people to realize the goals and thus to hone his relational management skills. We agreed that he’d bring in cases to do with managing specific employees. My immediate role as a coach was more tutoring; teaching him different models and a (PCM) frame of reference so that human behaviour would become more predictable to him and so he could start using his impressive thinking and analytical capacities to come up with options. It was a question of presenting people management as a form of human technology to get into his open door.
He began to have fun predicting reactions and thinking up options. As his distress diminished he was freer to explore and work through the emotions that had come up in this period for him and take into account the feelings of others. After ten sessions he asked his boss for a follow up conversation about his people management performance and got good feedback. More telling perhaps was his wife’s happy reaction to this new emotional side to him, in which he’d learned to ask for help.