John Heron has been one of the most active and insightful leaders in the world of helping and counselling, yet relatively few coaches and mentors have heard of him.
‘I don’t know how to Handle my Boss’s Hostility toward me’
This is a typical problem that you may hear from a colleague or client and, if you want to help, there are a number of ways that you could do so.
“What you should do is …”
“Let’s look at some of the things you could do …”
“What behaviours seem hostile to you?”
“How do you feel about this?”
“What’s going on when your boss seems hostile?”
“No-one should feel hostility from their boss …”
These are six examples of a response you could give and, working originally with the medical profession, John Heron identified six categories of intervention in 1974, which are equally helpful to teachers, managers, advisers, counsellors, and consultants.
They help us to understand the relationships between counselling and coaching, or between coaching and mentoring.
Six Category Intervention Analysis
John Heron’s model of six different ways we can intervene to help first divides interventions into Authoritative and Facilitative Interventions. These each have three styles of intervention within them.
These interventions are clearly led by the helper, who takes on some of the responsibility for the client. Here, the helper will guide, raise awareness, and even give instruction or hold the client to account.
Giving advice and direction to the client
Focusing on giving information the client information and ideas that will help them generate solutions
Focusing on the problem and challenging the client in a supportive way
These interventions are ‘client-centred’ in the sense that the client must take complete responsibility for themselves and the direction of their support.
Focused on helping the client to gain insights into their emotional response by expressing their emotions
Helping the client to learn and solve problems for themself, drawing upon the client’s own resources
Focused on the emotional and confidence needs of the client, by encouraging them and affirming their worth
||The depiction of the Sumerian serpent god Ningizzida, the patron of medicine, dating from before 2000 BCE, gives us our modern Caduceus symbol for the healing arts and sciences.The god itself is the two (copulating) snakes entwined around an axial rod. It is accompanied by two gryphons.|
The labels ‘authoritative’ and ‘facilitative’ are, perhaps, misleading. Each of the six categories of intervention could be led in an authoritative ‘I will take control’ manner, or a facilitative ‘you tell me where to explore next’ manner. Indeed, in his later work, in ‘The Complete Facilitator’s Handbook’, Heron identified three modes of facilitation, which he called:
Facilitator directs the process
Facilitator and client or group share responsibility for the process, the facilitator offering ideas and listening to suggestions to achieve a consensus
Client or group dictates the process
So here’s the deal
Why do we spend so much time worrying over precise definitions of coaching, mentoring, counselling, advising, consulting and the myriad of supportive help we offer one-another. John Heron showed us at least three times six = eighteen different ways to help each other and there are doubtless many more.
Coming in future blogs will be insights into resolving conflict, coaching, and, later this week, mentoring.
Management Pocketbooks on these topics
And, in the Teachers’ Pocketbooks series:
And look out for The Cognitive Behavioural Coaching Pocketbook later this year.