Karen had retired after a sound military career in which she had risen to the rank of a senior officer in the medical support area. Being in a caring profession, she had a need to add value to the community on a personal level and felt that, after a short break from her military career, she could help out with a local charity.
Her early attempts at volunteering had, however, not been as successful as she had expected. Although, she felt that her organisational and management skills and her experience in clinical governance would have been extremely useful to any charity, she didn’t seem to be getting asked to help. She was surprised and disappointed that she couldn’t even give her help away.
The problem became clear almost as soon as her coach began talking to Karen. She was forthright, direct and driven. She now wanted to exploit this drive and passion to help others. This is a true ‘triangle’ in the psychogeometrics profile.
Her military career had given her a very direct, output focused style of management which was highly effective in the hierarchical world of the armed forces.
For those who are familiar with the voluntary/charity sector, it is filled with people who have big hearts and are genuinely interested in helping those less fortunately than themselves. They are caring, sensitive and work hard to help others, but are not necessarily as effective as they could be. Typical of the ‘circle’ types from the psychogeometrics profile.
Unfortunately, Karen’s natural approach was too direct for most of the volunteers that she came across.
Having explained the differences between the various psychogeometrics profiles, Karen’s coach illustrated how ‘triangles’ and ‘circles’ have contradictory styles and behaviours. In Karen’s case, she was so direct and focused, that her approach intimidated the other volunteers. Her offer of help seemed more like instructions, perhaps even orders.
Karen’s coach helped her work on some simple strategies and conversational techniques that softened her approach to people and would allow her to build relationships more readily with the other volunteers. By rehearsing a number of conversations and by softening her body language, Karen soon learned to adapt to this gentler group of people. Her interactions become more conversational and less of an interrogation.
After 4 weeks, Karen had been shortlisted to the last three for interviews for a middle seniority role with a national charity. Although she wasn’t selected for that particularly role she gained enough confidence and comfort in the approach that she continued to gain interviews and finally landed a role with a international medical charity.
When our behaviour has been successful in one part of our lives, it does not cross our minds that it will not be universally successful. By understanding that people have a natural communication style that they find most comfortable, makes it easier for you to understand the need to adapt your own approach. By modifying your approach so that it is more readily acceptable to others makes it easier to build rapport and relationships, and this will help you become more productive and successful in your chosen endeavour.
The psychogeometrics approach is but one of several that can yield similar levels of understanding about people’s natural behaviour and communications styles.
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