OK-OK communication model
This framework (Pratt & Mbaligontsi, 2014) gives insight into why some moments of communication are effective whereas others result in misunderstanding and conflict. Linking the five positive modes within the OK-OK box with OKness implies the underpinning mutual respectful attitude to self and the other and offers options to be flexible in communication styles to best build honest and robust personal and professional relationships.
Functional ego states – the behavioural modes
As discussed in Chapter 3, there are two models of ego states: structural and functional. The OK-OK communication model is a newer development of the functional ego state model. It is a framework for understanding observable modes of behaviour which are useful in helping both coaches and coachees gain awareness. Understanding one’s style of communication gives wider options for development and change (see Figure 4.1).
The Adult can choose to integrate appropriate aspects of Parent and Child in service of here-and-now communication. Both Parent and Child modes have two positive as well as two negative modes. ‘Positive’ indicates communicating with a respectful (OK) attitude towards self and the other and being relevant to the here-and-now; ‘negative’ indicates communicating from an
Figure 4.1 OK-OK
communication model. Pratt & Mbaligontsi (2014)
attitude that shows a lack of respect (Not OK) for either the self or the other and is more about an event or somebody in the past.
Parent and Child modes
The part of Parent that is concerned with aspects of guiding and directing is divided into Assertive (positive) and Dominating (negative) modes.
The part of Parent that is concerned with looking after others is divided into Nurturing (positive) and Spoiling (negative) modes.
The part of Child that is concerned with relating to others is divided into Cooperative (positive) and Compliant/Resistant (negative) modes. Compliant and resistant ways of responding are two sides of the same coin - people learn which style works best to keep them safe when they are growing up - stay silent (and comply) or rebel.
The part of Child that is concerned with doing one’s own thing is divided into Spontaneous (positive) and Immature (negative) modes.
The Adult mode, called the Accounting mode, is concerned with being fully present in the here-and-now, taking account of all aspects of the relationship and the shared desired outcome. Typical of this mode is asking questions, receiving information, checking out assumptions, and co-creating bilateral agreements for the work at hand.