The Essentials Mix: Structural Dynamics and how to have great conversations

This is from 2015 too, and a deceptively useful model for having skillful conversations in facilitated sessions, coaching or even real life!

In this Trainer Tools Essentials episode, I talk to Catherine Thomson about David Kantor’s theory of Structural Dynamics. In the podcast, Catherine explains how this theory of communication is applied to conversations in training and coaching.

 Catherine Thomson


Catherine Thomson is founder of The Houston Exchange and is also an Associate Consultant within the People and Organisational Development (POD) Division with Edinburgh Napier University … read more about Catherine here.

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Transactional Analysis for trainers (part two): understanding transactions

In this episode of the Trainer Tools podcast, I welcome back Garry Platt to continue discussions on his specialist subject: Transactional Analysis.

Transactional Analysis, or TA, is a theory of how humans interact with each other – its main application being to help understand human behaviour and communication: each interaction between people being called a “transaction”. It was developed by Canadian psychiatrist Eric Berne and has been a tool in the trainer and coach toolbox for many years in helping us understand ourselves and our own interpersonal behaviours, but also understand those of others.

In this episode Garry talks about “Transaction”, and this builds on the first podcast “Transactional Analysis for trainers (part one): understanding ego states” that you should check out before listening to this.

Garry has also blogged about this on LinkedIn

 Garry Platt


Garry Platt is an experienced training consultant with more than 30 years experience in the business. He has worked with a number of international organisations helping them to enhance their approach to training and development … read more about Garry here.

Training can be a tough and lonely business – so look after yourself!

The life of a training facilitator is not as glamorous as it might seem to the casual observer.

There’s a lot of travel, but that just means a lot of time in airports or stuck on long and boring motorways. L&D professionals don’t typically travel in hot air balloons with personal menservants called Passepartout – the budgets rarely stretch that far.

It’s not just the solitude of travel, it’s the loneliness of being in a group of learners in a workshop, but needing to keep distant from them. We encourage social learning and network building, but we’re the guide on the side not another member of the gang.

It doesn’t stop there!

Often we’re associated with change, and change is sometimes bad news, at least for some of the people … and even if not, we’re in the business of challenging people, pushing them out of their comfort zones, perhaps even asking difficult questions that make people think. We might even cause all sorts of trouble by demanding manager involvement or by challenging cultural aspects that might be getting in the way of learning.

Claire Simmons is an expert in offering career advice – and not just how to make your CV look nice. Her organisation (newfuture.me) works with people on personal wellbeing and the emotional side of career change, redundancy, and picking the right options for the future.

In this podcast she talks through her approach and how we, as L&D professionals, can apply the same techniques to help look after ourselves.

Claire Simmons


Claire Simmons is one of the Managing Partners of the career management consultancy newfuture.me. Her HR career began almost 20 years ago and over the years, delivering training and coaching colleagues has played an important part of her roles … read more about Claire here

Transactional Analysis for trainers (part one): understanding ego states

In the eighth episode of the Trainer Tools podcast, I welcome back Garry Platt to begin a series of casts on his specialist subject: Transactional Analysis.

Transactional Analysis, or TA, is a theory of how humans interact with each other – its main application being to help understand human behaviour and communication: each interaction between people being called a “transaction”. It was developed by Canadian psychiatrist Eric Berne and has been a tool in the trainer and coach toolbox for many years in helping us understand ourselves and our own interpersonal behaviours, but also understand those of others.

We’re going to do a whole series on this because it’s such a broad and interesting topic, so this is just the start of something!

In this episode Garry talks about “Ego States”, the first building block in understanding the theory. This is also really useful as training course content for courses on topics such as assertiveness and communication skills.

Garry has also blogged about this on LinkedIn.

 Garry Platt


Garry Platt is an experienced training consultant with more than 30 years experience in the business. He has worked with a number of international organisations helping them to enhance their approach to training and development … read more about Garry here.

How to use Structural Dynamics to have great conversations

Most of how we engage with other people in the workplace, on training courses, or in coaching sessions, is based on having conversations. The quality of these conversation directly impacts our effectiveness, and as educators and coaches, our ability to have powerful conversations that help to create insight and learning is a huge part of how we succeed.

In this episode of the Trainer Tools podcast, I talk to Catherine Thomson about David Kantor’s theory of Structural Dynamics. In the podcast, Catherine explains how this theory of communication is applied to conversations in training and coaching.

 Catherine Thomson


Catherine Thomson is founder of The Houston Exchange and is also an Associate Consultant within the People and Organisational Development (POD) Division with Edinburgh Napier University … read more about Catherine here.

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