Mess, Dr. Andrea


My favorite Schulz von Thun model - using the Riemann-Thomann model and the Perspective Strength Test to identify personal and professional preferences and align yourself with the right corporate culture

Choosing a favorite among the Schulz von Thun models is really not easy, as it very much depends on the specific question for which the appropriate model is finely tuned in coaching. And yet, there is a model that I use in all my coaching sessions; namely the Riemann-Thomann model. This model captures preferences for closeness and distance and continuity and change, respectively. Like all models, it seems intuitively understandable and superficially easy. However, this should not deceive us that it - as usual in the Schulz von Thun school - touches deep layers. Specifically, the model is based on Fritz Riemann's career defining book 'Basic Forms of Fear'. It was later focused on the corresponding strengths by Christoph Thomann which made it possible to use the model successfully for relationship management. Enhanced by Perspekto's strength test, it is excellently extended beyond the individual level to the associated corporate cultures. My client K. almost had an "enlightment" with it. For an international corporation, the experienced business consultant was supposed to look after a faltering start-up and get it on track. This was a stressful task for him and he did not understand what was wrong. In coaching, he was able to recognize: His strengths were in the area of change, which was associated with innovation, creativity and a spirit of research, as well as in the distance area, which stood for successful competition and assertiveness. Hence, he was a distance-change type; this was his home area. The continuity area, in which a sensible structure consistently enables very good performance, was also pronounced. K., on the other hand, did not like closeness; he liked to work alone and was more interested in results than in social interaction. However, K. had been deployed by the corporation as an enforcer for structure and economic success, i.e. in the continuity-distance area. Although maintaining structure was always easy for him, he was unable to live out his own strengths from the change area, which had frustrated him. In addition, the significantly younger founders of the start-up all had their focus (home area) in the closeness-change area. There was hardly any overlap with the area K. had to take over; therefore, there was hardly any gainful communication. This had led quarrels within the team and K. was seen as an annoying supervising addition that no one really liked. With the insights from the Riemann-Thomann model, he was well able to process the stressful experiences that resulted from the situation at work. The confrontation with the positive characteristics of the respective corporate cultures and their exaggerations into the negative extremes helped him to find coherent words for the situation. In retrospect, he had recognized that there had been a change in the mentality of start-up founders, for which he could now develop an adequate consulting attitude. With this, he entered into a targeted communication with both sides and even got quickly into the position to be able to negotiate with an international management consultancy about new orders.