The 5 TA Drivers

Your Driver Questionnaire Results: A Comprehensive Look at the Five Unconscious Drivers

The Five Drivers
Values Result in Messages Result
in Drivers
Achievement, autonomy,success, being right Don’t:
Make a mistake, take risks, be natural, be childlike
Be Perfect
Consideration, kindness, service Don’t:
Be assertive, important, different, say no
Please Me
Courage, strength, reliability Don’t:
Show your feelings, give in, ask for help
Be Strong
Persistence, patience, determination Don’t:
Be satisfied, relax, give up
Try Hard
Speed, efficiency, responsiveness Don’t:
Take too long, relax, waste time
Hurry Up


Be Perfect


Language and appearance clues

The Following words and phrases are often used by people when they are in the grip of a ‘be perfect’ driver:

  • “As it were”
  • “Probably”
  • “Possibly”
  • “Certainly”
  • “Completely”
  • “One might say”

They speak in complete sentences, perhaps numbering off certain points.

Their dress is usually very well co-ordinated and elegant.

Their language and appearance are all indications of their desire to be perfect.


  • Purposeful
  • Moral
  • High standards
  • Task orientated
  • Extremely logical

“Be Perfect” types are very good at seeing the best way of achieving the success or completion of a task

Causes of stress

  • Any situation which indicates the danger of loss of control e.g other people’s perceived “low standards” or “illogical approach”
  • Over emotionalism from others
  • Failure to achieve goals

Stress behaviour

As stress increases, the person

  • Becomes more and more single minded, seeing only their point of view
  • Becomes more and more controlling
  • Becomes arrogant and aggressive in arguments, will not be able to take account of others’ different points of view
  • Becomes goal focused; may discount the people around them
  • Will communicate predominantly in “thought” language and be very uncomfortable with extreme displays of emotion

Reducing stress in self

  • Be willing to appreciate the different values of others; don’t just see your own as valuable
  • List all of your personal values, rank them in terms of importance, then work out how to respond suitably — under stress the tendency is to treat everything as important and so energy is poured into issues that are actually, in themselves, not meaningful.
  • Become more concious of your tendency to be self righteous and to respond in a parental manner, make a point of communicating your feelings
  • Be willing to laugh at yourself

Reducing stress in others of this type

  • Reassure others that they are not to blame
  • Be practical; keep agreements with them
  • Never discount their worries
  • If you have a difference of opinion, express your own values with conviction
  • If you have to confront them, do it gently, firmly and calmly
  • Show your appreciation of their achievements e.g “that report was excellent”
  • Give them facts rather than forcing them to talk about their emotions

Please Me


Languages and appearance clues

Often when people are in the grip of a ‘Please’ Driver, they start off sentences positively, only to end them negatively e.g

  • “It’s a lovely day today – but days that start off like this often end in rain.”

They may turn statements into questions by using phrases like”

  • “Is that OK with you?”
  • “What do you think about it?”
Voice tone is often high, rising at the end of the sentences. People with a strong ‘Please Driver’ will make an effort to look attractive



“Please” driven people love to spend time with others. They are comfortable in social situations.

They are usually skilled at dealing with others and they like to look after people

They are:

  • As pleasant as possible to everyone
  • Extremely law abiding and helpful
  • Concerned about doing the right thing.

Causes of stress

‘Please’ people will feel distressed by being ignored or being criticised. The main fear is that they will be rejected by being found ‘blame worthy’.

Stress behaviour

‘Please’ people become more and more emotional under stress and will not respond to requests to be logical. Their language becomes peppered with  clichés – they find it difficult to say ‘no’.

They may feel the urge to ‘rescue’ others. In an emergency, ‘taking charge’ is often required, but if there isn’t an emergency, rescuing others (doing something which hasn’t been asked for or doing more than your share) won’t help in the long term.

Every time they do something for someone else, they deprive that person of the opportunity of doing it for themselves and so learning from experience.

Reducing stress in self

  • The person with a ‘please’ driver feels responsible for others and expects them to reciprocate by taking responsibility for their own well being. In order to break through this, it is important to be willing to accept responsibility for what happnes to you and what you do to others.
  • Listen carefully to others and respond to what they’re actually saying
  • Develop your own autonomy and be prepared to allow others to develop theirs

Reducing stress in others of this type

  • Thank them for their help
  • Keep your communication ‘superficial’ unless you’re able/willing to cope with emotions you may uncover
  • Never lose your temper
  • If angry, express your feelings politely
  • If you have to confront them, do it with patience
  • Don’t ‘reward’ clichés – ‘reward’ authentic communication and reply autonomously
  • Acknowledge them for being the person they are: ‘I really enjoy working with you”
  • Pay them lots of compliments

Be Strong


Languages and appearance clues

The following words and phrases are often used by people when they are in the grip of a ‘Be Strong’ Driver”

“That makes me sad” rather than “I feel sad”

Words like

“One”, “You”, “We”, “It” are used to replace “I”

The face and body tend to be immobile – another indication of the urge to hide evidence of feelings which may mean weakness.


  • Self sufficiency
  • Helfulness
  • Reliability
People with a distinct ‘Be Strong’ driver may enjoy tasks which are repetitive. They may like working on their own and can be stoical in the face of difficulties but will ‘carry on regardless”.

Causes of stress

Stress is caused by the fear of rejection through:
  • Being seen as vulnerable
  • Being forced to say what they feel
  • Exposing their weaknesses

Stress Behaviour

As stress increases the person:
  • Becomes rather withdrawn
  • Can ‘withold’ behaviour
  • Can become quieter, reluctant to communicate – it’s as if every word has to be dragges out of them, which can end up with the person feeling that they are being interrogated

Reducing stress in self

  • Learn to take as well as to give
  • Acknowledge that you have needs
  • Be willing to express your own needs, putting them first before those of others

Reducing stress in others of this type

  • Praise them for consideration and kindness – they often get taken for granted
  • Give them a surprise treat
  • Do not be effusive
  • Use irony (carefully!) – “I must say, you’re the most unreliable person I know!”
  • Don’t force them into expressions of vulnerability
  • Don’t shout – they may retreat even further
  • If you want something done give them clear instructions

Try Hard


 Language and appearance clues

Often, when people are in the grip of a ‘try hard’ driver they use the word ‘try’ in conversation, e.g:

  • “I’ll try and get it finished” or “I’m trying my best”.

When used in this way it usually means:

  • “I’ll try and do it instead of actually doing it”

Other typical words and phrases are:

  • “Can’t”
  • “I don’t understand”
  • “It’s very difficult”

Often these people appear tense, maybe  frowning, or with fists clenched.


The person with the ‘try hard’ driver is often intense and committed to righting wrongs.

They are usually on the side of the underdog and may work for political or other causes.

They often take on lots of tasks, often don’t complete them, set high goals which are not achieved and work very hard.

Causes of Stress

Distress is caused by:

  • Being criticised for not caring
  • Being irresponsible
  • Being told they are not trying
  • Perceived irresponsibility in others

Their fear is that they will be rejected by being found ‘blame worthy’

Stress behaviour

One of the main effects of stress is that much effort goes into trying, but very little is achieved.

Lots of tasks may be taken on, but something always seems to get in the way of success.

One of the problems for someone with a ‘try hard’ driver is that their belief is that they are only acceptable if they try hard. How therefore, will they be able to survive if they have succeeded? It is more important to go on trying that to finish.

The person tends to move into reactive, sometimes rebellious behaviour.

Reducing stress in self

  • Notice how often you use the word “try” and say instead “I will” or “I won’t”
  • Before taking on extra work, check that it’s realistic for you to do so. If your schedule is full, decide what you will give up in order to take on the new job. Check also that you want to do it, as opposed to believing that you ought to.
  • Be willing to distinguish between things that you can and can’t change
  • Stop comparing yourself to others
  • Create standards for yourself, not related to other peoples
  • Start now not tomorrow


Reducing stress in others of this type

  • If the person is being very competitive, ignore it. Don’t get involved in arguments that are focussed on comparisons e.g “You don’t understand as much as I do”
  • Never let them off what they have committed themselves to do. If you do, the implication is that you don’t expect them to succeed
  • Don’t ‘reward’ them for trying. ‘Reward’ them for finishing

Hurry Up


Language and appearance clues

Often when people are in the grip of a ‘hurry up’ driver, they use words and phrases like:

  • “Quick”
  • “Get going”
  • “Hurry up”
  • “Don’t waste time”

They may speak rapidly and will usually be doing more than one thing at a time.

Gestures like finger or foot tapping, wriggling about in their chair and constant checking of their watch are also indications.


The person with the ‘hurry up’ driver will usually be:

  • Lively
  • Adventurous
  • Excited
  • Enthusiastic
  • Quick

They are often described as the ‘life and sould of the party’. They often have a capacity of doing lots of things at once.

Causes of Stress

Distress is causes by:

  • Time to think
  • Silence
  • Having ‘nothing to do’

Stress Behaviour

As the stress increases, activity will become more and more frenetic.

Reducing Stress in Self

  • Learn to love life for its own sake so that the fear that life has no meaning becomes less threatened
  • A feeling of greater security will arise if you develop a belief system that supports it
  • Realise that you do not need to earn love by proving how much you do
  • Practise your empathy and listening skills
  • Be on time by not fitting in ‘just one more thing’ before appointments
  • Make time to express appreciation of people
  • Make lists; create structure and order despite how you feel about them

Reducing stress in others of this type

  • Praise their efficiency
  • Enjoy their spontaneity
  • Never be intimidated by their outbursts
  • Don’t ‘reward’ speed and the ability to do several things at once. ‘Reward’ them for taking time.

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