Merlin Consultancy +44 (0)20 8567 4156
Merlin Consultancy                                            +44 (0)20 8567 4156

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Merlin Consultancy
37 Kenilworth Road
W5 5PA

Tel: +44 (0) 20 8567 4156
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8932 8668


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Our Approach


Almost everything we do at Merlin Consultancy is underpinned and influenced by the positive power of FIRO®  Theory and The Human Element™ framework from the genius of Will Schutz.


It's in our DNA...


It's implicit in our training design, group facilitation, coaching, client care, consultancy practice and in our personal and professional values.


It's explicit in our Team Building events, Inspiring Leaders courses, Customer Service programmes and several workshops powered by The Human Element™.


This is because, through a holistic philosophy, it provides a complete approach,  process and set of tools for helping people to develop their self awareness and understand the emotional and behavioural drivers of their relationships with others. 


Awareness of behaviour and its impact on other people is also relevant to contemporary leadership theories encompassing Emotional Intelligence, Authentic Leadership, Participative Leadership and variations on humanistic and transformational leadership.


It is a positive model that focuses on potentialities rather than deficiencies and through understanding their own emotional intelligence in this way, we find that people develop in the moment with greater understanding of themselves, empathy towards others, resources, confidence and new ideas. It is simply inspiring to experience.


FIRO®  Theory provides an underpinning concept for interpersonal and group behaviour, supported by FIRO®  Element–B and the various “Elements of Awareness” psychometric instruments that provide insight into the self.


Their use is facilitated by a range of non psychometric and experiential activities and the whole combined body of work is collectively marketed as “The Human Element™”. 


The Human Element™ is a trademark brand for a specific range of programmes run under boundaried licence conditions.


Hilary Cooke is a Certified Human Element™ Trainer and Licensed Human Element™ Practitioner.


She is also one of only a handful of Master Practitioners of FIRO® Theory in the UK.

FIRO® and The Human Element™


The Work of Will Schutz

(19 December 1925 - 9 November 2002)


As a Harvard scientist and research psychologist, Will Schutz was a pioneer in the field of humanistic psychology and what we now know as emotional intelligence.


In the 1950s, he was part of the peer-group at the University of Chicago's Counselling Centre that included Carl Rogers, Thomas Gordon, Abraham Maslow and Elias Porter, among others.

During the Korean War, he was drafted back into the US Navy at the American Naval Research Laboratory to conduct research on why some teams were more successful and managed conflict better than others. These teams were involved with battle station decisions and so lives were at risk from poor teamwork or unresolved conflict.

The results of his research were published in 1958 when he introduced a theory of interpersonal relations he called Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO). 


Schutz also created FIRO-B® , a measurement instrument with scales that assess the behavioral aspects of the three dimensions, using Guttman Scaling as the statistical technique. The outputs of this technique within the questionnaire were researched and tested to ensure that the results were robust enough to be used commercially.


Through this work, he found that not only could he improve team performance, but could also use the accompanying questionnaire to predict interpersonal interaction. He argued that, beyond a person’s core physiological needs (such as food and water), they have interpersonal needs that motivate behaviour.


According to the original theory, three dimensions of interpersonal relations were proposed as necessary and sufficient to explain most human interaction: Inclusion, Control and Affection.

These dimensions are still used to assess group dynamics in organisations across the globe.


His later advancement of FIRO® Theory beyond the FIRO-B tool changed the "Affection" scale to the "Openness" scale in the "FIRO® - Element-B" and lead to a series of other instruments known collectively as "The Human Element™".


In 1967, Schutz was invited to become a resident leader at the Esalen Institute and according to Anderson was “probably the best-qualified person in the country for the position.” 

This change highlighted his newer theory that behavior comes from feelings ("FIRO Element-F") and the self-concept ("FIRO Element-S").  


The contemporaneous social and clinical scientists were beginning to share reactions against the mechanistic beliefs of behaviourism, and the determinism and biological reductionism of psychoanalysis. Phenomenology and modern humanistic psychology were beginning to evolve as a “third force”, strongly influenced by Abraham Maslow and Clark Moustakas.


In the context of the time, Esalen was a central hub and anecdotes and records confirm the gathering of people such as Fritz Perls, Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Virginia Satir, Claudio Naranjo, Gregory Bateson and Rollo May and many others associated with pioneering humanistic psychology.

FIRO® Theory is a blend of many theories, research and experiences over the course of several years. In recent years, Schutz has been described by many practitioners as "the great synthesizer", acknowledging his willingness to accept and utilise a variety of techniques from other respected psychology contributors such as Maslow, Huxley, Mead, Feldenkrais, Rolf, Perls, Lowen, Satir and synthesise these with his own observations and real experience.

Dr Will Schutz is the originator of FIRO® Theory and The Human Element.™

FIRO® is a registered trademark of Consulting Psychologist Press.

The Human Element™ is a registered trademark of Business Consultants Network Inc.

FIRO® Element B

FIRO® Theory is an approach that provides individuals with insights and awareness about their behaviour preferences. It is highly effective at achieving the encompassing development of awareness of the origins and impact of behaviour by understanding the individual self concept and its formative influences.


It provides a variety of test questionnaires designed to cover a wide variety of application in any areas to do with interpersonal behaviour.


FIRO® Element–B is the psychometric instrument that provides further insight into assumed behaviour preferences. It is a self-scored questionnaire that provides a range of numbers indicating the strength of preference for each of the behaviour dimensions of inclusion, control and openness. 


Because FIRO®-Element B is boundaried around behaviour, it is ideal for professional individuals attending because their employer requires them to, rather than for voluntary personal development. 

The questionnaire provides answers for the following questions:

  • How do I relate to others?
  • How do others relate to me?
  • How do I want to relate to others?
  • How do I want others to relate to me?


Behaviour is explored on three dimensions:

Inclusion – being the amount of contact I like to have with others

Control – being the amount of dominance I like to have over others

Openness – being the amount of disclosure I like to engage in with others.

Preferences range from a low preference for each dimension, mid-range or a high preference. The strength of preference is identified through the questionnaire and ranges from 0 (low strength preference) to 9 (extremely strong preference)

FIRO® Theory proposes that as a result of our behavioural choices, there are corresponding preferences for atmosphere:


Low Preference

High Preference











The purpose of exploration is to increase the personal bandwidth or awareness of choosing behaviour that is appropriate to the circumstances.


The risk of not making aware choices is that in situations where needs are not being met, defences manifest themselves in rigid and inflexible behaviours driven by the sub-conscious.


The goal is flexible and rational behaviour as a result of choice, not as a defensive mechanism to protect a damaged self concept. This awareness is important for what we choose to do and what we want to receive from others.


The theory proposes that by understanding needs and preferences, we can also understand the underlying anxieties and the resulting defensive reactions and behaviour. FIRO Theory suggests the connections between the behaviour and defensive reactions.


As FIRO® is fundamentally an interpersonal theory, the results of each Element–B instrument are shared within each group and opportunities for feedback and peer review are utilised as an invaluable part of the process. 

FIRO® and a Service Culture

According to many researchers, we are now well and truly in the "Experience Economy" and to be truly memorable, customer service requires more than a quality product delivered on time at a suitable price.


The secret of organisations that excel in any market is that they ensure their customers feel valued, capable and well-liked and create memorable experiences by instilling a sense of joy, fun or delight as well as delivering a top-notch product. 


Quite simply, customers experience memorable service when they feel good about themselves while engaging in business with you.


Putting FIRO at the heart of your Customer Service effort is a great way to achieve this experience because when the culture and climate is created in which individuals within service teams are able to feel valued, capable and well-liked, then they are better equipped to be fully present and really connect and engage with the customer.


In addition, employees who have the confidence to be self-determining will feel empowered and able to limit and solve problems creatively.

The greater the level of awareness of the leaders and employees, the greater the ability to manage the customer relationship with the optimum degree of emotional intelligence to exceed expectations and create memorable experiences.

Teams and individuals who are aware of this link are able to consistently create a service experience for their customers where they feel significant, competent and likeable.


Research and experience prove that in this culture, employees thrive by becoming increasingly engaged and alive and customer loyalty is created through satisfaction at fthe critical emotional level.


We can prove it too - because we've done it several times before - and with the maintenance tools to ensure sustainable results. 

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