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What is Iceberg Model?

The Iceberg Model is a metaphor used to illustrate the hidden aspects of human behaviour. Just like an iceberg, most of what influences our actions lies beneath the surface, unseen by others. The visible tip of the iceberg represents our outward behaviour, what we say and do. This includes our actions, communication style, and body language.

However, a much larger portion remains hidden underwater. This submerged part represents our underlying thoughts, feelings, values, beliefs, and motivations. These unseen factors significantly influence our visible behaviour. For example, someone who appears confident and assertive might be driven by a fear of failure hidden beneath the surface. Understanding the Iceberg Model helps us recognise that behaviour is not random. By exploring the hidden aspects, we can gain deeper insights into ourselves and others, improving communication, empathy, and overall understanding.

What is an example use of Iceberg Model?

This is a useful model for helping understand ourselves and how we work. Ofsted we are dealing with issues at the superficial/behavioural level, and this model helps us see that the behaviour is linked to much deeper aspects of a person – their values, identity and beliefs. This understanding can help us navigate conflict, help coach people and think about personal change in a deeper way.

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