Sign up to our e-newsletter now and receive a free gift:
  • - Audio - David Grove on ‘Clean Coaching’
  • - Video - ‘Exploring Health & Healing with Clean’
  • - PDF - ‘Creativity in Coaching’

Subscribe Now

Brochure Download

View our brochure for the year ahead


Transformational Change through Metaphor at the BBC

BBC background and training requirements

Liz Macann, Head of Coaching at the BBC, with Carol Wilson, Angela Dunbar and Wendy Oliver after delivering Transformational Change through Metaphor, an advanced coach training programme for the BBC.

The BBC has trained a substantial in house team of internal coaches, all of whom receive continuing training to develop their skills. All are practising coaches in addition to their full time roles, and include producers, programme makers and managers of various departments, and all maintain a minimum of 3 clients at any one time.

These very experienced and competent coaches required advanced coach training to stimulate and inspire their work. They had a willingness to try something different which goes beyond standard models, encompassing a very different way of thinking to help the client explore their challenges, and an openness to a more psychological approach that involves working with clients at the deeper level of visualization, metaphor and trance work.

The programme: Transformational Change through Metaphor

We designed a two day modular programme that took the BBC coaches to the next level of their coach development, enabling them to work with clients at a deeper level of thinking. The programme covered Clean Language questions, working with metaphor and, most importantly, taught participants how to help the client access a different level of thinking – leading to transformational change. The learning took place in a highly experiential way with opportunities to witness expert demonstrations to see change happen and practise the process themselves to experience the results

The programme was spread over one month, with a day’s training at either end. In between the live training sessions, participants were paired up to practise with each other and with their existing coaching clients, and attended a mentoring conference line call after two weeks. We have found that in all types of training the way to embed the skills so that trainees actually use them is to run these paired practise sessions, where trainees can experiment, make their mistakes and extend their boundaries in the safety of practising with another person from the course. This method builds the participants’ confidence so that they will not falter when they take the techniques out into their workplaces..

The results

Participants developed the skills to:

• Explore coachees’ issues using metaphor
• Understand the power of metaphor and the language required to use it effectively
• Understand the principles of “Clean” and apply this to any non-directive form of coaching
• Identify solution focused metaphors as opposed to metaphors of the problem
• Use the 13 ‘Clean Language’ questions which least influence the client’s perception
• Use Clean Language to define outcomes, understand barriers, identify resources and help the client make transformational

Comments from participants:

It gave me a way to explore emotions and feelings safely, staying within the boundary that separates coaching from therapy. It was also a revelation to see where the client’s mind went to when freed from its usual verbal restrictions when exploring an issue. An unexpectedly great way of working. – Liz Macann, Head of Executive, Leadership and Management Coaching, BBC.”

    • It was an excellent mix of theory, practice and extra curricular activity.
    • My understanding of of myself and my current challenges is much better. I now have another key tool in my toolbox.
    • This has been the most energising course – well organised and planned – I particularly liked the amount of reinforcement and fun. I will include CL in much of my coaching, do more reading about coaching and broaden my knowledge generally. I will use CL and metaphor as a coaching technique.
    • Most useful and good course notes too.
    • A great tool to enhance my coaching.
    • The facilitators were knowledgeable and confident with contrasting styles of delivery.
    • I really liked the practice between the modules.
    • The structure was helpful – well designed.
    • It was brilliant and has given me new skills for leadership and new possibilities as leader and coach.
    • I find it energising and so insightful. I feel I have learned a very powerful way of helping clients deal with complex issues in a safe way. The tiger in my tank for coaching!
    • It was an excellent mix of theory, practice and extra curricular activity.
    • The practise sessions have enabled me to examine my own development more closely.
    • I will put this learning into practice; in fact I have done so already.
    • I felt the mix between nurture and stretch worked well for me – good clear tuition but backed up by me having to participate.
    • I changed my relationship with my team by redefining how I want to ‘lead’. This came about in the context of a specific goal – that of engaging the team in the process of buying in to change.
    • Clean Language really allows the client to uncover what they think more powerfully and quicker than in traditional coaching.
    • Having been suspicious of these new tools at the outset I’ve found that using them and having them used on me has won me over. I’ve discovered clean language + metaphor has the power to deliver fresh insight
    • As a client I explored an issue through metaphor that I had explored previously to my coach (without metaphor) while the first was hard work + useful + positive, the second was quick – easy + massively insightful + useful.

Contact Carol Wilson to discuss your requirements for programmes like this
01932 702657

Or Office +44(0) 0207 022 4923