You might not have come across this specialist Clean Language question, which is:

“And does that (client’s words) have a shape or a size?”

As this is a specialist Clean Language question rather than a basic one, it means it needs to be used with caution, as if asked out of context, it won’t be clean.

So when is it okay to ask the coachee if something they have mentioned COULD have a shape or size?

Well, when some kind of existence in space and or a form has been implied or established by the client in the way they describe some ‘thing’ or object. Within the coachee’s metaphor this is usually expressed as a symbol that would logically be expected to have a shape or size. 

For example, if you were to ask of your coachee:

“That vision of yours for a sustainable future, that’s like what?” 

And they might reply:

“It’s like a tree on the horizon“

In this context, it could be useful to ask this specialist questions: 

“And does that tree have a shape or size?”

That might sound rather obvious, of course it will be a tree-like shape and size! But that could vary considerably and this question helps the coachee to notice what kind of form an object has. In doing so it brings that thing into clearer focus, and might help them notice more about it’s characteristics. 

As well as defining what something might look like, it also helps other senses become clearer, especially feelings and physical sensations, which usually have a shape and size too. 

So, we can also ask the shape or size question of an implied object that we sense within ourselves in some way, through a physical sensation or sometimes a visual image.

So for instance if our coachee said 

“I feel an energy in my heart”

In this instance, the energy described has a location (in my heart), and it is sensed (the coachee says they “feel” it.  So it sounds like this energy has a form of some kind. So you might follow up with “And when you feel an energy in your heart, does that energy have a shape or size?”.

There a a number of reasons why this question  is important. For one, David Grove (creator of Clean Language) said “In order for a metaphor to transform, it must first have a form”.

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