SIX WAYS TO SHARPEN YOUR CLEAN LANGUAGE SKILLS
Had some training in Clean Language but struggling to put it into practice? You are not alone! Clean Language is incredibly simple, but that doesn’t make it easy. Initially you need to fight against counterproductive habits of thinking and communication, including the bias towards a directive approach. Here are six ways you can begin to make Clean Language a part of your everyday approach so your clients can reap the benefits:
1) Learn the questions ‘off by heart’– Just like learning a new language, this involves setting aside some dedicated time for practice. One way to do this is to choose one question per week to focus your attention on: write it on a yellow sticky near your computer screen, set it as your mobile screen saver, or even write it in felt tip on your breakfast cereal box! And then, look for every opportunity to use it. Each time you see the written question say it out loud so you get used to the form of the words in your mouth. Get interested in how this particular question works! We have a dedicated You Tube channel with a series of short videos, each focusing on a single Clean Language question. Plus, we’ve just launched some more free to attend “Bite Sized Clean” Zoom taster sessions, again each 45 minute workshop covers just one question. Dates from Thursday 15th February. Go to our Eventbrite page to check dates and to register your attendance.
2) Put your ‘clean ears’ on – Asking a Clean question begins with what goes on for you when you hear what the coachee / other person says. We all have bad habits around jumping to conclusions and making assumptions. Instead, listen as though you truly know nothing, adopting a stance of ‘wise ignorance’. I have a metaphor around putting my ‘clean ears’ on that I find helpful, especially in challenging situations, read more about that here.
3) Develop your modelling and systems-thinking skills. This is about what’s behind any question you ask. The inner processing that goes on when you attempt to make sense of the coachee’s experience and how they are structuring it. Both ‘modelling’ and ‘systems thinking’ are wide-reaching approaches that go beyond their use in Clean Language. Which means there is masses of information available out there in many forms! For instance, the Open University run a free online course on modelling systems! Modelling and systems thinking are approaches that require looking at the world in a different way. Getting to your own personal eureka moment around will be unique for you and hard to predict. Explore different kinds of learning materials to find what’s right for you. Read a book, watch a Ted Talk, h Have a conversation with a fellow Clean practitioner. Another approach is to practice self modelling. Think of something you’d like to have happen, and isn’t happening. All of that is like what, for you? Map it out by drawing a model of it on paper and notice what kind of system it is, You might also be interested in attending our Advanced Clean Language training course, which starts on Thursday 1st February and runs for three months, giving you ample opportunity to learn more about modelling, systems thinking and other advanced Clean Language techniques. Click here for full details.
4) Take it off line. Record a conversation and run it through a free transcription service, such as ‘Otter.ai’, Then choose a 20 minute section to scrutinise. Any part will have something interesting to discover! First of all, highlight what the other person/coachee said. Read through the narrative a few times, and reflect on what you are noticing. Are there any words that get repeated? Any subtle metaphors that you missed during the actual conversation? You might also want to highlight all the verbs – is there a pattern of thinking / behaviour / experience that they are revealing? What kind of system is that? Now give some thought to where you might want to focus attention and ponder on which Clean Language question would be most useful. Separate to this exercise, highlight all your questions in the same 20 minute section and scrutinize those. What do you notice about that? Do you spot any habits, good or bad, about the kind of questions you are asking and what you choose to focus on? This is not an exercise to berate yourself for what you are not doing (yet), but an opportunity to stretch your Clean Language questioning muscles in new directions!
5) Attend supervision. This gives you the opportunity to explore your real-life Clean Coaching conversations with another, more experienced pair of eyes. The extra perspective can help you expand your awareness of what might be happening for the coachee, but also help you notice your own patterns when using Clean Language, revealing what you do at your best, and also any blind spots you may have. We run group supervision sessions – which provide a very affordable way to get the insight you need. These regular group sessions on Zoom are held with the same core group each time, where you can share your client cases and conundrums, and hear from others about their coaching scenarios they are finding challenging, Group members say they find this a safe and generative space in which to be vulnerable and at the same time, discover your own inner wisdom. From just £66 per session. Click here to find out more or email me at Angela@cleancoaching.com.