I will never forget my first taste of Clean Language, well over 20 years ago now. I had been learning NLP and for one of my weekend workshops, Penny Tompkins and James Lawley were the guest tutors. Of course I volunteered to be the demo subject ‘coachee’ and can still vividly and viscerally remember the embodied sensation of my metaphor “being on a seesaw” – firstly stuck at one end, being thrown up and down with no control, and then finding my way to the centre of the axis and standing on top. I felt the exhilaration throughout my whole body as I realised how I could be in balance in this position and how I could pivot easily and gracefully from here…. I was hooked!

After a few more private sessions, I knew that Clean Language was something that I needed and wanted to be a major part of my life moving forwards. And, I was prepared to do whatever it took to make that happen!

Once I’d done all the available training I could find, I offered my services as an assistant, so I could revisit the training whilst offering help and support to new learners. It seemed to me that the very best way to become an expert in this approach was to go over and over the training again and again. Each time my experience was very different. I noticed things I missed before. The growing familiarity of the questions and models meant that I was becoming more confident until it felt intuitive to ask Clean questions. Over this time I was lucky enough to firstly learn and then assist with David Grove himself, before eventually taking over the mantle with the Clean Coaching Centre.

In recent years, as the Clean Coaching Centre grew, I could clearly see how having assistants work with me in a similar way as I did back then, could be a golden opportunity – for students, our training centre and for the legacy of David Grove’s work. 

With the help of Helle Browne, my first hybrid “part-assistant/part-personal coach”, the idea of the Clean Genie was born!

Our first year’s Clean Genie group formed in 2020, with 10 returning students. Four year’s later half of that original group are still part of the team, which has grown steadily since.

So what is a Clean Genie?

A Clean Genie is a student who has completed all of our training modules and is repeating their learning at a deeper level. In exchange for a very favourable rate to repeat all trainings, Clean Genies commit to giving some of their time each month in support of new learners with the Clean Coaching Centre. Our team of Clean Genies have said that second time around, concepts are grasped that were elusive when first learning. And that the higher level principles and strategies are more readily absorbed now the basic question structure and syntax is in the ‘muscle’. We have Clean Genies who have repeated the learning multiple times, each iteration building on what they learnt before as well as keeping their Clean skills fresh and alive! As part of David Grove’s ‘Emergent Knowledge’ Clean Coaching, we teach the power of iteration: how spiralling around the same thing over and over can create a feedback loop where new learning and insight can emerge. It’s baked into David Grove’s processes and techniques, and so we thought why not build it into the overall structure of our training?  

Being a Clean Genie also means being part of a community of people passionate about becoming masterful with Clean Coaching, offering and receiving help and support from others within the Clean Genie team: to test out ideas, help bring them into reality, share successes and concerns and continue to practice together.

When attending live classes and group reflection calls, Clean Genies are able to share their experience and understanding, given they are ‘one step ahead’ of the students often their wisdom feels more relevant to new students who can more easily relate to this.

Being a Clean Genie is like what?

In the early days of its inception, I described the role of an assistant with us as being like “A fly on the wall’. I used this metaphor to describe their role as an invisible pair of eyes: non-intrusive but able to offer assistance when required, including structured, unbiased feedback on practice sessions (which we provide for all our students).

I learnt this term “fly on the wall“ from author and supervisor Peter Hawkins, who invited me to take this perspective when reflecting on a coaching session. It helped me to reach an independent, third- position perspective, away from my point of view or the view of my coachee. The fly on the wall is unseen, but sees all without influencing. A great metaphor!

However, almost as soon as I uttered the term, it felt an ugly way to describe this beautiful support network that had been created. In mid-flow, I changed the metaphor to being like an “invisible genie.”  The genie is always there. But only appears when called for. As with our Clean Genies, they contribute when asked, they keep their feedback Clean and they learn more from being in the observer position.

Of course, unfortunately they can’t grant three wishes!


*** To learn more about becoming a Clean Genie, please click here. ***