Clean and ...

Practice Group Report

It was great to see so many people last night and a special welcome to Gary, Steve, Roger, Mary, Maureen, Bob and Helen who all joined us for the first time. We hope you enjoyed the evening and that it gave you plenty of food for thought.

After the regular ‘new member orientation’ we moved onto the topic for the evening: “Clean and …”

Several people in the group use Clean in combination with other models and methodologies and the idea was to find out how they do this. We started by asking about the various models people are using Clean with and they were:

  • Clean and … Coaching (Juliet, Sheryl and Sarah-Jane)
  • Clean and … NLP (Angela)
  • Clean Space and … John Gottman’s “Four Horses of the Apocalypse” (Jenny and Nigel)*
  • Clean and … Marketing
  • Clean and … Business meetings
  • Clean and … Careers counselling

We decided to model the first four of these and split into four groups, each with an exemplar (the person who does Clean and … ), a client, a modeller (to model the exemplar) and an observer. First, the exemplar worked with their client and then the modeller used Clean Language to find out more about what they were doing.

Our main conclusion was that there are three ways of using Clean and …:

  • To have a predetermined ‘route’, e.g. (in NLP) asking “What do you imagine?” and then developing the response with Clean questions, then asking “What do you feel?” and developing that, then “What do you hear?” and developing that.
  • To work cleanly for the main part, adding in anything that’s needed (e.g. marketing advice) as you go along. Sarah-Jane, who modelled Lizz (our marketer) was surprised how well this flowed; she had previously only imagined the first more organised structure. She had thought it would be like swimming along the ‘clean’ lane of a swimming pool, then going under the beads and swimming in the ‘dirty’ lane, then back in the clean lane, etc. But this was not what happened, and the metaphor that emerged was like unravelling a ball of wool.
  • To work non-cleanly for the most part (e.g. in a business meeting), interjecting with Clean Language questions when clarification is needed.

We had a brief discussion about our dislike of the word ‘dirty’ or ‘unclean’ for times when we’re not using Clean Language. We didn’t think of an alternative word, but Jenny raised an interesting point: deviating from Clean feels ‘dirty’, but if you start from another model and ‘clean it up’ that feels like an improvement! I would say that the most important thing is to know when you are being clean and when not, so you are making an active choice to be one or the other, rather than being ‘dirty’ by accident.

The modellers for the evening said they felt challenged and stretched and that this was a good thing. We noticed that as they were asking about something that had just happened, they tended to use the past tense (What did you want to have happen? and When x and y, what happened?) rather than staying with the present tense. The sequence questions came in very useful for the modelling.

Thank you everyone for your contributions. It seemed like a lot of learning was happening. I would be very interested to know more about what you each discovered as individuals, in particular the details of the various models that were elicited. What did you discover that was new? And what did our new members learn about Clean Language, Clean Space, modelling, or themselves? Please use the ‘comments’ box below to add something about your perception of the evening.

*The four horsemen are indicators of a poor relationship: contempt, criticism, stonewalling and defensiveness. Jenny and Nigel look for indicators of positive relationships, so use terms that are the other side of the coin: respect, praise, engagement, open-mindedness. They incorporate these as potential spaces in their Clean Space work on relationships.

Tags: business, clean coaching, clean language

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About the author

Marian Way

Company Director & Trainer, Portchester, Fareham
A highly skilled facilitator and trainer, Marian, who founded Clean Learning in 2001, has developed and delivered training across the world. She is the author of Clean Approaches for Coaches, co-author, with James Lawley, of Insights in Space and co-author, with Caitlin Walker, of So you want to be... #DramaFree. Marian is an expert Clean facilitator, an adept modeller, a programme writer and an inspirational trainer. She has a natural ability to model existing structures, find the connections between them and design new ways for people to learn. Marian was a leading innovator within the Weight Watchers organisation, which included developing the “points” strategy, a local idea that went on to become a global innovation. She is a director of both Clean Learning and Training Attention CIC, world leaders in clean applications for corporate, educational and community development. She designs our programmes and workbooks, leads workshops and teaches on all our courses. She's trained people in Great Britain, Russia, Sweden, Germany, Australia, Japan and the USA. Marian is also a recognised Clean Assessor.

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