Clean Set Up
by Marian Way in Clean Language
Practice Group Report
We started the meeting by explaining our ‘melting pot’ metaphor to our two new members, Karen and Rachel, who then both contributed their ideas about the kind of group they’d like to belong to. Rachel added an armchair because she wants the group to be safe and comfortable. Karen talked about the group having an intention and being vibrant and added yellow ‘sparkle’ to our metaphor map.
Next, we had a go at the Clean Set Up Caitlin describes on her DVD. We asked each person:
For this practice group to go just the way you’d like it, it will be like what?
For this practice group to be like , you’d like to be like what?
For you to be like  and the practice group to be like  how can we support you?
We developed each of the three answers a little, by asking a few clean questions. Some interesting metaphors for the evening emerged, including a flowing river, a chameleon, a diamond and a warm summers’ day, and we discussed how this idea might be used in different contexts, such as at the start of a coaching session (using the metaphor as a way of checking back in at the end of the session), the start of a meeting, a conversation or project. It could also be used in the relationship work that Jenny and Nigel do.
Next, we listened to a little bit of a tape of David Grove working with a client - some people wanted to know what David sounded like. We noted that even though David started with “And what would you like to have happen?”, the client answered with a problem, which David immediately developed. This felt uncomfortable to us, as we would normally ask questions designed to get at a client’s outcome before developing a problem. We also noted how he asked that first question - and how the cadence of David’s voice suggested a deep rapport.
Finally, we moved onto a couple of individual questions from group members. Cathy wanted to know how to get a client to work in metaphor and Jenny mentioned Nigel’s idea of suggesting a metaphor to a client that they can then correct. We also talked about being patient, and also that for some people metaphor really isn’t a medium they are comfortable with and that it may be more effective to work with their conceptual language or use another methodology altogether. Clean Space was offered as one alternative.
Diana was interested in how to use Clean Language in general communication, and it became apparent that she had a particular situation in mind, so the group asked Diana some clean questions, which helped her gain some new insights.
My metaphor in the ‘clean set up’ was of a flower opening - and this evening turned out to be a particularly interesting flower.
About Marian Way
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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