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Fine Tuning Your Skills


A key principle in all David Grove’s work is that of iteration, which is what happens when the result of a procedure is used as the starting point for the next application of the procedure. We ask a clean question, a person responds and we then ask a clean question of that response. This is one aspect of the work that makes it so powerful; ideas build one upon another and new – or old – wisdom can emerge.

We run our trainings in an iterative way, too. We start with a loose agenda (which itself is the product of many iterations of the course) and then we build on the ideas that are coming up, live, in the group. We use material that comes from participants and the interactions between them to make our teaching points. And we sometimes create new activities in the moment that emerge from observing what people are doing well, what they are not doing so well and what seems to be needed right now. In this way, we know that what we are talking about is relevant to the actual participants in the room; we’re not teaching a mythical creature called ‘the syllabus’.

Iteration is critical in all clean approaches, in our trainings – and also in the way we develop what we offer. Each time we run an event, we consider what worked well, what didn’t work so well and what would work better. We adjust the next event in line with what we’ve learned and of course in line with what’s actually happening.

And all of this means we are becoming much more intelligent about what it takes to become good at Systemic and/or Symbolic Modelling. And – you’ve guessed it – it’s iteration. Those who become really proficient and who are able to offer a good service to the public are those who train iteratively. They learn a set of skills, practise those skills, come back to learn more nuances, to hone their skills, then they practice again, learn more and hone again, etc. – fine tuning their ability as they move from conscious to unconscious competence.

Knowing that this is how excellence emerges we are changing the structure of our training to encourage this kind of deep learning – and the purpose of this post is to announce our new and exciting programmes, which will provide a clear path for those people who want to excel in these crafts (and will also work well for those who only need or want to know the basics).

The Systemic Modelling Level 1 Rolling Programme

Starting from now we will be running our Systemic Modelling training as a rolling programme with several 3-day modules per year. Each module will have the same basic structure and, once you have completed Clean for Teams, you will be able to join in at any time and do as many – or few - of these modules as you wish. It will be a truly iterative learning programme; each person will come with their current skill level, what they have learned between modules (what worked well and what didn’t work so well), their questions and what they need from the group during the 3 days. We, together with the group, will then construct an agenda for the three days, designed to meet everyone’s needs.

As it’s a rolling programme that people can join in any time, participants will have different skill levels. There’ll be newcomers, whose only experience so far has been Clean for Teams, and there’ll be people with lots of experience who have almost completed their Level 1 assessment. So when you join you will receive a comprehensive Systemic Modelling Level 1 Manual to guide you on your own individual learning journey, and give you plenty of ideas for getting the most from the live modules. It will include background reading, instructions for how to run the various Systemic Modelling activities and ideas for gaining the skills required within and outside of the modules. There will be a number of assignments, with a clear indication of the assessment criteria for each one. You will be in charge of your own learning path and you can take the learning at your own pace. Assessment will happen within the modules, also at the pace you want.

When I described this new programme to a group of students recently, I likened the rolling programme to a train, with modules coming along every 3 months or so. This metaphor caught on and someone said that Clean for Teams is like an admission ticket to get onto the train. Since we now know that most people need a lot more than six days to become really proficient we are aware that is may be quite a long train ride, so to keep it affordable, we’ll be offering special rates for those who book a number of modules..

The Clean Facilitator Programme

To become a Certified Clean Facilitator you need to demonstrate your skills in Clean Language, Symbolic Modelling and Clean Space. (The assessment criteria are here) Our existing Core Skills and Clean Space trainings will take you a long way towards the required standard. And to understand and be able to demonstrate some of the nuances involved more iterations are generally needed. Until now, people have been repeating Core Skills (which is still an option and one that we encourage), but we have had many requests for more advanced level skills. So we have created a rolling programme for this too, that we are calling: Clean Language and Symbolic Modelling: Fine Tuning Your Skills.

This will also consist of a number of 3-day modules throughout the year and will also include assessment for those who want it. The focus will be on your learning needs and making sure you get the opportunities to practice and receive feedback from your peers and the trainer. The group size will be kept small (no more than 6 participants per trainer) and everyone will take a turn to facilitate in front of the group and to get feedback from everyone. When we have trialled this method of teaching we have found that everyone learns at an exponential rate. The needs of individuals become clear and these can either be addressed in the feedback sessions or if it becomes clear that a group need has emerged, the trainer can run a session that is specifically designed to meet that need. This will indeed be deep learning and as such, we are hoping that some experienced and already qualified people will join us as well – we can all learn from examining the nuances that come up in different sessions. If you wish, you can also bring along a client who has no experience of Clean Language.

We are very excited about these new programmes and would love to know what you think about them. And of course, we hope you’ll be able to join us too! (If you haven’t yet started with Clean for Teams or Core Skills, you can still join in and take advantage of the special offers – just contact us for details)

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About Marian Way

Marian Way's avatar

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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