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How Resourceful Are You?


Practice Group Report

The topic for the evening was Modelling Resources. We started with a short discussion of what is a resource. I drew a quick sketch to show the difference between a resource, a problem and a desired outcome and we agreed that we would keep one another’s attention in the ‘resource’ box on the diagram. Working in pairs, we used the following as a starter question:

What is a skill, attribute or quality that you have that you value?

After the practice session, some people shared what they learned as a client:

  • I didn’t warn my facilitator that I don’t go into obvious metaphors, and I found it difficult to cut out the external noise (other pairs working together) and then at some point I got captured. I lost awareness of the others and started following a useful train of thought. Based on this experience my advice to facilitators would be to keep going, to stay with it.
  • I had so many images and metaphors I began to lose sight of what I was supposed to do with it. I had a number of strong images but now I don’t really see how they relate to the topic. My advice to facilitators based on this experience would be to keep referring back to the initial question.
  • My resource involved ‘connections’. It was powerful to explore this as a metaphor I realised there were sticky webs (external) and brain synapses (internal). My advice to a facilitator would be to expect the unexpected, and enjoy it.
  • I started off talking about my ability to create a safe group environment; I spoke about floating a few inches above the floor, and it turned into a bouncy castle. Now I have made it conscious, I will be able to use this metaphor in my training.
  • I have taken an unconscious skill and made it conscious. Now I am more confident and want to develop it and bring more structure to it. It helped when my facilitator summarised where we were.
  • I was thinking too much about my answers. I was trying to please, come up with an answer. When I opened up, there were lots of light bulb moments in my head.

You can see that we ‘milked’ the client learnings and got some tips for facilitators. Of course, they only really apply to the person in question. There is never a ‘one size fits all’ tip in this work - that’s the point of it. Although as facilitators we can gain experience and expertise, with each new client we are having to start from scratch and model how they ‘do’ themselves and so we are always learning. We spoke about the need to calibrate a client’s responses and to adjust what you are doing so that it better fits with their way of being. For example, if someone doesn’t take readily to being asked ‘where’ questions, leave those for a while until it seems more likely they’ll be able to respond.

Other topics that came up during this discussion:

  • The importance of having permission before asking these questions. Obviously at one level they are just ordinary questions and if you ask someone ‘what kind of ... is that?’ in everyday conversation, you don’t need permission for that, but it is not clean to try to ‘fix’ someone by asking them clean questions and it’s most definitely not clean to attempt to do that without gaining permission first.
  • How to introduce the questions into a coaching session. We acknowledged that the best way to do this will depend on the person. There’ll be people who take to this way of working like a duck to water and others who find some of the questions a bit strange. If we make an assumption they will perceive them as ‘odd’ and ‘warn’ them, then we may not be right. We agreed that if you want to signal in advance, it is cleaner to say something like, “I’ll be asking you some different questions this time.” Different does not suggest they are particularly good or that they are odd.
  • The separation between client and facilitator, which can make the process seem more removed or ‘colder’ than other processes. We acknowledged that, paradoxically, many clients experience it as ‘warmer’ with a feeling that they are being listened to and understood in a way that hasn’t happened before.

The main learning from the evening seemed to be that if you stay with developing a metaphor for longer than you would think (and past where you think you cannot ask any more questions) it seems that there is always more (and useful) information that can come to light.

Image by WalksWithAngels from Pixabay

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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