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Metaphors and Values


Practice Group Report

Our topic was Metaphors and Values. This was inspired by conversations with coaches who want to practise their Clean Language skills but do not yet feel confident to use Clean Language for a whole session. One way to achieve this is to use Clean Language for a specific task. Many coaches spend time with their clients looking at their values, which are ideally suited for metaphor work.

Helen Harrison, a coach who has completed the Clean Facilitator programme, has developed some Value Cards to help clients to identify their values. We experimented with using the cards to identify values, and then Clean Language to develop them. Some interesting metaphors emerged, for example:

CURIOSITY developed into a little bloodhound running excitedly through an enchanted forest, which contains a treasure chest of secrets - and having a key to unlock the chest.

JOY developed into a deep intake of breath that’s inspiring and which gives energy, and an “I can do it” attitude.

SELF-ACCEPTANCE developed into a clown sitting on one shoulder, and which can dissolve ‘black’ stuff by throwing a loving, purply liquid over it.

STILLNESS developed into a glass container with blue liquid in it.

ENLIGHTENMENT developed into a Chinese lantern, which is enclosed and which can extend and grow bigger. It spreads warmth and light and new perspectives and is transparent.

BOLDNESS developed into a sunflower, rooted in the ground, head in the clouds, and which speaks from the centre.

SENSITIVITY developed into a translucent butterfly that lands delicately on people, like a blessing.

CONTRIBUTION developed into a large dark boulder that didn’t reflect any light, and which absorbed energy, and which was resting on her chest.

AUTHENTICITY developed into a small, powerful sphere, which, when engaged, allowed expression. This was right in the middle of the solar plexus.

These last two metaphors belonged to the same person - and there was a relationship between them… when the sphere was engaged, it threw the boulder off.

Afterwards, we had a brief discussion about the value of finding metaphors for values and concluded that there is a lot of value in this kind of activity:

  • I realised I have been putting my clown in a bag, now I can let him be there.
  • It was intriguing - it connected to a few other metaphors I’ve had. I have put a few pieces of a puzzle together and have a few more to go.
  • Although I think ‘joy’ is more a state than a value, I now know how to get it when I need or want it.
  • It was nice to see things in a positive light.
  • I started out by thinking about what I could do for other people and came round to do for me.

And what did anyone learn about Clean Language?

  • It takes like to locate a concept, and then it becomes real through Clean Language
  • I used all the questions!
  • This was the first time that I worked with something that became an outcome, then an action.

Before we finished, Robin recommended a book by Anthony de Mello called One Minute Wisdom. This has a different value, accompanied by a story, on every page.

Image by Ulrike Leone 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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