Modelling Time

Practice Group Report

This month's topic was Modelling Time, and we worked in pairs, starting each session with a Clean Set Up (devised by Caitlin Walker and Dee Berridge), which involves asking three 'starter' questions with two or three questions of each response. This helped everyone to discover what kind of session we'd like to have, how we needed to be in order to make it the best session it could be, and what we needed from each other.

(I've also started doing this Clean Set Up at the start of each of my coaching sessions and am finding it works very well to make sure that my clients get the kind of session they want.)

To model time, we used another activity of Caitlin’s which involves the facilitator putting the client’s attention on first the past, then developing their perception of the past with clean questions, then the same for the future, then for ‘now’. This proved to be a very interesting exercise.

Everyone in the group found they experience the future as being straight ahead, and three of the four had their past located behind them; one person experienced the past as a crescent shape coming out in front of them, and said: “I use the past as a learning curve.”

‘Now’ had various locations all in, or very close to, the body:

  • It is like I am in a ‘Mr & Mrs’ (a TV programme) booth, with headphones on.
  • ‘Now’ is a pivot inside me, which balances the future and the past – I see the past and future as a continuum
  • ‘Now’ is just behind my eyes
  • ‘Now’ is just in front of me – like a keyhole. There is something in front of it. This corresponds with the fact that I don’t like to plan. (During the session, this person experimented with going round the keyhole and discovered that the future looks quite nice.)

And what did we learn about facilitating cleanly?

  • The “Like What?” question is to be used sparingly. It is designed to invite someone to give a metaphor for what they are experiencing, and so if they already have a metaphor, there is no need to ask it. It can become very confusing if you start working with a metaphor of a metaphor of a metaphor…
  • There is no need to be clever – it is all about the client, not the facilitator.
  • If you stay with some aspect for a while, asking questions from different angles, something new often emerges.
  • Clean Set Up is a useful way to start a session.

We spent a few minutes at the end of the meeting discussing future topics and it seems there have been some favourites:

We’ll repeat these topics in the New Year. In the meantime, have a good Christmas and New Year break!

Tags: practice group

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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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