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Where Did That Question Come From?

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Practice Group Report

SERIOUS FUN - this is what new member Dave said he would like when we asked him what kind of group he’d like to belong to. So he added the word ‘serious’ in front of the ‘fun’ on our metaphor map, along with two stars.

Our topic this month emerged from last month’s meeting when we began to explore the question: How do you know what question to ask? Marian devised an activity that would help us find out more about this. In groups of 3 or 4, with one client and one facilitator, the observer(s) could stop the facilitator at any time and ask: And where did that question come from? Observers then asked Clean Questions of the facilitator to develop these perceptions a bit more. It turned out to be a very interesting exercise.

Here is what we found out about what was driving our questions:

  • At any time, the client’s desired outcome is not too far away. I use this to develop the metaphor landscape. I trust that the landscape will become psychoactive if I carry on bringing it back to the desired outcome and bringing the metaphors into play.
  • Words and phrases light up for me. (Several people picked up on words that were marked out by the client in some way: intonation, repetition, non verbal gestures.)
  • A word appeared between me and the client. It discovered that it is like drips going into a pail of water, when it reaches a critical mass a spurt of information appears.
  • Gut feeling / intuition
  • I feel myself going down a particular track (trying to make change happen) and I say NO. I then step back from the obvious and ask a few more questions.
  • I have got to get to a certain point.
  • It is like I have a cog and I take the client round it until all the bits fit in.
  • The first sentence the client said (it was in 4 bits) was in front of the person - like and upside down tree in front of me. Some words were in bold. It was about balance and I needed to finish it.
  • I could see if I was going off track.

Clients and facilitators both got useful information from this activity, and it also highlighted whether facilitators were trying to ‘make’ something happen. This can often generate resistance and we agreed that simply helping the client to explore their metaphors (in relation to their desired outcome) paradoxically makes it more likely that something will happen.

Photo by Josh Riemer on Unsplash


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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