Clean Language: Core Skills

Join us for an exciting 6-day journey where you'll start from scratch and learn how to uncover the metaphors and patterns that are beneath the surface. Find out how to develop a person's metaphor landscape and to encourage the conditions needed for deep and lasting change. 

Who's it for?

  • Coaches, counsellors, psychotherapists and psychologists
  • Therapists and health workers
  • Managers and directors from all sectors - private, public and third
  • HR professionals, team leaders and mentors
  • NLP Practitioners 
  • Salespeople. mediators and negotiators
  • Students of modalities such as Motivational Interviewing, Appreciative Inquiry, Servant Leadership, Solution-Focus Coaching/Therapy or Non-Violent Communication
  • Teachers, parents, social workers, youth workers, family therapists and others who work with children
  • Interviewers and researchers - or anyone who uses questioning techniques in their work
  • Visual recorders / facilitators
  • Independent thinkers
  • Anyone who wants to improve their ability to communicate well
  • Anyone whose role involves helping other people to think
  • Leaders who prefer to empower people rather than telling them what to do
  • People who are future-oriented, outcome focussed and fascinated by what makes themselves and others tick
  • People who enjoy learning new tools and different ways of thinking

What will I gain?

  • The Clean Language questions and how to ask them for maximum impact
  • A way to help people feel understood and to gain new perspectives
  • Awareness of the assumptions you're making a split second after someone speaks - and how to keep them to yourself so you can work with clients’ actual experiences
  • The principles of Clean Language and how to apply them in many different contexts
  • How to help someone to uncover the structure of their own thinking by developing the metaphors they use to express themselves
  • How to identify and work with a client’s desired outcomes and encourage the conditions for change to emerge naturally within their ‘metaphor landscape’.
  • Strategies for where to direct your client’s attention at different stages of the facilitation process
  • A greater understanding of the role that language, especially metaphor, plays in our lives, and how you can utilise that to create deep sustainable change

You will also gain masses of personal development as you learn more about your own patterns, mental models and desired outcomes.

What's involved?

Days 1 to 3: Build a Strong Foundation

  • What would you like to know before we begin? We start cleanlywith an opportunity for you to pose your burning questions about us, about Clean Language and about the training, so that we start from where you are in your learning process – and not where weimagine you are.
  • Clean Set Up:Learn this basic coaching process that involves accurate listening and asking questions to help a fellow participant to expand their ideas about what they want from the training and what conditions need to be in place for them to get what they want. We’ll also discuss how you can use these first two activities in your own context.
  • Why Clean Language? Join in with a simple group activity which clearly demonstrates that people have different ways of perceiving the same thing – and so why it can be important to minimise your assumptions and keep your questions as clean as possible.
  • Clean Questions: Learn the basic Clean Questions of David Grove and how to ask them for maximum impact – including the structure and delivery of the questions
  • Paying exquisite attention: Discover the difference it makes when you pay attention to voice tone and gestures as well as the words a person uses to describe their experience.
  • What is Clean Language and what is Symbolic Modelling? Learn about Clean Language and Symbolic Modelling and how they were developed
  • Metaphor: Learn to identify and develop the metaphors a person uses to describe their experience, so they can tap into their unconscious wisdom and resources
  • Developing a Symbol: How to develop an individual symbol to represent an experience so it has location, form and an identity.
  • Focus on Resources: Develop metaphors for your own resources and those of your fellow participants. Discover the ‘source’ of your resource and notice what happens when you know more about it.
  • Learning at Your Best: Develop your own metaphor for when you are learning at your best and use this to enhance the way you learn Clean Language.
  • Keeping Track: Tips and tactics for keeping track of the client’s information so it can inform your next question.
  • Relating symbols across time and space:  Working with more than one symbol and building up a ‘metaphor landscape’. 
  • Calibration: Learn to identify the subtle clues that let you know whether what you are doing is working – and what to do if it isn’t.
  • Starting and Finishing Cleanly: How to start and finish a session cleanly and some tasks for helping people to gain deeper understanding of their metaphor landscapes.

As well as the above, you will gain knowledge of your own resources and learn the ‘nuances’ of clean questioning as you work with one another in the group. The learning process is iterative: you will take what you learn from one activity and apply it in the next, getting feedback from your peers and trainers throughout the process.

Learning Clean Language, like learning any other language, requires time and practice. At the end of the first module, we’ll set up peer coaching groups and offer set tasks for you to practise between modules.

In the first module, as you are building your skills, the emphasis will be on developing resources – skills, qualities or attributes that people value. Then in module 2, you can use these skills to help people to identify and develop desired outcomes.

Days 4 to 6:  Working With Outcomes

  • Clean Set Up: Recap of the Clean Set Up process; thinking about what you would like these three days to be like, what you’d like to be like, and what support and resources you will need.
  • Problem, Remedy, Outcome (P.R.O.) Model: Learn how to differentiate between problems, remedies and outcomes and what questions to ask to direct someone’s attention towards what they would like to have happen.
  • Overview of a Symbolic Modelling Session: Understand the shape of an ‘idealised’ session – and how it can vary from client to client.
  • Why Desired Outcomes? Consider why it can be beneficial to use the P.R.O. Model and to help someone to develop their desired outcome.
  • Navigating a Desired Outcome Landscape:  Deepen your knowledge about what questions to ask when, and how to move around in the client’s landscape.
  • Conditions for Change: Consider the general conditions that encourage change and how the impetus for change must come from within the client’s system because the coach doesn’t introduce any ideas.
  • Maturing a Change:  Learn how to identify and develop changes as they happen and how to elicit the effects of the change.
  • Applications: Find out how you can use what you’ve been learning in a multitude of contexts.

All the models introduced in the first module will come into play during the second, as you build your knowledge and skills in working cleanly and experience the powerful changes that can ensue.

The trainer will utilise clean games, practice sessions and group discussions to aid your learning and will personalise the training to match your individual training needs.

Additional information


Frequently asked questions

What is Symbolic Modelling?

Symbolic Modelling was created by Penny Tompkins and James Lawley when they worked with and observed David Grove over several years, to discover what he was doing to achieve his phenomenal results. They combined David’s ideas with ideas from the fields of cognitive linguistics, systems thinking and NLP to produce a model which could be taught to others to enable them to achieve the same kinds of results as David.

More detail

What is Clean Language?

Clean Language is a simple set of questions developed by counselling psychologist David Grove. These questions are used with a person's own words to direct their attention to some aspect of their own experience. Asking these questions in the right context often results in an interesting new insight or the recognition of some new possibility. And if that new possibility is then questioned using Clean Language, the result can be quite profound. Clean questions invite people to consider their experience from different perspectives and they are often surprised by their own capacity to generate new, powerful and useful ideas about their own experience.

More detail

What participants say

"I was looking for something more powerful than coaching or NLP - and I have found it. The insights my clients get are a lot stronger and a lot more 'pure' than with normal coaching."
Jordan Collier Coach

"The training was effective, applicable in many situations, and fascinating. It was carefully scheduled and well organised, yet allowed plenty of time for questions and sharing. As for content, I particularly appreciated learning: the consistent use of the client's positive outcome as a guide for how to proceed; how to stay aware of my assumptions about a client's metaphors; and the skilful use of language to honor and acknowledge the client's perspective."
Lynn Reer Teacher Trainer

"One of the best training courses I have attended in over 30 years. Marian and Stuart are highly perceptive trainers and introduced a wide mix of activities to embed our learning. Simply inspirational!"
Gill Rudge HR Consultant

"One of the best training events I have ever attended - the energy and pace were superb, we worked hard and it was so very rewarding on several levels."
Viv Bolton Executive Coach

"The training was well-constructed; gently and cleanly facilitated; and offered thought-provoking and enriching content. There was a stimulating and diverse mix of participants and the trainers were evidently passionate about their subject. It was a hugely worthwhile investment in my personal and professional development. The philosophy and techniques of clean are immediately relevant to my executive coaching practice and already my conversations with my teenage sons are calmer! I strongly recommend Clean Learning for the integrity and depth of their approach."
Mary Musselbrook Executive Coach

"I travelled from the States to England to train in Clean Language and Symbolic Modelling with Clean Learning. It is a brilliant paradigm which will enable me to work more effectively with my psychotherapy clients. I enthusiastically endorse the training from Clean Learning."
Barbara Rosen Psychotherapist

"If you want to improve your coaching skills or add more resources to your coaching tool box, Clean Language is the perfect solution. Using the tool box metaphor I would define it as the perfect ‘adjustable spanner’ that can add an extra dimension to your skill base. In addition, the teaching on "Core Skills" is dedicated and client centered. If you are involved in any ‘one to one’ healing work, then Clean Language can help you to help your clients. "
Justin Williams

"Learning about clean and how to apply the techniques to every aspect of my life has been enlightening and I cannot say thank you enough!"
Amber Proctor

"The structure of the course mirrors the structure of Clean Language, so not only do learners gain knowledge of clean, they practice it within the overall structure which reinforces it unconsciously. "
Ian Crawford

"I went on the Core Skills course because I wanted to learn a new skill. I left with a commitment to learning more and to creating the balanced portfolio career of my dreams. Thanks guys!"
Nick Simmonds Coach, Dynamic Coaching Ltd.

Upcoming events

Clean Language: Core Skills

10-12 November 2017 & 12-14 January 2018
Portchester, Hampshire,
With Marian Way