Deeper, cleaner, leader, coach


Deeper, cleaner, leader, coach

9 Mar ’19 Coaching and Mentoring Teaching 0

I only have a little more experience than when I wrote my first post about Clean Language, – Deeper, cleaner, leader. Since then, I have been able to employ my fledgedly questions and listening skills.

Question 1: And what kind of X (is that X)?

“And what kind of X (is that X)” has lived up to it’s billing. It has prompted me to listen to what is said. To listen explicit to what is being said, and possible deeper, to listen for the values underpinning what is being said. It has demonstrated to the client that I am listening explicitly. It has cleanly defined intent. It has absolutely helped promote mutual understanding, by clarifying what is truly being said. Importantly, it has held back my mentoring tendency. At present, that level focus requires almost all of my thinking capacity.

As for exploring the client metaphorical landscape, that is a coaches privilege. Exploring the metaphors clients use enabled me to explore the clients beliefs and values, fears or anxieties, and draw insights from that activity. As I said, it is a real privilege, even more so, when exploring a client’s metaphor, surfacing something new or previously hidden to the client themselves. This surfacing moment is not dissimilar to the learning eureka moment that we teachers occasionally get to see in your students, albeit more gentle.

Question 2: And, is there anything else about X?

The response to ‘And, is there anything else about X?’ has been quite simply, astonishing. In reflection, it was more often abbreviated to “Anything else?” with the tone rising, as I am genuinely curious, the question becomes mildly suggestive or leading. Forgive me. I will work on that.

As for being astonishing on one occasion, two options become nine, with two of those options forking into two further options. Interestingly for me, the forking responses all lead to dead end. The discounted response still holding value, as a route-way discounted.

Still unimpressed? Well, there will be more to come yet. Clean Language has application for learning routines (definitely some pedagogical overlap with Cultures of Thinking), agreeing and sharing classroom aspirations and student well-being. As I understand it, connecting with vulnerable, hard to reach students is where it started for Caitlin Walker.

I still have a handful of learning signposts to follow. Partic regarding, psychoactivity and metaphors (where a person’s thoughts, emotions and body sensations take on symbolic significance in response to what they are perceiving), critical moments and the work of Erik de Haan and time perspectives.

Then Sunday, I read a short paragraph from Campbell and van Nieuwerburgh titled ‘Words create Worlds’ – that

… the words we use shape our experiences, the meaning we give them, and the way we change them.

Campbell and van Nieuwerburgh (2018)

For more Clean Language, look out the work of Caitlin Walker.


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