Metaphors In Clean Language

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Clean Language takes basic coaching principles and gives them a profound and powerful twist. The technique - based on just a handful of questions - may sound simple or even formulaic, but it can open the door to dramatic change for your clients.

Like many coaching techniques, Clean Language is a way of asking questions to explore another person's mind and, where relevant, to help them to change. The basic steps of the technique are very simple. However, the thinking behind it is quite unusual.

For the duration of a Clean Language conversation, the client is the central focus, and the coach fades themselves into the background as far as possible. It's an extreme version of a client-focussed coaching style - probably more extreme than any other.
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(That's an example of a metaphor:-))

What's not so widely known is that each of us has our own unique and personal network of subconscious metaphors, and that these can motivate our behaviour even more powerfully than the ones the advertisers offer. Evidence of these metaphors spills out in the language we use - about six metaphors a minute in ordinary conversation, research has shown.

The technique is at its most effective when it is used to help the client discover their personal metaphors. As the client talks, and learns more about the metaphors which underpin their thoughts, a bridge develops between the everyday, rational, conscious mind and the more mysterious subconscious. This was found to be particularly valuable in psychotherapy: its creator, the late David Grove used it to help people overcome sexual abuse and other
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It's worth being aware that when you first start noticing people's metaphors, metaphors for problems may be the most obvious ones. Just ignore any scary monsters, bottomless pits etc for the time being, and look out for more cheerful or neutral metaphors!

The fundamental principles of Clean Language are simple: - Listen attentively. - Keep your opinions and advice to yourself as far as possible. - Ask Clean Language questions to explore the client's metaphors (or everyday statements). - Listen to the answers and then ask more Clean Language questions about what the person has said.

It's best to stick exactly to the specified question wording. Clean Language liberates you from having to come up with clever variations: the art is in selecting which of the other person's words to use to replace the "X" so as to direct their attention most appropriately.

And while the questions might occasionally sound odd to you as the coach, clients quickly become enthralled by the images, memories, thoughts and ideas which bubble up to consciousness and which frequently lead to transformation. Ideally, they'll forget that you're

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