Friday 19 February 2016

Clean Coaching

Today's CPD event at Cumbria Coaching Network was a session on Clean Coaching by Sioe Lan Tjao. I had come across clean questions many years ago when I did some NLP training, but either they weren't well explained, or I failed to understand the underpinning ideas.

And in my subsequent disillusionment with NLP, I approached today's session with some scepticism. It all seemed very interesting, and at one level, quite sensible: if as a coach one avoids introducing one's own stuff into the conversation, one is likely to be able to help the client to pursue his or her thinking further, without distractions. 

However, the particular questions suggested (there is a bank of twelve of them) didn't seem to me to be the only way to do this, and indeed I found it hard to understand why they had been chosen.  I suspect it was limitations of time, and the challenge of trying to cover a lot, and include some experiential work, that meant we didn't cover as much as Sioe Lan had hoped.

However, in getting home and following some of the links that she pointed to, I realised that the background to Clean Questions was an assumption, founded on the work of David Grove, about clients' use of metaphor, and the value of exploring that.

And as I read this explanation by Lawley and Tompkins, pursuing my curiosity about metaphor, I found something very interesting. The final example given, From Bombs to Batons, was remarkably similar, in effect, to the work on Story that I have been developing. That is, where I would see myself as helping a client to discover and strengthen a more helpful story, Lawley and Tompkins would see themselves as helping their client to change his or her metaphor.

That may sound like a very slim distinction; and indeed it is. But what I find fascinating is that although we are seeking to do essentially the same thing, the way in which we reached that point is very different; and so is the process we use to help the client. Which is just as well, or the book I've just finished writing would have been a complete waste of time.

Part of me is sorry that I had not come across their work before finishing mine; but part of me is very grateful indeed! It has already taken quite long enough, and there is plenty of scope for taking my thinking further, beyond the book.

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