Being a parent is rewarding at the best of times but when I tried this communication technique on my nine year old son Cailean, I can honestly say it was one of the most joyful parenting experiences ever.
I discovered so much about my son: his time at school, his hobbies and his passions. He chatted away hardly pausing for breath and I was able to listen deeply giving him all of my attention.
Now that’s a book worth taking the time to read…..
By Wendy Sullivan and Judy Rees
Let’s rewind a bit. I have an affinity with trees. Sitting underneath them to pass the time, to read, relax and enjoy life. Watching as branches sway in the breeze. Listening to the sound of the leaves rustling in the wind. Marvelling at the golden, burnished autumnal colours as the leaves fall as winter sets in.
Trees are grounded and strong, with their roots well secured in the earth. Their branches sway in the breeze and, in wild conditions, they (normally) weather the storm.
In Winter the tree rests, harnessing its energy for Spring when it will encourage new growth before readying itself for Summer when it will provide shade and shelter. In Autumn it performs its natural duty, cascading golden carpets of leaves on the grass to provide nourishment for the soil on which it stands.
This is my metaphor for how I learn. There is a time and a place for learning and new growth. Equally there is a time to reflect and support others. There is a season for everything. It is cyclical and Mother Nature knows best.
When I was first encouraged to read the book “Clean Language, Revealing Metaphors and Opening Minds” by Wendy Sullivan and Judy Rees, I wondered how a book about twelve questions that I already knew could reveal anything new. That’ll teach me!
Dedicated by the authors to the memory of David Grove, creator of Clean Language, a creative genius and extraordinary healer, the writing style is engaging and so easy to read.
I love pictures and this book is bursting with cartoons, diagrams and images that firmly held my attention, helped me retain the information and enhanced my ability to learn.
I like a pragmatic and reflective learning style. So when they intersperse theory with real life examples, transcripts of Clean sessions, then you really get a good feel for the power of Clean.
But it was their treatment of metaphors and how to apply the twelve clean questions in sequence that was a true revelation.
The authors suggest that the artistry of Clean rests with the facilitators’ decision on which question to ask and what part of the other person’s information to ask about.
Clearly identifying that metaphor is at the heart of the Clean way of thinking. It is the main thing that sets it apart from other approaches based on facilitative questioning and listening.
Asking myself a series of Clean Language questions, I closed my eyes and allowed myself to go with the flow. The insights, for me, were truly amazing.
I have discovered so much more about myself. I know what is important to me and what conditions have to be in place for me to excel. Equally I know what conditions get in the way of my success.
Clean Language questions and revealing metaphors change the face of the coaching relationship. As a coach, adopting these techniques and questions has allowed me to really listen on a higher level. The clean questions facilitate an opening of minds and powerful state changes.
And so, I tried it out on my nine year old. All I can say is: WOW. This is powerful stuff.
This book has whet my appetite for discovering and experiencing even more. Read it: You will not regret it.