I use two questions a lot of the time to help coaching clients develop their awareness. This might be an awareness about their desired outcome or about a resourceful state they want more of.
These two questions are from Clean Language. They are:
What kind of [X] is that?
And is there anything else about that [X]?
The [X] would be the client’s words. Clean Language, as I’ve explained in my previous blogs, are a set of simple, neutral questions developed by the late David Grove. These questions reflect back only the coachee’s words so that the client is only dealing with their stuff. None of my stuff pollutes the client’s experience.
These questions are two basic questions that Clean Language coaches most often use.
How does it work?
I would only use these questions once it’s clear the client is articulating a desired outcome. That means they have begun to think about something new in their lives that makes their lives better. I would also use these two questions if they were talking about a resourceful state, such as patience or confidence or resilience. If they wanted to model these states so that they could access it even better, these two Clean developing questions will work like a treat.
I would not ask them these Clean developing questions if they were stuck in problem except in specific situations which I have blogged about previously. If the purpose of coaching is to support a client in having what they want, asking them to develop their problem even more is not going to be helpful!
Here is how I’ve used these two questions. A client said she was unable to make some of the important decisions in her life because she kept flip-flopping over them. In the coaching, “trusting that whatever happens, things may actually be OK” emerged as something she needed to make those decisions.
Coach: And when trusting like that, what kind of trusting is that trusting?
Client: It’s just a gut feeling of trust.
Coach: And just a gut feeling of trust. And is there anything else about that gut feeling of trust?
Client: Having this gut feeling of trust would enable me to actually take the plunge. I would just dive into something without thinking too much.
With a bit more coaching, the client realised she would have that “gut feeling of trust”, that led her to make the decisions she needed to, when her “heart was cheering” and “her head had an action plan”.
The way I think about it, when I’m coaching a client, fragments of what they want begin to emerge for them like a hologram. Asking clients these Clean questions helps the hologram crystalise even more. And the more clients can imagine what they want, or the more they can understand their experience of being resourceful in some way, the easier it becomes for them to find their own resolutions.
I hope these tips have been useful for you. Look out for my future blog posts on Clean Language and how it can be applied in both one-on-one client work and in group facilitation.
Jacqueline Ann Surin
Image source: Ian Truelove, CC BY-SA 2.0