One of the most common challenges facing anyone who has just discovered Clean Language is how to start using this powerful tool at work. For some practitioners, the ‘fit’ between Clean and another change tool is obvious. Clean Language questions flow very naturally alongside other coaching or change tools such as the GROW model, or Appreciative Inquiry. Because the two approaches are so complementary, practitioners of both Clean Language and Neuro-Linguistic Programming have the option of combining the Clean Language with their other NLP tools, perhaps even using the Clean questions to ‘clean up’ NLP techniques.
For other people, that ‘fit’ isn’t so obvious. However, one of the many strengths of Clean Language is its flexibility: it can be used on its own, or paired with almost any other questioning or conversational approach. This gives Clean very wide relevance across many professional contexts. And, while it’s true that carrying out a whole coaching session of an hour or more solely using Clean requires a certain level of skill and confidence in the process, many people find that it’s relatively easy, and often very effective, to incorporate a few Clean Language questions into whatever they’re already doing:
If you’re about to ask someone a question, consider asking a Clean question. The questions are so flexible that they can be applied to almost any context. Some people find it helps to set themselves a challenge – such as making sure they ask two or three Clean Language questions each day.
Consider using some of the Clean Language questions in any situation where it would be helpful to have more information, or know more about someone’s inner model of the world. In particular, ask “What kind of X?”  or “Is there anything else about X?”. Market researcher Di Tunney uses a good sprinkling of these two Clean questions when interviewing respondents. Professionals in other disciplines such as project management, IT, sales and consulting, use these Clean questions to take and develop a brief.
Asking ‘What would you like to have happen?’ at the start of any business process gives those involved the maximum freedom to identify what’s really important to them. It also helps all parties build a shared understanding of what’s wanted, by individuals and by the group as a whole.
Metaphors can be very important as a way of sharing experience – our speech is liberally endowed with them! Using the Clean Language questions to elicit and develop someone’s (positive) metaphor may be a useful thing to do if that metaphor keeps reappearing, or if you want to refer to it in some other process. For example, if being ‘free like a bird’ is important to your (tick all that apply) teenager, colleague, client, or someone who wants to go hang-gliding, that’s likely to be a metaphor worth developing.


One of the most common challenges facing anyone who has just discovered Clean Language is how to start using this powerful tool at work. For some practitioners, the ‘fit’ between Clean and another change tool is obvious. Clean Language questions flow very naturally alongside other coaching or change tools such as the GROW model, or Appreciative Inquiry. Because the two approaches are so complementary, practitioners of both Clean Language and Neuro-Linguistic Programming have the option of combining the Clean Language with their other NLP tools, perhaps even using the Clean questions to ‘clean up’ NLP techniques.

For other people, that ‘fit’ isn’t so obvious. However, one of the many strengths of Clean Language is its flexibility: it can be used on its own, or paired with almost any other questioning or conversational approach. This gives Clean very wide relevance across many professional contexts. And, while it’s true that carrying out a whole coaching session of an hour or more solely using Clean requires a certain level of skill and confidence in the process, many people find that it’s relatively easy, and often very effective, to incorporate a few Clean Language questions into whatever they’re already doing:

  • If you’re about to ask someone a question, consider asking a Clean question. The questions are so flexible that they can be applied to almost any context. Some people find it helps to set themselves a challenge – such as making sure they ask two or three Clean Language questions each day.
  • Consider using some of the Clean Language questions in any situation where it would be helpful to have more information, or know more about someone’s inner model of the world. In particular, ask “What kind of X?”  or “Is there anything else about X?”. Market researcher Di Tunney uses a good sprinkling of these two Clean questions when interviewing respondents. Professionals in other disciplines such as project management, IT, sales and consulting, use these Clean questions to take and develop a brief.
  • Asking ‘What would you like to have happen?’ at the start of any business process gives those involved the maximum freedom to identify what’s really important to them. It also helps all parties build a shared understanding of what’s wanted, by individuals and by the group as a whole.
  • Metaphors can be very important as a way of sharing experience – our speech is liberally endowed with them! Using the Clean Language questions to elicit and develop someone’s (positive) metaphor may be a useful thing to do if that metaphor keeps reappearing, or if you want to refer to it in some other process. For example, if being ‘free like a bird’ is important to your (tick all that apply) teenager, colleague, client, or someone who wants to go hang-gliding, that’s likely to be a metaphor worth developing.


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