No! Well, not very like, anyway.
Both are questioning techniques, and both can be used to help people clarify things. There the similarity ends.
For while the meta-model is typically used to challenge the way people perceive the world, Clean Language aims to understand it – and to help them to understand it. As such it feel respectful and curious, rather than confrontational and aggressive.
Here’s an example of the meta-model in use (jokingly) – thanks to Nigel Adams of NLP Connections:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Which wall specifically? How high was it?
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
How great was that specifically? Great compared to what? Great in what way?
All the King’s horses and all the King’s men
How many horses specifically was that? Which King in particular? How many men was that?
Couldn’t put Humpty together again
Which methods did they try? How did they know they couldn’t? Had they done it before? Together in what way…?
Whereas the Clean Language approach would be:
What kind of wall? Is there anything else about that wall? Whereabouts is that wall? And when Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, what would you like to have happen?


No! Well, not very like, anyway.  Both are questioning techniques, and both can be used to help people clarify things. There the similarity ends. For while the meta model is typically used to challenge the way people perceive the world, Clean Language aims to understand it – and to help them to understand it. As such it feel respectful and curious, rather than confrontational and aggressive.

Here’s an example of the meta model in use (jokingly) – thanks to Nigel Adams of NLP Connections:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Which wall specifically? How high was it?

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

How great was that specifically? Great compared to what? Great in what way?

All the King’s horses and all the King’s men

How many horses specifically was that? Which King in particular? How many men was that?

Couldn’t put Humpty together again

Which methods did they try? How did they know they couldn’t? Had they done it before? Together in what way…?

Whereas the Clean Language approach would be:

What kind of wall? Is there anything else about that wall? Whereabouts is that wall? And when Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, what would you like to have happen?



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