How Does A “Clean” Coaching Session Actually Roll Out?

Buried beneath benefits and buzz-phrases such as “Reach Your Potential!” and “Achieve Your Dreams!” … many people are put off of Coaching by it’s often corny image and lack of real, verifiable statistics to explain how it works and why.

Today I hope to give you a little introduction.

My main way of working with a client is through “Clean” Coaching.  Now rather than just another sneaky innovation on an already over-marketed theme, Clean Coaching is a starkly different methodology of helping people to organize their thoughts, manage their feelings and design relevant action.  The method is “Clean” because at no point does the Coach interject with her own ideas, projections or advice – The job of the Coach is to structure a session and a conversation in such a way that the client can go deeper into his field of experience, in order to find the resources and solve the problems necessary for him to advance.

Complicated?  Yes and no..  Allow me to give some quick benefits and drawbacks of the Clean Coaching model:

Benefits:

  • Under no circumstances does a Coach give any suggestions, advice or tell stories from their own experience.  This leads to a 100% client-based relationship.
  • The client has the specified amount of time to really go into depth about their goal, problem or issue.
  • The structure of Clean Coaching is semi-hypnotic, which allows for unconscious work and changes to take place. Whereas “normal” Coaching can be rather analytical and weak once applied to “deeper issues”, Clean Coaching can overcome difficult blockages often unknown to the conscious mind.
  • The word “Clean” means that the process is non-manipulative and non-suggestive.  Change is brought about by the amplification of awareness that the Clean questions bring about, which in turn allows a client to make more connections around their goal or problem, and therefore more perspectives and possibilities of action and change.
  • Clean questions are completely respectful to the client’s current way of seeing the world.  They are asked with a curious and non-judgmental tone, which means that no intrusion or negative side-affects arise from their application.
  • Clean Coaching adheres to Einstein’s idea that “a problem cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created it.” What this means is that Clean Coaching finds different mediums to solve either everyday or life-long problems. Rather than analyzing the content of the problem itself, Clean Coaching usually works with space and metaphor, meaning that a client can in fact keep the nitty gritty and the painful parts of their experience to themselves, or even perform a silent therapy.  With this in mind, not only will a Clean Coaching contract be confidential – as with most coaching – but a client can make their desired improvements without revealing the “whole story” should they not wish to.

Limitations:

  • There are only a certain number of exercises and questions that a Clean Coach can make.  So if a client should want something else or some other type of input from the Coach, they may not get it.
  • During consultation, if the Coach does in fact have a really great solution or suggestion for the client, they would not be able to say it during “Clean” work.
  • It’s not a normal conversation.  When not in the middle of a Clean Coaching session, the grammatical structure of the questions and the general structure of the exercises can appear a little strange.  Although inside it all makes a lot of sense.

The Reality:

  • I use a 99% Clean approach when working with clients with Procrastination issues, which is one client “area” of mine. Procrastination is a complex psychological issue with connections to the past, present and future.  Often the client is unaware of their entire story, and the Clean process helps us to move forward quickly by addressing the issue on both a conscious and unconscious level.
  • With clients that come to me for Lifestyle Design Consultation, Life or Relationship Coaching, I generally use a “normal” Coaching method, consisting of tracking progress, setting goals for improvement, modeling current problems and realities with the client, and provoking them to think of more possibilities and to structure their action.  There is also space for a client to ask me about my own opinions and experiences, which I do, always expressing the subjectivity, context and non-concreteness of my input.  Often a client will come with a decision or a recurring limitation which doesn’t seem to get solved by “just thinking about it”.  In these cases I will invite my client to explore the issue with a Clean Coaching exercise. In these processes I would use a “Clean” approach during perhaps 20-30% of the time of the total Coaching relationship.
  • As a rule: when in doubt, give Clean a shout.  It never fails to bring up some productive and relevant answers.

Enough about the details, What will happen to me if I sign up for a “Clean” session with you?

You can send me an email asking for rates, timetables or discounts on a series of sessions.  Sessions are 1 or 2 hours in duration, can be organized one by one or as a series of 4, 6 or 12 which generally take place over the course of 3 to 9 months. All depends on the rhythm and needs of the client, and can be organized on the fly. If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to ask me them.  I offer a free 20-minute Q&A consultation for those interested in working with me.  After a number of sessions and a general way of working has been agreed, time-zones correlated and an invoice sent and completed, we can begin our first session via telephone or Skype. (The latter being better for me).

Now, time is money and instead of a little chit chat I will ask you if there is a goal, an issue, a problem or a challenge that you’d like to explore during this session.  After a little definition I will ask you to put that down on a piece of paper, either in writing, drawing, or perhaps even by finding an object somewhere around you to represent that goal, issue or problem.

After that I will invite you to set up the relationship between you and goal/issue/problem in space.  This means that I will ask you to put yourself somewhere, put the goal somewhere, and to carefully adjust yourself and the goal so that the relationship is represented just “right”.  Now this step can appear quite bizarre on paper, but the field of Psychology has proven that humans mentally depict our relationships with others and with our issues throughout space..

As a little experiment, I invite you to think of someone you’re in love with right now.  Imagine how they look, how they sound and how they make you feel.  Picture them in your mind. Whereabouts are they in relation to you?  Are they near or far?  In front or behind you?  To the left, right or centre?  Are they big or small?  Are they in black and white, or are they in colour?  Hold that image for a few seconds – and enjoy, of course!

Now think of someone that you actively dislike – a coworker or boss, an enemy or a bully from school, or someone that you see on your day to day rounds that generally has a miserable disposition towards life or towards you.  Who is that person?  Picture them.  Hear them.  Feel exactly how they make you feel.  When you picture them in your mind, where are they?  Is (s)he big or small?  Near or far?  Left, right or centre?  Black and white or in colour?  In front or behind you?  Hold that image there.

Now, I’m guessing, but I kind of assume, that they’re in a different position to your loved one, right?

Now, take that disliked person or enemy and move them into the place, size, position and colour of your loved one. Adjust all the characteristics of the enemy to match the exact characteristics of your loved one.  What happens?

:)

Now if you’re like most people, there would have been a huge feeling of rejection once the enemy took the exact location of the loved one, and that’s because we have very particular places in our minds for certain people, things, goals and problems.  Once the theme of our session together has been located somewhere in the room, perhaps on a table, shelf or attached to the wall with blu-tac, I will ask you a series of questions about what you know about yourself, about the goal/problem/issue, about the space, or about something else.  I will repeat these questions a few times, and I will invite you to move around the room to find out more information about the entire scene.

Again, this can sound a bit strange, but given the above example about the enemy and the loved one, I hope you’ve realized that the human mind is capable of making some very interesting connections. And these connections don’t just happen at the level of thinking or rationalization, they’re able to produce a variety of emotions and sensations that often give you more clues as to how you feel about a particular issue, problem or goal than you’d normally be able to do.

Now after a bit of movement you will gain more knowledge about your goal or issue.  There will undoubtedly come a point where you get angry, confused or change your tone in relation to what you’re working on.  This can be a disconcerting moment during the Clean Coaching process, but you can feel relaxed to know that just after every wobble comes new information, new emotions, and a more positive, balanced platform from which to decide on ingenious and motivated solutions to your previous problems.

At the end of the session I will ask you if their are any actions you fancy taking, and I will help you to structure a plan.  Being Clean, I won’t further try to motivate you or enforce you through reward or punishment to stick to your plan.  Possibly the best thing about Clean Coaching is that not only are you the 100% owner of your process and of your plan, but having dealt with your issue or goal from both an emotional basis as well as a rational basis, you’ll generally find that you have a motivated body and a motivated unconscious to propel you forward to action, rather than just a motivated mind.

As of 7 to 10 days from the end of the session I will ask you via email how you’re doing and feeling with respect to what’s happened, and I will ask you when you think a good time would be for us to follow up.

In this article I’ve tried to give as much description away as possible, so that you can feel clear not only about what Clean Coaching is and what its benefits are, but also what you can expect from a Coaching relationship with me.  For more in depth discussion of the art and science behind Clean Coaching*, look for the link at the bottom of the page.

If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to write them in the box below or email them to me at jordanlukecollier (at) googlemail (dot) com.  My aim is to continue to improve this page in order to make it a definitive Q&A.

If you are interested in working with me, either to solve your Procrastination Habit, to move forward with your Lifestyle Design Plans or to improve your Personal or Professional Relationships, get in contact with me at the email address above to discuss details, or get on the phone with me via Skype for a free 20-minute consultation.  Alternatively, sign up for my free 31-page Anti-Procrastination Workbook here.

All the best,

Jordan Luke

*“Clean Coaching” is an amalgam of psychotherapeutic processes developed by New Zealander David Grove. Now beginning to be applied to the areas of Personal and Business Coaching, these processes include Clean Language, Clean Space and Emergent Self Knowledge among others. These processes and exercises are particularly effective in the resolution of long-standing psychological obstacles, as they, respectful of Einstein’s insight, resolve the problem at a different level of thinking that created it. A client generally feels a stronger notion of empowerment and motivation at the end of a Clean process as the client, rather than the facilitator, is completely in charge of their own healing or coaching, and the unique source of any kind of action they want to take.

For a more in-depth scientific discussion of the techniques and theories applied, a wealth of information is available at Penny Tomkins and James Lawley’s excellent Clean Collection website.

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