work journal

Using "Clean Language" to keep your assumptions out of your questions

February 8, 2024

I feel like someone just gave me a thoroughbred or a light saber specifically designed to increase group capacity by focusing our attention.

This new tool is from a four-day Clean for Teams course I took this week with Caitlin Walker, PhD, a brilliant organizational consultant and facilitator.

The idea behind “clean” questions is to keep your assumptions out of others’ views and thinking, so you can learn more about how they work. Caitlin taught us how to use clean to quickly model each member of a group, learning more about how they move through the world, with a goal of more understanding and less miscommunication.

Or, as Caitlin writes in her phenomenal book of the same name, to move "from contempt to curiosity."

I love connecting dots and seeing hidden connections, and it's phenomenal how this tool weaves together with one of the books I'm reading now, "The Inner Game of Tennis," which is all about coaching by teaching someone to noticing what is. It also fits into the mindfulness practice I'm braiding into my life — a way to be present and "still," even as I move throughout the day.

Absorbing this fulfilling, intense learning push in a rare quiet moment before the kids get home. Listening to zucchini sizzle on cast iron.

Assignment before my next course: Ask 1,000 clean questions, so I know which ones work best and when. Already well on my way.

No items found.
Read Contempt to Curiosity
inquire > reframe > transform >
Think we might work well together?