Clean Language for Team Development whilst Thinking In Metaphors and Staff Acting On Great Ideas

Team Building facilitation relies upon using clean language. Clean Language is a technique that is used especially in psychotherapy and coaching. More recently as a research interview technique. Clean Language helps clients to discover and develop symbols and metaphors without any content introduced by the therapist/coach/interviewer.


Clean Language is a ground breaking approach being used in counselling, psychotherapy, coaching and remarkably utilised in team buildling for over 15 years. Using 10 powerful questions we work with client companies leaders or staff to recognise their own powerful metaphors that can create a lasting change.

Try this next time you are having a conversation.

Ask that person to think of a flower. Try to get as much detail as possible, but just before they start to answer create your own mental image of how a flower looks to you, after that. Compare the two mental images. Now extrapolate this to concepts such as productivity or team work in a company, how these concepts can be different in the mind of each person of the team, and how important is to understand each other’s mental images and metaphors to be able to adapt and work more efficiently.

Clean language is a technique which is based in a conversation in which the person performing the technique uses very open questions in order for the other person to create a metaphor of something he/she choose before that he/she wanted to improve.

The goal of this process is to create a metaphor for every concept or ability the person wants to improve so through other different processes and tools the person can design an action plan to start a new path of improvement, which starts acknowledging what the ability we want to improve represents to us, and only to us. The reason of using these open questions is so the person asking doesn’t interfere at all in the creation of the metaphor and its as pure as possible.

This is a very new and unique technique that needs to be tried in order to understand so we highly encourage you to give it a go and see the results.


Coach 1: And what would you like to have happen?

Client 1: To secure some bigger contracts, some bread and butter work. To get some foundations in place, get some money in, get some security, some income. I’d like the comfort of some money coming in regularly, some security.

Coach 2: And bigger contracts and bread and butter work. And foundations in place, money, and security and income and money coming in regularly. And when ‘security’, is there anything else about security?

Client 2: There’s respect as well. Something about being successful would give me respect.

Coach 3: And something about being successful would give you respect. And what kind of respect is that respect?

Client 3: The respect of my two boys. They are 22 and 12. They look at me as a role model. It’s family respect. An inner feeling that I have done the right thing.

Coach 4: And security and the respect of your two boys and an inner feeling you have done the right thing. And when an inner feeling that I have done the right thing, whereabouts is that inner feeling?

Client 4: It’s inside. In my core (gestures from throat downwards).

Coach 5: And inside, in your core (indicates the space where the client has just gestured). And when core, what kind of core is that?

Client 5: It’s like a tube, a metal tube, a shiny metal tube.

Coach 6: And a shiny metal tube, and is there anything else about that tube?

Client 6: It’s hollow and it’s shiny. It’s silver.

Coach 7: And hollow, and shiny metal and a silver tube, and is there anything else about that tube?

Client 7: It’s smooth and clean and new. It’s solid.

Coach 8: And when it’s solid, is there anything else about solid?

Client 8: It’s a foundation that keeps me upright. There’s a stillness of being that makes you do the right things. That’s strange! I thought you had to do the right things first, but it’s the other way around. Get the upright bit, then do.

Coach 9: And get the upright bit and then do. And do the right things. And  what kind of things are those right things?

Client 9: Look after myself. Exercise. Be well. Keep the flat clean and the car clean. No rubbish. A discipline about things around the edges. Get up early, do the domestic things. Don’t ignore them. Keep that office desk clean and shiny.

Allow us to get your staff organised within 90 minute session on day one to learn the skills which you can then implement as a team or individually.  Each day, you will receive more Clean Language Metaphors that will make your team unstoppable.


Thrill Theater Sports and Improv Training Sessions are Ideal for your Staff to Role Play New Business Scenarios

Request a team building exercise coach to make your team unstoppable – call Thrill corporate healthy well-being experts. 02 9630 2222

Article contributed by Thrill team events guest writer and facilitator Borja Silleras Villamayor, edited and coached by Konrad Lippmann (BA Human Movement, Graduate Diploma Education, Exercise Science, Physiology and Psychology) March 2018.