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Clean Language and the Core Protocols
How can Clean Language be used by Agilists and others to enrich the Core Protocols, and so help teams to work even better together?

For years, people who are familiar with both these proven approaches to team development have been asking questions about combining the two. Now this unique workshop will provide answers.

Richard Kasperowski, author of The Core Protocols: A Guide To Greatness, will be there as Judy Rees, co-author of Clean Language: Revealing Metaphors And Opening Minds teaches key aspects of David Grove’s Clean Language.

And as the day progresses, the group (max 20 people) will explore how the two approaches work best together. There’ll be lots of practical activities as well as small-group discussions.

If you work with teams, are familiar with Jim and Michele McCarthy’s Core Protocols and are curious about Clean Language, this is for you!

Workshop Outline

Module 1: Essentials For Revealing Minds

By the end of this Module, participants will:

  • Know the 3 Essentials and the Heart of Clean Language
  • Know the 2 Lazy Jedi questions
  • Know how to define and recognise a metaphor
  • Understand the definition of “Clean” in Clean Language, and the value of “Cleanness” in investigating another person’s experience respectfully
  • Understand the importance of using another person’s own words in preference to paraphrasing
  • Understand how these approaches could be used to enrich the “Personal Alignment” and “Intention Check” Core Protocols
  • Have asked the 2 Lazy Jedi Questions about a peer’s words in a slow-time practice activity
  • Have used the Clean Language question, “What would you like to have happen?” to clarify their own and a peer’s intention for an event

Module 2: Deeper, Safer

By the end of this Module, participants will:

  • Know the importance of listening in establishing strong relationships
  • Know how questions can be used to direct attention
  • Know how directing attention can change emotional state (positively or negatively!)
  • Know a quick, simple activity to reveal and explore the rich diversity within a group
  • Appreciate how non-verbal attributes such as voice tone and eye focus can influence attention
  • Understand the value of outcome/solution focus and positive bias
  • Understand the Persuasion Paradox
  • Have practised longer, more focussed listening
  • Have used non-verbal approaches to enrich the “Investigate” Core Protocol
  • Have asked the Power Switch Question to change the direction of a peer’s attention in a slow-time practice activity
  • Have begun to notice hidden metaphors in language during practice activities

Module 3: Getting To The Heart Of The Mind

By the end of this Module, participants will:

  • Know why an appreciation of metaphor is important in working with people, and why it can support more effective communication
  • Know where to look for hidden metaphors in everyday contexts
  • Know the core of Caitlin Walker’s Clean Feedback Model
  • Understand the importance of both honesty and curiosity in investigating human experience
  • Understand the advantages and potential pitfalls of highlighting metaphor in Agile/software development contexts
  • Understand the Clean approach to metaphor and how this may be different to other approaches
  • Have used the “Feeling to Metaphor” pattern to deliberately elicit a peer’s metaphor for a feeling – or a system
  • Have used the above approaches to enrich the “Investigate” Core Protocol

Module 4: From Inquiry Into Action

By the end of this Module, participants will:

  • Know the Clean Language action-planning questions
  • Know some ways in which Clean Language has been used in Agile/software development contexts
  • Understand how Clean Language and metaphor may be used to make an action plan
  • Have used Clean Language questions in combination with appropriate Core Protocols to make a plan for applying learning from the day
  • Have used the core of Caitlin Walker’s Clean Feedback Model to provide feedback to peers, trainers etc


“A huge part of our job is about communication, collaboration and creating trust and safety. However what I typically see is huge amounts of expectation, assumption and judgement. Clean Language takes that away and replaces it with curiosity. That’s when change can finally happen.” Irene Kuhn, Germany

“Nutshell: Clean Language is brilliant. It’s very easy and effective to apply directly to the workplace. It’s also really easy to teach/pass on. Best use of time investment for return.” Ruth Harvey-Regan, UK

Appreciation to Andrea Chiou and Bernard Vander Beken for inspiring conversations which initiated this event.