The Power of Questions – Using Clean Language© and Metaphor to Explore the “How to” of Change Management

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In change management we are often excellent at describing what we can usefully be doing as practitioners – employing frameworks, methodologies and models to ensure our interventions are focussed and meaningful. We benefit hugely from them and they are people-focussed.

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Will Izzard, Head of Business Change, CMC Partnership Consultancy Ltd
Will is speaking at the IRM UK Business Change & Transformation Conference Europe 16-18 March 2020, London. He will be speaking on the subject, ‘The Power of Questions – Using Clean Language© and Metaphor to Explore the “How to” of Change Management and ‘Mind The Gap – Incorporating the Change Agenda Into Scaled Agile Approaches‘ alongside Lynda Girvan, Head of Business Analysis, CMC Partnership Consultancy Ltd

However, while such structures are excellent in telling us where to put our attention and what to do once it is there, they do not always delve into how to do it, or at least not very deeply – how to unearth a person’s lack of desire to engage in a change, how to have a difficult conversation with someone actively resisting, or how to direct attention to the habits that may need rewriting for change to happen. Simply asking questions can be one of the key arrows in a change practitioners’ quiver and the better the questions, the better the answers. The best answers come from within and as change facilitators we are best placed to get under the lid of how.

Clean Language and Symbolic Modelling is one way of doing that. This talk uses the ground-breaking work of psychotherapists David Grove (Clean Language), James Lawley and Penny Tompkins (Symbolic Modelling, incorporating Clean Language) to show how humans seem hard-wired to make sense of the world in metaphor. This is so much more than a fanciful way of describing things – cognitively speaking, metaphors are packed with priceless information about what is going on for a person. In this session we will demonstrate practical ways of making the most of that information. While this practice has its roots in psychotherapy, I am looking forward to sharing my experiences and insights from using it in change work. We can gently ask potentially game-changing questions in the moment, develop group metaphors to collaboratively describe a vision from the bottom-up and even model systemically, giving us a reliable and practical way of cultivating multiple perspectives and learning to see wider. I’ll even give you an alternative to problem-solving that you can apply instantly ?.

A professional coach and facilitator of change, with over 25 years’ experience in business projects and change, Will Izzard is Head of Profession for Change Management at CMC Partnership Consultancy. He is an Experienced Prosci® Practitioner, Chartered Mechanical Engineer and Certified Symbolic Modeller (therapeutic metaphor work). He is interested in the blend of change facilitation (directing attention on what to do) with interpersonal skills (how to actually do it). Will believes that lasting change is brought about by small interventions which build the confidence and skills of others so that they achieve more and experience a deep level of learning. His latest development area helps clients construct metaphors from personal outcomes to visions and change initiatives, allowing a wealth of easily dismissed yet valuable information to be exploited. Will thrives on applying novel ideas for an organic and developmental approach to change – building on what works to create something new.

Copyright Will Izzard, Head of Business Change, CMC Partnership Consultancy Ltd

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