Metaphor in Agile Coaching

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Metaphor in Agile Coaching

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I am a Sleeping Tiger (metaphor) 

Like being as Busy as a Bee (simile)

I’ve been experimenting lately in my coaching with the power of metaphor and simile, leveraging them within my reflection and with my clients. I also use metaphors in my classes, and I create (or emerge) my own when reflecting on my personal life.

For me, it’s an exploration device to help clarify and better understand something. I’ve found that metaphors allow for deeper insights and discovery.

I’ve also discovered, and I’m in my infancy here, the power of Clean Language and Clean Questions when trying to invoke or emerge metaphor. Here are some examples of clean questions—

  • Working at your Best, you are like what?

  • Being at your Worst, you are like what?

  • Making decisions is like what?

  • A high-performing agile team, is like what?

  • Working at your Best as an Agile Coach, you are like what?

  • Being your Worst as an Agile Coach, you are like what?

  • Switching coaching competencies/stances is like what?

  • Learning and growing as an Agile Coach is like what?

All of these questions might inspire a metaphor in a coaching conversation. A picture, a model, a context for you and your client to explore. One where we are trying to gain…

With the other person using their Metaphor (not ours or our conversion of theirs).

When you seek to understand, use words and terms as close as possible to the other metaphor. We want the least amount of translation variability for the other person. In other words, we stay close or adjacent to what they’ve said.

As I said, I’m just now beginning to understand Clean Language and the power of metaphors in my coaching.

Here are a few more resources for you to explore–

And two helpful videos

As my understanding increases, I’ll share more about my learnings in a future post. But until then, closing this article is like what?

A rainbow emerging from the clouds and touching the tip of my nose.

Stay agile, my friends,




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