The Meta Model is much more than just churning out rote learnt questions in a hope you may stumble across an appropriate response. You need to formulate your question for the appropriate situations, this means you have to take 3 things into account.

  1. The Statement itself
  2. The Context in which the statement is made
  3. The Outcome you are after

When learning the Meta model you would have come across lots of “Language Patterns” and suggested ways of challenging them, but if you just took the patterns you may end up asking totally the wrong question and ending up somewhere you don’t want to be.

An Example of How NOT to Use the Meta Model

Let me give you an example, if you were to hear “Well, people say I am no good at…”, if you just worked with the statement, you would probably want to ask “Which people?” or “Who says?”. Which is perfectly fine, however you may not want or need to know about the people at this moment in time. This could end up with the client just moaning about people and then you have wandered way off the issue. This is a common problem with the Meta Model that I have noticed, by just using “knee jerk” questions to certain comments or phrases, without considering the context or the outcome you can end up going round and round and round and round and round in circles!

A Suggested Process for Using the Meta Model More Effectively

Before you even begin, find out what the client wants, get it well defined and anchor it. This will directionalise your conversation. Make sure you are clear about the context in which they want to make the change and then and only then listen to the patterns of their language. This will help you ask the most appropriate question at the most appropriate time.

Learn more about how to use the Meta Model effectively to create conversational change here.