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Desert Highway
Thoughtful writing authored and shared by members of of the Thinking Collaborative community to support others on the journey.

Sustaining the Journey

New Language for Types of Paraphrases

Authored By:

Thinking Collaborative


May 26, 2014

For those of you who have been coaching for some time, you might be interested in some changes that are being made in the Cognitive Coaching Foundation Seminar®.  After a great deal of thinking, dialoguing, and refining, we are replacing the old language of Acknowledge and Clarify, Summarize and Organize, Shift Level of Abstraction with new language which we believe is more active, precise and easier to remember.  Since all paraphrases clarify, we are eliminating that word in the “mirror” paraphrase and just using “acknowledging.”  While we use nonverbal like head nodding to acknowledge, this type of paraphrase provides a verbal acknowledgement that I am listening and trying to understand your meaning.  The second paraphrase, the “container paraphrase” is now the “organizing paraphrase.”  We eliminated the word, “summarize,” since all paraphrases are summaries of what was heard.  Finally, we are changing to “escalator” paraphrase to a “ladder paraphrase” named the “abstracting paraphrase,” suggesting we move up and down a ladder of abstraction.  So as you think about using a variety of paraphrases in your coaching conversations, the new key words are acknowledging, organizing, and abstracting and the symbols are the mirror, containers, and a ladder.

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