Coaches trained in grammar or Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) will be familiar with the class of words and statements known by grammarians as ‘Universal Quanitifiers’. Perhaps a more accessible term might be ‘Absolute’ or ‘Polarity’ language.

Universal Quantifiers are statements which have 100% or 0% as a measurement descriptor, for example, ‘All’ or ‘None’. These statements are a form of generalisation.

It’s a truism that many people have a tendency to use Universal Quantifiers when feeling anxious. Anxiety can lead to emotive responses in communication. When a coachee is feeling anxious, through stress, frustration, anger or fear, it is common (in my experience) to notice the frequency with which the subject will use language which has a polarity. This ‘absolute’ language therefore provides insight.

Here are some examples:


“Every time I say anything…”

“Your report is always late and it’s full of mistakes”

“He does that every time”

“You’re never on time”

“No-one/everyone does it”

“Nothing is working, everything is crap”

“You never empty the dishwasher”

“It never arrives on time”

“She always says that”

“None of our customers will want that”


Why is this significant for Continue & Begin® fast coaches?

Universal Quantifiers are (sometimes) a sign that generalisation is taking place in the mind of the coachee. This is a fabulous opportunity for a Continue & Begin® coach to begin exploring the mental maps being fashioned in the mind of the coachee; to gain a greater precision of understanding. With Continue & Begin® questioning we can investigate polarity comments and begin the process of helping the coachee uncover options and new possibilities.

We can start by gently exploring, “When you say… (Always, Never, Everyone, No-one, Everything, Anything, Nothing, Any, All, None, Full)… what do you mean specifically?”