Let’s face it, Neuro Linguistic Programming is the craziest name for something ever! But don’t be deterred by the lingo; it is a fantastic toolbox for personal performance that is well worth a look. This is why we don’t just offer any kind of coaching, but NLP coaching (and more links to coaching info at the bottom of this page).
Let me fill you in…
NLP is a revolutionary field of study which explains how our minds work and how we can change or improve patterns of behaviour, thoughts and beliefs that hold us back from living happy successful lives. I often call it the science of excellence, because NLP tells us all about what works.
Neuro: How we think and how the mind interacts with the body.
Linguistics: How we use language consciously and unconsciously to create our reality and communicate.
Programming: How we create habits and patterns of behaviour with our thoughts and can therefore change them.
NLP allows us to find the answers to many burning questions, such as:
- I know I can be successful, so what’s holding me back?
- Why do I feel so much emotion when I don’t really want to be feeling it at this moment?
- How can I change this habit when I’ve had it for so long?
- How can I feel more in control of my time and my energy?
- How can I feel relaxed more often?
- Is it really possible to feel different?
NLP allows us to solve these dilemmas and to choose how we want think, feel or act.
NLP is utilised in the fields of business, education, sport and health. It is used widely in the UK National Health Service, and within organisations like Microsoft and Mazda, UK. It is also applied by sportspeople such as the US Olympic diving team and our own Steve Gurney, NZ multisport champion.
Your brilliant mind is full of natural resources geared towards achieving what you want. The trick is to access those resources and put them to work on what you really want to make happen!
You have empowered me with tools that I will be using for a lifetime and I look forward to an amazing future. NLP rocks!”
This video features a range of NZ practitioners and Bruce Lipton, offering simple and colourful explanations of just what NLP and creating personal change is all about.
Sometimes when we want to make changes, such as lowering stress, letting go of grief, or stopping smoking, it feels difficult or like hard work. Our emotions and behaviours are created unconsciously. While we can make a conscious choice to change them, the actual change only happens at an unconscious level. This is where all change and learning takes place. This is where NLP comes in. It is extraordinary coaching!
Imagine you didn’t have an instruction manual for your mobile phone and you were using it only to make and receive calls and save numbers – enough to get you by but only the basics. Then, one day you found the instruction booklet, and suddenly you could re-set it and programme it to operate, sound and respond the way you really wanted it to.
We each have resources inside ourselves we’re not utilising right now, and NLP is the instruction manual for discovering these resources and using them to their potential.
Because all change and learning happens unconsciously, when someone wants to stop doing something they’ve done for a long time, such as over-eat or bite their nails, they often don’t know why they do it. Therefore, they don’t know where to start or even what to change. This is often because what is driving them to do it is an unconscious intention. NLP helps to identify those unconscious patterns, so that they can be changed to suit what the individual wants in his or her life.
This all might sound a little complicated. I mean, how do you know what’s conscious or unconscious for goodness sake?! The beauty of NLP is that the techniques used are extraordinarily simple, and the potential for our minds to make positive change for us is boundless.
The key is to know what you really want and that you really want to change. The rest is relatively straightforward! NLP techniques are powerful, specific and usually create immediate changes. The changes are created within you, by you, simply facilitated by the practitioner. This also means that it isn’t ‘done to you’. You are always in charge of the changes you are making.
Our Map of the World
One of the central principles of NLP is that we each have a map, which is our ‘version’ of life. It’s not an accurate representation of our experiences; it’s our own description or picture of reality. We develop this map throughout our lives through our experiences, unconsciously taking notice of what we think is important, and editing out what isn’t. We make generalisations about things, and unknowingly distort them sometimes to make sense of them. In this way we concoct a version of life that is solely our own.
In NLP it is often described as our ‘model of the world’. It’s how we see the world, and it guides us through life. Your map is not the same as your neighbour’s, your friend’s, or anyone else’s on the planet.
Can you think back to a time when you had a conversation with somebody about one thing and eventually realised they thought you were talking about something else entirely? We get our wires crossed when we assume our map (and way of thinking) is the same as everyone else’s!
When we are communicating with others, problem solving or making decisions, we do the best we can with the map we have. Sometimes we don’t choose the best behaviour because our map is inadequate. NLP allows us to open up our map (our model of the world) and see what else is there, what we can add to it, how it can be improved.
The Study of Excellence
NLP is often described as the study of excellence. When someone does something well they have a ‘strategy’ for doing it; a sequence of behaviour and thought patterns that gets a result. NLP allows us to find out a particular strategy and learn it or teach it to others. NLP change processes were designed through the study of excellence in the field of therapy and personal change, enabling us to reproduce the same results for ourselves that highly experienced practitioners spent years perfecting.
Many areas of traditional psychology and counselling are based on the study of people suffering from mental and emotional ill-health. NLP models were developed by studying healthy successful people. Like other areas of coaching or therapy, NLP helps the client change and improve their life. Moreover, NLP techniques are simple and relatively fast, making the experience of clearing unhelpful negative emotions or healing phobias or trauma, gentle for the client. The emphasis is always on positive outcomes and the techniques focus on creating wholeness and emotional well-being.
Modelling and Strategies
NLP is also often described as the activity of modelling strategies. For example, one of the key strategies within NLP is building rapport with another person. Anyone can be taught rapport skills such as matching body language or tone of voice that help to make the other person feel comfortable, foster trust and ultimately build relationships.
The skills taught will be based on what people do, who are very successful in this area; how they act, what they think about, how they feel, and so on. Charismatic people like Bill Clinton and the late Princess Diana are shining examples of people using fine rapport skills that others can learn.
Other examples of creating new strategies might be as simple as someone wanting to feel more confident when they speak in front of an audience (pretty common isn’t it?!) or perhaps a person wanting to feel happier in themselves after years of feeling sad, guilty or depressed. Using the concept of modelling, an NLP practitioner is able to discover the client’s map and the ‘blips’ in their strategy causing problems for them. This way, those parts of their map can be improved, opening up new possibilities for choosing how we think, feel and behave.
NLP may be the most powerful vehicle for change in existence”
Presuppositions of NLP
For the most part, NLP was developed through practical experience rather than theories. There are a range of ideas that are ‘pre-supposed’ or assumed within NLP referred to as the Presuppositions of NLP.
Here is an outline of many of those presuppositions and how to make sense of them in relation to personal change. They tend to be misunderstood at times, but do actually offer a useful insight into the thinking behind NLP and practical guidelines for creating positive change.
- If what you are doing isn’t working, do anything else.
If you go on doing what you’re doing now, you are very likely to go on getting the same results as you are getting now. ‘A definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results’ – Albert Einstein.
- Every behaviour has a positive intention behind it.
When behaviour doesn’t seem positive, this may not always be easy to understand, however the person ‘doing a behaviour’ has a positive intention at a deep structural level. In order to change this kind of inappropriate behaviour, it is necessary to identify that intention at a deep level and find a way of satisfying it by more appropriate means. This creates new and better choices that serve that intention in a healthy way.
- The map is not the territory.
We each live from our own map or interpretation of reality, not reality itself. Our map (our views, perceptions, understandings) is not depicting the territory (reality). We create what we think is reality in the words and symbols we use, rather than responding to what is actually happening around us. NLP is about understanding and changing maps.
- There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.
Everything we do, whether a success in our eyes or not, is an opportunity to learn about what works and what doesn’t work. Sometimes we get upset, angry, worried, etc, none of which serves a useful purpose. When something doesn’t go as we’d hoped, we’re provided with a real life demonstration of how not to do something. Although we can get annoyed about it, we are in fact free to form a new plan of action and try again. Wonderful books, music and inventions wouldn’t have touched our lives if their creators had been concerned about failure.
- The mind and body are one.
In the 1930-40’s the medical profession developed the idea that the mind and body are separate entities. Research in the last couple of decades has reoriented our thinking with evidence to the contrary, which shows there are integral links with the brain throughout the whole body. For example, research shows that the performance of the immune system can be inhibited by mental stress and lead to lowering of general bodily health.
- Change makes change.
NLP acknowledges that changing our behaviour ultimately affects those around us. It is as simple as the ripple effect of a pebble thrown into a pond, in that when one part of a system changes, the whole system must change in order to adapt to that change.
- The law of requisite variety.
The element or person in a system with the most flexibility has the most control. The person with the greatest number of choices in a given situation is likely to get the best outcome, so when we can be flexible and adaptable to situations, we get better results.
- Everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have available.
There are often better choices than the ones we make. NLP helps us discover more effective choices and how to create more useful or desirable actions and beliefs.
- Communication is the response you get.
People often respond to what they think you mean, which may or may not match what you intended to communicate (and note that ‘communicate’ relates to the whole message – both verbal and non-verbal). If we want people to respond appropriately to what we say then we need to talk with them rather than at them. We need to ask and listen to seek clarification.
- People have all the resources they need.
We each have the resources inside ourselves we need to grow and change, and NLP teaches us how to access and use these resources in appropriate ways.
- If one person can do something, anyone else can learn to do it.
NLP models excellence. The success of NLP demonstrates that it is possible to discover how someone achieves excellence in a specific activity and to teach it to anyone else. It is worth noting that the person learning the skill must have the necessary aptitude, and be willing to carry out the necessary self-development.
- We can’t not communicate.
We are constantly communicating by what we do, what we say, and what we don’t do and say. NLP helps us check for congruence in these messages.
- Anything can be accomplished when the task is broken down into small enough chunks.
When we have that feeling of ‘can’t see the wood for the trees’ or ‘I just don’t know what to do with myself’ we need to ‘chunk down’ to smaller pieces of the issue that are more manageable. We need to identify the first step to take, and the one after that, and the one after that.
- Being at cause.
You are in charge of your mind and therefore your results. This is based on the belief that Richard Bolstad, one of my NLP trainers has written about: since you are able to choose what you think about, you can create your own future.
The Law of Attraction
We live in a vibrational universe, where like attracts like. Quantum physics and other areas of new science now tell us that what we pay attention to determines what we experience. So, if this means that you get what you focus on, focus on what you want, not what you don’t want! When setting goals, say it how you want it. Your unconscious mind pays attention to what you think about, including the things you don’t want in your life. In this case, don’t spend time thinking about those things, think about what you want instead, thus attracting that instead! As Louise Hay said, “what we give out returns to us multiplied.”
If you’d like to find out more about coaching with us go here if you want business coaching, and here if you want more personal coaching – but we believe you can’t really separate the personal from the professional, so we can help you even if it’s a bit of both – after all, your Whole Self goes to work in the morning, goes to the supermarket, plays squash, and butters toast in the morning. Your Whole Self (your mind, heart, body, spirit, gut instinct) also comes to coaching.