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This report explores the relationship between Coaching and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). What is Coaching? What is Neuro Linguistic Programming? What are the presuppositions of NLP? Where does NLP come from? What are the foundation stones of Coaching? How is Coaching enhanced by the use of NLP?
NLP fascinates me. I am currently at Practitioner level and enjoy incorporating NLP techniques in my coaching practice and, it is for this reason, that I want to explore the relationship between coaching and NLP in my thesis. This is not a definitive study between the two professions as I am still learning but I would like to take time to explore the ways in which NLP can be used in coaching sessions with Clients.
My experience to date shows that NLP accelerates the results for Clients within coaching and that NLP techniques add an exciting dimension to change and bridging the gap between where the Client is now and where they want to be. Sometimes, as a Coach, you can feel ‘stuck’ as to what coaching skill to deploy effectively and, for me, NLP is a great tool to use with Clients. By suggesting a totally different way of approaching a ‘situation’, you immediately move the Client out of being ‘stuck’ and into a more ‘flexible’ frame of mind. When you encourage Clients to bring all their sensory modes into operation, the process of change has begun without them actually realising it. The desired outcome is invariable positive and less hard work than the Client had originally thought and can bring about incredible transformations.
It might sound odd but NLP is playful and, at times, lighthearted. It can have an amazing impact that gets right to the heart of the matter. Joseph O’Connor in his ‘NLP Workbook’, I think, agrees when he says that “NLP is a way of thinking, a frame of mind based on curiosity, exploration and fun”.
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What is Coaching?
“CoActive Coaching” by Laura Whitworth, Henry KimseyHouse and Phil Sandahl for defines coaching as “a powerful alliance designed to forward and enhance the lifelong process of human learning, effectiveness and fulfilment”.
You almost have to experience coaching to understand how unique and special the ClientCoach relationship can be because coaching creates a relational synergy. Together the Coach and Client define needs, wants, ambitions and desires in an atmosphere of trust where the Client feels free to discuss anything he or she wants.
Curly Martin in ‘The Life Coaching Handbook’ stresses “the job of the Life Coach is to get results – results, result and nothing but results!” She also adds that coaching is not about advising your Clients – the Coach’s strength lies in allowing your Clients to find the answers for themselves”.
Coaches who are nondirectional do not tell, advise or suggest to Clients what they ‘should’ do, but through questioning and listening to raise awareness, draw out from them the solutions that lie within them.
I like Tim Gallway’s coaching formula that he talks about in ‘The Inner Game of Tennis’ when he says that “Potential minus Interference equals
Performance” and it is the job of a Coach to help a Client identify the interference and remove it!
Clients come to coaching because they want to move forward in their lives and Coaches work with Clients to enable them to overcome their blocks, to help them realise their potential and to become the person that they are capable of being.
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What is Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)?
The great thing about NLP is that there is no one set definition! It is constantly evolving and contributors to the field quote differently themselves. For example, Robert Dilts says “NLP is whatever works!” John Grinder says that “NLP is an accelerated learning strategy for the detection and utilization of patterns in the world”. Richard Bandler says that “NLP is an attitude and a methodology, which leave behind a trail of techniques”.
NLP trainers often tell stories as a means of conveying a message. Here is one about NLP:
A boy asked his mother, “What’s NLP?” His mother said, “I will tell you in a moment, but first you have to do something so you can understand. See your granddad over there in his chair?” “Yep”, said the boy. “Go and ask him how his arthritis is today”. The boy went over to his grandfather. “Granddad”, he said, “how’s your arthritis today?”
“Oh, it’s a bit bad, son”, replied the old man. “It’s always worse in damp weather. I can hardly move my fingers today”. A look of pain crossed his face. The boy went back to his mother. “He said it was bad. I think it hurts him. Are you going to tell me what NLP is now?” “In a minute, I promise”, replied his mother. “Now go over and ask Granddad what was the funniest thing that you did when you were very young”. The boy went over to his grandfather, “Granddad”, he began, “What’s the funniest thing I ever did when I was very young?” The old man’s face lit up. “Oh”, he smiled, “there were lots of things. There was the time when you and your friend played Father Christmas and sprinkled talcum powder all over the bathroom pretending it was snow. I laughed – but I didn’t have to clean it up”. He stared into the distance with a smile.
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“Then there was the time I took you out for a walk. It was a lovely day and you were singing a nursery rhyme you had just learned. Loudly. A man went past and gave you a nasty look. He thought you were being too noisy. He asked me to tell you to be quiet. You turned round and said to him, “If you don’t like me singing, you can go and boil your head”. And carried on even louder …” The old man chuckled. The boy went back to his mother. “Did you hear what Granddad said?” he asked. “Yes”, his mother replied. “You changed how he felt with a few words. That’s NLP”.
While this is by no means a complete description of what NLP is, it does illustrate how you can help someone change their state and, in NLP, calibrating the ‘state’ of a Client and eliciting a change of ‘state’ is essential to a firm understanding of NLP and allows us an insight into the models of how individuals structure their unique experiences of life. What are the Presuppositions of NLP?
The development of NLP has resulted in a number of presuppositions. These include:
1. The map is not the territory – whatever the world is like we use our senses to explore and map it. The sort of map you make depends on what you notice and where you want to go. 2. There is no failure, only feedback. 3. The mind and body affect each other. 4. You are in charge of your mind and therefore of your results. 5. People have all the resources that they need to make the changes that they want. 6. It is better to increase your number of choices. 7. If what you are doing isn’t working – do something different. 8. The meaning of the communication is the response you get. 9. Respect other people’s model of the world. 5 | P a g e Coaching and NLP (c) Noble Manhattan Coaching Ltd
10. Language does not describe reality. It is a result of an external stimulus, followed by a personal internal representation. 11. The person with the most flexible behaviour will control the outcome of an interaction. 12. The highest quality information about other people is their behaviour. 13. A person’s behaviour in a given situation is the best choice available to them. 14. A person’s behaviour is contextual and is not their self or identity. 15. There is no such thing as a resistant client – only a lack of rapport. What are the Origins of NLP?
NLP covers three main areas:
· · ·
the mind and how we think how we use language and how it affects us
Programming how we sequence our actions to achieve our goals.
Going back to its origins NLP has an intellectual history and philosophical basis and an understanding of this enables you to see where the NLP presuppositions have come from.
Major influences on NLP have come from various schools of thought including Pragmatism, Constructivism, General Semantics, Person Centred Therapy, Transactional Analysis, the Tote Model, Cybernetics, System Theory, Gestalt Theory, Ericksonian Hypnotherapy and the work of Virginia Satir.
It was the work of John Grinder and Richard Bandler in the 1970s who specifically created NLP and they spent time studying and modelling the work of the different schools of thought.
The theory of Pragmatism, devised by the American philosopher and psychologist William James, looked at what it was like to be inside an
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experience. James’ work is probably the closely forerunner of how NLP deals with time lines because he spoke about the subjective experience of time
The Constructivist argument says that we each make our own map of reality because we experience the world through our senses – what we see, hear and feel. Also, our culture, values, expectations, preoccupations and society
Filter what and how we experience reality. We are responsible for how we perceive and how we act on our perceptions.
General Semantics, founded by Alfred Korzbyski, coined one of NLP’s presuppositions, “the map is not the territory”, that is, our words are far more limited than the experience itself. He said that, as individuals, we make maps of reality with our language and then take that map for reality itself.
Korzybski’s work was further developed by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson who developed the idea that all language speaks in metaphors and that we can only speak of what things are like, and not exactly how things are. NLP often takes language literally as a clue to the thought process behind it.
NLP absorbed the work of Carl Rogers and Person Centred Therapy that all listening should be nonjudgemental and that the Client’s language should be reflected back to them as a way of exploring their beliefs and presuppositions to lead to an understanding and a resolution of their problem.
Transactional Analysis from Eric Berne introduced the idea that people have three principal ‘parts’ of their personality that think and react differently, that is, the ‘parent’, ‘adult’ and ‘child’. Grinder and Bandler studied videotapes of Berne doing psychotherapy and took for NLP the metaphor of ‘personality parts’. This idea is useful in NLP terms because people often feel ‘split’ by conflicting desires and emotions and exploring ‘parts’ is a useful way of dealing with problems and difficult decisions.
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The TOTE model, introduced in the 1960s, says we act to reduce difference between a present state and a desired one. It is still used in NLP because it
NLP is a cybernetic model, that is, the results on one action are fed back into the system and used as the basis for the next action.
The four people who had the most influence on the development of NLP were Gregory Bateson, Friedric Perls, Milton Erickson and Virginia Satir.
Bateson was an English anthropologist but his work touched on many fields including ethnology, psychiatry, psychology, cybernetics and systems theory and his writings form the intellectual basis for NLP.
Fritz Perls was originally trained as a psychoanalyst and went on to develop Gestalt Therapy which proposed that people should trust their own instincts and enjoy their experience. He believed in the integration of mind and emotions and personal growth.
Like Perls, Virginia Satir used a person’s senses (their representational systems) of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic, in therapy to help clients experience solutions to their problems. She was a family therapist whose work concentrated on increasing selfesteem and understanding the point of view of other people. She worked closely with John Grinder and Richard Bandler in the early seventies.
Milton Erickson’s background was in medicine and psychology and he went on to become a hypnotherapist. He was fascinated by the uniqueness of every person and how they were able to do what they did so he let the Clients dictate the form of therapy rather than using a systematic approach. Bandler and Grinder modelled his work and Erickson’s language patterns are taught in NLP as the Milton Model.
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What are the cornerstones of Coaching?
“CoActive Coaching” defines the four cornerstones of coaching as:
1. The Client is naturally creative, resourceful and whole. 2. Coaching addresses the Client’s whole life. 3. The agenda comes from the Client. 4. The relationship is a designed alliance.
Within this, “CoActive Coaching” refers to the five contexts of coaching as:
· · · · ·
Listening Intuition Curiosity Action / Learning SelfManagement
Coaching skills typically used include:
o Articulating o Clarifying o Metaview o Metaphor o Acknowledging
“CoActive Coaching” also identifies other coaching techniques used and these include requesting, brainstorming, intrusion, asking permission, bottom lining, championing, clearing, reframing, challenging, telling and demanding,
Inquiry assignment, learning from failure as from success and ‘noticing, recognising and naming the gremlin so it begins to loose its power’.
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There are various coaching models in use, two popular ones being the TGROW and the ICANDO models.
TRGOW stands for Topic, Goal, Reality, Options, Way Forward. ICANDO stands for Investigate, Current Situation, Overall Aims, Number of Options, Date, Outcome.
The Coach’s place in either model is to create an environment in which Clients are able to focus entirely on their fulfilment, balance and process. Within each session, a particular goal or aim is highlighted and the Coach uses different techniques to elicit Client awareness so that the Client can find their own answers.
An Effective Coach
“CoActive Coaching” refers to the “effective coach” as having the ability to “dance in the moment”, that is, there is no preset formula to follow but rather the Coach must wait to hear the Client’s response before deciding in which direction to move the conversation forward. The Coach must keep on his or her toes “to move gracefully into the next question or to employ a coaching skill”. Ø
An Effective Coach Needs Listening Skills
An effective Coach listens equally to the words that the Client is saying as well as to those which are unsaid. In coaching, you are taught that there are three levels of listening – the first is typical of a normal conversation where both parties share viewpoints, the second is focused listening whereby the Coach focuses exclusively on what the Client is saying, and, the third is global listening in which the Coach picks up on emotion, body language and the
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environment itself. This includes the sensory data as well as mood, pace and energy.
A coach needs to be able to listen actively and this involves clarifying what the Client says, noticing body language, being aware of the feelings behind the words and being sensitive to the context of the conversation. A Coach takes in the information, responds and notices the impact on the Client. A Coach has to be able to read the impact they are having on the Client and adjust his or her own behaviour accordingly. Ø
An Effective Coach Needs Intuition
When a Coach listens at level three this is listening with true awareness. This involves trusting our own intuition and operating at a subconscious level and being aware of our own gut feelings, thoughts and hunches. Ø
An Effective Coach Needs to be Curious
“CoActive Coaching” states that “the coach’s job is to ask questions – powerful questions that break through old defences”. A Coach has to be curious to be interested in focusing at level three on one person for a period of time. The task as a Coach is to encourage the Client as well to become curious about him or herself in a safe and confidential environment. If a Coach’s curiosity can help raise a Client’s selfawareness that, in turn, raises his or her own selfdisclosure, this is a powerful step on the path to change. Ø
An Effective Coach Needs to Promote a Client’s Action and Learning
“CoActive Coaching” stresses that the purpose of the coaching conversation is “to forward the action and deepen the learning”. The TGROW model is a useful coaching tool in that it enables a discussion to take place about the way forward for a Client. After the goal has been set and the reality of the situation explored, options are encouraged which lead to an actionplanning 11 | P a g e Coaching and NLP (c) Noble Manhattan Coaching Ltd
stage. These should be SMART – that, is, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timeoriented. Coaches should seek a level of commitment from a Client which encompasses commitment, intention and motivation. This is often done on a scale of 110, and taken that change will take place if the Client rates their scoring as a 7 or above.
In subsequent coaching sessions, it is valuable to review progress to help a Client learn more about themselves and how they could be more effective in helping themselves achieve their goals. This might lead to the use of other coaching techniques to help a Client move forward, such as a review of values and beliefs as well as other issues, such as the wheel of life, what drains a Client, looking at daily habits, timemanagement, gremlinclarification and saying yes – saying no. Ø
An Effective Coach Needs to Manage Themselves
A Coach’s ability to manage him or herself is more than just the ability to lead a coaching session. I like the quote by Laura Whitworth in ‘CoActive Coaching’ that says, “in order to truly hold the Client’s agenda, the Coach must get out of the way”! This means that a Coach must not bring their own issues or their own map of the world into a coaching session, rather the Coach is there 100% for the Client. It is important for a Coach to be coached themselves as this not only sets a good example to the Client, but enables a Coach to learn more about their own selfawareness. Ø
Other Effective Coaching Skills: Articulating, Clarifying, Metaview, Metaphor, Acknowledging
Although I have put these coaching skills together they are important in their own right. Articulation is the ability of a Coach to describe in a succinct manner what is going on and to mirror back to the Client what they have just said to you. It is a skill which affirms the Client. Sometimes, just to hear back to us what we have said is all we need to lead to greater selfawareness. Clarifying is allied closely to this because it is a means of checking 12 | P a g e Coaching and NLP (c) Noble Manhattan Coaching Ltd
understanding and it is essential that a Coach never assumes what a Client has meant.
Metaview opens up the big picture for a Client and enables a Client to see themselves or their situation in a new light. Sometimes, a different perspective is all that it needs to facilitate a different thought process in a Client that then leads on to the Client giving themselves permission to change or to do something differently. Metaphors are a wonderful technique to use with Clients because, although they are expressed in words, they draw on imagery and experience to help a Client comprehend more quickly and easily. Sometimes the truth for a Client is in their heart or in their gut and not in their mind. Metaphors allow the meaning to be more expansive than the literal meaning of the individual words used.
Clients come to coaching because they realise there is a gap between where they want to be and where they are now. It takes courage to open up to another person and to make changes in one’s own life. It is, therefore, so important to acknowledge this and to praise a Client for being themselves, for being honest and open, for wanting to move forward towards their dreams and goals. Also, it is important to acknowledge a Client for trying and not always succeeding as there is always learning in action. I find that when I acknowledge my Clients, although I might not see them because we are speaking on the phone, I can detect a movement / a change in them, as though through my simple acknowledgement of who they are, it has helped to increase their selfesteem. It also gives a Client encouragement to continue on their journey and this is so important within coaching as Clients can often experience setbacks on their path to what they want in life.
How is Coaching enhanced by the use of NLP? NLP explores how your thoughts (neuro) are affected by words (linguistic) leading to action (programming). If the presuppositions of NLP are combined
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with the cornerstones of coaching, this makes for a powerful combination and gives both the Coach and Client added resources for eliciting change.
In my opinion, the use of NLP can enhance coaching in the following ways: · · · · · · · · · · · · · Managing your own state as a Coach Enhancing rapport with a Client Monitoring a Client’s state Understanding a Client’s view of the world Changing a Client’s state Improving questioning skills Coaching at an unconscious level Setting goals with Clients Helping Clients deal with difficult and ‘stuck’ issues Replacing a Client’s selflimiting beliefs with empowering ones Identifying the level at which Clients need to make changes Managing your own and a Client’s learning Increasing problemsolving tools and strategies for Clients
MANAGING YOUR OWN STATE AS A COACH
In coaching, it is important to focus 100% on a Client. This means leaving behind your own issues, concerns, judgements and prejudices. NLP helps you learn how to manage your own ‘state’. This means having a good awareness of your own being, that is, your physiology, your thinking and your emotions so that you are better able to put them aside when coaching. If you are aware of your ‘ideal coaching state’ you can make sure you are in this state when working with Clients.
ENHANCING RAPPORT WITH A CLIENT
There are verbal and nonverbal ways of communicating. Using nonverbal techniques of matching, mirroring, pacing and leading as well as crossover 14 | P a g e Coaching and NLP (c) Noble Manhattan Coaching Ltd
matching, you can build and maintain rapport with a Client. In coaching you use these rapport skills and NLP takes this further by increasing the detail at which rapport can be built and maintained.
In ‘Influencing with Integrity’, Genie Laborde describes “unconscious visible responses” which should also be noticed and this includes changes in skin colour, facial muscles, the lower lip and breathing. She says you should notice these changes, not to make judgements about your Client, but to increase your sensory skills from ‘awareness’ to ‘acuity’ as well as to increase your choice of building rapport.
Other ways in which NLP helps you to enhance rapport with a Client is through noticing the use of a Client’s language. Every person has a preferred style of communication and this revolves around the senses of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. Our language reveals our preferred senses through the use of words. Observing this particular ‘sensory acuity’ is a basic skill in NLP and helps immensely with coaching.
Recognising a Client’s preferred predicate, ie. sensorybased words, allows the Client to feel that he or she is communicating well with the Coach and this makes it easier for the Client to disclose information about him or herself. If, as Coaches, we have the ability to do this, Clients will feel more comfortable talking to us and this will help build trust and strengthen the coaching alliance.
In NLP, one of the presuppositions is that “there is no resistant client, only a lack of rapport” and this means that it is the responsibility of the practitioner / coach to build a good relationship with a Client.
MONITORING A CLIENT’S STATE BY NOTICING THEIR PHYSIOLOGY
In NLP there is a model of communication which says that if a Client thinks differently, he or she will also act differently (and vice versa). In coaching, it is important to be observant and NLP helps you understand how the mind
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processes information and how this manifests itself by changes at the physiological level.
The NLP presupposition that the mind and body affect each other encourages the Coach using NLP to work holistically with a Client. A ‘shift’ in a Client’s physiology indicates that their internal processing of information, ie. his or her thinking, has also altered.
Through the study of NLP the Coach becomes more tuned into eliciting and calibrating states in Clients and that there are more ways of just working with a Client other than communicating through words. Actions play a large part as well.
Another way NLP helps Coaches to notice what is happening with Clients is through the use of eye accessing clues. By observing the direction of a Client’s eye movements, you can pick up on the kind of thinking that is going on and whether someone is thinking in a visual, auditory or kinaesthetic way. This is often backed up through other body language signals such as the tone, volume and pitch of our voice.
UNDERSTANDING A CLENT’S VIEW OF THE WORLD
Most people listen at a superficial level. Coaching trains you to listen on a global level, that is, with your senses. NLP takes this further by giving you an increased understanding of the meaning of a Client’s use of language through submodality work, that is, the smallest building blocks of thoughts that reveal more details about how a person sees, hears and feels.
Knowledge of submodalities can increase a Coach’s effectiveness in helping a Client change. Examples of submodalities in the visual field include colour, brightness, size. Auditory submodality examples include, for example, tone, pitch, volume and, kinaesthetic submodalities include such things as texture and temperature. Submodalities also exist within taste and smell but the main ones that NLP emphasizes are visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. 16 | P a g e Coaching and NLP (c) Noble Manhattan Coaching Ltd
Learning about the NLP presupposition that “language does not describe reality” also enhances a Coach’s skill in communicating with a Client. This is because our language is less rich than the way our senses experience life and we have to use filters of deletion, distortion and generalisation to help us communicate with others. This explains why a Coach should never make assumptions because each person creates their own meaning of a word and an experience.
A Coach who appreciates that it is really important to understand a Client’s view of the world and the reasons behind this, will, in my opinion, be a more effective Coach. We each have our own reality which is a result of an external stimulus, followed by our own personal internal representation and when we coach we need to put our own map of reality to one side to be fully present in the Client’s.
CHANGING A CLIENT’S STATE Coaching is connected to helping Clients make changes in their lives and, as individuals, we are all able to manage these better if we are in a resourceful state. Anchoring is a process of learning to hold on to emotional states that are crucial to our outcomes. We all have natural anchors but, at times, we need techniques to help us be more effective. Using anchors with our Clients helps them to tap into their inner potential and choose the best emotional state to suit their circumstances.
Working with an individual’s submodalities, a Coach using NLP, can create a range of anchors to increase a Client’s ability to “lead” him or herself. There are many different ways of using anchors but, as O’Connor and Seymour say in “Introducing NeuroLinguistic Programming”, the importance of anchoring is that is “enables us to increase our emotional freedom by escaping from the tyranny of past negative experiences and creating more positive ones”.
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HELPING WITH QUESTIONING SKILLS Good coaches pay attention to questioning skills because the right question can make all the difference. When a Client responds to a question there are often different questions a Coach can ask in return. NLP helps you decide which question to ask because you have a greater understanding of language, how people process information and the effect that certain types of questions might have on Clients so you can choose your questions with more confidence and care.
In terms of questions, NLP also helps you, as a Coach, maintain rapport with your Client as you ask questions. You can do this by noticing the Client’s state and representational systems, that is, the preferred sensorybased words the Client is using, and asking questions that reflect the Client’s words back to them. At its simplest, Clients often talk in terms of what they think, feel, see, etc, and it is good practice as a Coach to use these words in the questions we ask back to the Client.
NLP can also enhance a Coach’s technique by exploring further the use of language. The linguist, Noam Chomsky, identified different layers of language – from surface to deep – and a Coach needs to be aware of this in order to ask questions that help to recover information which a Client has filtered through a process of ‘deletion’, ‘distortion’ or ‘generalisation’.
The surface structure is everything we say, either to ourselves or to others, and the deep structure is the underlying meaning of what we say, containing information neither expressed nor known consciously
In NLP, a distortion is when you change an experience and make it different in some way. A deletion is when you miss out a portion of an experience and a generalisation is when one specific experience comes to represent a whole class or group of experiences.
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Chunking is another NLP language technique that is helpful in forming coaching questions. You can chunk up, down and sideways. Chunking up is connected to the Milton Model and chunking down is connected to the Meta Model. Sideways chunking relates to metaphors that Clients use to make sense of their experience. In coaching this is a valuable technique because through the use of metaphors a Client’s mind is opened to many possible meanings from the one they originally had.
COACHING AT AN UNCONSCIOUS LEVEL
Sue Knight in her book “NLP At Work” explains clearly how the power of the voice and the influence of language help with coaching skills. She says: “Our conscious minds are obedient to commands – we seek out the commands in a sentence and ignore the rest”. Telling someone, “Don’t worry”, will not stop that person from worrying because the unconscious responds to indirect rather than direct communication!
Familiarity with the Milton Model, so named by John Grinder and Richard Bandler from modelling the hypnotherapist Milton Erickson, illustrates the importance of the use of our words and the manner in which they are said to our Clients.
Understanding this helps us be more effective Coaches and gives us the ability to pace and lead our Clients using “artfully vague language” in order to access the unconscious mind and distract and utilise the conscious mind.
As O’Connor says in “Introducing NLP”, the Milton Model “follows the way the mind works naturally …. you are highly motivated to learn from your unconscious in an inner directed way. You do not tell a Client what to do; rather you direct his or her attention to what is there”.
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Coaching stresses the importance of goal setting and the TGROW model endorses this approach. Some goals Clients wish to achieve may take a short or long time and sometimes a goal changes along the way. What is crucial is that a goal is set so that the Client has a direction to follow and the coaching process takes account of reviewing goals and learning.
NLP is a really useful tool with goal setting because it encourages Clients to use their senses in the process. This is referred to as a wellformed outcome. Genie Z Labordie in “Influencing with Integrity” says that by using the senses in this way, it “impacts significantly on your thinking process: what you think about are the pictures, words, or feelings you have selected. You will notice what is available in your immediate environment and among past experiences to assist you.”
There is a series of twentyone questions which you can go through with Clients in forming outcomes. These questions cover the senses, negative and positive consequences and synaesthaesia. Synaesthaeisa questions make the brain work at processing information and include:
· · · ·
What would happen if you did get that outcome? What would happen if you didn’t get that outcome What wouldn’t happen if you did get that outcome? What wouldn’t happen if you didn’t get that outcome?
As a Coach, you can use a great NLP technique to consolidate wellformed outcomes by the process of “future pacing”. This involves mentally rehearsing an outcome so that it is more compelling and selffulfilling for a Client. This can be done on a timeline, that is, the line that connects our past with our future and the ‘place’ we store pictures, sounds and feelings of our past and future.
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Clients often come to coaching because they need greater accountability in their lives to achieve their goals and they look to the Coach to help them find ways of fulfilling their dreams. Through the use of the Metal Model, if a Coach can learn to identify the motivation traits of a Client and, in turn, speak in the Client’s own personal style, the Coach will be more influential in helping a Client to help themselves.
Shelle Rose Charvet in her book “Words that Change Minds” says that the important point in helping Clients motivate themselves is to listen to “how people answer, instead of what they say. In this way, after asking a few simple questions, you can determine what will trigger and maintain someone’s motivation and how they internally process information”.
People have different patterns of what motivates them. One pattern is “toward” and “away from”. So, for example, Client A is motivated to achieve a goal by sorting out the problems (away from) and Client B is motivated to achieve the same goal by the reward at the end (towards).
In coaching both Clients you would raise different issues with each, thereby reflecting their own use of motivating language and concerns and you would need to be careful not to stereotype Clients as individual patterns vary depending on the context.
DEALING WITH DIFFICULT ISSUES / HELPING CLIENTS BECOME ‘UNSTUCK’
I think NLP offers imaginative solutions to coaching Clients when they stumble across difficult and unresolved issues. As long as you are confident that coaching rather than counselling is appropriate, there are a variety of NLP techniques that you could consider using. These include swish, disassociated / associated, visualisation, timelines and eye movement integration.
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If a Client is finding change difficult, such as giving up smoking, dieting, etc, the use of swish can replace unwanted behaviour or habits in favour or new ones and the NLP Coach works with a Client’s submodalities to elicit change.
If a Client finds revisiting an experience difficult or painful, the NLP technique of helping a Client disassociate their emotions from the experience is really useful and can help with deepseated fears such as phobias.
In NLP, time is experienced subjectively as distance and each person has their own individual timeline of the past, present and future. In coaching you can use timelines to help Clients resolve issues in the past as a way forward to a more compelling future, to access resources and to organise their lives.
Eye movement integration is a simple, clever NLP technique that helps Clients identify where they are stuck on a particular issue and helps them deal with it in a different and nonverbal way. The Coach metaphorically ‘holds’ the Client’s problem while the Coach moves his / her hand through the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic eye movements until the Client’s gaze remains steady throughout. This enables the Client to bring many different resources and ways of thinking to bear on a problem in different and creative combinations.
In coaching, your Client’s goals are more likely to be achieved if their values are in alignment with their beliefs. An important part of coaching is helping a Client discover what their values are and what beliefs are needed in order to help a Client succeed with their outcomes. Often selflimiting beliefs hold Clients back with managing change and NLP helps Coaches work with changing a Client’s selflimiting beliefs.
Using NLP, there are various ways of working with beliefs. Several of these models involve the splitting up of a belief to identify different components which are holding a Client back. For example, one such model splits a belief 22 | P a g e Coaching and NLP (c) Noble Manhattan Coaching Ltd
into “realist – critic – dreamer”; another one has different categories such as, “old limiting belief – positive purpose – redefine – new empowering belief”.
These are particularly effective because they help a Client break down a problem or belief into more manageable chunks. Also, using these
techniques allow a Client’s unconscious mind to come to the fore in creating positive solutions.
IDENTIFYING THE LEVEL AT WHICH CHANGE NEEDS TO TAKE PLACE
I really like the impact that Robert Dilts has made on NLP. His model of neurological levels is masterful and really helps a Coach work with a Client to identify the level at which change needs to take place. His model is straightforward and easily explained to Clients.
At the core of Dilt’s model is spirituality/identity, followed by beliefs/values, capabilities, behaviour and then environment. As a Coach, you can work with a Client by separating these levels and asking Clients questions which relate directly to each one, thereby gathering useful information to help with change work.
Dilt’s model illustrates how change can take place at different levels but that if you can make a change at one of the inner levels such as identity and beliefs/values, this will in turn change all the other outer levels and have greater impact.
MANAGING YOUR OWN AND A CLIENT’S LEARNING
Coaching is concerned with managing a Client’s action and learning and NLP offers useful insights into this process. NLP says that learning takes the form of four steps from unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence to unconscious competence.
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NLP offers other valuable learning models as a Coach that you can use with Clients such as “selfdevelopment” and ‘generative learning’. “Self development” is helping Clients to understand the link between acting differently, thinking differently and feeling differently. “Generative learning” is taking into account your beliefs and assumptions when reviewing and making decisions. If you can incorporate this feedback into your own learning model, you will gain more as a result.
Another great NLP technique for a Coach is perceptual positions. This involves looking at other people’s points of view to aid understanding to any
st nd rd st given situation. There are 1 , 2 and 3 positions, the 1 being your own nd rd viewpoint, the 2 of the other person and the 3 being an objective observer.
Taking note of these different learning models relate to many of the NLP presuppositions such as increasing flexibility, there is no such thing as failure – only feedback, respecting other people’s model of the world and a person’s behaviour is contextual and reflects the best choice available to them.
PROBLEMSOLVING TOOLS People often come for coaching because they have problems they cannot solve easily. The Coach, trained in NLP, will look for the difference that will make the difference to help the Client find the solution and become more self reliant.
NLP is concerned with modelling – that is, the process of ‘how’ rather than ‘why’. As Sue Knight in “NLP At Work” says, “If someone can do it, anyone can do it.” By decoding a Client’s successful strategies, you can coach someone to learn how to put these effective techniques into play for other situations.
Knight also refers to the point that, “We are creatures of habit. Our lives follow patterns ….. It is our patterns in thinking and behaving that create our
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response to circumstances, not the circumstances themselves……look within to uncover and review those patterns that are making our lives what they are”.
I think NLP has the most wonderful range of problemsolving tools and strategies to help Clients in a coaching context. I also think they help Clients look for ethical solutions to their problems because NLP is not just concerned with the individual outcome but looks at how your decisions impact on others. Conclusion
NLP encourages a Coach to look beyond the words of a Client, not to mind read, but to explore a Client’s physiology and senses, to understand better a Client’s map of the world – effectively, their perception of reality. NLP believes that, like in coaching, a Client is creative, resourceful and whole and lends itself to the task that if something a Client is doing is not working, it is better to make changes to reach the desired outcome.
Likewise, it is the Client who determines what they want and NLP has many tools at its disposal to help a Client find out what they are searching for and the means to help them achieve their ends. Using the power of the unconscious mind helps a Client realize goals in compelling ways. Working with a Client’s value and belief system encourages Clients to believe that they can achieve their outcomes.
I think one of the powerful presuppositions of NLP is that a person’s behaviour is not their identity or self – rather all behaviour is contextual – so NLP works on different levels to help Client’s discover where their issues are and, therein, where the solutions lie. NLP helps a Coach work in detail with a Client to isolate problems which a Client may be experiencing and help them find the resources within them to lead to a more desirable state.
Likewise, with coaching, the relationship is a designed alliance because the Coach and NLP practitioner act as facilitators to change. It is through respecting a Client’s model of the world and through the use of skilled 25 | P a g e Coaching and NLP (c) Noble Manhattan Coaching Ltd
questioning and listening that Clients are able to grow in selfawareness that leads to change.
In my opinion, NLP makes coaching more fun, more effective and increases your own learning as well. A great combination! Bibliography
CoActive Coaching, Laura Whitworth, Henry KimseyHouse, Phil Sandahl, The Life Coaching Handbook, Curly Martin, Crown House Publishing, 2001 The Tao of Coaching, Max Landsberg, Harper Collins, 1996 NLP At Work, Sue Knight, Nichols Brealey Publishing, 2002 The Structure of Magic 1, Richard Bandler/John Grinder, Science and Behaviour Books, 1975 Introducing NLP, Joseph O’Connor and John Seymour, Thorsons, 1995 Way of NLP, Joseph O’Connor and Ian McDermott, Thorsons, 2001 Influencing with Integrity, Genie Z Laborde, Crown House, 2003 Words that Change Minds, Shelle Rose Charvet, Kendall / Hunt, 1995 Using Your Brain for a Change, Richard Bandler, Real People Press, 1985 The NLP Workbook, Joseph O’Connor, Thorsons, 2002
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