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The NLP Coach

A Comprehensive Guide to Personal Well–Being and
Professional Success
By Ian McDermott and Wendy Jago
Reviewed by Suzi Smith

The subtitle of this book, published productive internal conversations by value of awareness and being able to
by Piatkus Publishers of London in asking you questions that get you establish exactly how someone did
2001, says much about the content thinking, just as a coach would. At something. They called this process
of the book. I know that some people times in the book, they recommend modeling, and used modeling to es-
who purchased the book thinking that you set aside time to examine tablish the very roots of NLP. This
that it would be a guide to coaching some incident from your own ex- book helps you to focus on self–
said that the content was a surprise perience to glean the learning from modelling the problems you find
to them. As written, it turns out that it. I found the exercises and ques- yourself repeating—any event that
this is really a guide to self–coaching tions in the book very thought pro- repeats must involve some repeated
using the many tools that NLP has voking, allowing me to drill down processes or sequences, and self–
to offer.The authors do a wonderful deeper into the issue I was consid- modelling can help unearth them.
job of demonstrating how the incred- ering at the time. Coaching also helps you explore
ibly powerful techniques and con- yourself and find out how you go
cepts known as NLP can help you The NLP Coach is divided into five about things, to discover your
achieve success in any environment parts, each very different from the strengths and how to work on your
of your choice. Coaching is a other. This review will point out sev- limitations.
buzzword in our society today and eral of the jewels that stood out for
many people are wanting to learn me as I went through the book.The Here are some of the characteris-
how they can obtain the skills to help book is 359 pages, so please bear in tics that NLP and coaching share.
them become a coach and jump on mind that this review cannot possi- Both are outcome–focused; custom-
this very popular bandwagon. Rather bly pay justice to all that will be avail- ized to your needs and your aims;
than teaching you the specific tools able to you when you read the book non–judgemental; supportive; based
necessary to become a coach to oth- and actually engage in the exercises on the assumptions you have all the
ers, this book will teach you how to and questions in an in depth way. resources you need; keep to your
coach yourself. Of course, by imple- own agenda; work in a curiosity
menting the powerful processes in this Part I - Coaching frame; help break down larger, longer-
book, you will be learning elements term goals into smaller, shorter–term
that are useful in coaching others. and NLP achievable steps; increase your aware-
ness of what’s happening here–and–
In the Introduction section, the McDermott and Jago start right now; assume that change can be
authors explain how they have de- out by pointing out what NLP is and cumulative; and assume that every-
signed the book to facilitate this self how it is like coaching in many ways. one can engage in lifelong learn-
coaching.Their intention is to prompt The pioneers of NLP noticed the ing, provided they want to work

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with processes and structure rather suggestion being that you can use word “failure” is particularly loaded
than content. Reading this list of them to help you understand situa- and brings about feelings of sadness,
shared characteristics it becomes tions that seem puzzling, figuring out despondency, and loss of self–esteem.
obvious that NLP and coaching are just what the issue is that you are When you don’t get what you
meant for each other. confronted with and which logical wanted, which is sometimes used as
level is involved. The authors revisit a definition for failure, you can look
Part II - NLP logical levels in several other places for the learning in the experience,
in the book, pointing out how useful explore other options that might
Coaching Tools this exploration can be. have been possible, and clarify how
you might behave differently in the
This section of the book focuses Part III - Success future.
on some of the basic NLP tools that
are useful to you in the coaching pro- and Failure The authors offer that important
cess. In the Introduction to this part reframe that NLP offers to failure:
of the book the authors emphasize a The point is made in the Introduc- failure is really only feedback. Given
phrase: “What NLP and coaching tion to this section that your beliefs that, you can become very curious
have in common is: less is more.” about success and failure could even and examine the feedback for clues.
Using the tools in NLP that we know predetermine your progress without Questions you can ask are: How ex-
work so well will assist you in get- your even being aware of it.Your be- actly did I do that? What exactly did I
ting what you want in the most eco- liefs and language are one significant do that didn’t work? When did I do
nomical and effective way. way in which you limit yourself. The this—is the timing important?Where

There are 24 different NLP tools

described in this section, including the
essential basics of NLP like anchoring,
well formed outcomes, perceptual
positions, meta programs, reframing,
Disney’s creativity strategy, and
chunking, to mention just a few. Most
mentioned are presented as processes
and ways of thinking rather than full
NLP techniques. For each tool, they
give the following information:
1. What it is.
2. What it does.
3. Some everyday examples of it
in use.
4. Situations which could prompt
you to use it.
5. How you can use it.
This useful part of the book serves
students of NLP well as they begin
exploring the basic processes and
how to use them.

This is where we are first intro-

duced to logical levels, with one

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did I do this—is the location signifi- We shall also be coaching you on of view of the different systems in-
cant here? Just reading these ques- the five dimensions—your potential, volved.You ask how these different
tions flashed me back on times when style, personal balance, world and, systems interacted and affected each
my attempts at communication had of course, yourself—that in our ex- other and how might you respond
“failed miserably.” I quickly realized perience are most crucial for achiev- differently in the future were it to
that the time and place were huge ing your goals.” The premise is that occur again?
factors in the results I produced.Valu- understanding these five dimensions
able information indeed. and how they impact you can help
you identify what to change and what The chapter on yourself asks you
There are several suggestions for resources will help you do it. to consider how much you invest in
how to use feedback constructively. yourself in the following ways: time
1. Take notice of feedback in all Examining your potential and your on your own; relaxation; new stimuli;
its forms. style includes an in–depth look at presents and treats; fun; off–duty ac-
2. If what you’re doing isn’t work- well–formed outcomes and meta tivities; doing things you like; being
ing, do something different. outcomes and utilizing likes and dis- with people who make you feel good;
3. If what you’re doing is working likes, modeling, and meta programs. praising yourself; appreciating your
get clear about what it is that’s To me, the real meat in this section uniquenes; spending money on your-
working so you can do more is in the introduction of TheWheel self in ways that enhance your life,
of it. of Life.This wheel is designed to have your skills, your opportunities; and
4. Pay attention to detail. you rank 8 different areas of your life as honoring your needs. This list gave
5. Model yourself and others. to your satisfaction in each of these ar- me food for thought in my daily
eas.The areas for consideration are ca- journaling and I have started an ac-
Once you’ve learned to analyze reer, finances, health, friends and family, tive program of investing more in
what might be called “failure,” you love and romance, personal develop- myself consciously and with mindful-
can of course, use those same pro- ment, fun and recreation, and physical ness. I love the results it’s bringing.
cesses to look at success. In addition environment. Once you have ranked
to what is suggested above you can these areas you can ask these questions: Part V - Success
also use contrastive analysis to find 1. What do I want?
the difference that makes the differ- 2. What do I really want? Secrets
ence; notice the sequences that work 3. What am I not paying attention
well; pay attention to observable be- to or honoring? This last section of the book com-
havior as well as internal representa- 4. What’s the easiest step I can prises over 200 pages and a wealth
tions; and break your goals into small, take now? of information covering self–esteem;
achievable steps. 5. How will I begin taking action building good relationships; maximiz-
and checking back regularly? ing your brain power; health, wealth,
Part IV - Your Five and happiness; making work reward-
I have personally found this Wheel ing; and being spiritually alive. A chap-
Dimensions of of Life approach a valuable way to con- ter is devoted to each of these areas
Success stantly assess my life and come back showing you the many ways that NLP
into balance. can assist you in making changes for
The Introduction to this section the better—as well as revealing your
includes the following quote from The chapter on the world has an existing recipes for success so that
the authors; “In this section we will exercise giving you the opportunity you can duplicate them as often as
show you how to use NLP to ex- to explore how you’ve been creat- you wish. Each area covered includes
amine the raw material available to ing your world.The exercise has you four “how to’s” to increase your suc-
you—namely, yourself and your life. consider an event that didn’t turn cess in that area and numerous tips
out as you expected from the point and exercises for enhancement. Like

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the rest of the book, there are also want, feel, or think to avoid assump- you’ve got.
many stories about people the au- tions.These are just a few of the things 2. Being more creative.
thors have worked with, helping them to consider to improve your relation- 3. Accelerating your learning.
to illustrate a point. ships. Along with these consider- 4. Improving your memory.
ations are many helpful tips ranging
Self–esteem is defined as the value from how to create a sense of “we,” Think about becoming immensely
we put on ourselves. People with high to how to get the best value from curious about how you work and
self–esteem have a strong sense of your investment in a relationship, to taking the opportunity to examine
self; they like themselves; they can rec- how to know what to do when things your self–limiting beliefs about learn-
ognize and manage their internal aren’t right, to finding the right time ing and using your brain. Once you’ve
state; and they have a clear sense of to bring up an issue.The many ques- done that, you can build your mental
purpose. There are many useful tips tions you can ask yourself are very versatility through using your repre-
offered in how to develop these quali- thought provoking. sentation systems, submodalities and
ties along with exercises to give you meta programs more fully.There are
experience with the concepts.Try this The chapter on maximizing your numerous exercises, like what are
simple exercise. Make two lists. One brain power focuses on the many called brain push–ups that can help
that begins “I like myself because…” ways that you can keep your brain in you access outside of your typical way
and the other that begins “I like… good working condition. The four of thinking. Creativity, learning states,
about myself.” This can be a begin- ways that you can boost your brain and finding triggers to enhance
ning step to liking yourself better. power are: memory are also dealt with here.The
1. Making the most of what essence for me of this chapter was
In the chapter on building good
relationships, another four “how to’s”
are explored.
• How to build a ‘we’ which goes
beyond ‘me’ and ‘you.’
• How to see things from differ-
ent points of view—the skill of
taking different perceptual po-
• How to invest in the future.
• How to know when to stop in-
vesting and pull out.

Critical to relationships is a good

sense of self and being true to yourself.
It’s important to know what you want
and be prepared to ask for it. Having a
clear sense of your own boundaries is
essential along with knowing how to
move cleanly between different per-
ceptual positions.The more attentive
you can be to feedback without re-
garding it judgementally, the better
you will be able to respond to an-
other in a relationship. And remem-
ber to be explicit about what you

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about using and more fully develop- you define health, wealth and happi- about the meta outcome of having
ing my senses in a creative way while ness for yourself. money.That helps put everything into
remaining open to new options. perspective.
In the health section, there is dis-
For most, people, health, wealth cussion of some of the obvious life- There is much variety in the way
and happiness are synonymous with style factors that impact health, such people define happiness. It is typi-
the good life. The chapter devoted as stress, rest, food and drink, exer- cally thought of as a highly individual
to these areas presents the notion cise, and sleep. They include tips for state, a complex combination of
of conserving versus preserving. Con- taking care of yourself, dismantling physiological, mental, and emotional
serving is described as an active pro- stress, how to be more healthy, and elements. Happiness doesn’t have to
cess where you attend to and pro- ways to conserve your health. I al- be dependent on external events or
mote what has value to you. In these ways appreciate being reminded things; and we all know how helpful
three areas conserving would be about what works in that domain. NLP is in changing our internal ex-
noticing what you are already doing perience. It’s worth examining the
or already have and taking good care Regarding wealth, the suggestion everyday, complex state called hap-
of yourself and your assets now and is made that you consistently save and piness so that you can actively cre-
for your future—and this isn’t just invest over time, taking into account ate and manage it.
financial. It’s about knowing what your expenses and your future needs.
you’ve got and keeping track of how Meta programs are mentioned here The chapter on making work re-
you’re doing.To assist you in this, the again in this chapter, focusing on the warding helps you examine how you
authors have created questions to ask value of considering this through time think of work. Is it challenging and
yourself to asses where you are cur- and planning for your future. It’s help- exciting, just a means of paying the
rently in these areas.They even help ful to ask yourself on a regular basis bills, or something that you begrudge
doing because it takes up too much
of your time and your life? Meta pro-
grams are useful here again in help-
ing you determine if the work you
Back issues are doing is suited to your individual
style and preferences. Of course, you
over six months old and in stock are can utilize the skills of managing your-
self and your state as you’re working
still available for $100 each plus shipping. to make everything go smoother.This
section has a useful piece on how to
Newer issues and out of stock issues manage and influence others for
those people who have that as a part
are $500 each. Out of stock issues are of their work.
only available as photo copies.
The final chapter is on being spiri-
Call: tually alive. Since the logical levels have
been woven throughout the book, it
1-800-544-6480 is appropriate to end here. Spiritual-
ity doesn’t have to relate to religious
or e-mail: affiliation. It’s a sense of something
that includes yet goes beyond you. There’s a link between the events that
happen on a daily basis and a wider
meaning. and there’s coherence at a

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really high level. The authors offer of NLP. In addition to her busy pri-
these four pointers to being spiritu- About the Authors vate practice, she has been involved
ally alive. in a wide range of professional train-
1. Stop trying. Ian McDermott is a leading ing courses, holding posts as Course
2. Be present. trainer, consultant, and author in the Director for the UK College of Hyp-
3. Create a more spacious aware- field of NLP and coaching. He is the notherapy and Counseling and, more
ness. Director of Training for International recently, for the Tisserand Institute
4. Allow an attitude of gratitude. Teaching Seminars located in London of Holistic Aromatherapy.
and has trained thousands of people
I have an attitude of gratitude for over the past fifteen years, using the ANCHORPOINT
Ian McDermott and Wendy Jago for NLP processes in this book. He is
putting all of these ideas together in active as a business consultant and
one place.The suggestions, questions coach, also working with the public
and tips in this book have enabled Suzi Smith, co–founder of the Anchor
sector and the BBC. He is the co– Point Institute and Anchor Point
me to become a better coach for author of ten books on NLP and Productions has been training in NLP
myself. No surprise also that I find numerous audio tapes. programs world-wide since 1985. She has
myself using these questions with the an active one–on–one practice, assisting
people that I am coaching also. If you’re Wendy Jago is a practicing con- people through NLP, shamanic energetic
interested in your own self–develop- sultant, coach, and therapist. She has healing and telephone coaching. She can be
ment, this book is a necessary addi- reached at
a Diploma in Hypnosis and Psycho-
tion to your book collection. therapy and is a Master Practitioner

Join us for Anchor Point Institute’s Spring

NLP Practitioner Certification Training

begins in March, 2003
Salt Lake City, Utah

For more information call 800-544-6480 or 801-534-1022


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