Learn NLP: Underestimating NLP techniques

I was just doing a little bit of reflection on the use of NLP skills. Many people who complete an NLP Practitioner certification don’t use the skills beyond their current presentation. A number of them also stop using NLP. I thought about it and I think I know why.

James, I think your cover's blown!
Creative Commons License photo credit: laverrue

Many NLP practitioners only do what they are shown. They don’t have the capacity to go beyond that, because there’s little continuous training for them. For instance, submodalities is deemed as too technical to use. Also, the Meta Model is taught in, often, a very structured way that prevents learning by exploration. And a lot of people still think the Meta Model is just about asking questions, but seldom know what is the purpose behind it. That’s a little sad because I can say that a lot of my learning and achievement comes from knowing the Meta Model inside out.

The Meta Model is an approach that allows for greater clarity and precision in communication. Without the ability to be precise in our communication, there is a great tendency to assume that we know what someone else is thinking. Virginia Satir and Fritz Perls were powerful users of questions such that it created incisive insight for their clients. Likewise, the Meta Model can help you to become more precise and allow you to fully understand another person’s model of the world. This basically means that I can learn what’s going on in a person’s head by asking those questions to such detail that I can replicate that experience myself.

That’s “modelling”!

Purpose of Meta Model

The Meta Model comprises several challenges, which come in the form of questions. Refer to the chart below for all the possible questions.
There are two approaches to Meta Modelling. You could either use the Meta Model to examine and explore a problem state, or to use it to explore a resource state.
Steps in Problem Meta Modelling
  1. Information gathering
  2. Identifying limits of the client’s world
  3. Exploring and expanding the quality of meanings in life
In problem Meta Modelling, we expand the awareness of the problem state to reduce fixation on the problem. Usually, we want to move a person from the Problem State to the Desired State.

The Meta Model comprises several challenge questions, which come in the form of a set of questions that you will find in a typical NLP practitioner certification training.

Generally, Meta Modelling is highly misunderstood. Remember that the Meta Model is not meant to persuade. Rather, it is meant to explore. Many practitioners, upon learning the Meta Model, unintentionally, end up interrogating their clients.

Problem Meta Modeling – you want clarity of the problem to make a decision or to come up with an intervention.

  1. Information gathering
  2. Identifying limits of the client’s world
  3. Exploring and expanding the quality of meanings and choices in life

Resource Meta Modeling – you want to assume people already have the resources to achieve what they need to achieve, so that they can find evidence of resourcefulness and move forward on any problem they encounter.

  1. Information gathering
  2. Identifying limits of the client’s world
  3. Matching the external meaning/map (what you need) to the inner meaning/map (what you have)

Meta Modeling Resourceful States

Find someone who has a resourceful state and model that state by asking questions within these broader categories:-

  1. How does this (emotion/state)process work?
  2. What internal structure governs the way this experience works?
  3. What does a person represent first, then second, then third, etc? What is the sequence of thinking?
  4. What other qualities and factors play a crucial role in the formula of this piece of human excellence?
So you can see that there’s a very deep divide between an expert knowledge of Meta Modeling versus an amateur one. I’ll post a little more about this in subsequent posts. Just know that asking questions is an art form, and some people know how to do it better than others! Let’s learn how to ask these questions with elegance and move clients to the desired result they need.

How NLP Expertise Helps You Be A Better Life Coach

I know a large number of people who are life coaches who don’t even have mentors themselves. I think this is pretty irrational, because I seek out a small group of people who can then mentor me and keep me on my toes.

If you’re wondering how in the heck you find such people, I’d suggest you pick up NLP. Since NLP is all about the process of modeling, it will open you up to see who could be a suitable role model and mentor for you.

No more going by “gut feel”. All it takes is for you to pick up some solid NLP modeling skills and build your awareness for mental processes and hidden genius. This is where you can better ascertain who should be there to help and assist you.

I’d particularly suggest that you pick up the following core skills:-

  1. The psychology of environmental triggers and submodalities… and how these affect excellence
  2. Values modeling
  3. Social Magic (TM) and the process of connecting
  4. Backtrack frame
  5. The Meta Model (which, unlike what most other practitioners think, is NOT about questioning skills… it’s a MODELING tool, dang it!)
  6. Modeling by Metaphor – powerful stuff which requires an understanding of feature analysis and Identity Modeling
  7. Neurological Levels – unlike the other stuff listed, this wasn’t developed by me but by Robert Dilts and Judith DeLozier.

Solution Synthesis(TM): How it works

Recently I started to study more of Chaos Theory. Basically, chaos theory is about dynamic systems that appear chaotic but produce consistent patterns over time. I think human thought is exactly like that. What really struck me was when I developed the basis of Solution Synthesis in 2003, it hadn’t occurred to me that a counsellor’s questions can literally create a stable system in a client, or destabilize that system. In any case, this is a regular pattern – people usually go to a counsellor and either find themselves the same or completely different.

As I continued to explore NLP and it’s powerful language patterns (such as the Milton and Meta Model), what was isolated for us were patterns of language that appeared chaotic, but took on a very systemic whole. Today, I am also looking at those patterns to come up with a Language Pattern Valency model so that beginners in NLP and Ericksonian Hypnosis can actually create language patterns with much greater ease.

Solution Synthesis, when taken into the coaching environment is powerful. My basic theory is that people do not come to you at the start or end state as a coach. They always come to you in the middle somewhere. So, they are in flux, and not thinking right. Simply asking them questions about information they have fed you often leads to the solution. The synthesis of the solution, therefore, will never have to come from the counselor or coach. It will come from the client himself. It takes on an NLP assumption that everyone has the resources to achieve whatever they need.

From Chaos theory, I also came across this: Arnold’s Cat. 🙂

It’s apparent that using a transformation feature, that the original cat image was ‘sheared’, and after 300 iterations, the cat image reverted back to the original image:

“One of this map’s features is that image being apparently randomized by the transformation but returning to its original state after a number of steps. As can be seen in the picture to the right, the original image of the cat is sheared and then wrapped around in the first iteration of the transformation. After some iterations, the resulting image appears rather random or disordered, yet after further iterations the image appears to have further order—ghost-like images of the cat—and ultimately returns to the original image.” – Wikipedia.org

So you can see that implementing a human transformation (ironic, isn’t it that we are tranforming lives) eventually leads to an individual reaching their stable end point – their intended and desired outcome.

The use of the Meta Model, in this case, is extremely powerful – especially if you know how to use it without being adamant on changing someone for the better. All we need to do is focus on the outcome and begin our intervention, use the client’s observations and responses, and feed it back to them for further consideration. Take them into the meta position to process that feedback and notice what happens when the solution seems to come to light almost automatically.