I discovered NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) about 11 years ago. At the time I was looking for ways to de-stress and reduce overwhelm. I stumbled on NLP as a result of a weekend retreat I participated in, in which the facilitators were using NLP techniques. That weekend was life changing for me and by the end of the weekend I wanted to learn more about NLP. Following the retreat I enrolled in an NLP training program and so began my interest and training in NLP. I have to say that over the many years of my personal and professional life, NLP training has been the single most important training I have ever taken. Fast forward, I now teach NLP to others and incorporate NLP techniques into my professional coaching practice. Occasionally, I hear some strange myths and misconceptions about NLP.
Let me dispel 3 myths:
Myth #1 – NLP is Mind Control and Manipulative
I haven’t seen anyone control someone else using NLP even though you can use NLP to influence other people. Most of the time people can’t even control themselves. NLP can enable you to get into rapport with other people and their unconscious mind, and then you can increase your ability to impact and influence them. The more you can connect with someone unconsciously the more you will be able to influence them. I was teaching an NLP training once and I had this real estate agent who was interested in closing more sales. I had her walk me through how she showed open houses to prospective buyers. She really had some aha moments as she realized she was not connecting enough to her prospects’ emotions. By making some minor tweaks to her sales process through using NLP techniques she was more successful. That’s not mind control; NLP is about connecting with people at an emotional or unconscious level, outside of their conscious awareness.
As a parent, I wish I had learned about NLP years before I did. Children, especially under the age of 7, are wide open to what their parents tell them. In that respect they are just like the unconscious mind accepting information uncritically and unconditionally. What you say to a child, especially under the age of 7, is highly impactful. NLP linguistics is about being intentional and impeccable with your language including the words you use, your tone of voice, and the physiology you take on. You say way more through your tone of voice and your body language than you do through your words.
Myth #2 – NLP Does Not or Will Not Work for me
I know that some people who have studied or experienced NLP have had an experience of trying a technique and not getting the result they wanted. One of the key skills in NLP is being able to tailor your actions and behaviors. We call this “behavioral flexibility”. This means you have to watch, observe and listen for clues that tell you what’s going on for you or for the person you are attempting to influence. Once you use your perceptual or sensory skills you can adjust your approach accordingly. You are probably already getting great results in some or many areas of your life. You are using approaches and strategies you may not even be aware of that are working well for you. NLP helps you break it all down so that you have a better understanding of how things work for you and those you are working with and how to make them work even better. And if there are areas that are not working well for you often making minor changes to a process or strategy is just what you need to make a big difference in your personal or professional results.
Myth #3 – NLP is Therapy
When NLP was first developed, the early models created were people getting great results working in the field of therapy. However, along the way many of the behaviors, skills and techniques happened to be extremely useful in other contexts and areas of human behavior especially related to communication, influence and change. I have seen NLP successfully used in the context of leadership, sports, sales and persuasion, public speaking and coaching to name a few. I’ve also observed newly-trained NLP students regularly help people overcome habits or limiting beliefs in a single session. However, that doesn’t make them a therapist. People can gain therapeutic benefits from lots of different things including: reading a book, going on vacation, walking in nature, meditating. That does not make it therapy. NLP is not therapy.
NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) is the study of excellence in communication (with yourself and others) in order to create the results you want.
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Linda Cattelan is an Executive & Career Coach, Certified Trainer & Master Practitioner of NLP and a Contributing Author of The Power of Women United an inspirational book on networking. If you are interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in any area of your life, join our mailing list at www.resultscatalyst.ca/?page=newsletter Receive valuable information on these topics and regular updates about upcoming events and workshops.
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