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Cheat Sheet

Coaching with NLP For Dummies (UK Edition)

From Coaching With NLP For Dummies by Kate Burton

Using the key elements of Neuro-linguistic Programming – including building rapport and using advanced communication techniques – you can work wonders in a coaching environment. This Cheat Sheet gives you some quick tips of getting the most out of coaching with NLP.

Keeping NLP Coaching Confidential

Confidentiality is an essential ingredient in establishing trust in a Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) coaching relationship. Your clients must feel extremely safe in your hands right from the outset. Reassure them of the confidential nature of coaching in the first few minutes of your first session together. Remember that safety is a fundamental human need.

Consider what confidentiality actually means to you by putting yourself in your client’s shoes. As a client, what do you want from your coach? For example, in order to build trust in any relationship:

  • Both parties must know the boundaries of the relationship. (As coach you aren’t acting as friend or consultant.)

  • Both parties must agree the contractual terms of the way you’ll work together including the fee structure, scheduling of meetings, and location.

  • Clients must feel completely secure to share information honestly with you.

NLP TOTE Model Coaching Strategies

The benefit of understanding Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) coaching strategies is that if you can find times when your clients are motivated, energised, excited, making good decisions and really firing, they can learn from these situations and apply them to areas where they’re less effective.

NLP offers a simple model to explain how strategies run called the TOTE Model, which stands for Test, Operate, Test, Exit. This model suggests that when you know that you want something to happen, you run strategies until you achieve your goal. Specifically:

  • You check (Test) to see whether a strategy works.

  • If the strategy works, you move on to the next strategy (Exit).

  • If the strategy doesn’t work, you refine your behaviour (Operate) until your test shows that you’ve achieved the goal.

  • You keep looping around the model until each goal is realised.

When clients don’t get the results they want, it’s time to create new strategies. You can do this in several ways:

  • Unpack the unhelpful strategy by going through it step by step, noticing what’s missing or not working.

  • Take a strategy that works well already in another context and apply it to the problem area.

  • Find somebody else’s strategy, copy it and then try it out yourself.

How to Establish Your Core Values

Values bring energy and direction; they’re at the heart of what makes an individual tick. When people deeply understand their values, they can create a way of operating in the world that leads them to a true sense of purpose and meaning.

The following exercise takes you through the process of establishing your initial values list.

  1. On a blank piece of paper, write down a list of your values, such as honesty, power, service or security.

    Your answers to the following questions can help reveal values:

    1. What is important to you?

    2. What do you need in your life?

    3. What’s so critical to who you are that you’d almost forget to mention it?

  2. After you have a list of about 12 to 15 values, see how they group and overlap; refine your values list to no more than 9 items.

    Some words may have a similar enough meaning that you can count them as one value such as ‘integrity/ honesty’ or ‘purpose/direction.’ Find one word that encompasses the overall meaning.

  3. Take each word in turn and ask ‘What does this value give me?’

    Keep asking the question until you’re convinced you have arrived at an end value – that point at which you know you (or your client) have reached a fundamental need.

  4. Capture this fully revised values list as the important building block for future planning, goal-setting and decision-making activities.

    Some people like to keep a list as a note on the wall; others in their diary or mobile phone.

Taking Perceptual Positions with NLP

Perceptual positions help you imagine what difficult situations look like when viewed with others’ eyes. The term refers to the ability to imagine what others perceive by imagining that you are that other person. In NLP this links with the assumption that ‘the map is not the territory’ and offers a way to enrich an individual’s map of the world.

  • First position is your natural perspective, where you’re fully aware of what you think and feel regardless of those around you. This is the place that clients find most familiar. They’ve come to coaching because they already have an awareness of their own perspective and the problems they face.

  • Second position is about imagining what it’s like to be another person. Some people are very good at considering others’ needs and concerns; for a more self-focused client, imagining second position is a completely alien notion.

  • Third position is an independent position where you act as a detached observer noticing what’s happening in the relationship between two other people. Good coaches naturally step into this impartial role. In coaching, encourage the client to take this position in order to gain an impartial insight into a situation, particularly to view a relationship the client has with another person.

You can introduce perceptual positions to clients by having them physically move to different chairs or places in a room as you describe and discuss the three positions, asking them to notice what they experience while standing or sitting in each position. The real learning comes by stepping out of first position to explore second and third positions and see what light it sheds on a situation.

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