What NLP Needs
A highly competent trainer practicing and teaching NLP provides a potentially life changing experience for clients and students. NLP is also powerful enough to make significant differences in the hands of a novice. Like many disciplines it is somewhat fragmented, and content differences between programs and trainers abound. Given the variation in programs and the uneven skill sets across trainers, “what is missing in NLP” is impossible to generalize to all NLP trainers and trainings. However, from our perspective, there are a few gaps needing closure. Filling them would help out potential students and trainers alike. These are:
Practice Needs Time
While NLP Trainings are already chock full of content, market pressures push trainers to shrink the number of training days, compromising student experience. To get full benefit, students need to be willing to put in the time, the effort, and to practice their new skills. You should investigate the qualifications of your trainer(s)-to-be and insist on getting the time to practice. Find out how many skilled assistants will be there to support the process. Supervised practice time is critical and some programs do better than others at emphasizing and providing it.
Beliefs, Values, Valuing, and Value Systems Need Distinction
Values elicitation and change need a solid foundation then clarification. Most NLP programs lump beliefs and values together. There is no differentiating the two, and there are no distinctions drawn between values, the process of valuing, and Value Systems. According to most theorists, there’s a limited number of values, whereas beliefs can be innumerable. Valuing is a verb not to be confused with the values themselves. Because a “values elicitation” can bring out what is important, what a person wants to achieve, their desires, their attitudes, their beliefs, and their needs , everything that is elicited gets lumped together as values even when it reflects a drive, need, motive, or objective. And our Human Spiral is about adaptive processing systems which choose values for particular reasons. Because these four areas are commonly muddied in NLP programs, practitioners miss opportunities for change.
Some NLP Beliefs Need Challenge
The NLP attitude around state control and management, can harm users applying such techniques. The underlying beliefs need reconsideration, and the techniques need a framework for timing and implementation prior to using them. More on this with our next post.
A Serious Flaw Needs Attention
We’ve been teaching psychosocial development to NLP master trainers, trainers, and practitioners for over a decade and one small critical skill seems to be missing across the board. While most are convinced they are brilliant listeners and empaths, they turn out to be interrogators who steer the conversation and shape what their client says to them rather than facilitating a free flow. 70% of NLP trainers aren’t really listening even though they are convinced that they are. In the process they miss a lot of rich stuff. More on this topic and our research shortly.
NLP Needs a Framework for Transformation
While the tools, techniques, skills and approaches in most NLP programs can be powerful in the classroom, real life presents a different context. Fellow trainees primed and ready for change are easier to practice with. The very same techniques that rocked your world during training can be duds when used with clients.
Newer trainers without much client experience will also have times where their techniques fall flat. This can impact confidence, shake the willingness to experiment, create confusion, and cause the approach to be questioned. Clumsy, insistent, and failed attempts result in client reactions and beliefs that NLP is manipulative mind control. Some practitioners continue undeterred, believing in the technique, burning through clients, and rigidly certain of their effectiveness, while client evidence and results be damned.
Interventions are like tactics. They need a framework and strategy to know when, where, and how to apply them and with whom they will be effective. Spiral Dynamics Training offers that framework in the form of tools, models and maps to which the client, the approach, and the intervention may be plotted. These provide direction, guidance, and a plan to your change work.
Tools like the Spiral Dynamics Change State Indicator can tell you how much change your client can handle and what sized chunks and intensity they can manage. The Spiral Dynamics Discover helps you to identify the dominant operating system(s) in your client while aligning your approach, strategizing your interventions, and providing you the information you need to work congruently with your client(s). Models, like the Gravesian double helix, will help you develop a sense of each client’s context and know what is and isn’t ecological. They also help you to understand the subtle dynamics of group process. Together, when used well, NLP and SD can pack a powerful punch.