Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is an approach to communication that has many benefits when applied to the areas of coaching, education, sports performance and personal and professional development, where it can be learned and applied through NLP coaching and training.
Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) stands for:
The brain and ‘how’ we think (strategies, processes, filters).
How we use language and nonverbal communication systems, and how this affects us, and others.
How we sequence our actions (communication and neurological systems) to achieve our specific desired goals and results.
In summary, NLP is a method of understanding and influencing brain behaviour through the use of language and other types of communication, to enable a person to “recode” the way the brain responds to stimuli and manifest new and better behaviours. NLP is used to educate people in self-awareness and effective communication, and to change their patterns of mental and emotional behaviour.
Before exploring the many benefits that NLP offers to individuals and businesses looking to enhance their interpersonal communication and relationships, and benefit from the many associated outcomes this brings; it’s worth taking the time to first understand how NLP was devised.
The story of NLP begins in the early 1970s with one man, Richard Bandler. He was a graduate computer programmer from the University of California, who was fascinated by the many schools of psychotherapy prevalent at the time. With his practical background in computer programming, he looked closely at psychotherapy and drew the conclusion that for making predictable change in people, most psychotherapy at the time simply didn’t work.
However, he observed that two therapists did reliably make changes in people: Virginia Satir and Fritz Perls. Richard set about studying their work. It was no easy task. The first problem Richard encountered was that neither Perls nor Satir could account for their successes, claiming that they relied on their intuition to guide them. Undeterred, Richard began a painstaking study of their methods, and after many long hours began to notice similarities in the language they used and the body language they employed. From these studies, it became clear to Richard that intuition has a definite, identifiable structure. He took his observations to his Professor, John Grinder, an expert in linguistics, and together they worked out the structures in language and body language that helped people change the way they were not only thinking, but also feeling.
When Richard then studied the work of the leading medical hypnotist Milton H Erickson, and combined Erickson’s use of language with that of Satir and Perls, a highly effective tool for personal change was born. This mind tool Richard Bandler called Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP.
Many leading businesses are already using NLP to do exactly these things and much more besides, including British Gas, BT, Virgin, Bupa and Ladbrokes. The diversity of those businesses incorporating NLP into everyday practice is testament that the techniques and approaches inherent to NLP can be used by those in any industry:
As Jon Daniels, Business Retention Manager, British Gas Business, Centrica, confirms: “NLP allows a higher level of customer and employee satisfaction enabling business to deliver the desired world-class service levels” (2016).
NLP approaches communication on many levels. Employers worldwide already see the benefit of developing interpersonal skills with emotional intelligence training including principles that recognise and use powerful language patterns to empower. It also includes training to make the most of the non-verbal sides of communication – how to fine-tune your senses and be more sensitive to others in order to achieve successful outcomes.
NLP isn’t just about improving the individual employee, it’s designed to make you a better manager because you are more tuned in to your staff and more aware of the way that you are communicating.
Very often people are unaware of the assumptions they make in the language they use and are thus unaware of how those assumptions make other people feel. Shifting the way you communicate can make people feel more at ease, happier and more motivated. All of these benefits feed into the running of the company, making people feel more valued and committed to their workplace and their colleagues. Leadership is enhanced by enabling you to properly work out and communicate your vision for the business and its staff, thus positively affects morale and productivity.
NLP can be used to deliver internal training and presentations.
For example, one aspect of NLP teaches you how to reduce stress levels when speaking in public. Fear of public speaking is the world’s most common phobia, and people with massive talents and much to give often find public speaking to be a stumbling block.
Once you are comfortable in front of others, however, that is only the beginning of how NLP can be used. Because people with NLP training behind them are aware of the way the emotional state of the trainer affects and influences the state of the audience, the trainer is shown how to bring his or her own state to an optimal level and thereby bring the audience along, too.
Specific use of body language and of spoken language combine to make a far more powerful effect on the audience, sweeping away the “death by powerpoint” experience that is far too prevalent in the boardroom and making real impact.
NLP can change long-term behavioural patterns – in the workplace, colleagues understand each other better and are more equipped to respond adequately to each others’ and customers’ needs and desires. Home relationships retrieve a sense of meaningful dialogue and a new kind of perception. Obviously, well functioning relationships are vital to the success of any business or personal life.
Utilising all or a combination of NLP techniques will lead to greater confidence and presence, maximising you ability to communicate more concisely, identify and be clear about what really matters to you and create compelling goals.
Most people don’t recognise that there is a particular structure to the way that positive negotiations work. The inoculation of clients against doubt, the reframing of objections, sharing of a vision, the setting out of a positive course of action and enthusing people to follow that course are all included in the techniques taught in NLP training.
All of this comes from being able to recognise the particular state in which the client or partner is currently in, and shift them to the desired state of agreement and approval. State awareness of yourself and others is absolutely central to closing a deal.
If you’re interested in exploring NLP coaching and training for personal or professional development, please contact Sarah Brennand, our Director and Internationally Licenced Master Practitioner of NLP. Sarah has been using NLP in coaching, education, training and business environments for 12 years and undertook her Master Practitioner training with Dr Richard Bandler himself.