Published in Issue 16 (February, 2017) of International Coaching News magazine

NLP or to use its full term of ‘Neuro-linguistic programming’ is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy created by Richard Bandler and John Grindler in the 1970s.

In 1972 Richard Bandler, an undergraduate student of psychology; approached John Grindler, an Assistant Professor in the linguistics faculty at UCSC (University of California, Santa Cruz, USA); for assistance in specific aspects of modelling the Gestalt Therapy.  Bandler and Grindler, along with Frank Pucelik and several other students at the university; spent many hours asking questions, doing hours of unpaid research, to create the formation of Meta – modern day NLP.

This is not to be confused with Natural Language Processing which is also referred to as NLP.  Natural Language Processing is found within a field of computer science, artificial intelligence, and computational linguistics which is concerned with the interaction between the human language and computers.  In this field of NLP there are many challenges which involve the natural language (human language) understanding and enabling computers to derive the meaning from the natural language – input and generation.

In NLP it is said that there is a connection between the neurological processes (neuro-), language (linguistic), and behavioural patterns learned through experience (programming); hence ‘Neuro-linguistic programming’; and that the understanding of NLP can be used to achieve specific goals in life.

After 20 years of litigation, at the beginning of this century Bandler and Grindler entered into an agreement where they both agreed, amongst other things, that they are ‘the co-creators and co-founders of the technology of NLP’.  They agreed to refrain from disparaging each other’s efforts concerning their respective involvement in NLP.  As part of this agreement, they agreed that the names ‘NLP’ and ‘Neuro-linguistic programming’ not owned by any one party; and that there is no restriction on anyone offering NLP certification.

Both Bandler and Grindler, as well as others have continued to research and develop NLP; and claim that problems may be ‘fixed’ in a single session.  Whether you believe this or have experienced it, I know from my own coaching and NLP training that there are some fabulous techniques that have been developed through the NLP research which can be used in one or more coaching sessions.

In ‘How to Take Charge of Your Life: The User’s Guide to NLP’; Richard Bandler, Alessio Roberti and Owen Fitzpatrick state ‘you can’t always control what happens, but you can always control how you deal with it.’  In other words, you can take control of your own mind and your own thoughts.  In my writing about what I call the Universal Thought Process, I talk about how your mind (conscious and unconscious) drive your actions.  Using some of the well-known NLP techniques like visualisations you can change the way you think and also feel about an event – past or present – perceived fears, and even phobias.

TimeLine Therapy ™ ‘created’ by Tad James M.S., Ph.D, which I learnt as part of my NLP training has not only helped me personally but is a tool that I’ve incorporated into my coaching.  As a child, through several not so positive experiences, I developed a real in-depth fear of lightning.  It got to the point where I would need to be inside with all curtains closed so that I could not see lightning.  The fear remained because although I could not see it, I could always feel the energy of lightning – powerful energy.  Working with one of the other students on my NLP course I was able to address my fear to a point where I can now be outside or even driving with lightning around me.  I no longer feel the abject fear when I feel the energy generated by lightning.

Henry Ford said ‘If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right’; and this is one of the fundamentals of NLP – the power of belief.  What you believe you can do is extremely powerful; as is what you believe you can’t do.

Your own power of belief in yourself, or as a coach the power of your belief in your client, will help you or your client to challenge limiting beliefs; to take each step towards yours or their desired future, while recognising and addressing the limiting beliefs, concerns, fears, or phobias that might otherwise stand in the way.

Listening to yourself is a key to the success of achievement.  It is suggested that when you think about wanting to ‘buy’ a specific house that you are not really focusing on what you want to have.  What would happen if you were to think about wanting to ‘live’ in a specific house?  It’s much easier to create a goal that focuses on satisfaction and what you actually want, rather than what you have to do to get what you want.

It’s human nature to start to look for an answer to a question, but one of the challenges we all have is to make sure we are asking the right question.  If you ask yourself ‘why do I feel so bad?’ you will give yourself a huge list of answers; but what would happen if you were to ask yourself a different question i.e. ‘what is the reason I’m allowing myself to feel negative?’ or ‘what would I feel like if I allowed myself to feel positive?’ 

One of the questions that I find often brings out the answer that will allow you or your client to move forward is ‘how do I know that I can’t do that?’  When I have asked this question of myself or of my clients I often find that the reason is down to someone telling me that I can’t.  What if there are wrong?  What if I can do it but I choose not to do it?  What is the reason I believe someone else, rather than believe in myself?

The NLP tools and techniques, when used as part of your coaching practice, creates the opportunity for each person to take control of their own mind and how they respond to the world around them.

Coaching using all the tools and techniques available creates
a journey of self-discovery and achievement!
© Barbara J. Cormack

Barbara J. Cormack MNMC, CIAC, AFC, AFM is your leading Spiritual Coach, Mentor and Trainer; published in six co-authoring books, and author of two of her own.  Barbara is an advocate of achieving in every arena of life.  Her clients hold her in high esteem as her style of working makes the knowledge of your future, clear, inviting, and achievable; while her style of coaching or mentoring makes the possibility of sustainable change compelling, exciting, and achievable.  She combines her extensive background and experience with a keen insight into the demands of balancing the personal with the professional.