[Article] Reflections from the NLP Leadership Summit meeting

When the NLP Leadership Summit was founded by Michael Hall in 2013, the intention was simply to provide an opportunity for the leaders of NLP to ‘associate’ with each other.  And that’s what we did.  More people who met the membership criteria were invited to join the Summit and now there are over 150 members.  About half came to the third bi-annual 3-day meeting in Alicante.

Here are some extracts from my notes during the 3 days:

Day One

Michael [Hall] and Heidi [Heron] welcomed everyone.  There were leaders present from 27 countries, including UK, USA, Russia, Australia, Venezuela, Pakistan and most European countries.

Each person was invited to identify themselves and state their intention for the 3 days.  Mine was to ‘talk NLP’ with other Trainers.  Often the conversations at the NLP Leadership Summit meetings have been about the bigger picture, about creating better relationships between Associations, about how to promote the excellent academic research that has been done in our field and so on.  This time I was keen to ask people, “How do you teach…?”  the Meta Model or Anchoring or Re-framing or any other part of the Practitioner or Master Practitioner syllabus.

Later in the morning session I was pleased to hear that in the UK, some work has been done with OfQual to develop academic standards for NLP that relate to our current levels of qualifications.

For much of the rest of Day One I was occupied with a working group on Standards.  One of the challenges in NLP as a field of study is that it can be applied in many different contexts and the skills a person needs in each of those contexts to be regarded as a competent practitioner can vary widely.  We are in continual discussion about how we can create a coherent framework of competences that enable potential students/customers to make decisions more easily about the training they need.

Various working groups reported back to the meeting…

Phil Parker has launched a podcast of interviews with leading researchers into the Placebo Effect and the Mind/Body connection.


There is also a major project on treatment of PTSD using NLP protocols.  It was fascinating to hear how military veterans are being assisted to move through their trauma with a process known as Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories (RTM).  This work was pioneered by Frank Bourke, who is a member of the NLP Leadership Summit and several other members who work in a clinical context have been involved.


Day Two

The second day followed the ‘Open Space’ process for facilitating a meeting.  It was led by Ueli Frischknecht from Switzerland.  I had heard of this process, but never experienced it before.  I was impressed with the process and the atmosphere it engendered.  Small groups of people gathered to discuss topics they had chosen and other people flitted from group to group.

In particular, I liked the four ‘rules’

“Whoever comes are the right people

Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened

It starts when it starts

When it’s over, it’s over.”

I was also happy that there was no pressure to attend a session if nothing was of interest.  We were assured that even if we chose to sit and drink tea, or retire for a nap, we were still part of the process!   Many of us took advantage of that ‘rule’ at some point in the day.

Lunch was a very enjoyable couple of hours spent in a restaurant on the marina. We had grilled vegetables, bread, cheese and a little glass of wine whilst enjoying the sunshine and the view as well as a great conversation.  I should mention that the mealtimes and evenings spent chatting are as important a part of the Leadership Summit meetings as the organised sessions.

Open Space beckoned us back and I hosted a session in the afternoon under the headline, ‘How do you teach…?’ We enjoyed a lively discussion of ways to teach the Meta model, Reframing and Modelling.  I will be using some of the exercises that other trainers generously shared.  It may also be the start of something bigger…

Day Three

A highlight of the final day was Robert Dilts sharing some of the work he’s been doing with Ian McDermott on ‘intentional fellowship’.  This featured at the NLP Conference in 2018 and they continue to develop the ideas.

In a busy world, where many of us have close friends we can only ‘see’ and speak to electronically most of the time, Robert and Ian have been modelling how they have maintained a friendship and working partnership over several decades, despite not often being able to be in the same place together.

One idea I especially liked was to arrange the time for the next call BEFORE you get caught up in the current call.  I can see how that gives a greater sense of continuity to the interaction.

I could go on…

However, if you’ve read this far, well done!  It’s probably not as engaging to read about as it was to be there but I’m happy answer any questions you might have about what’s going on in the world of NLP.

  1. Thannk You for the report from the NLP summit
    My name is xxxxxx and I am on the board of the NLP-Society in Sweden. We organize webinars and invite people like you that we with find inspiring for our members to learn about and share experiences with. I am curious if you would care to be one of our guests, the webinars are 60 minutes on a Tuesday, 7pm-8pm CEST (See conversion table for other time zones here). https://www.worldtimebuddy.com/?qm=1&lid=2673730,5368361,5128581,2643743&h=2673730&date=2018-10-25&sln=19-20

    The format is free dialogue and pretty much up to you, we do appreciate at least 15 minutes of Q & A at the end.

    Other guests so far have included John LaValle, Connirae Andreas, Aldo Civico and Lars-Eric Uneståhl.

    We are honored and happy if you will care to be our guest.

    NLP-Society of Sweden

  2. Dianne
    Thank you sharing your experience of the summit so vividly. I almost feel like I was there!
    As a learning process, I would be interested in any material you brought back and might be able to share.

    Best wishes, Kamna

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