[Article] This and That

Have you noticed how a small change in language can make a significant difference to attitudes? I’ve been musing on this and that. Literally. ‘This’ and ‘that’. And what I’ve noticed…

I can change my attitude to a task by shifting between ‘this’ and ‘that’.

Try it:

Pick something from your ‘To do’ list. Anything at all. Some filing, an email to write, a call to make, a report to write or anything else.

Say to yourself, “I must do that filing/email/call/report” and notice your attitude to the task.

Say to yourself, “I must do this filing/email/call/report” and notice your attitude again.

Is it different?  Mine usually is!

You see, for most people, ‘this’ creates an associated representation of the task. That means that you see it in your mind’s eye as being close to you, part of you.

In contrast, ‘that’ creates a dissociated image – the task is not connected to you. For most people it’s much easier to ignore ‘that’ than to ignore ‘this’. For you and I to motivate ourselves to do a task, it helps if it’s ‘this’ task rather than ‘that’ task.

But what about goals?

There is a ‘rule of thumb’ in NLP:  Present state associated, desired state dissociated. We keep our desired outcomes dissociated to create tension, and hence motivation, between where we are and where we want to be. ‘That’ goal is more motivating than ‘this’ goal. ‘That’ goal gives you and I something to work for.

And ‘this’ task is the way to get started.

It’s so simple.  And easy to use for yourself or when you coach someone else. I’d love to hear about your experiences of this and that.

[Article] Reflections from the NLP Conference

The first time I was asked to speak at the NLP Conference was in 2004.  I arrived on Saturday morning, delivered my session and went home again. That set the pattern for many subsequent years, in fact every year except 2014, when I was ill and couldn’t deliver my session and 2017, when I decided to take a year out and didn’t submit a proposal.

In 2018 I decided to go for the whole event. A full day Masterclass on the Friday, followed by four sessions per day on Saturday and Sunday, with a choice of 6 sessions in every time slot. I was exhausted by Sunday evening! I was also impressed by the improved quality of the event and decided to improve the quality of my participation accordingly.

As a result, last weekend four of us from Brilliant Minds attended the International NLP Conference and the NLP Awards Dinner on Saturday evening. We had a stand in the exhibition area and I presented a session on Saturday morning.

Here are some of my highlights…

  1. There were delegates at the conference from more than 20 countries including USA, France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, India, UAE, Malaysia, South Korea, Turkey, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Brazil, Nigeria, South Africa, Spain and Portugal. It was lovely to meet so many people from around the world and to know that we are part of a truly global network.
  2. Experiencing Judith Lowe and Judith de Lozier presenting one day of their ‘Passion in Action’ programme. I had not seen either of them work before – even though they are ‘NLP Royalty’ and have been working in the field for decades.  The content of the workshop was as thought-provoking and stimulating  as their double-act was warm and encouraging.
  3. Having dinner on Friday evening with my team plus the wonderful Shelle Rose Charvet.
  4. Joining the session presented by Ian MacDermott on Saturday morning. Back in 1992 I did my NLP Practitioner training with Ian and it’s still a great pleasure to learn from him.
  5. Presenting my session, ‘The Presuppositions of a Brilliant Coach’. The room was full, in fact we had to get extra handouts photocopied! Despite very fierce air-conditioning in the room, I received a warm welcome and great response to the session.
  6. Seeing Robert Dilts – ably supported by Robbie Steinhouse – talking about his Neuro-logical Levels model. I’ve used that model for years but never heard Robert explain its origins before.
  7. Getting dolled up for the Awards Dinner and spending a lovely evening with Peter, Denise and Maria, my team of associates.
  8. The performance by the London Show Choir as we had our pre-dinner champagne.
  9. Seeing Judith de Lozier receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.
  10. Arriving home, tired and contented, having spent a great three days with lovely people, working with the toolkit we all share and making a difference in many different ways.

Next year’s International NLP conference is on 15-17 May 2020 and the Friday Masterclass will be presented by Connirae Andreas (did I mention NLP Royalty?) Tickets go on sale on 31st May 2019. Will I see you there?

[Article] NLP and Coaching

What is the relationship between NLP and Coaching?

They’re definitely quite different from each other.  And an NLP Practitioner is not necessarily a good coach.  Neither does a good coach have to know NLP.

But the combination of a good coach who also knows NLP can be very powerful.

NLP has its roots in psychotherapy.  There is a long tradition of NLP Practitioners working one-to-one with clients to resolve the full range of mental health issues, personal problems and mindset blocks.  Some schools of NLP even teach their Practitioner programme in the frame that everyone will set up a practice and start working as a therapist/life coach.

Personally, I think that more than NLP Practitioner training is needed to become a good coach.  One of the questions I hear frequently from NLP Practitioners is about which techniques to use and when.

One client put it this way:

“I have all these wonderful NLP tools that I know how to use.  Then someone tells me about a problem they have and I don’t know what to do.  I know that I must know something that can help, but I don’t know how to get started.”

Does that sound familiar?

The missing piece is a skill that is essential to a coach.  It’s about understanding the structure of the client’s map of the world, including the perceived problem, and creating a process that will move the client from where they are now to where they want to be instead.

Richard Bandler once said, “A good NLP intervention is 99% working out which intervention to do and 1% actually doing it.”

A Practitioner of NLP will have a lot of knowledge of the interventions, but may not know which one to use with a specific client.

A coach may be able to diagnose the problem, but might not be able to offer a process to solve it quickly and effectively.

But a coach who knows NLP can do both!

Of course, it’s also fair to say that there are lots of very effective coaches who use different kinds of interventions – not NLP – and achieve great results.

So the relationship between NLP and coaching is this:  NLP is one of a range of methodologies that may be used by a coach to get results with a client.

And coaching is just one application of NLP.

There is another way that a coach can benefit from knowing NLP.  It’s not just about what you do with the clients.  It’s also about how you manage yourself.  A coach who knows NLP will be able to manage their own responses, deal with distressing situations and replicate successes more readily than a coach who doesn’t know NLP.

So, to summarise…

A Practitioner of NLP is someone who practices NLP in their daily life.

A Coach is someone who helps others access the resources they need to succeed.

Both require mastery of a set of skills – but those skills are different!


Click here for info on our ‘How to be a Brilliant Coach’ programme

[Video] Why we love the LAB Profile

I’ve been using the LAB Profile now for about 10 years. Or to give it its full title, the Language and Behaviour Profile. The more I use it, the more applications I find for it.

People sometimes say to me: “What’s so special about that? We’ve got so many profiling tools. Why is the LAB Profile any different? Why is it any better?”

Watch the video to hear my answer…

[Article] Breaking the Mould

“How you do anything is how you do everything” – a popular point of view in the personal development arena over the past few years. It can be a useful way of gaining insight into the patterns that dominate your behaviour, but I’m convinced that we all have multiple patterns and there are always SOME things that we do differently from most of the rest of what we do. It’s all about context.

However, if we apply this idea to organisations, I believe it has greater validity. Having observed behaviour in hundreds of different organisations over the 20 years I’ve been working as a consultant, I’ve noticed one consistent pattern:

The core competence of an organisation generates its core culture.

I first noticed this when I was working on two large projects with contrasting organisations:

In the first organisation I was supporting Senior Managers in the introduction of a new appraisal and performance model. Managers complained that the staff kept finding fault with the new model and wanted to talk about fixing the problems they saw. No-one seemed prepared to live with an imperfect system.

In the second organisation, I was involved in coaching Department Heads following 360 appraisals. A new policy on working hours had just been introduced and the Heads often mentioned what a political issue it had become. They told me that the staff seemed convinced that it was paving the way for some other, more radical, change yet to be announced. People kept asking questions and seemed suspicious of the answers they were given.

Musing on this, I realised that the people in the two organisations were simply doing what they were best at doing.

Let me explain…

The first organisation was the Engineering division of a major airline. The people I was working with were Aircraft Engineers. What makes a great Aircraft Engineer? The ability to spot a problem and fix it, never accepting anything that doesn’t function correctly. (And this particular airline had, and still has, a safety record that is among the best in the world).

It’s not surprising then, is it, that the people who spend their working lives spotting potential problems on aircraft – and fixing them, approach other aspects of the job in the same way? What could go wrong with this appraisal and performance model? How can we make it work?

The second organisation is a world-famous media company. Most of the employees are journalists. What makes a great journalist? Someone who is prepared to dig for information? Someone who doesn’t take for granted that what you tell them is the whole story?

Small wonder that these employees were not taking the Managers’ word at face value!

Having noticed this, I started looking at other organisations and reviewing my past experiences:

I ran Time Management workshops for two different Fire Services. Why were they interested in time management? Because nearly everything in the organisation was done on a ‘fire-fighting’ basis!

I’ve done projects for several Local Authorities. There I’ve observed (and experienced) tremendous frustration at the time it takes to secure the authorisation to do something new. Everything has to be agreed – by Members, by Executives, by employees, by the public. The whole thing runs on the basis of consultation and democracy.

Are you still with me?  Or are you now thinking about YOUR organisation and its core competences?

There are two points to remember:

  1. The core competence of your organisation generates its core culture.
  2. Once you know that, you can start to break the mould. Awareness is everything.