One of the parts of the Advanced Coaching training day I especially enjoy is covering a powerful, yet rapid process to help people discover their life purpose. Working as a coach, I have always found it remarkable how such a short yet powerful exercise can have such a dramatic effect on people.

In this blog, I would like to share why purpose is important and share how adding some techniques from NLP can so enhance this key coaching approach.

“He Who Has a Why to Live Can Bear Almost Any How”

About twenty years ago in my late 30s, I had achieved a reasonable amount of success at work – but I found I was increasingly getting exhausted and moody. The promised happiness that was supposed to come with success seemed ever more elusive. At that time, I started seeing a coach, and was fascinated that once I could work out the difference between goals (what I wanted) and purpose (where I was going), I became much happier. I also started to achieve more. As Nietzsche famously observed, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”

However, I found most of the ways of working out purpose in coaching were dry and based on the idea of writing a personal mission statement. I discovered by combining the traditional approaches to helping someone discover their purpose along with some principles in NLP, that something more authentic and often surprising would emerge.

NLP with Purpose

An example of this was on a recent training when a man in his early 30s followed the process during a demonstration (I demonstrate the process with a member of the audience and people then pair up and work in groups of two). Using an NLP technique, he imagined himself at some future point when he would have already achieved the things he wanted in life. At this point I sensed he was a bit uncomfortable and would want me to stand a bit further away from him, so I asked if that would help. He said, “yes, strangely I want to be able to do this on my own, but it’s still nice to have you nearby.”

It was a touching moment and he went on to have what he described as a revelation that he held himself back because he didn’t have the space when he was a child to take charge of his life. The gesture of giving him more space proved a good metaphor for allowing him to take back the space he needed to define his life.

I cover this and a range of other process on our Advanced Coaching day, which I hope is will be genuinely life changing.


Further Reading:

Archetypes: The Key to Finding Emotional Balance

How Can NLP Help with Coaching?

Belief Change Techniques


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