1. What is the ‘source’ of NLP?

It is important to find out from your training provider who is the source of their NLP. There were a number of key players who started and developed NLP during the 1970s around the campus of The University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC). I trained with many of these ‘key players’ and found that Robert Dilts’ and Judith Delozier’s NLP University (still based on the UCSC campus) fitted the best with my approach and values. Their training included the original NLP concepts that they helped develop and have gone on to include many new developments which I found even more powerful. Robert’s Logical Levels, The Hero’s Journey, Reimprinting and The Disney Process are to me the greatest hits of NLP (along with many more). If you are wondering which course to do, I would check out specifically what the syllabus includes, just like buying a ‘greatest hits’ album.

2. How much time is given to practice?

This to me is probably the most important question. At NLP School the training is structured in the following way: a brief lecture on a ‘coaching style’ technique; the trainer then demonstrates this technique with a member of the audience and the students then form into groups of two and repeat the technique on each other.  With twenty years of NLP under my belt I am entirely convinced that it is these ‘individual style’ sessions that are the most impactful in the training: you effectively give and receive powerful change processes and become proficient at doing NLP. We allow between twenty to ninety minutes practice time per round, depending on the complexity of the technique.

3. How is NLP taught?

The schools that these key players in NLP created also matched the personality and values of those players. Robert Dilts said something like, “I judge my competence as a teacher, by how capable my students are after the training.” This approach best fitted with me, along with his humility. When I studied with Robert, I found it refreshing that he didn’t react to my challenging questions defensively – he actually seemed to welcome them. I like a trainer who doesn’t take themselves too seriously. This helps create an atmosphere where people are not deferential towards the trainer and a relaxed and inquisitive atmosphere is encouraged. I also like a ‘coaching approach’ to NLP where the client is treated gently, respectfully and has a sense of genuine caring. I find this approach more effective and empowering – it feels more like two equals in a team working collaboratively to help resolve an issue.

4. What are the things I need to look for in an NLP institute?

  • Find out who will be actually conducting the training. At NLP University in Santa Cruz, there are a range highly regarded trainers such as Robert Dilts, Judith Delozier, Tim and Kris Hallbom, Suzi Smith, Judith Lowe and myself. At NLP School in London, I conduct all of the training.
  • That they teach influencing with integrity. It is certainly a good idea to become better at reading people and more proficient at communications. However, people are smart, and it is important that your NLP enhances your communication so your message remains genuine and authentic. As Stephen Covey said, “Who you are is far more important than what you do.”
  • That they encourage people to take ownership of their own learning. Leadership begins with yourself. It is important to find mentors and teachers throughout different phases of life. The best teachers encourage their students to work out how they learn best and then to serve them upon that journey.
  • That the distinction between personal development and healing is made clear. NLP is transformational, but it also requires a significant personal effort to learn and apply – it is best learnt as a skill set to help others and gain an understanding of human psychology. If you get transformed on the way, then all the better, but it is not a substitute for therapy.

5. What do previous students say?

As ever it is worth reading reviews and finding out what others have said. I have often compared NLP to taking a long cruise on a ship – it is well worth finding out if you are getting on board with a bunch of like-minded passengers, with a stable ship’s captain taking a safe and enjoyable route.

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