NLP is magical!
Training in neuro linguistic programming (NLP) over twenty years ago is one of the best decisions I have made in my 30-year career. I did 3 courses over a two-year period, NLP practitioner, NLP masters and NLP coaching.
What NLP has offered me
Not only did my NLP training give me some fabulous tools which I still use today with my coaching clients, but it also opened my eyes to the differences between people’s ‘maps of the world’, heightened my own self-awareness and introduced me to some really interesting people, some of whom are still friends today. I never knew people had different ‘maps of the world’! I was astounded to hear one delegate on my training course describe how he saw life as a sphere!
How I coach
My job as a coach is to see the situation and world through my clients’ eyes. This is really important, especially with career change, as I am naturally decisive and embrace risk/change, whereas the majority of people dislike change and don’t have a career strategy. My comfort with uncertainty and resilience is really useful for people to keep moving forwards in the current VUCA world in which we live (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous). I work with a lot of solicitors and women, so this is especially important, as solicitors are trained to be risk-averse and professional women, who are a specialism of mine, tend to worry.
I have always done a lot of personal development ever since I was sixteen, and have an extensive tool-box of different tools, and love creating them in the moment – unique exercises for unique clients.
Some magical NLP tools
Some specific moments from over two decades of coaching when I used NLP tools stand out for me:
- A senior director in the NHS went into work an hour early to do some strategic planning, but got sucked into checking e mails. I helped him to share what he saw when he entered his office and he developed a strategy of creating a rhyming couplet when he saw a book on the shelf above his office table. The next day he tried out his strategy, successfully turned away from his PC and sat down at the table to plan. 5 hours a week of planning made a massive difference.
- A manager in advertising hadn’t got around to doing his expenses for a whole year. I helped him to focus on what he would spend the money on and think about a conducive environment and he did his expenses the very next day in his local pub having a quiet pint!
- I remember being amazed when a client who in the previous coaching session had said that she couldn’t stand her boss and was going to resign, announced that they were now getting on really well and she had successfully negotiated to work part time. I had shared in her coaching session how different people have a different dominant sense (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic) and how adapting your style to someone else’s was important to build rapport. It had certainly transformed the relationship in her case!
- A French manager who had been made redundant shared that he felt angry a lot of the time. A few clarifying questions later, I identified that he was kinaesthetic (feeling was his primary sense), his English wife and children were visual, and the cause of his anger was frustration because he was thinking in French, translating his thoughts into English and by the time he had processed his feelings and about what he wanted to say and was ready to express himself, the conversation had moved on. Once he had shared this insight with his family, they gave him more time to express himself, and his anger went immediately!
- There was a creative client, with whom I spent a whole coaching session focused specifically on helping her to create a strategy to put away her bag/papers immediately when she went through her front door, because not doing this was causing lots of preventable problems/stress. Small things make a big difference. It worked.
- I created a physical obstacle course on the floor of the coaching room with different objects representing the challenges that my client faced to achieve their goal. It helped create a shift in perspective in very challenging times.
- A client achieving all 3 goals in just 6 weeks with the support of my coaching; buying a house, finding a job and meeting a partner. I was speechless! She was ecstatic.
- In 3 hours of coaching, I helped a trainer with career-limiting ‘fight or flight’ behaviour who was running out of the training room (‘flight) to develop their own strategy to choose to feel comfortable to stay in it. I can still remember where I was when she sent me a text saying that she had stayed in the training room. She was beaming, her boss was happy and so was I.
I especially love coaching using a client’s metaphors. Perhaps this is because English was my favourite subject at school, and I write a lot. The words that people use are important, which is why they choose them. People use certain words and metaphors because they like them. You can get some great shifts with clients using metaphors and their language. Completely using a client’s words when coaching is called ‘clean language.’
Just this week, I was helping a client in lockdown working from home with two children under three to think about how games could be used by his children to make sense of and express feelings about the challenging times that we all are experiencing, e.g. Snakes and Ladders – a snake is feeling that things are going backwards and a ladder is a positive breakthrough when you feel that things are working well and you are climbing upwards.
When I do workshops, I use a lot of physical props e.g. hamster wheels, tug of war ropes, trumpets etc.
In a few weeks, when like many people, I feel ‘all zoomed out’, I will go through my props box, just as I select from my coaching toolbox, including NLP tools, and share some physical props in a Zoom!
I love coaching – it is such an honour to help my clients to liberate more of their talent. NLP tools are magical. They help my clients to realise that the world can be their oyster, even in lockdown.
What positive outcomes do you want from lockdown? We will never have this time again. To quote Muhammad Ali: “Don’t count the days. Make the days count.”
Work with Rachel Brushfield through Coaching Consultancy HERE.
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Rachel Brushfield has also written and published two books, which you can find here:
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