There is a saying in coaching and therapy: “The presenting problem is never the real problem.” Looking back to when I did my first NLP Practitioner training twenty years ago, I believed at that time that NLP would give me some new skills to help me manage my business and thereby help my overwhelmed and highly stressed state.
Overwhelmed and Needing Help
Like many people, I had become skilled at certain competencies at business, such as sales and finance, but not good at the other skills involving inspiring and managing my own staff. This is because I spent the first ten years of my career becoming a technical specialist – I became an expert in the field I had chosen: an entrepreneur in the property and insurance field. However, I knew nothing about leadership or managing other experts. The reason I was so overwhelmed was I needed to take responsibility for all aspects of a business and value each aspect beyond my original technical background – I needed quality help!
Discovering the Real Issue
NLP showed me that I was actually not that skilled with people, I was task driven rather than relationship-driven, and I could no longer manage all the tasks in my life – I needed to delegate business functions, not just tasks. To do this would require a paradigm shift to attract and manage other leaders.
To say this was a long journey would be an understatement, but NLP opened my eyes to so many gaps in my life that I knew I would need to change. For example, I was an awful listener and made many ‘knee-jerk decisions. The NLP rapport and decision-making techniques quickly gave me a way to transform these gaps. (I cover these on our 3-day course How to Coach with NLP).
Applying New Approaches
Since that time, I have applied these new approaches and I built a highly competent team to run my business around fifteen years ago. Although this was not entirely straightforward, it did eventually work well and it freed up a lot of time, so I could do something else. That something else was starting a new business teaching NLP myself.
I found to my surprise that some aspects of my business background did help – I was able to be task-focused so that I could teach the importance of relationship skills in a clear and coherent way! I also wanted to perfect my skills so I could become an expert at teaching NLP and now I am on the faculty of NLP University in California, where I have been teaching other people how to become NLP trainers. Last year I joined this team including NLP founders Judith Delozier and Robert Dilts to teach around 50 people to become the next generation of NLP trainers.
Paying it Forward
Much of the material I cover at an advanced level is teaching how I use NLP training techniques on my own NLP Practitioner training in London, which, in many respects is paying it forward from when I did my Practitioner training 20 years ago. I hope it also shows that NLP didn’t just teach me what my ‘real problems’ were – but also helped me find some solutions. I hope to see you there!