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Tuesday, 15 March 2011 13:01
When thinking into a situation can help achieve the state of being
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is believed by many to be a powerful set of tools for facilitating change and enhancing performance. Yet despite the success stories and proliferation of courses, there is still much scepticism about its validity and effectiveness.


What is NLP?
NLP has been around since the seventies, and is credited with helping numerous sports people get over hang-ups and blocks in order to enhance their performance. The dart playing problem of ‘dartitis’ where the player can’t let go of the dart, Bernard Langar and his golfing problems are two high profile examples of where NLP is said to have helped.

According to Peter Thompson, an experienced NLP trainer, “NLP addresses things that people are not aware of. Although people talk to themselves, the don’t usually hear themselves or realise the effice of what they say. So, for example, saying ‘I’m not confident at interviews; leads to unconscious thoughts, pictures and feelings about interview that leads the person to speak and present themselves at interview in a less than helpful way.”

In essence, NLP is about helping clients to notice how they feel as a result of what and how they speak to themselves and how that colours their experience, how they limit themselves and their idea of what’s possible.

For example, one person may see themselves as coloured ‘bright’. Another person may say they are ‘grey’. This feeling about themselves will colour everything they do.

NLP, suggests the author, is for people who have admired someone excelling, who have a goal they haven’t achieved, or who have experienced unwanted emotions. It is about how people organise their thoughts, their ways of representing the world and their experience of it. This includes their memories, the present and how they imagine the future unfolding.

There are good reasons for the popularity of NLP. It makes fast and lasting impacts, according to practitioners’ observations and feedback from clients. It engages all the senses, as well as the intellect, in an era when the importance of mind and emotions in learning, health and well-being is increasingly being recognised and when we are moving away from fragmented professional practices and embracing integrative and holistic approaches to well being.

What the author Susie Linder-Pelz is suggesting, is that NLP can be helpful in many areas outside of coaching, although there are sceptics. She explained: “Compared with the conversational therapies of psychology and other helping professions, NLP – with its unconventional use of language and other techniques – is seen to work in mysterious and poorly understood ways. A related reason for scepticism is that the claims of getting quick results fly in the face of established truths about change being extremely difficult and taking a long time.

So how can this book help you in the workplace?
If you are considering using NLP as  a workplace tool, or if indeed you feel you need some help with your personal performance, it is probably a good idea to understand the subject.

This book is aimed at establishing standards and defining what NLP is, so to gain an understanding of what the process can achieve, it is unbiased. Because there are case studies to illustrate each area of work, it is easy for the layperson to follow and understand the principles.

In addition, Linder-Pelz cites research and academic writing. For example, discussing about how the principles of NLP have their roots in psychology, she writes: “Recent research using brain imaging techniques confirms what neurolinguistic and trance practitioners have known intuitively for years: that effective reprogramming changes the brain as much as drugs can. New neuronal firings create new programmes, new programmes prompt the neurons to fire differently – a systemic effect based on the simple if still widely unacknowledged principle of the body-mind loop ….  Neuroscientist Ian Robertson offers a simple test of the body-mind interdependency: ‘By an act of will or whimsy we can decide to change the state of our brains this moment by choosing to summon some sweet memory into consciousness ….Brain scans show that thinking a body state is neurologically no different to having the state in action.”


NLP Coaching, an evidence-based approach for coaches, leaders and individuals, by Susie Linder-Pelz is published by KoganPage, price £24.99.

 
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