I had a very interesting conversation with someone who rang me out the blue yesterday. They had become interested in NLP and were looking for some training, but after a search ended up thoroughly confused and didn’t know where to start, so rang me for some advice (which is nice, I didn’t know who she was, she must have herd of my no nonsense attitude to NLP!). I talked her through what NLP was (well the best I could!) and told her how trainings worked and what she needed to do to learn and get qualified (2 different things).
And then I went on a hunt myself, as I wanted to know what had caused all the confusion. And after about 5 minutes of searching the net I could see why! If I was a layperson looking for NLP training I would be confused too (it confused me as it was and I know a bit about NLP!).
There were so many courses and so many claims and contradictions no wonder it was difficult for her. And then it struck me why it was so confusing…
NLP is not a thing. It is not really even a field of study. It is a word that describes a lose collection of attitudes, ideas, empirical observations and heuristics (‘rules of thumb’) about human subjective behaviour (incidentally, that is why it annoys the “hard scientists”; it is a study of the subjective so it cannot be scientific by very definition! Does not mean it cannot have an evidence base – but that is a topic for a different blog) that have been gathered together, tested, altered, updated and streamlined into a sort of methodology and used to create some very effective applications. It is essentially a craft, an art form, in such the same way as sculpture creates a statue. There is no doubt that these sculpture follow a set of similar “guidelines” and knowledge about different ways to sculpt and carve in different types of materials, in much the same way as NLP teaches you the knowledge about the subjective experience to allow you sculpt that.
But, NLP is not being sold as craft. It has been homogenised, standardised, and turned into a product or a commodity that can be sold! “I’d like a unit of NLP please…”. Which is utterly ridiculous. Most NLP courses I found out there where like the flat pack equivalent of NLP. They were selling you the NLP Product.
And, there probably isn’t anything wrong with that. Flat pack furniture fits a certain purpose (bad NLP is often life changing to someone, because NLP is so effective and revolutionary to most people that that can get massive benefit even from the watered down stuff – sadly then they think NLP is just this product and propagate the misunderstanding). But would you rather have a flat packed, standardised, soulless kitchen or a hand crafted one? Given the choice? If you buy the NLP product, that is what you get. Which goes back to my last blog entry. It is totally against (a fundamental inverse, in fact) of what NLP is all about, the creativity, the freedom, the flexibility. It as all “Tab A into Slot B”.
So do you want to work for MFI? Or learn to be Michelangelo?!
I teach you the craft, I don’t sell you a product.
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29 Mar Coaching Applications of NLP