Meta Model Demystified

The Meta Model Demystified 2nd Edition Available NOW – Over 80 Pages of New Material

Brand new and thoroughly revised the Meta Model Demystified is available now from Amazon on Kindle and, for the first time, in paperback.

The Meta Model Demystified thoroughly updates the language patterns and explains how to use the Meta Model to create seemingly magical change simply and easily.

This expanded and completely revised 2nd edition includes:

  • The key concepts that lead to the development of the Meta Model.
  • A totally reconfigured explanation of the classic language patterns.
  • Examples of using the Meta Model in various contexts.
  • Sample questions.
  • Hints and tips to master the Meta Model.

Buy It Now From:


step back
We so often get wrapped up in our thoughts that we forget that they are just thoughts. We act as if they are real and are really happening to us, right now. Our mind is rubbish at telling the difference between imagination and reality and we do not respond to an event, we respond to our interpretation (or thoughts about) an event.

This is one of the key tenants of NLP and of Mindfulness, to recognised that thoughts are just thoughts. Once we recognise that we can start to take control of our thoughts.

We can do this in two ways, practice both and notice which one works for you the best:

1. Literally Imagine Yourself Stepping Back

When you find yourself absorbed in a thought, memory or feeling, literally imagine yourself “stepping back” out of the thoughts so that it is like you are watching them on a TV screen. Notice the details (submodalities) of the image; the size and shape, the location in space, whether it is like a photograph or a movie. Pay attention to the sounds, are you talking to yourself? If so, what are you saying? Notice the feelings that this thought is creating.

Whilst you are doing this it is important not to place any good/bad value judgement on it. If you do you are interpreting the thought, and that means you have been caught in the trap of “thinking about thinking”, you haven’t stepped out of the thought, just added an extra layer of detail. You are, at this stage only interested in noticing the sensory specific data.

2. Linguistically

When you find yourself absorbed and being carries away by thoughts and feelings, start to label the thought. Say yourself “Having a thought about…”, “Feeling…”, etc. With practice you will start noticing the thoughts arising and be able to do something with them (or not, it is up to you).

It is important to practice this, to begin with at least, with every thought you catch yourself involved in. This way, you can start to learn to control your thoughts, not let them control you. You can intensify those thoughts,memories and and feelings that are useful and de-intensify those which you find un-useful.

Random NLP Video Blog

With a guest appearance by one of my dogs, in this blog I discuss how using simple metaphors to enrich your language can make you more influential and persuasive.

NLP Cardiff Banner

The Society of NLP have updated their certification requirements, to reflect that I have had to make some changes to the course content and delivery. This means I have had to make some changes to my Cardiff Practitioner dates (Birmingham dates are unaffected).

NLP Practitioner

The Practitioner will now be run in one 7-day block rather than two modules. The new dates for 2014 Practitioner training courses in Cardiff are:

23 – 29 March
22 – 28 June
26 Oct – 01 Nov

The NLP Master Practitioner and Coaching Applications of NLP course dates remain unaffected and are still running on:

NLP Master Practitioner

My next NLP Master Practitioner training takes place in Cardiff on:

Module 1: 11 – 14 Apr
Module 2: 25 – 28 Apr

You can find more details and book here.

Coaching Applications of NLP

My next Coaching Applications of NLP course takes place in Cardiff on:

07 – 09 Jul

You can find more details and book here.

PLEASE NOTE: To attend the Coaching for Change programme you need to have completed a recognised NLP Practitioner certification or above. If you have not yet done your NLP Practitioner training, you can learn about my full Coaching package here.

Because the news of the date changes came quite late in the day, I am happy to honour the “January Sale” price until the end of February (on Cardiff courses only). This includes VAT, your iPad, certification fee and all training costs.

You can find all the details and book here.

Please let me know if you have any questions or would like to book.

the truth about sea monsters

If three sailors returned from a trip claiming to have seen a sea monster, we would find it hard to believe without any additional evidence (and even that would be scrutinised). But if the same three men claimed to have seen someone kill a man, it would be enough to send someone to prison for a very long time (or even sentence them to death).

What makes one seem more truthful (and therefore require less evidence to convince us) than the other? Do we have different levels of “truth”? Where some “truths” need more evidence than others?

Richard Wiseman, the well known Parapsychologist and Skeptic seems to think so, here is what he has said about ESP (specifically remote viewing):

“I agree that by the standards of any other area of science that remote viewing is proven, but it begs the question: do we need higher standards of evidence when we study the paranormal? I think we do.”

This is frankly absurd. What he is saying is that to prove ESP is true we need more evidence than, say, proving we have a cure for cancer? Wiseman defends that statement by saying:

“…they [evidence for ESP] do meet the usual standards for a normal claim, but are not convincing enough for an extraordinary claim.”

So, some truths are “ordinary” and some truths “extraordinary”? What’s the difference? How do we decide (and, more importantly, who gets to decide)? What he is saying is if the claim seems extraordinary to him (it is outside of his experience of reality) then he demands more evidence than if it seems ordinary (within his experience of reality).

Surely there is one truth?

The odd thing is there isn’t. Or if there is, we could probably never find it. Just think about it for a second. 500 years ago it was perfectly acceptable to believe in Angels, in fact you may even have been burnt at the stake if you said you didn’t. Nowadays, we tend to scoff at people who make claims that they have seen an Angel. We look back and laugh at the naivety of the people in those times. But, if history teaches us anything, it is that everything we know is probably wrong and people in 500 years time will probably look back and laugh at how naive they think we were. Or as Einstein put it “Truth is a product of time”.

How do our ideas about what is true change over time? I have I have already written in detail here about how George Polya attempted to discover how we create our understanding of the truth (our beliefs), but it seems our perception is inherently bias towards re-enforcing what we think we already know.

This phenomena is known as “confirmation bias” and is best summed up by Orff’s Law that “What the thinker thinks, the prover proves”. Or, our perception system will generalise, distort and delete all sensory evidence we receive to fit in with what we “know” already.

Why do we do this? Why are we biased to confirm what we already think we know? It seems that our perception is based on “best guess” pattern matching. If you see a chair, you know it is a chair because your brain runs a check against it’s stored patterns that have been labelled “chair”, but because chairs come in all different shapes and sizes we have to be flexible with our patterns, hence the “best guess” (which leads us directly to seeing shapes in clouds, etc).

So, if our perception is constantly running a check against what we already know, what happens if we have no internal representation yet? The experience is completely new? Well this will tend to get straight into our internal representation of the world (our “map”) without being “transformed” to fit our map. And then we will use that data to compare all similar future experiences. So, when people say “first impressions count” it is true.

Here are a couple of simple thought experiments:

1. Next time you find yourself making a claim to knowledge, ask yourself how you know that. You will often find that the evidence you have is relatively scant, and much of it will be, in fact, information you have been told by someone you trust (which takes us to a totally different topic of how we decide who to trust….), rather than your own personal experience.

2. Next time you find yourself agreeing or disagreeing with something, ask yourself what references, experiences, and “data” you are using to create that comparison. Again, you may find much of what you are using is spurious to say the least.

[PS, it may seem as if I am “picking on” Dr Wiseman. I would like to make it clear that I am not, he is an intelligent and experienced person and I respect his views immensely (even if I may disagree with some at times), I am just using his quote as an example. Besides, I am sure, being a successful and intelligent man, he doesn’t really care what I have to say!]

I have been coaching since 2001 and was one of the first NLP trainers in the UK to be accredited to run the Licensed NLP Coach certification from the Society of NLP in 2006.

In 2014 I am expanding my coaching training and one to one offerings. Below you can read about all the exciting new developments.


Introduction To Coaching

Coaching is the “phrase du jour”, with organisations rushing to train their managers in coaching skills and move towards a more facilitative, rather than authoritarian, form of leadership. People are rushing to employ or train as coaches to take advantage of it’s many benefits.

But what is coaching really and how can it help you? This one day introduction takes you through the history and methodology of coaching and gives you some skills and models you can take away and start working with straight away.

  • A history of coaching
  • Where and when it is best to be used
  • Non directional communication
  • How to use questions to create clarity and motivation
  • An introduction to the GROW model
  • Different types and styles

Dates or 2014



Book Now

Birmingham 31 Jan FULLY BOOKED!
Birmingham 07 Apr
Cardiff 06 Jun


This low cost introduction is ONLY £25 incl VAT (£20.83 excl VAT)

How to Book

Click here to book online or download a booking form.

Full NLP COACH Training Programme

NLP Coach

Become a Licensed NLP Coach!

New for 2014, this is a complete NLP Coaching programme that teaches you from scratch to be a powerful coach. It combines two of the most powerful tools for change currently available to deliver the skill set you need to really help people make powerful changes in their lives.

This unique coaching course is an opportunity to work closely with a coach who has worked with Olympic athletes, world record holders, blue chip companies, CEO’s, entrepreneurs and celebrities.

Learning tried and tested models of coaching plus some unique and effective models only available on this course, you will discover how to be an effective coach in the context in which you want to use it.

This course has no comparison. This 10-day accelerated learning programme split over 2-modules goes far beyond what course 10 times the length will teach. Packed full of practical exercises you will be creating change from the moment you start.

Dates or 2014



Pay in Full

Pay Deposit

Birmingham Module 1: 02 – 08 Mar
Module 2: 09 – 11 Jun
Birmingham Module 1: 15 – 21 May
Module 2:
09 – 11 Jun
Birmingham Module 1: 03 – 09 Aug
Module 2: 20 – 22 Oct
Birmingham Module 1: 05 – 11 Oct
Module 2: 20 – 22 Oct


ONLY £2499 including VAT, certification fee and all course fees (£2082.50 excl VAT).

Or pay in 6 easily manageable monthly instalments of £416.50 (£347.08 excl VAT)

How to Book

Click here to book online or download a booking form.

PLEASE NOTE: This course does not include board breaking, arrow breaking, walking on hot coals, knife throwing or any other gimmick. This course simply teaches you practical skills that will allow you to change your life and life of the people around you.


NLP Coach

Already done your NLP practitioner training? This thoroughly updated version of my classic 3-day course allows people who are already trained in NLP to learn the relevant coaching skills and applications including my unique NLP Coaching model that I have developed from over 10 years of working one to one and teaching coaching.

Dates For 2014



Pay in Full

Pay Deposit

Birmingham 09 – 11 Jun
Cardiff 07 – 09 Jul
Birmingham 20 – 22 Oct


ONLY £749 including VAT, certification fee and all course fees (£624.17 excl VAT).

Or pay in 6 easily manageable monthly instalments of £124.83 (£104.03 excl VAT).

How to Book

Click here to book online or download a booking form.


High Performance Coaching

After over 10 years of working one to one with people including Olympic athletes, world record holders, blue chip companies, CEO’s, entrepreneurs and celebrities with issues ranging from stoping smoking, to phobias, to sports performance, to business coaching, I wound down my private practice in 2012 to focusing on my training courses. I stopped actively promoting and only accepting referrals.

In 2014 I am relaunching my coaching practice and opening the doors to everyone.

Why am I relaunching it? Well, for two main reasons:

1. I missed it. Simply, I missed working one to one with people and helping them on their journey. It gave me immense pride and professional pleasure to see people make massive changes in their lives.

2. I need to “walk the walk”. If I teach Coaching I need to demonstrate that it works, I also need to be proficient with the skills I teach and demonstrations within the training context are not enough. by opening up my private practice it gives me the time to make sure my skills are top notch.

I have totally reconfigured my coaching programme and developed my own unique model that I use (which you can learn on my NLP Coaching certification).

Because I am busy, I am only accepting a small number of clients at any one to make sure I can give them the support they need and deserve.

To celebrate this I am offering a 50% discount for a limited time. Book a block of 4 sessions for only £250 + VAT (full price £500 + VAT).

You can find all the details here.

If you want any more details or would like to book on any of the courses or any sessions, please contact me here.


I pose this journal entry as a question, because I am really not sure if they do or not. Affirmations have been a mainstay of the personal development and self help fields for years, you know the sort of thing:

“In every day in every way, I am getting better and better.”

“This is the first day of the rest of my life.”

And so on…

But do they actually do anything useful? I know some people who swear by them and others that think it is a load of old nonsense. So, which is it?

Now, I understand that the language we use to describe our reality to ourselves and others effects our perception of reality. So our ability to create vivid linguistic representations of our experiences can change those experiences and if we describe them in a more useful way, it should change the way we perceive them. So, by writing and repeatedly saying a simple affirmation about what how we want to experience reality should, by that theory help change our perception of that experience (and, since perception is all we get, change our very reality).

In fact, one could argue that the lauded “therapy du jour” of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) at it’s most basic level gets you to recognise your own negative “affirmations” (what is the opposite of affirmation? Negamation?!) and replace them with more positive ones.

However there is scant research into the area of affirmations and what there is seems contradictory. One study found that “…people who view themselves as unlovable, for example, find that saying that are so unbelievable that it strengthens their own negative view rather than reversing it” and found that “paradoxically, those with low self-esteem were in a better mood when they were allowed to have negative thoughts than when they were asked to focus exclusively on affirmative thoughts”.

Another study suggests that “self-affirmation improved problem-solving performance in under-performing chronically stressed individuals”.

So, evidence suggests that affirmations may work in specific situations for people who are already generally confident and positive but falls short, on their own, with helping people with more enduring problems.

It seems that the most powerful affirmations are very specific and doable, rather the more well know general phrases such as “every day in every way, I am feeling better and better”.

Do you use affirmations with yourself or with your clients? How successful do you find them?


Random NLP Video Blog

Just by changing the tone and inflection of your statement, you can change the meaning. Be aware of the tone you are using and wether it is appropriate to the meaning you want to put across.

on boredom
Apparently this weekend is the weekend most people will quit their New Years Resolutions.

It is perfectly normal to hit a plateau when attempting to make changes in your life and it is usually around the three to five week mark that the initial excitement and motivation will wear off.

So here are just a few tips to deal with boredom and keep going with the changes you want to make.

Be Gentle With Your Self

Don’t beat yourself up if you are struggling. All this will do associate that negative feeling with the goal you want to achieve and utterly destroy an vestiges of motivation you had left. Accept that boredom is a perfectly natural part of the process and that, even with things we love doing, we get bored, frustrated and disinterested at times. Just relax, don’t fight it, it will pass.

Have A Break

Just because you take a break doesn’t mean you have failed or given up, it just means you are having a break. Even The Rock has cheat days where he eats rubbish (and most fitness experts I have spoken to advocate having a “cheat day”). Make a deal with yourself to take a few days off and then get back on with it.

In fact, BAN yourself from doing anything even remotely associated with achieving your New Years Resolutions for a few days. An enforced break can often have a counter effect of making you want to do it even more (it is a bit like telling people not to think of orange penguins – the first thing you do is think of orange penguins).

Mix It Up A Bit

What can you do to mix it up a bit? If you are trying to get fit, can you change your routine? Change the time of day you are doing it? If you are eating more healthily, try different recipes for food. If you are attempting a new skill, just change how you are going about it. Maybe try a more advanced part of the process, you may surprise yourself and be better than you thought.

Remind Yourself Why You Are Doing It

Take a few minutes to go back to why you began. Maybe you have an idea of a goal or a time you want to achieve that goal by. Just sit down for five minutes and remember why you started this in the first place. As you start to make a mental representation of why it is you are doing this, notice all those good feelings and sensations. Do this for a few minutes a day (maybe whilst taking a break  – see above) and you will be surprised how motivated you become to carry on.

The immense success of the BBC’s latest series of Sherlock has got everyone, once again, talking about his skills of deduction, memory, and problem solving.

Like many skills, the key is to keep it simple, there are no “secret advanced techniques”. Sherlock Holmes simply combines a number of skills and applies them in a very specific way. With a bit of practice you to can boost your mental ability and start to think more like Sherlock Holmes…

Of course, you do not need to be a consulting detective to take advantage of these skills and “Sherlocking” your brain will give you advantages in whatever field you are in. It can improve you memory and recall (great when you forget the shopping list), increase your problem solving skills, and your ability to create rapport with people. It will also have the knock on effect of making you feel more confident in your abilities.

And you never know when being able to recognise certain types of cigar ash will come in handy…

Just don’t start acting like a “high functioning sociopath”; people can tend to model the wrong things, they will attempt to mimic the surface level behaviours, the aloofness and rudeness of Holmes. Don’t do that. It is never a good look and will make you appear as an unlikeable idiot.

Pay Attention

“Never trust to general impressions, my boy, but concentrate yourself upon details. My first glance is always at a woman’s sleeve. In a man, it is perhaps better to take the knee of the trouser.”

The number one skill of Sherlock Holmes is simply paying attention: You can learn a lot just by paying attention to thinks people don’t tend to notice.

We so often spend most of our time inside our own heads, talking to ourselves, thinking back to what we did at the weekend or trying to decide what to have for tea. We are rarely present and paying attention to the current moment.  This isn’t surprising, our whole system of perception is based on “best guess” and is inherently lazy, once we are subjected to the same stimulus a number of times we will simply stop paying attention to it (a process known as “habituation”) and since most of us live a routined life, we can start to sleepwalk through it if we are not careful.

So the first thing we need to do is to deliberately and actively start paying attention to what is going on around us.

Commentary Walking

One of the very best ways I have found to help practice paying attention is a process known as “Commentary Walking” (or commentary driving, commentary sitting on the bus, etc). If you have done any advanced driving skills, or been in the police or special forces, you will probably be familiar with this technique.

It is exactly what is says! You just run a commentary in your head (don’t do it out loud, you may get some funny looks) of what is going on around you and inside you. Stick to sensory specific information, try not to analyse it (which is actually harder said than done as you will see). I suggest, to begin with you make three statements about what you can see, three about what you can hear, three about what you can feel and three about what you can smell and taste, then go back to what you can see. Keep this up for as long as you can. I suggest building up slowly – even if you make the conscious effort to do it for 5 minutes a day (maybe on your commute to work, or walking the dog) you will soon notice, in a few weeks, how much more observant you have become and how will start seeing things yo never noticed before.

30 Second Profile

“By a man’s finger-nails, by his coat-sleeve, by his boots, by his trouser-knees, by the callosities of his forefinger and thumb, by his expression, by his shirt-cuff – By each of these things a man’s calling is plainly revealed. That all united should fail to enlighten the competent inquirer in any case is almost inconceivable.”

Once you have the hang of that you can start building up 30 second profiles on people. It is a great ‘“people watching” pass time when you have a spare few minutes. It is surprising how much information you can glean from someone just by studying them in detail for as little as 30 seconds.

Many good communicators already do this (consciously or unconsciously) and adjust their communication style accordingly (matching and mirroring).

Some of the things you may want to look for are (this is not an exhaustive list):

Physical Appearance

  • Apparent age (hands, neck and side of eyes tend to be the most accurate indicator)
  • Jewellery (I find watches tell you a lot about the person)
  • Accessories
  • Mobile phone (what is their “wallpaper”?)
  • Grooming
  • Attire
  • Attractiveness (this is often purely subjective!)
  • Height, weight, apparent fitness
  • Skin, teeth, nails, hair
  • Tattoos and piercings

Psychological Disposition

  • Demeanour
  • Gate (how they walk and carry themselves)
  • Posture
  • Facial Expression (it may be worth exploring micro-expressions)
  • Speech (their accent, speed and rate, afflictions – stutter, etc)

Deductive Reasoning

“What do the public, the great unobservant public, who could hardly tell a weaver by his tooth or a compositor by his left thumb, care about the finer shades of analysis and deduction!”

Deductive reasoning can be described as “the process of reasoning from one or more general statements (premises) to reach a logically certain conclusion.”

One of the most famous pieces of deductive reasoning is this:

  1. All men are mortal.
  2. Socrates is a man.
  3. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

You take two interrelated statements, or premises, and deduce a conclusion from them.

Holmes is famous for noticing certain details that, by themselves, may be meaningless, but when combined create a compelling and often accurate conclusion.

So you can start building on your observational skills and “30 second profile” and start deducing things from what you notice. To begin with you will probably be wildly wrong most of the time, but as you build up your experiences and references you will be surprised at how accurate you will be more often than not.

You will start “piecing things together” and notice where information is missing, or people are taking wild leaps from insufficient information and you will starting asking better questions  (a good working knowledge of the NLP Meta Model and Sleight of Mouth Patterns can help).

Lateral Thinking

We tend to get stuck in habitual patterns of thinking; the thought processes we day after day after day. It means we tend to use the same references, pay attention to the same things and make the same inferences and conclusions.

To become effective at deduction you need to expand your thinking skills, work on your problem solving and lateral thinking.

Try solving riddles and cryptic crossword puzzles (many of which can be found online), to start improving your lateral thinking skills. To begin with, if you are like me, you will find it all frustrating gibberish, but stick with it and you will suddenly get a “head click” moment where it will all start to make sense. I started by reading the clues from the the cryptic crossword and then the answer to start to understand how it worked.

Your Memory Palace

You need organise all the new information you are collecting (like the differences between brands of cigar ash) in a useable and easily accessible way. This is where your memory palace comes in.

Probably the most talk about skill of the modern day Sherlock (at least in the last series) is his “Memory Palace”, I am not going to go into detail here as I have already written a detailed blog about it back in 2010. You can read it here.

Further Reading

There are some very good books out there detailing the process of Sherlockian thinking, here are just a few to get your started:

The Complete Sherlock Holmes
You will learn about how to think like Sherlock by actually reading the Sherlock books!

Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes
An excellent book chocked full of examples from the stories. One of my favourites (if a little repetitive and long winded at times – but I would prefer it to be thorough!).

Strategies of a Genius Vol 1
Here Robert Dilts applies the NLP strategy model to a number of famous “genius’s” including Sherlock Holmes (it is currently out of print, but you can occasionally pick up second hand copies on Amazon, etc)

Emotions Revealed
A great introduction to “micro expressions” and being able to read peoples emotions