NLP is good; honestly, really, really good.
Why? Because it is rich with tools, concepts, principles, techniques and processes than have been proven to radically improve a whole load of interpersonal and personal competencies. Which is why university degrees, coaching and psychotherapy trainings, leadership development courses and people management workshops now contain numerous NLP techniques and models.
In particular, NLP has become a core component of trainings in business, enhancing leadership and management skills exponentially. From the NHS to private enterprises large and small, NLP is now a legitimate element of business strategies to improve performance, recruitment & retention, empower leadership, optimise customer/supplier relationships and much more.
In this blog I’m going to answer three questions for you.
First, 'Why should you learn NLP?’ Second, ‘What is NLP?’ And third, ‘Why learn NLP now?’
Before we get going, let’s get a flavour of some of these benefits of using NLP. Let’s list some of the competencies that can be improved using NLP, starting with the interpersonal set:
Relationships with others
Influence & persuasion
Leading & Managing others
Building & Maintaining Rapport
Supporting others & Maximising their Potentials
Creating High-Performing Teams
With respect to the other set, the personal competencies, using NLP can radically improve:
Emotional Regulation, Stability & Resilience
Honesty & Integrity
Why should you learn NLP?
If improving ANY of the above competencies is worth investing in, then NLP should be your ‘go to’ option. Sure, there are loads of off-the-shelf trainings out there; but none that will deliver such a comprehensive upload of new knowledge and skills. Why? Because NLP has been developed over the last 50 years in ways that have incorporated the very best bits of neuroscience, behavioural psychology, business management, anthropology, social sciences….NLP is the hybrid par excellence of ‘interpersonal-neuro-biology'. (Click here for info on our courses and workshops)
What does all that mean?
It means that NLP not only teaches what techniques to use in a huge range of contexts but also why they work. No other training so intelligently explains where behaviour comes from, how thinking and feeling originates and what to do to change behaviours to produce new outcomes. How does NLP training do this? In the process of learning an NLP technique, model or process, students gain a deeper understanding of how the human mind works, how to influence our unconscious (where most of our behaviour comes from) and how core elements of our personalities affect how we relate to others.
In a nutshell, NLP is the richest source of theories and methods through which we can learn how to be better human beings.
What is NLP? Neuro-Linguistic Programming?
The ‘neuro’ bit is all about our neurological systems; how our brains function, what the unconscious mind is and why it’s so important, what our bodies do in response to its experience etc. This piece is important to learn because, once better understood, there is a significantly improved chance of actually changing our neurological responses (patterns) such that new and better outcomes can be achieved.
The ‘linguistic’ bit is all about how human beings make meaning through symbols and metaphors (language). Our meaning-making creates our reality; so if we change the way we construct our meanings (our stories about what’s ’true’) we automatically change our perceptions of reality. In effect, we learn that we can CHOOSE how to live our lives.
And the ‘programming’ bit is where NLP gets to identify, challenge and then change those deeply embedded (mostly unconscious) patterns of thinking-feeling-behaving that we have learned over many years. We are ‘programmable’ creatures - which is good news! Why? Because our thinking-feeling-behaving can be re-programmed, re-learned and old, unhelpful patterns can be transformed into profitable, useful and generative ones that produce markedly better outcomes.
If all this sounds too good to be true, it’s NOT. Some might wonder how one modality - NLP - can be so effective in so many ways. It’s because over the last 50 years, NLP has evolved from the modelling of numerous other modalities: psychotherapy, coaching, linguistics, general semantics, cybernetics, neuroscience, maths, sociology, environmental science, philosophy……all of which are core paradigms of being human, therefore, need to be included in a modality that claims such riches! Indeed, the NLP world is still evolving, collecting and modelling from as many different areas of human experience as possible.
And to my final question: ‘Why study NLP now?’
Why is now the optimum time to invest in this? Of course, you would understand why an advocate of NLP would say that any time is good for studying the art!
But at the moment, there are a number of highly pertinent reasons why now is a good time. To paint the scene:
- post-lockdown: relationship stress, increased levels of anxiety, isolation, stress & depression...
- post-Covid: bereavement & loss, grief, illness, fear...
- economic pressures: cost of living increases, break down in supply chains, recessions...
- environmental challenges: existential crisis, natural disasters, breakdown in ecosystems...
SORRY! When you read all that, it's a bleak picture. But it's precisely the reason why NLP tools are now so useful and so needed.
And if you think that these problems are only showing up in small pockets or the issues are not soo serious, you'd be wrong. In both my corporate coaching business and my therapy practice, these are very real problems. And make no mistake, what affects personal life will bleed into the work context whether managers want it to or not.
Business leaders have a responsibility to optimise the performance of their people. The complexity of the current moment has put the spotlight on managers' people management skills more than ever before; our 'VUCA' world (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) has pointed to a gap in people management skills that has, arguably, been relatively unspoken for a long time.
It's time for businesses to wake up and realise that their leaders and managers need serious up-skilling in order to provide the sort of smart, compassionate and knowledgable interventions that will help their people become better engaged, confident, creative, courageous and emotionally intelligent. We all have to navigate through these difficult times.
So, instead of becoming more directive and micro-managing, to improve the performance of your teams you now need more sophisticated tools.
Perhaps there's an alternative definition of NLP - 'New Leadership Paradigm' !