Coaching with NLP for Dummies

Coaching with NLP for Dummies

Summary of Coaching with NLP for Dummies by Kate Burton and Monique Richter: written by two American experts, this book is an introduction to the world of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) and guides the reader through its concepts and methods.

By Kate Burton and Monique Richter (French adaptation), 2013, 370 pages.

Review and Summary of Coaching with NLP for Dummies by Kate Burton and Monique Richter

Part 1 — Introducing NLP Coaching

Compass in hand Coaching with NLP for Dummies

Chapter 1 — Combining Coaching and NLP for Great Results

1. Distinguishing between coaching and NLP

NLP – for neuro-linguistic programming (an adjective spelled with a hyphen in the book) – is a method for improving thinking and communication. As part of coaching, it can be used on an ad hoc basis. While the results of coaching are long-term, the effects of NLP can be immediate, after just one session.

Coaches have many tools at their disposal and are constantly learning new techniques. If a client comes to you with an NLP request, it’s because they’ve heard of this method and want to benefit from the experience of a proven specialist in the field.

In any case, as Kate Burton, the book’s principal author, puts it:

[Coaching and NLP take different paths to achieve the same result: to significantly improve the client’s physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual state.  Both disciplines address the challenges of self-awareness and relationships with others. Combine NLP and coaching, and you have a winning combination for revealing the unconscious light in every human being.]

(Coaching with NLP for Dummies)

2. Embracing a career as a coach

Coaches are curious, empathetic, and interested in the development of others. The challenge of coaching is to help people (or groups) live consciously in a complex world by working on:

  1. External perspective (context and communication with the outside world).
  2. Internal perspective (motivations, thoughts, etc.).

There are many definitions of coaching and many types of coach. For example, you might be interested in life coaching, which is one of the most widely used forms of coaching today.

Timothy Gallwey is often regarded as the father of coaching. He proposed the following formula:

[P = p – i: Performance equals a person’s potential minus interference.]

(Tennis and concentration, quoted in Coaching with NLP for Dummies)

Interference most often comes from Self No. 1 (the critical self). By bringing it under control, it’s possible to free up Self No. 2 (talented, competent Self).

We’ll see later how to integrate NLP into the basic coaching system developed by its precursors.

An important point to bear in mind before continuing: coaching is not therapy, counseling or even mentoring, although the latter label can sometimes be applied to the coach. However, it is important to differentiate between the two: while the coach invites reflection (particularly with regard to motivation), the mentor gives advice on the path to be taken (because he or she has already taken it).

3. Starting with NLP

NLP studies the structure of thoughts, actions, and words. It proposes questions and pathways for changing daily behavior and ways of seeing the world. John Grinder and Richard Blander are considered the creators of NLP. Initially developed in California in the 1970s, it rapidly spread and was enriched by new theoretical perspectives (those of Milton Erickson and Carl Rogers, for example).

NLP is based on 4 pillars:

  1. Rapport = the relationship created with oneself and with others.
  2. Sensory acuity = the filters through which we perceive the world.
  3. Outcomes = obtaining desired results in the future.
  4. Behavioral flexibility = openness to new experiences.

A wide range of tools is presented in this book by Kate Burton.

4. Getting into the habit of dreaming

Here’s the author’s advice to get you started:

[State a question you’d like to answer while reading Coaching with NLP for Dummies. Summarize this question in one word that you’ll keep in a corner of your head so you can recall your dream. If you prefer, take an image, a smell, a taste, or a sound that you can bring to mind as you read the other chapters of this book.]

(Coaching with NLP for Dummies)

Chapter 2 — Gathering the Essential NLP Skills

1. Improving rapport

Rapport is the basis of relationships with oneself and with others. Its quality determines the success of the adventure. As a coach, you’ll want to create it as early as possible, even before the first meeting, by imitating the behavior (by e-mail or telephone) of the person you’re talking to. This is what NLP calls synchronization.

Non-verbal listening is crucial. For example, the coach will take care to match his/her breathing to that of the client. But there’s more to it than that: dynamism, energy, sound, voice, and movement all need to be adjusted to create a solid rapport. It’s not a question of simply imitating, but of sending signals of affinity to the other person.

As a coach, you’ll be able to determine the success of your communication with your client. To make this message more effective and ensure success, you’ll need to adapt your sensory representation system (the way you talk, move, and feel).

Another important point is to get in touch with the whole person. For example, if you’re doing personal coaching, ask yourself about the client’s professional environment and how he or she behaves in it.

However, this doesn’t mean completely immersing yourself in the other person’s world. Empathy doesn’t mean sympathy, coaches sometimes say; in other words, learn to step outside your client’s problems once the session is over.

2. Using essential NLP assumptions

Like all theories, NLP is based on certain essential presuppositions or assumptions. Kate Burton lists 3 that can be particularly useful for coaches:

  1. The map is not the territory (everyone has their own way of representing the world).
  2. People are more than their behaviors (each person has several behaviors depending on the situation, and there are different ways of defining oneself).
  3. People are resourceful (stepping out of one’s comfort zone is possible and desirable; most people are ready for it, it’s just a matter of giving them the opportunity).

3. Digging deeper

NLP can help the coach to go beyond the superficial level of the relationship or the person. Two models are often used for this: the Milton Model and the Metamodel. NLP for Dummies by Kate Burton and Romilla Ready provides much more on this subject.

However, you should know that the metamodel aims to remove ambiguity from the discourse by asking questions that clarify the client’s line of thinking, while the Milton model generalizes from specifics, in order to give the client the opportunity to think differently or put the problem into perspective.

Thanks to NLP, you can also explore your clients’ relationship with time. You’ll be able to see whether they’re more in the moment (associated with time) or planning (dissociated from time) and help them bring things back into balance.

To help them change, you can also use another NLP technique: identifying the secondary benefit. How does your client benefit from unhealthy behavior (such as smoking)? What positive behaviors could be put in place to achieve the same benefit(s) (e.g., relaxing between meetings)?

4. Modeling excellence

Finding and following role models is one of the key recommendations of NLP. There’s no better way to learn than by example. To this end, you can encourage your client to recognize people who are excellent in the field they wish to invest in or improve.

You can then guide them to identify the skills they need to acquire, and the path that leads from unconscious incompetence to conscious competence, and then to unconscious competence (i.e., full integration).

More generally, you’ll help your clients move from confusion to congruence, i.e.:

  • From a disordered relationship between actions, thoughts, and words (confusion).
  • Towards a state of harmony and inner peace (congruence).

[In NLP coaching, you will strive to display congruence in order to encourage your clients to do the same. Congruence manifests itself as poise, integrity, and the embodiment of inspiration for others. You live by your values. Beware, congruence is contagious!]

(Coaching with NLP for Dummies)

Chapter 3 — Developing Your Coaching Alliances

1. Defining the coach-client alliance

Kate Burton likens this “alliance” to a dance, during which a rapport must be established for everything to run smoothly. The relationship here can be relatively short: a few weeks in the case of personal or professional coaching.

It’s a taming game in which both parties get to know each other. One thing leads to another, and the relationship progresses. Beware of cronyism or routine. Feedback will certainly be needed, as well as assessments/evaluations where adjustments can be made.

As a coach, take notes and use them to establish a good atmosphere and concrete, effective action plans together.

2. Building a relationship of trust

Self-confidence, but also confidence in others, comes from the certainty that we can rely on ourselves or on others (reliability), on shared honesty and self-esteem.  In addition, integrity and confidentiality are part of the coach’s code of ethics and must be part of the contract established from the outset.

Establishing a relationship of trust (a good rapport) takes time. The terms of the relationship (the contract) must be very clear: the coach is neither the friend nor the consultant of the coachee/client; the timing and fees as well as the rules of confidentiality are set out beforehand.

Of course, the coach will have to adapt to the more or less open personalities of the people with whom he/she comes into contact. Moreover, the relationship will differ depending on whether the client is:

  • An individual.
  • An employee of a company or organization.

You will also adjust the relationship depending on whether you yourself are an integral part of your client’s company (internal client) or not.

Direction this way Coaching with NLP for Dummies

What should guide your actions? A sense of ethics and integrity, which means respecting human reactions and limits. Why not take a few sessions with a more experienced coach, for example? It will certainly help you to develop.

3. Formalizing agreements with clients

The coach’s experience matters. Remember: coaching is a profession. When sessions extend over time, the agreement needs to be renewed with feedback and evaluations (mid-term, final). Preparatory work may also be necessary.

The client also needs to find the right person. For this, a first contact is often useful, as the CV/résumé doesn’t tell the whole story! The coach must be open and able to answer the client’s questions.

Here are a few basic skills and practices that every coach should master in order to build rapport and practice serenely:

  • (Know) how to lay the foundations.
  • (Be able to) establish the relationship with the client.
  • Communicate effectively.
  • “ Learning to learn ” to succeed (Coaching with NLP for Dummies).

The coach must be vigilant in sustaining his/her client’s motivation as we shall see; NLP and its metaprograms can help in this regard.

The same goes for the question of success: the coach must ensure that there is a connection in this respect: what does the client expect from coaching? What would be a “success” for him/her? Establish this point as quickly as possible, otherwise, you run the risk of imposing your vision of success on your client!

4. Curiosity and fulfillment

The coach can – and ideally should – serve as an example to the client: his/her calmness, anchoring, in short, his/her way of being are meant to inspire the client.

Don’t be afraid of silence: the coaching session is a bubble outside the surrounding hustle and bustle (personal or corporate). So, pace yourself, take time to reflect, or let your thoughts flow freely.

Do this in the presence of the client, but also favor silence when you’re alone, to refocus, release tension and allow intuition to find its way; intuition is invaluable!

Don’t look for answers straight away, but rather let questions and “requests” (“ I wonder if…”) arise. Deepen your understanding before trying to explain everything from A to Z.

Finally, trust your client’s knowledge. They hold the keys to their own success, and it’s often enough for them to discover the secondary benefits of their actions to free themselves from old habits. In other words: people are much more than their behavior! In other words: people are much more than their behavior!

Part 2 – Building Core Coaching Skills

Footprint on sand Coaching with NLP for Dummies

Chapter 4 — Shaping the Agenda for Change

1. Starting and ending a session with poise

To help your clients, you need to guide, organize, and set boundaries.

Starting and ending a session are part of these boundaries. In NLP, synchronization is the process of getting in tune with the other person. Conduct, on the other hand, is the way of being that enables you to get your message across.

Before the coaching session, set aside some quiet time; you’ll have sent a contract in advance and will be ready to take notes.

During the initial session, greet the client with a warm welcome, pay attention to your presentation and body language, and ask the right questions.

And don’t forget to “set intentions,” that is, to decide in advance what you want to achieve – these don’t have to be shared with the client but can be written down for your own recall.

The closing of a session should also be worked on by asking clear and effective questions (this chapter goes into more detail). Remember to settle administrative details at the end of the session (time slots, payments) so as not to detract from the benefits of each exchange.

2. Paying special attention to the diagnostic phase

[The long-term success of a coach-client alliance depends on a satisfactory start to the relationship. Experienced coaches all agree that the phase of setting up the collaboration is essential to achieving results.]

(Coaching with NLP for Dummies)

To make this phase a success, remember to:

  • Have your client’s “problem” fully explained (“the diagnosis”).
  • Capture the current situation, i.e., the difference between what is experienced and what is desired.
  • Ask your customer to fill in/draw a life wheel (see Figure 4-3, Chapter 4) or a career wheel (Figure 4-4, Chapter 4).
  • List talents and strengths.
  • Define values.
  • Describe the program by writing sentences summarizing the goal(s) achieved (in the present tense, as if the problem/challenge had been solved/achieved).

3. Defining the desired program

To establish the diagnosis, use the sample documents proposed in Chapter 4! This will help you determine the program. Clarity may not come right away; the client’s objectives are not always precisely defined; he/she may have trouble expressing him/herself. Invite them to formulate their own objectives and help them by rephrasing them in a positive way. Then it’s a matter of staying on course, to keep moving forward. Show them how far they’ve come, with the help of documents in particular (and include a tracking tool, either handwritten or online). This will boost your client’s motivation.

Of course, you can’t expect the impossible. As a coach, you need to be flexible. Allow spontaneity, the unexpected, and the desire to change course. As long as the aim is to make progress and not to avoid change, follow your client’s lead!

Chapter 5 — Going for Quick-Win Sessions

1. Checking SCORE

What is SCORE?

  • Symptoms.
  • Causes.
  • Objectives.
  • Resources.
  • Effects.

Asking the questions related to each of these points (see Figure 5-1, Chapter 5) can help you quickly resolve complex situations, such as when your client asks you for a quick coaching session over the phone.

This simple technique allows you to analyze a concern: you break it down, and it becomes manageable. The results of SCORE questioning can be tabulated (see Coaching with NLP for Dummies, Table 5-1, Chapter 5).

2. Influencing with logical levels

In NLP, there are considered to be six logical levels:

  1. Environment.
  2. Behavior.
  3. Capabilities and skills.
  4. Beliefs and values.
  5. Identity. 
  6. Meaning (spirituality).

Each level can be questioned. The coach can also spot what the client is talking about: is it the environment (is he/she questioning working conditions, for example) or values (does he/she feel conflicted between loyalty and honesty)?

This handbook will give you plenty of advice and questions to ask in order to detect them. You can also consult NLP for Dummies, by the same author.

3. When awareness translates into action

These two models enable you to quickly raise your client’s awareness and suggest courses of action. You can then help them take the first step towards change. Think about gauging his/her level of motivation (for example, by asking him/her where he/she stands on a scale from 0 to 10).

If commitment is lacking, don’t let this be a source of annoyance or guilt for you; get back to work, because you still have things to discover!

Chapter 6 — Getting Greater Clarity

1. Tackling grey areas

Here’s another tool you can use to clarify situations: the Johari window. It consists of 4 quadrants:

  1. Open area. 
  2. Blind spot.
  3. Façade/hidden (intimate information).
  4. Unknown information.

Again, each window is an opportunity to ask questions. In fact, each window offers the opportunity to create a “narrative” that leads to greater self-knowledge and self-awareness.

2. Creating and using mind maps

NLP works a lot with the senses. So here’s another entry point for working with clients: the NLP model of communication and the idea of the sensory representation system.

Learn to decode the ways in which your clients gather, filter information and create their representations. You can do this not only by observing them but also by listening to them, as these representations can be found in ordinary language.

You can also tap into the unconscious areas of your client’s mind to help them firmly anchor changes. Working on creativity, intuition, breathing, and imagining past or future scenes is a good way of making the change process more playful and the result more lasting.

3. Asking relevant questions

Yes, this is not something you can take for granted! Asking relevant questions can be learned. NLP can help. Depending on the circumstances, you can direct your questions according to:

  • Action.
  • “As-if” hypotheses.
  • Beliefs.
  • Brainstorming (to find original solutions).
  • Joy or pleasure.
  • Assessment/evaluation.
  • Goals.

When in doubt, also invite your client to explore an option by asking the following Cartesian questions.

What would happen if…

  • You made this decision?
  • You did not make that decision?

What won’t happen if…

  • You made this decision?
  • You did not make that decision?

From time to time (and especially at the end of a session), dare to ask a probing question about the logical levels of identity or meaning/spirituality. Here are examples suggested by Kate Burton:

  • [Identitywhat kind of leader are you in life? Who would you like to be?
  •  Meaning: what is your passion? How do you know you’re acting to give meaning to life?] (Coaching with NLP for Dummies)

4. Listening intensely

Here again, what seems obvious is perhaps the most complicated to achieve! Listening involves not only silence but also follow-up through questioning or well-placed commentary. According to NLP, there are 4 levels of listening, more or less profound and generative.

  1. Unwinding (listening to yourself talk).
  2. Debate (you wait your turn to speak).
  3. Empathic listening (in this case, you try to understand the other person’s point of view).
  4. Meta-listening (here, you position yourself as a neutral observer, while remaining in touch with your client).

Listening isn’t just for the ears. You listen “through your eyes” and other senses, taking note of behavior and trying to synchronize with your client.

Chapter 7 — Making Goals Come Alive

1. Ensuring objectives are well formulated

The SMART matrix is a well-known way of constructing goals. Your client’s objectives must be:

  • Specific.
  • Measurable.
  • Achievable.
  • Realistic.
  • Time-bound.

NLP adds to this the idea of conditions for good formulation. Here are the 7 steps to formulating a precise objective:

  1. Is it positively written or stated?
  2. Does it come from the person’s own intention and has it been formulated by the person?
  3. Is the verification procedure described (does the client know how to ascertain whether the goal has been achieved)?
  4. Has the context been taken into account?
  5. Has the means been identified?
  6. Has the client assessed the ecological character (coherence with other aspects of his/her life)?
  7. What is the first action to be taken?

2. Balancing dreams and reality: the Disney strategy

Walt Disney’s successes inspired Robert Dilts to develop a model known as the Disney strategy. This is based on the concept of imagineering, which invites the creator to put him/herself in the shoes of three different characters (or roles):

  1. Dreamer (who wonders more about the “what”).
  2. Realist (for whom it’s all about the “how”).
  3. Critical (for whom it’s all about the “why”).

See the excellent table in Chapter 7 for details of all the questions! This Disney strategy can be used by the coach to help the client specify his/her objectives. In a real-life situation, you can materialize the roles by using three chairs, one for each character. This will make the game that much more effective.

3. Generating new behaviors

This is another exercise that Kate Burton calls the new behavior generator. It takes place in 3 stages, linked to the NLP system of sensory representations:

  1. Hearing the soundtrack (which sounds are linked to achieving the stated goal?).
  2. Seeing the film (what does it look like, visually?).
  3. Feeling, touching, and smelling the result (what are the associated physical effects?).

Part 3 — Deepening Your Awareness

In front of a waterbody Coaching with NLP for Dummies

Chapter 8 — Tuning into Values

1. Knowing what’s important

[Identifying your core values is the catalyst for switching from what you think you should do to what you really want to do. It’s your core values that govern your decisions and actions.]

(Coaching with NLP for Dummies)

The author warns us: watch out for the verbs “must” and “should!” These are the verbs that most often resonate in our ears, and the ones that are most often on the tip of our tongues.  These “modal operators of necessity,” to use the language of NLP, indicate that free will has been decentered (or even erased).

With your questions, try to refocus your client around verbs such as “choose” or “want.” If the client becomes aware of what he/she wants and consciously chooses something, the internal conflict that was driving him/her often ceases.

You can also help your client to distinguish between process values (which make it possible to do something) and goal values (the foundations of his/her life that need to be established). This depends on the individual, even if there are commonalities (peace, love, and freedom are widely recognized goal values, for example).

If it’s still too vague, just get your clients to draw up a list of values. From there, cross-reference, group, and link them, then ask yourself what this thing or value brings you (discover the fundamental need linked to it). This refined list will serve as your compass in setting your objectives.

2. Setting priorities

Having values – and, more importantly, putting them into practice – often takes time. To bring his/her attitude into harmony with his/her values, you’ll need to help your client to:

  • Express what’s important to him/her and identify the particular way in which he/she respects his/her value.
  • Prioritize his/her values, while making room for unexpected situations and changes.

Aligning actions with values is crucial to avoiding problems, both personal and professional. Logically, when a value is not respected, it creates negative emotion (towards yourself or others).

If this happens to your client, suggest that he or she analyze the situation based on the events recounted. If they haven’t yet been updated, this could be the opportunity to unearth their core values!

3. Cultivating values on a daily basis

Cultivating your values on a daily basis can also mean “dreaming bigger and better” (Coaching with NLP for Dummies, Chapter 8). In fact, you can virtually extend alignment by asking yourself what your values will lead you to do in the future.

Kate Burton suggests a 4-step exercise, to be done on your own or guided by your coach:

  1. Imaginatively position yourself in the future.
  2. Place yourself in a specific situation or context.
  3. Think creatively about the best way to improve the future while respecting your values.
  4. Take stock of what has been “discovered” and take initial action.

Chapter 9 — Tapping into Passion and Purpose

1. Awakening

According to Robert Dilts, “Coaching with a capital C” is that which enables the client to become an actor in his or her own life, and to take responsibility for his or her own choices. The coach’s role here is that of an awakener, but to do so, he or she must be awake! Personal development is full of resources for moving in the right direction.

2. Finding the flow state

The flow state – where everything falls into place – is well-known among coaches and NLP experts. These are states where the connection between oneself and one’s values is at its peak; meaning and fulfillment are present, and body and mind know what to do.

The flow state can, of course, be lost; it is not constant. Anxiety, lack of concentration, and boredom can come into play. To help your client find or rediscover his/her state of flow, encourage him/her to:

  • Be content with his/her present situation.
  • Be kind to him/herself (don’t overdo it).
  • Maintain periods of rest.
  • Enjoy everyday moments.

Several questions can also be asked. Read Chapter 9!

If your client’s inability to regain the flow state persists, if he or she is constantly depressed or reports physical or psychological symptoms, don’t ignore these signals; advise him or her to consult a therapist, as this marks the limits of your intervention as a coach.

3. Finding meaning in your job

[In any profession, motivation is optimal when you feel the game is worth playing, bringing value to others and making good use of your time and talent.]

(Coaching with NLP for Dummies)

In other words, the joy we take in our work is linked to the meaning we find in it. Motivation is the link between these elements: it is the courage to face up to the perhaps more difficult aspects of the job, thanks to the meaning attributed to the action. Often, this means identifying benefits for others, not just yourself.

Once again, it’s important to be kind to yourself and to your client: some moments are more difficult to manage, and that’s quite normal. Life brings its share of unforeseen events. In any case, remember – or help your client to do so – the achievements (skills acquired, values displayed, personal and social contributions of the work done).

4. Identifying your raison d’être

By asking your clients interesting and profound questions, you’ll help them find – if they haven’t already – their raison d’être. With their agreement, you’ll lead them to the top of Maslow’s pyramid. By helping them to build solid, value-based goals, you’ll help them to overcome the tough times.

What is the DASE model? It was invented by Kate Burton herself:

  • D for Delight.
  • A for Anger.
  • S for Sadness.
  • E for Ecstasy.

Ask your client about the times when they have felt each of these 4 emotions intensely. Together, analyze these different dimensions, observing the best and the worst, and looking at their impact. Where was your greatest passion?

In his or her own words, the client can start to define his or her mission, i.e. his or her life’s purpose. Suggest that they construct a statement that highlights their identity in a more or less vivid way, linking it to their specific action and environment (see all the examples in Chapter 9).

5. Developing and sharing your vision

This is how you or your client can grow and, perhaps, become an example. Imagine affirming, meaningful phrases, then pass them on when you have the chance.

Some visions, or rather dreams and intentions here, are not always easy to realize. In fact, there are steps you can take to make them both stimulating and achievable.

Here are just a few:

  • Chunk‘ into sequences, tasks, etc.
  • Help recognize strengths and talents.

These tips apply to corporate coaches, but not only. It’s also the way to strengthen relationships within the couple or the family sphere, to be more in tune with yourself, and to give yourself the means to realize your personal ambitions!

Chapter 10 — Shedding Light on Patterns

1. Observing metaprograms

Metaprograms are the “unconscious filters” that guide the way we process information received from the outside world. For example, NLP considers the following pairs as metaprograms:

  • Global vs. Specific.
  • Options vs. Procedures.
  • Moving towards/away from.
  • Internal/External.
  • Same/Different.
  • Associated/Disassociated with time.
  • Proactive/Reactive.

For each pairing, you can be either one or the other (rather global, external and procedural, for example). Again, for precise definitions of these metaprograms, please refer to the NLP for Dummies column, as well as to NLP Exercises for Dummies.

Let’s focus here on the benefits of using these metaprograms for both coach and client. According to Kate Burton, metaprograms are very useful for becoming aware of each other’s operating modes. As a coach, recognizing your clients’ metaprograms will help you to adapt and accompany them towards change by removing bad habits (procrastination, etc.).

2. Rejecting ‘connivance’

What does that mean? Well, connivance here means avoiding discomfort by refusing to discuss a complicated topic. This avoidance may not be conscious but is due to your own metaprograms.

To flush them out, you can study your client’s voice, but also take a stand by asking permission and daring to intervene. Judy Apps’ work on the voice can be put to good use here (see Chapter 10).

3. Establishing new habits

Behavioral change is one of the desired effects of coaching and NLP. All the above tips will help you to implement them. You can also follow this final recommendation from Kate Burton:

[For lasting pattern change, encourage your client to experiment with new habits in a variety of contexts. Make the challenge interesting and fun and adapt it to what you discover about his or her metaprograms.]

(Coaching with NLP for Dummies)

Chapter 11 — Developing Better Strategies

1. The differentiating factor: strategies

Strategies are all those little habits and processes you put in place to get things done. These can be analyzed and modified when they’re not working.

The TOTE model can help:

  • Test.
  • Operation.
  • Test.
  • Exit.

The process is simple: check that a strategy works (test), if it doesn’t, modify it (operate), test it again and, if all goes well, let it become a “good habit” (exit).

When you want to transform a deficient strategy, you can also:

  • Import an effective strategy from another context into the area in question (from business to personal, for example).
  • Take inspiration from strategies that work for others.

Of course, you can also (and this is often the first step), analyze your strategies. As an NLP coach, you can ask your clients specific questions and make notes using the symbols used by neuro-linguistic programming specialists (see Chapter 10).

In your attempts to help customers redesign their strategies, use humor, be modest and, above all, respect the intent behind the bad strategy.

In other words, reassure them and try to avoid making them feel guilty: if they have acted in this way and developed this strategy, it’s because there was a reason for it at some point. Help them to rediscover the positive intent lurking beneath the problematic behavior.

2. Finding inspiration in others: role models and mentors

[Modeling is the ability to fully reproduce another person’s desirable competence. It involves reaching the unconscious behaviors behind a given skill and coding the behaviors so that they can be taught to others.]

(Coaching with NLP for Dummies)

This involves observing the people to be role-modelled. We need to look at both their external behavior (what they do) and their internal processing (what they think), which takes time and practice.

A mentor is someone we admire for certain abilities or skills, and who guides us in acquiring them. With NLP, you can “imagine” your mentors and put yourself in their shoes to give advice to yourself!

3. Creating new structures for greater efficiency

Not everyone likes schedules and discipline. Sometimes, however, a certain amount of organization is necessary and useful. When planning something, the first thing to realize is that doing one thing necessarily means saying no to something else. Unless you consider that your time is infinite!

Otherwise, you can recommend using the simple YES/NO structure. Ask your client: “What do you say yes to every day? And what do you reject? Record each item in a YES or NO column. Now, what would you rather say yes to? And what would you like to stop?” 

Tell him/her to move the items from one column to the next and ask him/her how to materialize this new list. To help him/her do this, you can suggest counting the days (it takes 21 to establish a new habit) and noting his/her successes. From time to time, review their progress with them.

Part 4 — Working Through Drama, Decisions, and Dilemmas

stairs Coaching with NLP for Dummies

Chapter 12 — Strengthening Relationships in Tough Times

1. Identifying key stakeholders

Broadly speaking, stakeholders are those who are involved in the running of a company; in a more general sense, we can apply this notion to our daily and personal lives, and include all the people who surround us and contribute to making our lives better.

Mapping your network gives you an idea of your resources and the support you receive (to create a complete relationship map, see Chapter 12).

When you enter into a relationship with someone, you establish certain types of connections. Help your client identify the relationships he or she has with each person in his or her network using the four I‘s communication model:

  • Information.
  • Involvement.
  • Influence.
  • Inspiration.

You can also help him or her draw up an effective communication plan (Table 12-2, Chapter 12) that focuses on:

  • First, the target.
  • The result.
  • The message.
  • And the method.

2. Understanding how others function

It’s vital! The 3 perceptual positions, one of the tools of NLP, help you to put yourself in other people’s shoes and understand them better. It invites everyone to position themselves:

  1. From your natural point of view (first position).
  2. By putting yourself in the other person’s shoes (second position).
  3. By adopting the point of view of an impartial spectator (third position).

There is even a fourth position, which you can have your client adopt in the so-called meta mirror exercise. In this exercise, the client is invited to adopt the first three positions, then to move into the fourth, i.e., to act as if he or she were voluntarily in the third position (permutation of the first and third positions). This opens up new perspectives on problem-solving.

If you want to make yourself understood quickly by a stressed client, the first thing to do is to identify his/her metaprograms and respond in the same tone, so that the message is quickly integrated. Always pay attention to the context in which the problem takes place since metaprograms vary according to the situation.

3. Coaching teams for greater cohesion

You can use NLP tools for group coaching too. By reminding or inviting them to reflect on NLP’s fundamental presuppositions, you’ll help them develop a success mindset.

If the team is confrontational, your task will be to enable them to rediscover values, as well as common, well-defined objectives, while developing positive beliefs and behaviors.

If the challenge is more to standardize procedures or increase performance, you can diagnose and then limit non-performing behaviors. At the same time, you’ll encourage active listening and mutual respect.

Team dissolution? Take a moment to have them reflect on how far they’ve come and the successes they’ve had! What can you learn from the experience?

Chapter 13 — Moving Through Life’s Disappointments

1.  Feeling okay when things go wrong

Negative feelings are natural; coaches meet clients in all emotional states! Reassure them that this is normal, and then start the process of regulating their feelings. The aim is to prevent them from bottling up or repressing their negative emotions, so they can move on with their lives with peace of mind.

[As a coach, you serve your client’s interests by giving them the permission, space, and tools to reveal their true feelings. Coaching is perhaps the only space where they feel they can reveal their true selves.  Find creative activities that allow them to connect with their feelings.]

(Coaching with NLP for Dummies)

Taking care of yourself on a daily basis is essential. You may be able to help your client learn some breathing techniques and focus on what matters.

2. Avoiding the drama triangle

The Drama Triangle, created by Stephen Karpman, was inspired by Eric Berne’s Transactional Analysis. The three roles are as follows:

  • Victim (vulnerability).
  • Persecutor (power).
  • Rescuer (responsibility).

Each role poses a problem, and the challenge is to stay outside the triangle. Clients may find themselves in one of these positions when they’re in conflict with someone else, and you’ll need to help them become aware of this by helping them discover the role played by the person – and therefore, by themselves.

3. Learning from tough times

It’s not always easy, but it can be done. You can help your clients overcome the losses they have experienced by drawing inspiration from two key NLP authors, Steve and Connirae Andreas, who proposed a model of grief, also known as the Resolving Grief Process.

Grief can be real (the loss of a loved one) or perceived (the abandonment of a possible life path, such as having a family, for example).

This powerful tool is also based on the notions of unresolved grief and resolved grief: either failure (dwelling on the loss and negative feelings) or success (presence of the lost being or thing and positive emotions).

To resolve grief, it’s important to:

  • Emphasize positive feelings about the person,
  • Distinguish and preserve them from the experience itself (death).

NLP refers to this as dissociation between loss and grief.

Chapter 14 — Coaching Through Conflict

1. Identifying high-pressure behaviors

[To coach a client in the throes of conflict, we first need to help them become aware of their own behavioral patterns and systematic reactions to conflict situations. Only then should we explore ways of managing differences and displaying greater creativity and resourcefulness in the future.]

(Coaching with NLP for Dummies)

How? By keeping a diary, for example, in which he or she reports on difficult and less difficult moments. If necessary, certain objects or images can also help him or her to regain his or her composure.

In the event of open conflict with someone, the best solution should be sought: orient your client towards results and encourage him/her to be flexible.

2. Managing differences

If the conflict becomes increasingly entangled, or if you need to better understand an “enemy”, reuse the perceptual positions and the chunking process, two techniques seen above.

3. Saying what needs to be said

Sometimes, things need to be said, even if they’re hard to hear. To communicate effectively and calmly, you can teach your client the rudiments of non-violent communication.

And remember to keep your feedback constructive and factual, without blaming or making assumptions about other people’s motivations.

Chapter 15 — Smoothing Career Peaks and Troughs

1. Playing to your strengths

The diversity of professions represents the diversity of people and their strengths. So, it’s not a question of becoming a CEO or a movie star, but of doing what you love and know how to do well.

As an NLP coach, you can help your client find the ideal career by helping them explore their skills and past experiences.

If your client is about to lose his or her job, find out if he or she has a back-up plan in place (as NLP puts it for people who are rather dissociated from time). In any case, you can support him/her in creating a new career.

2. Building an appealing reputation

Today, we have little recourse to this reality: more and more, our reputation precedes us. It used to be word-of-mouth; now it’s social media.

Feedback from others also matters a great deal, especially in the corporate world where this practice is widespread. Sometimes, your clients may be inclined to shun such feedback. However, allow them to have confidence in themselves and accept feedback in a benevolent way.

Use stories too. These are stories that clients can tell within their networks. Stories about their successes and failures. In short, this is the technique of storytelling.

You can also prepare for the job interview by working on your client’s body language and voice.

3. Networking: an asset for quality development

Online networking makes life easier for introverts! Facebook and LinkedIn: these are new ways of communicating and finding work. To find out who they are, your clients will need to ask themselves what their objective is, as well as consider their image, their target audience, and the message they want to get across.

Part 5 – Advancing Your NLP Coaching Repertoire

Freedom in nature Coaching with NLP for Dummies

Chapter 16 — Turning Time to Your Advantage

Creating a personal timeline

NLP studies the way in which individuals represent time and, on this basis, seeks to propose techniques for better living one’s personal history. For NLP, there are two main ways of relating to time:

  1. Dissociate from time (i.e., feel outside time, which planners do very well).
  2. To be associated with it (i.e., to feel in time, which is what those who enjoy the present do best).

You can help your clients get to know their time representation system by using exercises such as visualization (see detailed process in Chapter 16). Depending on their style, you will then work differently.

However, the objective remains the same: most often, you’ll seek to restore the balance between association and dissociation, by enabling one person to learn about the other’s experience of time.

Time travel

This is a method for dissociating or associating someone from/with time. The coach guides the client by suggesting that they “float” above their own timeline. This enables you to work on negative emotions linked to childhood, to “program” moments of spontaneity, or to prepare for future events.

Creating the dream future

[Timelines are an effective way of designing an exciting future and overcoming the pitfalls of the past.]

(Coaching with NLP for Dummies)

You can gradually change yourself (or help your client to change him/herself):

  • Physically.
  • Socially and emotionally.
  • Intellectually.
  • Spiritually and existentially.

Chapter 17 — Shifting Experiences with Submodalities

Understanding submodalities

Remember: modalities are ways of apprehending reality through the senses (visual, auditory, kinesthetic being the three main ones). For more information, take a look at NLP Exercises for Dummies.

Submodalities are the more detailed characteristics linked to one of the modalities. Let’s take the example of visual submodalities. What can these be?

  • Location.
  • Size.
  • Format.
  • Movement.
  • Color/black and white.
  • Etc.

When you help your client navigate through his/her memories or build a better future by projecting into the future, you’re actually helping him/her to work, like an artist, on his/her own mental imagery. First of all, what does he/she see? What can he/she change (size, etc.) to make the memory less negative? What can he/she add (a color, a sound, a gesture) to give him/herself the confidence to face a given present or future event?

Through exercise, it’s possible to modify a host of submodalities and live better every day. One method directly linked to submodalities is called transposition: here, you transpose a series of submodalities that work well in one area of your life to another (see in particular Table 17-4, Chapter 17).

Positional changes

We’ve talked about association or dissociation with time. Both terms also apply to the context and the people you encounter. Depending on the situation, you’ll need to move from a dissociated attitude (impartial, external) to an associated attitude (empathic, committed). Submodalities can help you do this.

Changing beliefs through the senses

NLP uses the concepts of limiting beliefs and empowering beliefs. The former are detrimental to us, while the latter help us to progress. How can we move from one to the other? Yes, by relying on submodalities (the complete process is detailed at the end of Chapter 17)!

Chapter 18 — Managing Emotional States

Recognizing emotional states

[The four basic emotions of anger, joy, sadness, and fear can each trigger an emotional state. This emotional state encompasses thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. It describes a way of being (unhappy or calm, terrified or elated). In coaching, you encourage your clients to pay attention to their emotional states, to see them as valuable information about what’s happening to them deep down.]

(Coaching with NLP for Dummies)

Every emotion has a value, and everyone experiences emotions differently. Let’s avoid judging them too quickly and concentrate on their consequences.

Changing emotional states

The good news is that neither you nor your client are locked into an emotional state! Here again, in certain (non-pathological) cases, you can work on your emotions by calmly acting on your representations and senses.

One of the main conceptual resources developed by NLP is called anchoring. An anchor is [an external stimulus that triggers a particular inner state or reaction.] By creating and using anchors that move you from a negative to a positive state, you can change your emotional state.

Tackling ‘imp’ interference

‘Imps’ are personifications of certain personality aspects that invade and transform your emotional states. For example: your customer is a perfectionist (perfectionist ‘imp’), and this constant dissatisfaction leads to negative emotions (anger, sadness).

What can you do about it? You can point the client in different directions. One is to explain the 80/20 rule. You can also work with him/her on his/her limiting beliefs, if the problem goes further back.

Overcoming fear

There are many types of fear, and many ways of manifesting it. In all cases, working on self-confidence is essential. In phobia situations, NLP has developed a method called the Fast Phobia Cure or the V-K Dissociation (see end of Chapter 18).

Chapter 19 — Connecting All Parts of a Person

The reign of parts

Each person is a mosaic of “parts”: one part of you is a perfectionist, while the other wants to enjoy the present moment, and so on. What’s more, you play different personal and professional roles, and your desires are sometimes irreconcilable!

These non-integrated fragments (NLP jargon) form a whole: the challenge, on a daily basis, is to align them so that they don’t conflict with each other.

Solidarity during change!

Periods of change are times when this kind of inner conflict can arise. One way of reassuring your client may be to get him/her to reflect on past successful transitions (Chapter 19).

In times of crisis, the coach will need to pay particular attention to the ecology of the decisions made. For example: didn’t anger at a professional level dictate this break-up at a personal level? The coach helps you to put the planned changes back into perspective and to secure/verify them.

Shaping a homogeneous identity

The components of personality exist and cannot be completely reduced, but harmony can be sought and created. NLP has developed techniques for calming conflict between two parts and assessment tests for establishing one’s level of congruence, i.e., wholeness.

Keeping a logbook is also an excellent way of gradually integrating the different parts of the person.

Reframing the situation

In everyday life, “frameworks” structure our experience; we’re not talking here about people in a company, but rather about the way we think about social interactions.  If your client is behaving in a way that doesn’t “fit” with the context, you can help him or her reframe using the 6-step reframing process (see end of Chapter 19).

Part 6 – The Part of the Tens

Two fingers Coaching with NLP for Dummies

Chapter 20 — Ten Powerful Coaching Questions

Here are ten questions suggested by Kate Burton to get your clients thinking:

  1. [What do you want?
  2. Why is this important to you?
  3. How will you know when you’ve got what you want?
  4. What obstacles stand in your way?
  5. Which of the available resources could be useful to you?
  6. How would you feel once you’ve achieved your goal and look back on your success?
  7. What question would you rather not ask yourself right now?
  8. How can you make it easier?
  9. What’s the first step?
  10. And what else?] (Coaching with NLP for Dummies)

Chapter 21 — Ten Traps to Avoid in Coaching

  1. Preferring details over the whole.
  2. Getting bogged down in endless narratives.
  3. Setting yourself up as a rescuer/savior.
  4. Making a big deal out of it.
  5. Knowing everything about everything.
  6. Taking the place of the parent or child.
  7. Forgetting about time.
  8. Getting too close personally.
  9. Asking too much of your client.
  10. Being afraid to conclude your coaching services.

Chapter 22 — Ten Ways to Enhance Your Coaching Skills

  1. Taking part in training courses.
  2. Teaching or sharing knowledge.
  3. Experimenting with those around you (with their permission).
  4. Taking inspiration from other coaches.
  5. Trying new things.
  6. Recording your voice, then listening to and analyzing yourself.
  7. Setting yourself quality objectives.
  8. Getting a mentor or more advanced coach to supervise you.
  9. Being a member of a professional network.
  10. Becoming involved in a coaching institution.

Conclusion to Coaching with NLP for Dummies by Kate Burton and Monique Richter

If you’re a coach, have you already integrated NLP into your daily routine?

If not, it’s time to take a look at this indispensable book and read it in depth! Together with the aforementioned NLP Exercises for Dummies and NLP for Dummies, it forms the perfect three-in-one package for learning about neuro-linguistic programming and positively transforming your coaching practice.

If you’re not yet a coach but would like to become one, then I recommend you start with The Coaching Guide, as well as the excellent book on personal coaching, Life Coaching. As Kate Burton explains at the beginning of the book, the methods of coaching and NLP are both different and complementary.

Takeaways from Coaching with NLP for Dummies

First of all, the sheer number of exercises to be performed and techniques to be integrated into daily practice is worthwhile. As usual with the “For Dummies” collection, this is a veritable treasure trove of resources to tap into!

The author (Kate Burton) and her translator (who also co-authored the book, adapting certain examples to the French context, in particular Monique Richter) provide an excellent illustration of how NLP and coaching can work together.

The book is addressed directly to the coach, explaining step-by-step the key concepts of NLP (representations, modalities, anchoring, etc.) and offering procedures, tables, and diagrams to complement the exercises to be carried out with the client (or the exercises to be carried out by the coach him/herself).

Lastly, keep this reading tip in mind:

[Immerse yourself in the subject by selecting the chapter that appeals to you. The choice is yours. You don’t have to read this book linearly from cover to cover. You may want to leaf through the table of contents first, looking for items that might interest you … So, pick and choose from the right and left to broaden your coaching palette according to your knowledge and interests.]

(Coaching with NLP for Dummies)

Strengths and Weaknesses of Coaching with NLP for Dummies

Strong points:

  • The didactic nature of the book and its clear presentation, typical of the “For Dummies” collection.
  • An extensive bibliography, but above all, a wealth of examples and case studies throughout the book.
  • Exercises that can be done alone and at home at your own leisure.

Weak points:

  • The book is thick and not easy to get through.
  • If you’ve read the other NLP books in the series, your learning curve will be more limited.

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Buy on Amazon “Coaching with NLP for Dummies”

The Handy Guide to Coaching with NLP for Dummies by Kate Burton and Monique Richter.

The six main parts of Coaching with NLP for Dummies:

  1.  Introducing NLP Coaching
  2.  Building Core Coaching Skills
  3.   Deepening Your Awareness
  4.   Working Through Drama, Decisions and Dilemmas
  5.   Advancing Your NLP Coaching Repertoire
  6.  The Part of Tens (10 questions, 10 pitfalls and 10 ways to enhance your skills)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) concerning Coaching with NLP for Dummies:

1. How has Coaching with NLP for Dummies by Kate Burton and Monique Richter been received by the public?

Coaching with NLP for Dummies received good reviews from the public and sold very well after its publication in the USA and several other countries around the world.

2. What has been the impact of Coaching with NLP for Dummies?

Kate Burton and Monique Richter’s book has provided thousands of people with concrete, practical knowledge on how to be more effective on a daily basis.

3. Who should read Coaching with NLP for Dummies by Kate Burton and Monique Richter?

Coaching with NLP for Dummies is aimed in particular at coaches, but also at trainers and all those in an educational or coaching role.

4. What is the challenge of coaching, according to Kate Burton and Monique Richter in their book?

The challenge of coaching is to help people live consciously in a complex world by working on external communication, motivation, and thinking.

5. What are the 4 pillars on which NLP is based?

According to Kate Burton and Monique Richter in their book, NLP is based on

  • Rapport (the relationship created with oneself and with others).
  • Sensory acuity (the filters through which we perceive the world).
  • Outcomes (desired future results).
  • Behavioral flexibility (openness to new experiences).

The Metaprograms to identify extroverts versus metaprograms to identify introverts

Metaprograms to identify extrovertsMetaprograms to identify introverts
Moving towardsMoving away from

Who is Kate Burton?

Kate Burton

Kate Burton is an American author, coach and NLP trainer. Through her expertise, she helps individuals and companies channel their efforts for greater energy, motivation, performance, and productivity. She has written and co-written a number of books, including Coaching with NLP for Dummies, in which she provides readers with concrete, practical knowledge for more effective day-to-day performance.

Who is Monique Richter?

Monique Richter

Monique Richter is an American specialist in intra- and interpersonal communication. She is a coach and consultant to several international companies and institutions. Monique also works with personalities, helping them to generate intelligence and improve interpersonal interactions. Monique also trains students in business and social management. In collaboration with Kate Burton, she has written and co-written a number of books, including Coaching with NLP for Dummies, in which they impart concrete, practical knowledge to help readers become more effective in their day-to-day lives.

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