By Malcolm Nicholson (United Kingdom)
NLP is a term used widely in the self-help market, with over 2,700 books on the subject listed on Amazon alone. Its proponents are zealot like in their effusiveness about the results NLP is claimed to achieve. These claims include curing blindness and common colds and appear from the outside to be as wild as those of the Snake Oil salesman of the Wild West.
One of life’s little ironies is that the two co-creators of a world class analysis of communication methods don’t communicate with one another. There are other elephants in the room – major lawsuits between them, as well as one of them (Bandler) overdosing on cocaine and being embroiled in a drug and prostitution related murder trial. Proof, it seems that none of us are the finished article. You cannot, as they say, make this up.
Others are less effusive about the subject. Most of the discomfort around NLP appears to be around the lack of academic rigour in the original research. “NLP is really a collection of good practice from different areas of psychology, particularly cognitive psychology with some neuroscience overlaid. It offers good insight on body language which some coach training programs don’t give much attention to. The NLP field is attractive to coaches because it presents different models in an easy-to-digest format. From a marketing viewpoint, it also gives the impression that the coach is using science.”