By Chris Delaney (United Kingdom)
Anyone interested in any type of coaching has heard the famous acronym NLP. But many people do not understand what NLP really is. Even trained NLPers often struggle to explain what NLP is, but know the techniques they use to help their clients. The problem is, NLP is not one technique, it has several layers to it. I once heard a coach explaining it by saying “imagine there were 3 blind men stood around an elephant. These men had neither heard of nor seen an elephant before. Through touch they have to describe what the elephant is. The first man stood at the face of the elephant, described it as a solid and smooth object much like a statue, as he stood rubbing the elephants tusk. The second man shouts out its hard and wrinkly, it must be big and heavy, while rubbing the elephants body. The third man stroking the elephants back leg, describes it as a giant column”. To the unknown NLP can be hard to describe in one sentence. As the elephant has many different parts, so does NLP.
NLP is based on modelling. Bandler and Grinder the co-founders of NLP modelled successful therapists including Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir and Milton Ericson. They wanted to know why some therapist got better results than others. After observing these successful therapists they quickly realised that there were many communalities across the therapies such as the use of hypnotic type language, with some therapist not realising themselves that they were doing it.