Future pacing is one of the most powerful and useful NLP techniques. We ask our clients to imagine themselves in a situation in the future where they are able to easily access a state or a series of states, and/or a strategy that will enable them to achieve the very best result both for themselves and anyone they’re working with.
Future Pacing Applications
Note: When we’re associated we’re rehearsing as ourselves, and are fully aware of, and are influenced by our feelings. When we’re dissociated, we’re rehearsing as an observer, and our free from our feelings, and can fully access our logical thinking.
There are many uses of future pacing:
- Testing our work. At the end of a coaching session, if the client is able to easily imagine completing a specific behaviour at a specific time in the future, and feels good while doing it, they are highly likely to both do the action and to do it well, at the appropriate time
- To improve our (or our client’s) mental state at a specific time in the future. Mentally rehearsing the states we (or the client) want to access in the future and anchoring those states to that time and place, will significantly improve both how we feel and the impression we create.
- We can coach ourselves (and/or our clients) to improve how we perform in any situation, in this case we imagine that we’re watching ourselves from the position as an observer, and think about what we could do to improve what we do. We can anchor this change by replaying the movie from an associated perspective.
- In situation where we haven’t done something before, we may be naturally slightly nervous. Playing through what we want to happen a number of times, will give us experience of whatever it is, which in turn will significantly improve our comfort and confidence, when we come to carrying out the activity.
Examples of Using Future Pacing
Planning a business meeting
To prepare for future pacing a business meeting it can be useful to answer theses questions first:
- Who will be at the meeting? What state(s) are they likely to be at the beginning of the meeting?
- What state(s) would I like them to be in at the end of the meeting?
- What’s something small I would like them to do at the end of the meeting? (Small does not mean unimportant, it may be small and very important, such as signing a contract)
- What’s the very best way I can end the meeting in these 3 situations: 1) all has gone well 2) I haven’t got a view on how it’s gone 3) it’s gone badly? (This may sound counterproductive, but rehearsing what we’ll do however the meeting goes is exceptionally empowering.)
- What are the key milestones in guiding the meeting from the start to a successful outcome?
Planning for an athletics race
To prepare for an athletics race it can be useful to ask these questions first:
- What state(s) will be best for me at the start of the race?
- To achieve the time I want, what time do I need at the 25% point, 50% point, 75% point and to finish the race?
- What strategy do I follow if, at these key points I am (a) winning (b) just winning (c) in the top 3? (d) middle of the field (e) last? What do I say to myself in each situation? What tone of voice do I use? What pace? What do I see? What do I feel?
- What do I do at the end of the race? If I’ve (a) Beaten my expectation? (b) done as planned? (c) Not done as well as planned? What will I say to myself? How do I want to feel? What will I focus upon?
Future Pacing – Recommended Further Reading
All our NLP training and coaching will help you develop your future pacing skills and capabilities,