What is an NLP Coach? What is NLP Coaching?
In this post we cover
- What is NLP Coaching, and how is it different to traditional coaching?
- In what way does NLP add significant value to coaching?
- What is our coaching model?
- Why do some coaching clients give up?
- How can we reduce this?
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Why do our clients choose to be coached?
Our clients choose NLP coaching because it helps them achieve:
- financial freedom,
- career success,
- improved and maintained health,
- clarification of purpose,
- improved relationships and connections, and
- ways to overcome blocks and challenges.
The NLP community has modelled useful strategies for all these.
Why NLP for coaching?
NLP is particularly strong in enabling us to change and develop both our and our clients emotional state, beliefs, stories, strategies. In addition, NLP helps us coach better by helping develop better rapport with our clients, use effective NLP change techniques, and model great performance, which in turn we can pass on to our clients.
Next, let’s define coaching before moving on to look at GROW as the classic coaching model, and then look at our own NLP coaching model.
What is Coaching?
I define coaching as an intervention that:
1. Helps a client
- move from A to B. This may include helping the client to clarify A and B,
- turn theoretic learning into results, and
- improve their performance.
2. Uses a ‘coaching style’
- encourages the client to think through their own answers,
- uncovers previous blind spots,
- helps the them take the action they need,
- means that they end up with a better result, and
- gives them the skills to plan and act upon future journeys on their own.
While I’ll use a ‘coaching style’ most of the time – because it works – occasionally I’ll use other interventions if I think they’re appropriate.
An important aspect about coaching is that it helps clients turn learning into results.
Consulting, coaching, teaching, mentoring and counselling
It’s also useful to differentiate between consulting, coaching, teaching, mentoring and counselling
- Consulting – we complete a research / discovery phase and give the client the answer. We may be asked to implement it.
- Coaching – we help the client find their own answer (so they’re in charge). The client implements it, albeit with our help.
- Teaching – we tell the client the answer.
- Mentoring – we’ve been there before and the client can learn from our experience.
- Counselling – helping clients resolve experiences that they had in the past, where those experiences are negatively impacting them in the present.
In theory, coaching is straightforward. In practice, it can be challenging because many of us do not know what we want and either do not know, or do not want to be realistic about, our current situation.
Why coaching works
Coaching gives the client a way of achieving what’s important to them. This means that the client is motivated to be successful. The coach’s role is to:
- create a safe environment for the client to explore and clarify what they want to achieve,
- help them develop a plan and success system,
- help them develop options to move forward,
- keep the client accountable and focused on priorities and actions,
- bring a series of proven attitudes, models, processes and techniques that will help them achieve what they want,
- help the client to connect to and influence their stakeholders,
- help the client rehearse behaviours for important meetings,
- help the client make better decisions, and
- keep the process motivating and (mostly) fun.
What qualities does a client need to be successfully coached?
In any coaching engagement there are (at least) three key influencers:
- the client,
- the environment, and
- the coach.
The coach is important, however, the attitude of the client can be even more important. The client needs at least a touch of:
- openness/honesty, and
In addition the following states are useful for anyone working with NLP:
- tenderness, and
As well as all this, the client needs to accept ownership and commit to a certain amount of time, energy and focus to achieve what they want.
It’s important to acknowledge the importance of the environment. The environment can undo the benefits of being coached, so I often coach our clients to create an environment that supports any change they want to make. This means the client not only benefits from the coaching, but has those benefits reinforced by their environment.
Being coached requires effort and persistence, however the rewards can be significant and genuinely life changing.
All coaching models are some version of:
- Where do you want to get to?
- Where are you now?
- What are you going to do to get there?
The GROW Model
The GROW model is one of the most popular models. It stands for:
- Goal: What we want to achieve
- Current Reality: Where we are now
- Options: Choices we have in order to move towards our goal
- (Obstacles): What might stop us achieving our goal
- Way Forward: The actions we need to take to help us achieve our goals.
Our NLP model, which follows, builds upon GROW. It is a more complete model in that it includes tools to help our clients answer the questions that need to be answered to use the GROW model in the first place.
Each of these elements on their own can improve the likelihood of success. Together they provide a powerful success system.
- Beginning Frame. How we set the scene for any interaction.
- State. Our mental/physical condition in that moment.
- Outcome. What our client wants to achieve.
- Rapport. The quality of communication between us and our client.
- Current Situation. What our client is already doing to achieve their outcome and/or to stop them achieving it.
- Technique or task. Actions to achieve an outcome.
- Future pace. Mentally rehearsing actions to achieve an outcome.
- End Frame. What we say at the end of an interaction to support our client in achieving their outcome.
- Follow up, Following up whatever happens and using the information from this to determine what we do next.
I always emphasise the importance of creating options for our clients. An option, as I define it, is only a theoretical option, (more like a dilemma) until our client knows what to do, the reason for doing it, knows how to do it and is prepared to do it. When these conditions are met it’s truly an option.
NLP believes that if a client has a number of options, as qualified above, they will automatically choose the path most beneficial to them.
Why do some coaching clients give up? How can we reduce this?
Marshall Goldsmith, one of the very top businesses coaches in the world, has identified a number of reasons why clients sometimes give up.
- Ownership. The client doesn’t take ownership of the problem/challenge and the search for an effective solution.
- Time. While some interventions are very fast, others take time and follow up. The client need the persistence to stick with it.
- Difficulty. Ambitious goals, such as setting up a successful business or winning a gold medal, aren’t always easy.
- Distractions. We live in a distracted world. Ambitions require focus.
- Rewards. We’re in a world of instant results. Our client may have incorrect expectations of the practise required.
- Maintenance. Clients may not accept that high performance requires maintenance.
We can reduce the odds of a client giving up by ensuring they realise the true value to them of what they want to achieve, and giving them a realistic expectation of what is required from them right from the start.
We need the client to fully ‘buy in’ to the programme, the benefit they’ll get, and the action they need to commit to. Clients need a certain amount of ambition, courage, openness and discipline to succeed. We can’t do this for them them, however NLP has a number of approaches to help them develop these characteristics.
NLP has many approaches to help our clients connect with their values and purpose, and in doing so reduce the chances of them giving up. I’ve found that when they connect to what they really want, commit to doing what is required, and take a realistic view of their own responsibilities – they may be surprised by how quickly they start achieving what they want.
It’s an active relationship. The client needs to choose the coach, and the coach needs to choose the client.
When is Coaching more effective than Training?
NLP Coaching is the best option where follow up makes a significant difference. This includes goals such as financial freedom, starting and growing a business business, improved health, or winning at a sport.
In the next section we explore our success system and model, which further improves our clients’ chances of success.
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