NLP Coaching | Beginning Frame

Beginning Frame

There’s a saying with NLP: Whoever sets the frame wins . . . 

A beginning frame is how we set the scene for any interaction. It may include both parties’ expectations, rules to get the best from the interaction, a top-level overview and an agenda. When established, the frame provides direction and focus.

It’s important to unearth any unstated frames that exist among the participants of the intervention and state them explicitly.  State them – Do not imply them.

When Alan Mulally was CEO at Ford and was given the task of reversing their $17bn loss, he set the following ground rules for his top executives at the weekly Business Plan Review.

  • Attendance is mandatory, with no exceptions.
  • No side discussions.
  • No interruptions and no joking at the expense of others.
  • Each leader must articulate his plans, status, forecast and areas that need attention.
  • Each leader has a mission and responsibility to help, not judge, everyone else in the room to achieve their forecast.

He explained, “If you don’t want to do this, that’s your choice. It just means you’ve decided not to be part of the team.”

When I start a coaching programme, I suggest the following frame:

  • Approach the programme like a learning adventure, you’re in charge of your own learning, however, provide you commit to being responsible for your own learning, I’ll commit to giving you any further support that you might need
  • Demonstrate at least a touch of ambition, courage and discipline throughout the programme
  • Have fun, enjoy the journey and each other
  • The programme is set up to maximise the chances of you getting significant value from what we do (and to many, the impact is life-changing) while at the same time reducing any possible risk. To this end, you get three free sessions to test the approach for yourself, and you can cancel with a month’s notice – at any time,
  • As above, I want you to get value throughout the programme at all times. So please stop me at anytime, if you think we’re not achieving this, and we’ll explore how to get back on track.

When having a ‘difficult’ conversation, I may use this structure to access and articulate my experience:*

  • Observation (What I see, what I hear),
  • What I feel
  • What I think
  • What I want,

And I may ask my client to confirm what he or she has heard before, before asking them to share their experience in the same way.

(Key skills to this include: self-awareness, descriptiveness, curiosity and appreciation),

* From the book Clear Leadership by Gervaise Bushe


In this video, Michael explains why setting a beginning frame is so important.

NLP Coaching | Beginning Frame


Suggested Exercises

  • Consider two meetings you lead, or attend. How do you frame the meeting? Which of the following do you use: expectations, rules, top level overview, agenda?
  • Think of someone you know that runs meetings and projects. What do they do to frame meetings? What could you learn from them?

In the next section we consider the importance of state and anchors.

NLP Online Training | Ultimate NLP and Coaching

Full NLP Techniques List

NLP Coaching Section Index

1: NLP Coaching Introduction
2: Success system and model
3: NLP coaching model
4: Beginning frame
5: States and anchors
6: End goals and direction
7: Rapport
8: Where are you
9: Getting to there
10: Mental rehearsal
11: End frame
12: Summary
13: CEO and executive coaching follow up

NLP Coaching Beginning Frame
NLP Coaching Beginning Frame