Where are you now? The Meta Model.

In this video, Michael explains how to elicit the client’s starting point.

We’ve set a frame, we’re in a good state, we know what our client wants – and they’re thinking about it in a way that’s useful to them. We’ve built up a level of rapport. The next step is establish where our client is now. in this moment of time.

  • What is their current situation?
  • What are they doing to achieve their outcome?
  • What are they doing that will stop them achieving their outcome?

Firstly, just ask the client: “Where are you now?”

Secondly ask the client’s stakeholders (These can be colleagues friends, customers etc.)

  1. “What are they (my client) doing that that is working? (in the context of their outcome)”
  2. “If the you (the stakeholder) were in my client’s position, what are the two key actions you would take to help you achieve the outcome?”

Meta Model Questions

The meta model was developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder based on the questions used by the therapists they originally modelled.

It’s basically a brutally simple questioning technique, which prompts the clients to explore and clarify their mental maps; recovering and confronting information they may be avoiding, or forgetting and re-checking their assumptions and generalisations.

It’s important to ask these questions only after we’ve built up a level of rapport and trust. While simple, they can require courage to answer. The idea is that we’re not judging them, nor agreeing or disagreeing with them. We’re simply asking questions so we can both understand the situation better.

Take care to ask questions based on their words. Don’t influence them by introducing other ideas. The purpose is to develop their thinking.

Typical questions in the Meta Model are:

  • How? What? When? Where? Who Specifically?
  • Who Says? According to Whom?
  • Everybody? Always? Never? Nobody? Nothing?
  • All? No one?
  • What do you mean by that?
  • Compared to whom? Compared to what?
  • How do you know?
  • What stops you? What would happen if you could? How do you stop yourself?
  • What would happen if you did? What would happen if you didn’t?
  • And? Tell me more?

We want to become spontaneous in asking these, so our attention is on how our client responds. We’re not thinking of the next question. It’s about having a full awareness of our client’s verbal and nonverbal responses that lets us know where to go next.

Suggested Exercises

Practice asking clients “Where are you now?” using the following :

  • What are you doing now to achieve your end goal?
  • What are you doing now to sabotage yourself in achieving your end goal?
  • What feedback have you received from your stakeholders on where you are now?
  • Are you happy that I run a feedback exercise with your stakeholders to elicit their views?


For many people the Meta Model is the single most important part on NLP. It’s worth rehearsing and re-rehearsing the exercises below …

Link to Meta Model Exercises

We now know where we want to get to (there), we know where we are now. So, the next section looks at How do get to there? 


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Full NLP Techniques List

NLP Coaching Section Index

1: NLP Coaching | Introduction
2: NLP Coaching | Success system and model
3: NLP Coaching | NLP coaching model
4: NLP | Beginning frame
5: NLP Coaching | States and anchors
6: NLP Coaching | End goals and direction
7: NLP Coaching | Rapport
8: NLP Coaching | Where are you now (This page)
9: NLP Coaching | Getting to there
10: NLP Coaching | Mental rehearsal
11: NLP Coaching | End frame
12: NLP Coaching | Summary



Where Are You Now? The 'Meta Model'

NLP Coaching | Where Are You Now? The ‘Meta Model’