Where are you now? The Meta Model
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.)
- “What are they (my client) doing that that is working? (in the context of their outcome)”
- “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.
There are three processes that occur when we speak 1) We delete information 2) we distort information, that is we make untested assumptions and we 3) generalise, that is we assume because something has happened once or twice it will always happen.
Meta Model questions are 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.
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 Language Patterns pdf
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?
In this video, Michael explains how to elicit the client’s starting point.
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
8: Where are you
9: Getting to there
10: Mental rehearsal
11: End frame
13: CEO and executive coaching follow up