NLP articles that are written by working professionals in the Neuro Linguistic and Hypnosis fields.

Do you have questions about the study or application of NLP?

Are you interested in discovering more about true human potential?

Would you like to learn NLP or Hypnosis in a way that allows the possibility of good things to just begin elegantly turning up in your life?

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Gathering Superior Information with NLP Models

NLP and Gathering Information from Others

NLP, as you may know, stands for neuro (brain/thinking) linguistic (pertaining to language and its use) programming (creating algorithms to run specific processes in response to identified cues). In case it is not obvious, this description refers to processes and process instructions for responding to patterns detected in the world. The content of the detected material does not contribute to the choice of algorithm. The form remains constant through different content expressions on different occasions.

Imagine a sunbeam shining in through a window. If the window is clean and the air is clear, you can see a window-shaped patch of sunlight on the floor. If the room is smoky, you can detect the whole length of the sunbeam from window to floor and see exactly where it starts and ends. To follow the content, we would fixate on the need for smoke to reveal the path of the sunbeam. When we follow form, or pattern, we need something off which the light can reflect, to show where the sunbeam is. We could stick our arms into the light and wave them around, or throw flour into the sunbeam, or drop glitter or dead leaves through the air, or may be stir up dust or talcum powder. Any of these would render the sunbeam visible, which was our outcome in this experiment.

Questions that respond to the form of a person’s language

Now imagine having a set of questions that respond to the form of a person’s use of language. The outcome is to gather high quality information about any content under discussion and to be able to do so without deep subject knowledge. This makes content free coaching possible and effective. We can use linguistic form to assist anyone; even experts refine their thinking on their own subject or to get user friendly and accurate directions to someone’s office. We could map the form into another language and still follow the same cues.

Grinder and Bandler (mostly Grinder) developed neuro-linguistic programs for gathering high quality information in any context and they follow linguistic form. The most comprehensive set of language patterns for information gathering is the Meta Model of Language and it is the first time a comprehensive, form based linguistic model has been developed for this purpose. The meta model applies specific questions, known as ‘challenges’ to 13 linguistic forms or ‘violations’, each of which belongs to the class of linguistic distortions or generalizations or deletions.

The intent of challenging meta model violations is to bring accuracy to distorted comments, specificity to over generalised comments and restoration of information to deleted comments, regardless of the subject matter. This is designed to give the challenger the information they need, and/or to train the speaker or writer to think more clearly about the content under discussion. The meta model is applicable to anything that humans talk or write about.

Meta model challenges can be blunt. There are many stories of students learning the meta model and annoying the hell out of unsuspecting friends and relations when they first use the patterns outside class. Rapport maintaining activity, softeners surrounding the questions, gentle voice tones can all help to keep the subject interested and comfortable while finding the additional information called for by a challenge. Framing (explaining one’s intentions and what one is doing) is a great rapport enhancer, as the subject is then included in the process instead of being at the sharp end of it.

The cues for challenging meta model violations include:

  • Identifying (hearing or reading and recognising) one or more verbally expressed distortions, generalizations and/or deletions in someone’s language


  • Identifying a need to know more accurately, specifically or exactly and/or to teach clear thinking and articulate description


  • Identifying and implementing the level of rapport maintenance necessary to achieve the above.
  • When all of the above are activated, challenge detected meta model violations in the following order: first challenge distortions, then, if necessary challenge generalizations, finally, if necessary, challenge deletions. Also, please note, there is a most effective order within each class.

This is a lot of material to teach in one go, but is essential for anyone doing a comprehensive generic NLP training.

The Precision Model

There is a shorter version, the ‘Precision Model’, described in a book of that name by Grinder and MacMaster. The precision model is a cut down version of the meta model that covers challenges to generalization and deletion patterns. Like the newer specifier question model below, the precision model applies the questions, what, specifically and how, specifically to unclear nouns and verbs, describing these challenges as ‘noun blockbusters’ and ‘verb blockbusters’, respectively. The precision model also includes meta model challenges to statements of belief, known as modal operators of possibility (can, may, could and their opposites) and necessity (have to, must, should and their opposites) and to universal quantifiers (all, every, never, no-one). The precision model was designed to give people in business a shorter skill set than the meta model, one that would enable them to communicate more effectively and give and receive better quality instruction, but with less training and practice time.

For the many other people who could use a hand with giving and receiving information, Grinder and Bostic have now pared down the meta model to just two questions. You can use this model straight away, again, with rapport, after reading this page. The instructions are very simple.

The Verbal Package

‘What (noun) specifically?’, is asked in response to nouns, both abstract and concrete that could be clearer. ‘(Verb), how specifically’ is asked in response to unspecified and unclear verbs. Grinder recommends starting with the nouns. As with the meta model, a single question may not be adequate, but with repeated questioning with rapport, the desired specificity is obtainable provided the subject knows the answers.

Altering the form weakens the effect of these questions. While you can ask ‘Which (noun) specifically?’, instead of ‘What (noun) specifically?’ if you ask ‘What kind of (noun) specifically?’ you are eliciting a different class of response and it is not going to produce results. Ask ‘Which car, specifically?’ or ‘What outcome, specifically?’. With verbs ask, ‘Walk, how, specifically?” or ‘Put it down, how, specifically?’.

From the meta model, notice that the nouns and verbs being questioned, contain linguistic deletions and remember, the most effective order to challenge meta model violations is distortions first, then generalizations and deletions last. With this specifier model, Grinder proposes using specifier questions on nouns and verbs wherever there is a need to know. This includes nouns and verbs present in distorted and generalized sentences, too.

It is possible and functional to use specifier questions as Grinder proposes, because layered meta model violations occur in a single sentence, so specifying nouns and verbs contributes to clarifying distortions and specifying generalizations as well as restoring deleted material. Not only does every sentence derive from unspoken assumptions, every sentence also includes nouns and verbs that could be more specific, regardless of any overarching distortion or generalization in the larger text.

The cues for challenging non-specific nouns and verbs include:

  • Identifying (hearing or reading and recognising) one or more vague or under specified noun and/or verb in someone’s language


  • Identifying a need to know more accurately, specifically or exactly and/or to teach clear thinking and articulate description


  • Identifying and implementing the level of rapport maintenance necessary to achieve the above.
    When all the above conditions are met, ask ‘What (noun) specifically?’ and ‘(Verb) how, specifically?’. Keep cycling until you reach a satisfactory conclusion. (‘Satisfactory how, specifically?’ That is up to you).

To find more on the specifier question model, follow up Grinder’s ‘Verbal Package’ in the New Code of NLP. The verbal package includes:

  • Framing (defining the context, conditions, intentions and limits for a conversation or activity),
  • The specifier questions we have discussed,
  • Paraphrase.

The Verbal package is taught as part of our one-day course ‘The Rules of Engagement‘.

© 2008 Jules Collingwood.

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NLP Coaching; What To Do When

How do you coach Someone when you know little about them?

One of the most common questions asked about coaching is, “How do you coach someone when you know little or nothing about their situation or activity?”

Coaching is not advising clients to take specific action, nor taking responsibility to oversee their actions. When coaching is offered by an expert in process, relevant subject knowledge is applied by the client. The coach’s job is to assist the client to discover their own present approach to their situation, to establish what works for the client currently and what the client wants to improve or change. Then the coach can engage the client in learning more effective means to reach their goals. The outcome of coaching is to assist each client to increase the reliability and value of their own thinking and performance to themselves and their chosen associates in and for the future.

Step 1 – Ask Questions

In practical terms, this requires asking a series of process questions to elicit information and unconscious demonstrations of behaviour from the client. This has two functions. It enables the client to learn new ways of identifying and locating their own inner resources without formal intervention and it provides the coach with live evidence of the client’s processes to use to assist the client further. Initially, the coach needs to see and hear three sets of responses:

  1. What does the client say and do, right now, in front of the coach, when they are asked to experience ‘as if’ having what they want instead of the present situation?
  2. What does the client say and do, now, when they experience ‘as if’ being in the situation they want to change?
  3. What does the client say and do, now, when they experience the state and behaviour that stops them gaining their outcome?

The answers and observations to these questions provide the coach and client with news of difference in the client’s existing processes, so the client can begin to differentiate their experiences and the coach can begin to identify possible changes. However, if change is initiated directly from the answers above, it may be too narrow to generalise into related areas and other examples of setbacks. The next questions broaden the scope and identify intentions while guiding the client to begin to discover resources in their own experience:

  1. Is the client’s outcome an example of a larger outcome? If so, does the client achieve other examples of the larger outcome?
  2. What does the client hope to gain through achieving their outcome?
  3. Does this intention reveal other possible outcomes of the intention?
  4. Does the client have any experiences of getting the results they want in the target situation or anywhere else they identify as having similar characteristics?
  5. What is different in the client’s experience between times and places when they get their outcome and those when they do not”? “What are they attending to in their experience?
  6. Is the target situation unique in the client’s experience, or the latest example of a longer standing problem? If longer standing, what do the examples have in common with each other?

By this stage, the coach will be identifying patterns of thinking and behaviour in the client’s experience. If the problem is informed by a limiting belief system, this will have become apparent from the client’s responses. The coach will now be aware of the relevant time frames, logical levels and perceptual positions used by the client in their problem states and outcome states.

Step 2 – Ask More Questions

To discover how much the client has learned through considering all the above questions and what changes they have made spontaneously, the coach may ask questions to clarify, specify and place new possibilities in the future. These include:

  • How, specifically? (Fill in the verb)

For example: “how, specifically, client, do you enlarge that image/amplify that sound/increase that sensation”? Or “how, specifically will you change your state”?

  • What, specifically? (Fill in the noun)

For example: “what image/sound/sensation, specifically”? Or “Which car, specifically”?
“When you have had this outcome for 6 months, what, specifically do expect to be experiencing”?

It is quite likely that by this stage, the client will have made substantial discoveries and connections through attending to these questions, without further intervention. However, if the coach proposes a formal intervention or the client needs a conscious convincer, now the coach has all the information they need to choose elements of NLP processes to create a personal intervention. The questions above can be put to anyone who wants access to more of their own resources. They also assist those students of NLP who still want to learn how to ‘choose’ their interventions with clients.

Want to become an accredited coach? Learn how.

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Catalysts of Exceptional Effectiveness

Catalysts of Exceptional Effectiveness

Over time we have noticed with delight that our students and clients find their lives and businesses take off spectacularly after learning and working with us, but we were too close to it to realise that this could be named as what we do.

Everything we do is related to modelling patterns of human excellence, including specific expertise and general self and life management. This applies just as much to Inspiritive’s approach to training as to the content of our work. In Part 1 of the Graduate Certificate in NLP, we teach patterns of excellence in thinking, communication and learning.

When we teach the essential NLP skills in Part 1, you learn the principles that inform the questions and instructions in each exercise and change process. This makes it more memorable and more flexible. If, as most NLP students do, you were allowed to take an exercise at face value and read or recite the instructions, when the recipient of your exercise deviated from the ‘script’ you would stall. What you get with the principles is a frame in which you can appreciate the independence of the client’s thinking and understand how it fits, or does not fit with what you are asking of them.

Appreciating the intention for each element in an exercise or process is far more useful than simply being able to run a client through a written format. This is an element of several modelling projects that turned out to be far more important than we realised initially. The intention for any process is the guiding principle that gives it sufficient flexibility to be used in the consultant’s own words and changed to fit each client. What we are actually doing in response to the principles makes this approach to NLP so much more effective. For you as a student, it is much easier to remember how a process flows if you understand the intention for each piece of it.

And now we have a description: ‘Catalysts of Exceptional Effectiveness’, just as we are able to describe it. When you model anything using NLP modelling, the skill is taken on outside conscious awareness, then used in real time and allowed to become conscious. This realisation of our higher level skills has taken years to reach a point where we can articulate it and there may be plenty more in the wings.

For now, we are happy to confirm that we are catalysts of exceptional effectiveness and with the capacity to teach higher level framing to guide NLP questions and processes, now we can catalyse exceptional effectiveness in even more of our students.

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Why Retrain In NLP?

Why so many people retrain In NLP by enrolling in the Graduate Certificate in NLP?

Depth and Breadth in the skills of NLP

Many people who have done a practitioner course in NLP find they have few practical skills. Often they complain of being unable to use their NLP in real life. They expected to be able to think in the patterns of NLP, to ask specific and pertinent questions in response to non-verbal patterns in others, to gather high quality information and to apply change and discovery processes to themselves and others at will. This is entirely reasonable and should be a goal of any reputable NLP trainer. It is certainly demonstrated by holders of the 10250NAT Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

This lack of fluency that many practitioners complain of is not surprising given the short duration of so much practitioner training. You need to experience the patterns of NLP in varied combinations and use them with different people in a supervised setting. Then you can experience differences between responses and learn how to respond effectively when someone has difficulty following your instructions.

A thorough grounding in the patterns behind the formats you learned will free you to interact naturally in any situation. This is not possible when you are reading and working simultaneously. You are bound to miss essential non-verbal cues just by looking at your script. This form of attention splitting is scientifically proven to reduce learning. Practised observation and listening skills take time, especially when learning to track language and non-verbal patterns in others.

Learn the underlying patterns of NLP rather than scripts and scripted formats

Many short NLP courses use scripts of formats for training. They hand them out for use in class, or they recommend using that form of words with every person, they take through a process. This does not encourage learning of patterns at all and either requires rote learning or continued reading during sessions. Neither approach is good for fluency nor for generalising that content to the patterns that govern it. This is bound to lead to situations where the practitioner cannot function. They have no way of changing what they are doing to fit the individual or context and again find themselves short changed.

Have you discovered that learning from scripts is simply not good enough for real situations? You cannot whip out a script and read it to your boss or to a paying client. You need to be able to ask specific questions in context and craft your responses to the individual. When you are well versed in pattern detection and use, your observations are relevant and the words flow. Then you can mix and match processes to order and use NLP conversationally. This takes time, even using NLP to teach NLP, but it is an achievable outcome for training, and is something everyone can do by the end of Part 1 of the Graduate Certificate in NLP.

People want a depth of knowledge in addition to skills

In the Graduate Certificate of NLP, you will learn how each pattern fits in the overall scheme of NLP as well as becoming fluent in their use. Through a combination of implicit and explicit learning, you will create your own maps of experience and find yourself applying your knowledge in real life situations, easily and naturally. If your intent for learning NLP is to benefit from the freedom to change your state, update your beliefs, communicate effectively with everyone and be more effective at work as a start, you will appreciate the need to have it unconsciously available to you at all times. If you want to work with others in a consulting capacity, you need a rich array of patterns, resources and responses to offer fluently and spontaneously, regardless of what your client says or does. These are routine results for students of the Graduate Certificate in NLP. And they are comfortable with a wide range of responses from others. They expect to change the pattern they are using at any moment and craft a session out of many and varied options.

We provide intellectual depth as well as the depth and breadth of skill through directed reading. This happens after practical exposure so that you create your own models in your own experience first. Then they are yours, placed in your memory as life experience. Then you can read and expand your awareness to create understanding after the event. This will ensure that your skills remain yours and place them in a frame of conscious knowledge. The reading will be much more meaningful when done after you have had the experience.

Our Guarantee to you whether you are new to NLP or retraining

We want you to become fluent and natural in the use of NLP and we want you to come to appreciate and develop your NLP. Therefore, after you have completed any part of the Graduate Certificate in NLP, we invite you to come back and repeat that part for a nominal fee (currently $20.00 per day), whenever you like. Just phone us first to make sure there is room in the training.

If after attending our training, your skills are not sufficiently developed to pass your first assessment for Part 1 or Part 2 of the Graduate Certificate in NLP we will guarantee you a free repeat of the section of the course you need to review, followed by a free assessment at the next assessment weekend for that level. We shall also recommend specific tasks or practices for skill enhancement where appropriate.

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