An Interview With Daniel Smith, NLP Trainer

Daniel Smith is a passionate advocate of NLP having trained with major figures in the NLP world including Dr John Grinder, Richard Bandler, Robert Dilts and Anthony Robbins.

Currently based in China and the Chairman of The China NLP Society, Daniel is highly qualified as a multi-Certified Trainer of NLP, a Certified Trainer of New Code NLP and is an experienced NLP coach. He is also the leading trainer of New Code NLP in Asia. Daniel has also gained his Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming through Inspiritive. Few trainers, world-wide, have his level of qualification, pedigree and experience.

As you might imagine, Daniel is in demand, spending over 100 days a year delivering training programmes throughout the world in NLP Practitioner, NLP Master Practitioner and New Code NLP.

Having studied and practised NLP for almost 20 years Daniel is a firm believer in everything it has to offer.

For Daniel NLP isn’t a tool or a technique to be applied but at its best is a way of being that makes everything work better.

“One of the best things about NLP is that as you practise the simple patterns and strategies, not only do they get easier, faster and more effortless, but you find that you can handle increasingly challenging issues. It’s not that stress doesn’t exist I live in the real world and work mostly in one of the sharpest markets on earth but you can find the resources to handle those situations, and use ‘stressors’ to propel you forward”.

Having worked with such a variety of trainers throughout his career, Daniel firmly believes Australia’s leading training provider, Inspiritive, stands among the leading trainers world-wide due to the professional standards they have set for all of their training programmes.

“Before I first met Chris and Jules I was already using NLP, however, I wanted to take it to the next level. I asked a friend who had trained in NLP and related fields all over the world where he would train if he was to start over from the beginning. Without hesitation, he told me to call Inspiritive. I’m grateful he did and agree with his recommendation. I saw a fresh graduate from Inspiritive blow an experienced NLP Trainer out of the water so far he wouldn’t even train NLP until he retrained himself with Chris and Jules. Inspiritive’s 10970NAT Graduate Certificate in NLP raises the bar to a far higher standard of excellence in NLP training”.

Looking to the future, Daniel is excited for where he sees NLP heading and believes it has much to offer in the years ahead.

Daniel has been certified as a Trainer of NLP by both Dr John Grinder and Richard Bandler among others. Beyond NLP Daniel has completed five university degrees including psychology, law and an MBA, is an Adjunct Lecturer at Shanghai Jiaotong University (top-5 in China) and holds Black Belts in Karate and Aikido. He lives with his wife and two sons in Shanghai.

*Dan Smith, has completed the Graduate Certificate NLP at Inspiritive.  To learn more about this qualification and how you too can obtain it click on the Learn More button below.

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An Interview With Jarett Lefers, An NLP Entrepreneur

In many respects Melbourne-based business entrepreneur Jarett Lefers first became interested in NLP at a very young age.

During his school years he was deeply passionate about sport and music and sought to emulate his favourite sportsmen and pianists by watching hours of video footage of them in action, observing their every move, mannerism and inflection. He’d then apply what he had observed to his own his sporting and musical endeavours and the results were phenomenal!

It was in his university days that he first came across the term ‘NLP’ in a book penned by a leading NLP trainer and recognising the parallels with his earlier passion for ‘behaviour modelling’ he went in search of training programmes that would equip him with NLP’s tools and techniques. He has never looked back.

Fast forward some years and these days Jarett owns successful gymnasium businesses in Melbourne and he also owns and manages his own business Clue X which runs business coaching and training programmes to help individuals and teams achieve excellence.

“I put my business success down to my appreciation, understanding and application of NLP, says Jarett. NLP is the science of how the brain codes learning and experience and that coding affects all communication and behavior such as how you learn and how you experience the world around you. It is a key to reaching goals and achieving excellence. It is an accelerated learning strategy for detecting and utilizing patterns in the world and turning them into ‘models’ that can be replicated by others for success”.

Without a doubt the ramifications of applying NLP have enabled Jarett to make powerful shifts in his personal and business worlds.

He particularly appreciates the focus NLP places on the study of human excellence, on focusing on how we know what we know and how we do what we do. By observing how individuals and organisations achieve outstanding results we can then teach these patterns to others so that they can generate the same class of results.

As Jarett sees it NLP enables you to leave behind your adult-learnt preconceptions and judgements and instead to revert back to a child’s world where being open, curious and full of wonder becomes second nature again. He believes this ‘childlike state’ enables you to be open to and aware of all types of patterns of attitude and behaviour and to easily recognise the models that emerge. From here you are able to teach these models to others so they can replicate them for success.

“As you develop your practice you become far more intuitive at picking up on patterns and models. NLP helps fine-tune your cognitive awareness and your perceptual intelligence to the point that as you become skilled applying the techniques you develop your own models of excellence and patterns of genius that you can apply to your own businesses”.

When it comes to the various training organisations about, both here and overseas Jarett strongly believes that it is important to train with recognized trainers who have a reputation for their skill and understanding in the field.

“I started training in NLP in my early twenties and know for a fact there are some rogues out there who train people using a very limited, prescriptive approach. It’s a cookie cutter approach that doesn’t begin to open up your world to what NLP can do and what it can offer you”.

Jarett particularly endorses Inspiritive as leading trainers as he feels the founders Chris and Jules are highly rigorous and passionate about NLP and its applications.

Jarett is a great example of the type of student Inspiritive produces having graduated from its 10970NAT Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming in 2006. Without a doubt he has gone on to achieve considerable success in the business world using NLP as a basis for building his businesses.

*Jarett has completed the Graduate Certificate NLP at Inspiritive. To learn more about this qualification and how you too can obtain it click on the Learn More button below.

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An Interview With Peter Knight, NLP Golf Coaching Expert

Peter Knight is a Master Professional with the PGA of Australia as well as the National Coach for Australia and Chinese Taipei. He also coaches all levels from beginner to professional at the Yarra Bend Golf Course in Melbourne.

Instrumental to his phenomenal coaching success is his understanding and use of NLP in all of his coaching work.

“I have always been interested in the importance of developing razor sharp, positive mental and emotional agility when it comes to fine-tuning your sporting prowess to achieve a competitive edge”, explains Peter.

From the skills and knowledge he has attained Peter has used NLP to help many of his athletes compete to the best of their abilities, improving their scores and rankings in impressively short amounts of time.

“The value NLP has to offer in the sporting setting is incredible and has helped my athletes achieve phenomenal results. One extremely talented golfer I was coaching firmly believed that her golf ability was limited.,  Through conversation and using classic NLP techniques I showed how she was living according to her ‘truth’ but that her ‘truth’ was incorrect.  I used an anchoring technique with her and she had a brilliant finish to the tournament that very day.  Subsequently, she has used that same anchoring technique to enhance her performance both on and off the golf course with exceptional results”,explains Peter.

“As another example, in a phone conversation I had recently with a professional golfer who is living and competing in the US, I used a variation of the Circle of Excellence exercise which enabled him to achieve two top 10 finishes in his following two tournaments and these have been the best two performances he’s had for the year. NLP makes a real difference to my athletes, it’s incredibly powerful and adaptable to all manner of settings”.

Peter refers to his particular approach and methodology as ‘coaching by stealth’ as he tracks language and behaviours in the coaching setting. Most of the work he does focuses on conversational techniques that are incorporated into standard golf coaching contexts.

Peter’s use and appreciation of NLP’s tools and techniques is not limited to the golf world. He strongly believes they have immense relevance in all walks of life and have helped him improve his communication and relationships with peers, friends and family, making him a far more aware athlete, coach, friend and father.

Like many top performing practitioners Peter has studied with a range of providers including John Grinder, Carmen Bostic, Steve Andreas and Inspiritive’s Chris and Jules Collingwood. He has graduated from Inspiritive’s 10970NAT Graduate Certificate programme the only postgraduate NLP programme offered in Australia and rates that course highly.

“Inspiritive training is experiential in nature, there is nothing prescriptive about it which makes it appealing as we are all so different, explains Peter. There are multiple exercises which are done each day to practice and reinforce your skills. As the training is largely content-free it means that as a student you learn to apply the skills however you wish while not being forced to follow a predictive series of steps. It ensures your application is organic and able to be adaptive to any number of settings, scenarios or situations. Chris and Jules encourage follow-up contact to ensure their graduates gain a complete understanding of what they are learning and experiencing when working with NLP. Their courses are comprehensive and extremely knowledgeable, meaning their graduates are of the highest quality with immense ability and emotional intelligence”.

Due to the organic nature of NLP and its scope there is no end point to the training graduates can undertake in this field and Peter agrees wholeheartedly, saying he’ll continue to practice, self-review and train in this fascinating field as there is always something new to learn or to experiment with to achieve greater results.

Without a doubt NLP has much to offer all aspects of life from personal all the way through to professional application.

*Peter Knight, has completed the Graduate Certificate NLP at Inspiritive. To learn more about this qualification and how you too can obtain it click on the Learn More button below.

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An Interview With Penny Bannister, NLP And Management

Penny Bannister is the Principal/Owner of Self Determine, a business transformation consultancy that has expertise in delivering large-scale strategic programs that include and require cultural and organisational shifts to deliver sustainable long-term outcomes. Self Determine works with corporate clients across a number of sectors including Financial Services, Information Technology and Public Sector

While Penny utilises a range of different tools and techniques, depending on the situation at hand she sees NLP as being a rock solid foundation approach that underpins the work Self Determine does on a daily basis, helping clients to transform their businesses, systems and cultures.

“I see NLP as one of the core, extremely powerful tools I use in any business transformation process as it enables my colleagues and I to truly understand patterns of behaviour, thinking and communicating, at all levels, organisation wide, within teams and with individuals”.

“By observing patterns we can identify the various shifts that need to occur for an organisation to embrace change. It is possible to identify the priority functions, projects and teams to work with to move quickly towards desired outcomes and goals”.

Penny says a key differentiator of this technique over others is that it enables people to identify ways to achieve shifts in their attitudes and behaviour without needing to go down a traditional therapy path, delving into the past to try and understand why they may have acted or thought in a particular manner.

“NLP focuses you on the here and now in the present, not on what may have occurred in the past. Sometimes it isn’t particularly helpful to keep returning to past actions and events, it’s better to focus on the present situation and address what could be changed to achieve desired future outcomes and goals”.

As Penny explains NLP encourages organisations and the people in them to be far more mindful about their thoughts and actions and to be more aware of how these thoughts and actions affect their day-to-day life, both personally and professionally. Being more mindful and present enables people to conduct their daily rituals with a far more heightened awareness, which ultimately delivers a change in culture at the organisational level.

“You become far more cognisant of yourself and of others. You see things in a much clearer light and you feel things you wouldn’t normally feel as you are far more perceptive and aware”.

Penny is particularly impressed with the versatility of NLP as a business change tool. Self Determine works with a wide range of clients in the public and private sector and most of the assignments it manages are complex transformation initiatives. In Penny’s view NLP is entirely adaptable and applicable to all sorts of scenarios, settings and environments.

“NLP is extremely practical and accessible on so many levels. Once you learn its tools and techniques you can use them in a myriad of environments and settings. It, doesn’t need to be complicated or overly academic. Its brilliance is in its practicality and in the results it can render”.

Penny completed the 10970NAT Graduate Certificate in NLP with Inspiritive, as they are the only organisation in Australia that offers a comprehensive, practical and rigorous program in learning NLP’s New Code tools and techniques. Penny believes Inspiritive’s Directors Chris and Jules Collingwood are impressive trainers who are endorsed by John Grinder, one of the co-founders of NLP. Chris has also worked with Penny on some of the experiential workshops she has managed as part of her wider transformation programs.

When it comes down to it Penny believes NLP is a business necessity for companies embarking on business transformation initiatives, a tool that will help ensure the outcomes of these initiatives are sustainable and measurable.

*Penny, has completed the Graduate Certificate NLP at Inspiritive. To learn more about this qualification and how you too can obtain it click on the Learn More button below.

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An Interview with Geoff Wade, NLP In Business

Geoff Wade, CEO of Onirik wholeheartedly believes that NLP has transformed the way he approaches life. Indeed he claims that his exploration of NLP has taken him on a personal revolution where he has transformed his attitude to life. He feels far more aware of and connected to his own self and others with whom he interacts on a personal and professional level.

Currently Geoff heads up Onirik; a highly successful change management consultancy that works with companies and their employees to improve their margins.

Using NLP modelling as a core business competency Onirik’s change consultants replicate the capabilities (states of mind, communications and behaviour / process patterns) of top performers in their clients’ companies and transfer these capabilities to others who need them in order to achieve similar performance. This makes a marked difference to clients’ results.

Time and again Onirik has helped clients achieve outstanding results, results such as 280% improvement in sales in one company, 117% in another, 415% in another; exponential improvements as a staff of people replicate the capabilities of top performers.

Geoff firmly believes the use NLP as a core change management competency is key to Onirik’s success in the market.

Like Geoff all of his senior change consultants have graduated from Inspiritive; Australia’s leading NLP training provider and like Geoff most of his consultants are graduates of Inspiritive’s 10970NAT Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming programme the only post graduate NLP programme offered in Australia.

Their integrity and teaching of how to model and see patterns in people’s communication, states of mind and behaviours is far superior, rigorous and comprehensive than any other provider I have trained with. Their graduates are competent in seeing and understanding people’s patterns and in their ability to model and replicate to achieve success. That is also why my senior consultants are all Inspiritive graduates – it ensures I have quality, skilled NLP specialists working with me“.

And Geoff knows all about quality and integrity when it comes to NLP. Over the years he has trained with a range of providers as he has developed and evolved his own practice and he feels that Inspiritive stands apart from all others.

Indeed he rates the company so highly that he has brought the Collingwood’s on board with him to consultant on numerous client projects when he has needed specific expertise that they offer.

Does he feel his training and learning is complete? An emphatic no is the answer.

From Geoff’s experiences and learning thus far he believes there is always more to develop and evolve when it comes to NLP. Over the years he has worked at continually fine-tuning his own practice and intends to continue to do so as he learns from his day to day modelling as well as by observing how his team members identify patterns and create models.

When asked to summarise what NLP has to offer users Geoff offers the following personal experiences and insights;

  • It has helped him improve his relationships and communication on all levels, both personally and professionally.
  • It has helped him cultivate razor-sharp thinking and learning, he feels far more connected and aware on conscious and unconscious levels.
  • It has improved his critical, creative and lateral thinking and has enabled him to take his problem solving to a whole new level.
  • He has more choice and options available on a daily basis, personally and professionally as he communicates in a far more emotionally intelligent, connected, aware manner.
  • He has developed a real ability to identify and learn from all sorts of patterns presented through relationships and communication with others in daily life allowing him to identify, learn and duplicate models.
  • His thinking strategies and cognitive understanding have evolved to ensure accelerated learning in his chosen field.

As Geoff puts it, NLP has the ability to revolutionise your life, as has been his experience. He looks forward to how that transformation continues to evolve.

*Geoff, has completed the Graduate Certificate NLP at Inspiritive. To learn more about this qualification and how you too can obtain it click on the Learn More button below.

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An interview with Chris Collingwood 1999

By Claire Andrea Zammit

1. What is NLP?

Neuro-Linguistic Programming explores how we know what we know and how we do what we do. Neuro means brain, linguistics language and programming refers to coding (representation). It examines the relationships between thought, communication and behaviour.

NLP is an “epistemology” meaning the study of how we know what we know. You could think of it as a way of exploring the patterns of organisation and behaviour of human intuition (neuro-linguistic programmes).

NLP is also a “methodology” which allows us to unpack how we do what we do. By using NLP as a methodology we can explore how people organise their thinking processes, their beliefs and their behaviour so that we can replicate their skills and capabilities in particular areas. Those skills and capabilities can then be transferred to others. See our What is NLP? FAQ.

2. So how is it useful?

If someone is very skillful and has spent years developing a particular capability, we can use NLP to build a description of how they perform that capability. We can replicate the patterns of organisation that make up their intuitions and then those skills can be transferred to other people, so others can learn the same capabilities far more rapidly than would be possible through the usual ways of learning.

We modelled one of Sydney’s best futures and commodities traders. This gentleman gets a very high return on his trades. His average was 70% return per annum for the past seven years before we worked with him. We were able to unpack how he made such effective trading decisions and other important patterns concerning his trading. As a result we are able to work with other traders, coaching them to enhance their skills in derivatives trading.

In terms of application, there are descriptions of patterns of organisation from great psychotherapists, educators and business people available through the NLP community and generic NLP models for gathering high quality information, exploring thinking processes and enhancing relationships. If you want to learn how to learn, how to think and enhance your communication skills then NLP is useful.

3. Can NLP be used to make fast changes?

Some people get very rapid change. With others a number of consultations is more appropriate. It depends on the client, the context and the client’s outcome. An NLP practitioner will design a series of interventions to help each client create changes in an ecological time frame (a time frame that supports positive consequences for the client and their significant relationships). The relationship between client and practitioner is very important. Usually the greater the rapport, the greater the potential for change.

4. Can you give me an example of some of the fastest changes?

There is an NLP process for reducing phobias that helps some people in 20 minutes. The perceived speed of NLP change work is relative to the time needed for an equivalent piece of work using other methodologies. However the quality of lasting change with NLP is more important than the shorter time frame. NLP provides a methodology for detecting and using patterns enabling clients to make lasting changes in their lives in a few sessions rather than years of therapy. A skilled practitioner designs an approach for each client rather than fitting clients to technique or philosophy.

5. How is NLP itself different from its applications?

NLP explores how we take information in from the world, how we represent the world in our mind, organise ourselves and then shape our behaviour. With NLP we can build descriptions of how people organise themselves. We look at embodied patterns of organisation that enable the expression of mental, emotional and physical activity. That is what NLP is: an epistemology and a methodology for modelling human excellence.

Now from that epistemology and methodology, multiple applications from NLP have arisen (and many more yet to be derived). There are applications to psychotherapy and counselling, education, business, management to leadership, negotiation, artistic endeavours. There are applications of NLP to almost every major area of human endeavour.

6. It’s very important that people appreciate the distinctions between the applications of NLP and NLP itself.

Often people are more interested in the applications, probably because they can measure results immediately. I think for personal evolution, learning NLP as an epistemology and methodology has a marked flow on effect throughout a person’s life. In contrast, learning set procedures or an application of NLP to just one context can be limiting. For example, if you learn specifically to create a compelling future, or to sell or do effective psychotherapy, it will be harder to transfer those skills to other contexts. Someone may be a very good negotiator but have a lousy relationship at home. By learning NLP itself, people generalise the principles and underlying patterns into multiple areas of their lives and get much richer value.

7. So how is it different from other techniques?

NLP is not a set of techniques or a collection of formats. Many techniques have been developed through the epistemology and methodology of NLP. Now if we compare NLP processes to other techniques, the significant distinction is that a skilled NLP practitioner or trainer understands the patterns behind the techniques. They will use the processes to frame a context where the client can have a rich experience of the underlying pattern (or patterns).

With a rich array of patterns of organisation in your system of mind, then in any context (e.g. psychotherapy), you can design interventions on the spot and tailor processes for each client, rather than robotically using existing formats for clients in general. NLP trained people who rely on technique (poorly trained) tend to have inflexible responses to our rich and diverse world.

8. So it is unfair to say that NLP is just a set of tools?

Yes, when people think of NLP as just a set of tools’, probably they have only experienced the applications of NLP, not NLP as an epistemology and methodology for modelling. Their training may have over emphasised procedure; I call it doing NLP by numbers (like painting by numbers).

NLP is a system that creates tools (including techniques / formats) as a by-product. Rather than focusing on tools, it is more useful to attend to NLP as a system that promotes the personal enrichment and skill development for people, their families and communities as a byproduct of modelling human excellence.

9. So is NLP a way of thinking?

I like to think of NLP as a useful approach for exploring the different ways of thinking that skilled and capable people have in their lives. If you model a group of excellent teachers you can build models of their range of expertise. All fit with the outcome of excellent teaching. Instead of having one way of thinking, with NLP you can have many approaches to any outcome in the appropriate context/s where you want to have that outcome. It naturally supports and enhances creativity.

10. Can a person develop their individuality through NLP?

I think so. Each of us is unique and NLP does respect the uniqueness of the individual. Instead of claiming one ‘right’ way of doing something, with NLP you can explore and add many choices to your life, your family and your community. Skill in detecting and using patterns is a key to having many choices available. Having choice supports both individuality and co-operation with others.

11. Can NLP be used for deep level personal development?

You can use NLP to choose the way you want to be in life, and the skills and capabilities you want to develop. You can use NLP to explore your own patterns of thinking and behaviour. You can model yourself. In other words you can replicate the best examples of your own skills and capabilities access them more consistently. Also you can use NLP to explore other people’s skills and capabilities and increase your range of behavioural choice.

12. How can you tell if someone has really mastered NLP?

There is a natural quality to their communication and behaviour and a smoothness in their movement. Often it is easier to spot someone who has a partial or poor training in NLP. With those people you can see procedural behaviour as if they were following a set of instructions. A skilled in NLP practitioner is very natural and it can be quite difficult to detect their NLP background.

13. How long would it take to achieve a level of mastery with NLP?

It’s quite an individual matter. As a rule of thumb it is useful for a person to attend practitioner and master practitioner two or three times in two or three years and to practice processes regularly until those skills are totally integrated. With NLP it’s great to take a pattern, to practice it until it becomes familiar and then forget about it consciously while it becomes part of your repertoire. Then move your conscious attention to the next pattern you want to incorporate.

14. What is the best way of learning NLP?

My personal opinion is that learning NLP experientially through live seminars where you are immersed in the experience of the NLP patterns is most effective. I think watching videos and listening to audio tapes can help but not as a substitute for hands on training.

15. I’ve seen lots of NLP courses advertised ranging anywhere from seven days to 21 days for practitioner training. What would be the advantage of a longer training?

NLP is best learned experientially. The more live training days where you are actively engaged in your own learning as a participant, the better. Also the quality of the trainers is very important. You want to have skilled and experienced trainers. It can be difficult to find out if a trainer is highly skilled. Generally you would be better off trained by people who studied with one of the originators of NLP, in contrast to fourth or fifth generation trainers. It is like a game of Chinese whispers: The closer you are to the source, the higher the quality of information. If someone claims to be trained by Grinder or Bandler, ask them how many days and at what level. There are trainers who make this claim on the strength of a single day’s participation in one the originators’ seminars.

In the last few years the length of training for practitioners has been shrinking. Some training promoters are claiming that “using accelerated learning methods” they can teach “practitioner” training in a very short amount of time. Our response is that NLP patterns are the basis for accelerated learning, and that the people who benefit most from shorter trainings are the trainers themselves in terms of lower overheads, increased earning capacity, and more free time.

Full length trainings do not necessarily cost more than short ones, and you will usually find the trainers running them are committed to a thorough transfer of NLP (experientially and conceptually with the emphasis on the experiential acquisition of the patterns).

16. What could I expect at the end of Inspiritive’s practitioner training?

Expect an enrichment of your skills in communication with others and in communication with yourself; skills in choosing your emotional and psychological states; skills for enhancing your relationships (professional and personal); skills that explore and develop your thinking processes. Skills that enable you to model and replicate your own talents, behaviour and capabilities, even refining, enhancing and enriching them.

Please note that since this interview our NLP Practitioner program has been superseded and replaced by a new post-graduate credential – the Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

17. How do NLP practitioners help clients?

By creating a context where clients can explore, discover and experience the resources that they need to assist them with the outcomes they have set for the session. By resources I mean skills, behaviours, understanding, beliefs; anything that makes a difference in the ability of the client to achieve their outcomes with positive flow on consequences.

18. Can practitioners assist clients to discover their outcomes?

Practitioners create a context where clients can explore and develop their outcomes, discover what they want, how they would know if they got it, what resources they would need to develop to achieve that outcome and the costs and consequences of achieving that outcome. See our article on creating a Well-Formed Outcome.

19. How do you know if someone is a good NLP practitioner or trainer?

There is a congruence in their communication; an alignment in their body language and their verbal language. The practitioner or trainer has a focus on the relationship between themselves and the client or student. They will ask questions and suggest trains of thought that enable the individual to make their own discoveries. Also avoid anyone who describes NLP as a way to manipulate and control people and get them to do things for you.

20. Can NLP be a tool for manipulation?

NLP is a neutral field of endeavour. Like anything else with wide applications that works, it can be used or abused. Responsible practitioners and trainers assist clients and students to discover their own outcomes and to consider those outcomes in relation to their whole life system before acting on them. Responsible practitioners do not try to impose their will on others but they may invite clients to question beliefs that could be limiting them.

21. How do I know if I’m getting good training?

The evidence is in the results you get by the end of the training. Compare the level of skill you had before the training with the level of skill you have after the training and your outcomes at the beginning of the training with how effectively you have achieved them. Also you may discover enhancements in the quality of your communication skills, your thinking skills, your expression, your relationship to the outer world months or even years after the training.

22. If I have already done some training with another organisation and I am concerned with the quality of training I have received what can I do?

I suggest reviewing the outcomes you had for doing that training, reflect on if or how deeply you explored those outcomes with the trainers at the beginning of the training. Ask your trainers about it. If you are still not happy with what you have achieved you may like to consider what you want from NLP and you can call us at Inspiritive to talk about your outcomes. You may be able to get those outcomes through repeating a practitioner training with us. (Discounts available for Certified NLP Practitioners you want to repeat practitioner training).

23. Is NLP training expensive?

Good quality training is relatively inexpensive. For around Aus. $340 per day, for what you learn it is extremely good value for money. In Australia self education expenses are tax deductible. And frankly, in terms of the benefits of learning NLP how can you afford not to accelerate your personal evolution.

24. How long have you been involved in NLP?

I first read about NLP back in 1979. I read an article called “People who read People” written by Daniel Goleman in a magazine called Psychology Today. By the end of the article I knew that this was what I wanted to do. At that time I had to import all three books that had been published. It took three months for the books to arrive! I was so fascinated I read them over and over again. As soon as I could I completed an NLP Practitioner training. By the end of 1981 I was counselling people using NLP full time in a Doctor’s surgery. In 1983 I started training in NLP. In 1984 I met John Grinder and I’ve never looked back.

25. What excites you the most about NLP?

Through the epistemology and methodology of NLP a person can create their own personal culture and have choice about what they do and where they go, what they create, how they express themselves. I think it provides a personal renaissance for people.

I am deeply satisfied when I think about many former students who have blossomed in terms of their own evolution and experience of life through NLP. They are out in the world more capable, doing what they want to do, following their dreams and creating what they want to create.

26. Who are the originators of NLP?

NLP was originated by Dr. John Grinder, an associate Professor of Linguistics, Richard Bandler and Frank Pucelik back in the early to mid 70’s while John was working at the University of California Santa Cruz. See our interview with Dr John Grinder.

27. Who are some of the people who have developed NLP?

In the early days there was a small group of people around John and Richard, many of whom have since contributed to NLP. Judith DeLozier and Carmen Bostic St Clair co-developed new code NLP with John. Leslie Cameron-Bandler has made significant contributions with models for working with emotions and personality. Robert Dilts had a lasting impact on NLP. See our Who’s Who in NLP.

28. Does Anthony Robbins use NLP?

Anthony Robbins was an NLP trainer. Now he applies NLP to teach personal success. Many people who enjoyed his seminars then decide they want to study NLP and come to our courses. During the 24 day practitioner training people have the opportunity to learn NLP as an epistemology and methodology and immerse themselves deeply in the NLP patterns to develop skills and capabilities of their choice. I am grateful for the work that Robbins has done to inspire people to go further into learning NLP.

29. Is there a relationship between Time-Line processes and NLP?

Timeline processes are products of NLP. Mental timelines were developed by Steve and Connirae Andreas, physical timelines by John Grinder and Robert Dilts. Mental and Physical time lines are explored in quality practitioner trainings. This includes time line elicitation, modelling timelines (self and others) and using time lines for change. See the Steve and Connirae Andreas article A Brief History of Timelines.

30. What is the difference between Classic and New code NLP?

A useful way of thinking about the difference between new code NLP and classic code NLP is in terms of emphasis.

Classic code emphasises technique, mechanistic metaphors and the production of NLP technicians. It uses conscious explicit models that are often divorced from their original context. With Classic code you often hear the questions “where do I use this technique” and “how do I know which technique to use”? There is a tendency for classic code trained practitioners to try to fit clients to procedures, rather than creating interventions with clients.

New code emphasises the relationship between the conscious and unconscious minds of the individual, their relationships with others and their relationship with the world. It works towards the personal evolution of the participant. New code promotes unconscious competence. Training drills are used in service to pattern incorporation and the development of unconscious competence. The balance between the conscious and unconscious minds is paramount. This is known as the conscious / unconscious interface. New code is directed towards the detection and utilisation of patterns in the world, with an emphasis on patterns. A new code practitioner often creates a process spontaneously in response to a particular context. In new code participants do a lot of exploration of psychological states. They learn to recognise, inventory and change states. This work connects in with the development and incorporation by each participant of a modelling state. A state of mind for modelling excellence. Another aspect of New code is attention training (essential for modelling). That is learning where and how you place your attention, how that relates to state, perceptual position and context. My understanding is that Grinder and DeLozier (and then Bostic St Clair) developed new code as a second description of Neuro-Linguistic programming to create a system for learning NLP which is more likely to foster the development of systemic wisdom in the participant. If you want to learn more about New code read Turtles All the Way Down by Judith Delozier and John Grinder and Whispering in the Wind by Carmen Bostic St Clair and John Grinder. For an article on the New Code please read The New Code of Neuro-Linguistic Programming; a paradigm shift in NLP by Chris Collingwood.

For people who want a comprehensive training in NLP we teach a postgraduate qualification – 10970NAT Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. This NLP program incorporates the original classic code NLP key models within a New Code NLP design as well as many of the New Code NLP models.

© 1999 Chris and Jules Collingwood, Claire Zammit.

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An interview with John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St Clair 1997

This is a second interview with Dr John Grinder (co-originator of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and co-developer of New Code NLP) and Carmen Bostic St Clair by Chris and Jules Collingwood of Inspiritive.

1. John what is your definition of “Personal Evolution”?


In the world of biology, evolution is a predicate which typically refers to the logical level of taxonomy – the biological unit – referred to as species. For, while it is individual organisms – the fundamental unit of survival – which exhibit individual differences which are associated with differential individual reproduction rates, we say that it is the species which evolves. These differential reproductive rates associated with the individual genetic differences followed over time form an image of what we usually see as evolution.

The term Personal Evolution, then, is intended as a challenge to this image. It is sometimes proposed that Darwin’s system proven appropriate and useful even illuminating for biological, genetically driven change while Lamarck’s proposal serves well for cultural change. Personal evolution is the art of living impeccably, pursuing change as a way of life – learning as its focus. The focus then is what are the patterns at the individual level which promote change – especially a sensitivity to redundancy at the personal level and its defeat. Imagine the game of chess with the ability of the pawns to learn from their experiences and thereby move beyond the rules of movement which presently bind them.


Personal evolution to be effective for the individual and the context within which the individual moves must give equal emphasis to co-operation as a principle of the same rank as competition in transmitting Darwin’s theory of the survival of the fittest, thereby achieving a balance between personal power and the larger ecological issues of the larger system. Constancy occurs in such systems only at the higher logical levels where one finds constancy in learning and the ability to wonder.

2. How did you come to choose Personal Evolution as an area of exploration? and what is its relationship to NLP as a field of endeavour?


What other game is there in town? The heart of the endeavour of living impeccably is sensitivity to patterning and a commitment to continuously shift the stability points around – to preserve the distinction between the hunter and the hunted.

The field of NLP was from its first moment for me in the way in which I perceived it originally the study and capturing of excellence in its many splendoured forms. Excellence can be interpreted as living at the extremes. Like surprises, exceptional experiences are the substance of such living.


Learning to identify the edges of all aspects of our lives – recognizing them and having the choice to travel to the edge as well as comfortably find the middle when the context suggests it is appropriate.

3. What is the context you perceive for creating the Personal Evolution seminar?


I will offer three responses to this question and leave it to you to select the one most useful for your purposes. They are:

  • Schizophrenia
  • I have no idea what you are talking about
  • The twinkle in Gregory Bateson’s eye.


A group of individuals who have the flexibility to dance with a cyclone as well as a gentle breeze.

4. The fact that you will be teaching a seminar called “Personal Evolution” suggests that:

a) we as individuals can evolve,

b) that this is in some way desirable,

c) that there are patterns involved.

Could you please elucidate?


Yes, to all three. When Europeans first began to explore the great Amazon basin, it wasn’t because the Amazon was in some sense better. Rather it was different. Or as Marcel Proust says the purpose of exploration is not to see new lands but to see those lands with new eyes. The practice of impeccable personal change as a way of life implies a personal discipline to ferret out the repetitive portions of our own behaviour and through the ecological patterns such as holding intention constant and varying behaviour or wanton capricious variation to move the assemblage point – the focusing of our attention on other aspects of the world around us. Thus it is not that any particular change we make in this practice is better than what we had previously but that the change itself at the higher logical level is desirable to avoid complacency or the falling into a routine which robs us of our appreciation of the unknown which surrounds us.

Of course, there are patterns involved – this is precisely the point. Such patterns are the web of redundancy through which we must pass. The mastery of personal patterning is the prerequisite to escaping its tyranny.


Different is not necessarily better but better is always different. The evolution of the person provides that person with choice not before available.

5. You draw on ideas from Gregory Bateson in your seminar Personal Evolution. How are Bateson’s ideas relevant to someone who wants to evolve themselves personally and professionally?

Bateson has made the opening move in a game which will continue as long as there are representatives of the species. Through his insistence that the laws which govern the short term and local interactions of biological systems are fundamentally different than the laws which govern non-organic physical systems, through his exploration and application of logical levels to the patterning of communication and learning and through his precise pointing at many of the phenomena which must be incorporated into a theory of mind, he lights some of the paths which we must travel to leave the valley of the blind.

6. I understand that Bateson was a mentor of yours. Would you like to talk about your experience of Bateson and his impact on your life and work?


I shall never succeed in appreciating the deep and inspiring ways in which he influenced me and my work in NLP. These experiences range from the time he borrowed a pair of socks from me on the occasion of finding himself without socks on his way to a University of California Regents’ meeting (he was a Jerry Brown appointee) – thereby teaching me the pitfalls of being a narrow band genius as opposed to a broad band genius – one who is a genius in all those areas of experience which impinge on his or her well-being. He demonstrated an utter lack of competency and willingness to learn group theory on the occasion of a disagreement we had over his use of the word formal, thereby pushing me to make a commitment to seek out my own monumental areas of incompetence and ignorance to face them squarely. But mostly, he continued to astonish me with the clear and swift shifts in perception in his ability to focus on the synthesis of ideas in very large systems driven by years of detailed and focused study of any number of fields ranging from classic evolutionary theory in biology through anthropology and animal studies to the balanced relationships in the plant communities in the redwood forests which surrounded us at the time of our connections. Perhaps most importantly, he paid me the ultimate compliment of presenting along with any number of awesome puzzles to which he had worked out answers, the puzzles to which he had no answers.

7. What is your definition of a pattern?


Imagine a description of some sequence of events, whether internal to you (intake of glucose with a subsequent shift in heart rate) or external to you (the shift in the type and frequency of the marine wildlife associated with the change in the temperature of the water in the ocean off Santa Cruz as a consequence of the seasonal up welling from the deep submarine canyon off Moss Landing in the center of Monterey Bay and connected with the Davis current) to all the astonishing mixtures of internal and external events.

Consider this description as a series of snapshots over time. Now, if you can place a slash mark “/” anywhere in that sequence of events such that you are able with better than random chance to predict what is on one side of the slash based solely on what is on the other side of the slash mark, you have a pattern. In this technical sense, pattern and redundancy are names for the same thing.

If I provide you with the sequence of consonants str… and tell you that they are part of a well formed word in English and then ask you what kind of creature will follow, you will after a moment’s reflection correctly tell me that the creature is a vowel.

I have done professional patterning in linguistics, mathematics and NLP. Each discipline has its own requirements for presentation and proof. In this latter field, I would propose that the author of a pattern has the responsibility to be explicit about certain aspects or is, in fact, doing something other than professional patterning. In NLP, I would propose that the author of a pattern must descriptively specify:

The internal structure of the pattern – what are the elements which define the pattern and in which specific order do they occur.
The consequences which will occur if the pattern is employed in a disciplined and congruent manner.
a set of contextual markers which indicate under which conditions its use is appropriate.
Please note I said descriptively specify – by this I am placing a gate through which would be patterns must pass – for example, more years ago than I care to count, on the occasion of spoofing patterns and to amuse myself and Richard, I created a set of pseudo-patterns now known as Meta Patterns. These are, in fact, not patterns at all but non-descriptive chunks of content which apparently people are unable to distinguish from actual patterns or forms. This exercise backfired on me in that people reverently go on teaching these strange things passing them off to the next generation as patterns when in fact I designed them to distinguish between actual patterns and content. Ask someone who fails to make this distinction what the difference is descriptively between moving in time and through time. Or to describe the difference between moving away from pain and towards pleasure in the case of a masochist or sadist. The third criterion – the specification of appropriate context is easily the most difficult requirement for patterning and the one which typically receives the least amount of attention – this was true in the original work classic NLP patterning as well as in more recent endeavours.


Patterns are a series of arcs. These arcs when linked in a series over time and in certain contexts create loops. Loops when linked in a series over time and in certain contexts become predictable segments of behavior.

8. How is enhancing one’s ability to detect patterns useful to an individual?


If you are unaware that you are in a box which you call your life, how will you ever liberate yourself?


Hamsters in a cage run in circles within a squeaky wheel.

9. How do you know when to look for a pattern?


Only before breakfast on odd days of the months which begin with the letter J. The art of living impeccably is in part the art of continuously extending your competency to detect patterns. The ones you don’t detect are the ones that will get you. Sensitize yourself to surprise, differences between what you are unconsciously anticipating and what happens and all auto pilot sequences. Seek the unpredictable. Is it possible to tickle yourself?


It is only important to ‘know’ when you haven’t been looking.

10. How do you know what to look for when seeking patterns?


You never do if you are actually in pursuit of a serious pattern. That’s what makes it an art form rather than a science, the pursuit of heuristics rather than algorithms.

Take any significant, let’s say, physical endeavour – any sport or dance form… How can you determine by observing a group of people engaging in this form who are ones who are experienced and adept and who are amateurs who have little experience. The rock climber who is hanging out over a 1500 foot exposure but who shows only tension in the fingers of the hand which is locked into a crack and nowhere else in her or his body is a pro. The accomplished and experienced sports person is the one who does less – the one who uses less effort and who is clearly ignoring large portions of the situation in which they are performing and focusing on only those portions of the situation they need access to perform.

The art of patterning is the art of ignoring most of what is happening and attending to only those few leverage points which allow the manipulation of the situation. In this sense, patterning is an exercise in the fixing of attention.

11. How do you know where to look for a pattern?


Since this is a continuation of the last questions I will continue with the answer …only before breakfast on odd days of the months which begin with the letter J and under rocks of a size larger than the ambition you have to become a patterner.

12. What are 2/3/4/n point patterns?


The numerals indicated simply refer to the number of points of attention described by the patterner in presenting the pattern. A 2 point pattern is one in which there are two events described, one on each side of the slash mark, a 3 point pattern is one in which there are three events described and distributed on different sides of the slash marks. Please note that the number of attention points will vary for the same pattern depending on the rigor of the description by the patterner. In other words, the chunking – how many points you fix in the pattern – is relatively arbitrary.

13. When dealing with nested patterns at different logical levels, how do you find out;

a. How many there are

b. Which ones are relevant

c. Which is the controlling pattern

d. If there is a controlling pattern


Well now, there’s one hell of a question! Let’s unpack it a bit. First of all you are going to want to distinguish between properly nested and improperly nested dependencies – the difference between

The house owned by the man who drove a car built by a woman who said that her son was hired by Alan Ginsberg to carry the suitcase which contained the manuscript that…

The horse the cow the dog the cat chased bit saw ran away

Both of these are technically grammatically well formed fragments of American English – the first one is an improperly nested dependency as well as being intelligible and the second one is a properly nested dependency which while technically well formed exceeds all short term memory processing abilities. I offer a build up to it more gently in the sequence below:

  • The horse ran away
  • The horse that the cow saw ran away
  • The horse that the cow that the dog bit saw ran away

and finally

  • The horse that the cow that the dog that the cat chased bit saw ran away

or deleting the relative clause markers (normally an option) we have

  • The horse the cow the dog the cat chased bit saw ran away

The terms properly nested and improperly nested, while a classification based entirely on the structure of the phrase has powerful consequences for processing.

I have already commented on the question of how many there are – how many depends on how you decide to count and in particular, what descriptive vocabulary you allow yourself. Every technical field is a demonstration that with finer and finer distinctions we invent a denser and denser vocabulary to create the shorthand we need to overcome some of the limitations of short term memory and facilitate our thinking and communication. The code system in a well organized Emergency Room (Casualty Department) or the pixel or superconductor are dense signals unique to a specific context and fully grounded in the sense defined in Precision. Clearly such terms embody a number of components which under normal circumstances we would distinguish as separate elements but which are rolled up into a single term by definition. Similarly with patterning, the development of an explicit well defined vocabulary will change the count.

I confess that I am at a loss as to what a controlling pattern would be in such a system.

14. What are the necessary and sufficient conditions which must be present to enable people to develop the ability to recognise previously unexperienced and unnoticed patterns?


OK, what are they?


The study of your successes and failures.

15. How does a working ability to detect patterns in our environment facilitate learning?


It doesn’t facilitate learning – it is learning.


I learned French in the university. I learned Spanish in the streets of Mexico. I speak Spanish a hell of a lot better at present than I speak French.

16. Is it necessary for pattern detection and utilisation skills to be available consciously, or is it sufficient to have these skills well developed at an unconscious level


The goal of all learning is to master the skill sets to the point that they become unconscious competencies. This clearing of conscious by pushing competencies down into the unconscious has a cost however and specifically in the art of pattern detection, one of the most useful tools is the ability to perceive context and its contents from multiple perceptual positions, including a conscious one as well.

17. What qualities and attributes would you recommend be present in a state that is designed specifically for detecting ‘new’ patterns?


Please review questions and answers 1 through 16.


Breathing is good.

18. What contextual markers would you use to attract the interest and application of people in a content oriented society to learning to detect and use patterns in their lives?


As always the most powerful contextual marker to attract the interest (if that is in fact what you want to do) of content oriented people is your personal competency. People are attracted to people who are remarkable. So be remarkable!


Go to university, read books and explore. Or explore, read books and go to university. Or…

19. How do you ensure that people in a content oriented society learn to make and keep the distinction between patterns, illustrative content examples of patterns and content?


Personally, I don’t. I just keep on discovering patterns and presenting some small portion of them to the interested world. I wish the rest of the world a good day.


A horse can be shown the location of water; the drinking has to be the horse’s choice.

20. When you detect a pattern at a given logical level, can you assume there will be a related pattern at a higher logical level?


No, please assume nothing and check everything of importance. Like the 2 cent ‘O’ ring at the connection between the air hose and the pressurized SCUBA tank, it’s a little thing and critical to your health and well being.

More sympathetically, the present of a pattern at one logical level is an invitation to search for an associated pattern at the logical levels above and below but no guarantee. The presence of a track of a large cat on the ground just outside of the window in front of me as I write this sentence here in Bonny Doon does not guarantee that the cat is still in the neighbourhood – he may have already faded into the mists surrounding us.


If you are successful today, can you ‘assume’? that you will be successful in 10 years?

Interested in comprehensive training in NLP find out about our postgraduate qualification – 10970NAT Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

© 1997 Chris and Jules Collingwood

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