Friday, December 08, 2006

NLP: NLP is about Thinking Part 1 - What NLP is Not?


I decided to write this new series since September 2006. I still haven't started yet because I want to organize all my thoughts before writing. Months passed and I think that I will not write anything if I still want to wait.

So, I start to write whatever I see appropriate to someone who really want to know the Real NLP Underlying the Today So-Called NLP.

I will continue to write until I can't write any more on this topic. So, this series can be composed of 10, or 15 or even 20 articles. They might not be in systematic order. Upon completion, I will re-organize and edit them again in order to make them more readable.

Let's start with definition.

There can be hundreds of different definitions of NLP. It's difficult to tell you the best one. But there are right or wrong definitions out there. Let's analyze those wrong definitions first:

1. NLP is about Therapy.

No! The NLP founders started to model several of the most famous therapists, like Satir, Erickson in order to understand how they were so effective and efficient in the 70's. But what they found out that this was about their ways of communicating with their clients. They can easily help their clients to discover something about themselves & their problems and they can effectively persuade their clients to become "normal" again.

Amongst the major models of NLP, none of them is directly related to therapy! You can't become a therapist by learning NLP! Don't even think about being a therapist after you learn NLP. You are going to cause harms more than help. Therapy is much more complicated.

2. NLP is about Communication.

No! NLP is not just about communication. A further study of these great therapists, it is how they think makes them a great communicator.

Their thinking models behind their communication is more important. How you think affects how you communicate. Amongst the major models of NLP, only the Meta Model and the Milton Model is related directly to communication. But these 2 models is more about how our communication affects our thinking and how our thinking affects our communication.

3. NLP is about Selling.

No! In the 80's, the market of therapists for NLP training became limited. Smart NLP Trainers began to promote the NLP trainings for sales professionals. There are more salespersons than therapists in the world, a much bigger market!

NLP can be good for persuasion and thus works well in selling, but NLP is not about selling. Money can buy food but money is not about food?!

4. NLP is about Personal Development.

No! In the early 90's, there were more and more NLP Trainers. Many thought that doing the training was easy. Many people went into the profession of training NLP. So, the NLP Trainers needed a larger market.

If NLP can help and persuade people, it can also be used to improving oneself. NLP was then promoted as a tool for personal development. To be honest, it is a good idea, a much better idea than NLP is about therapy. At least, people will not think themselves as therapist and do all sorts of dangerous stuffs on others after they learned NLP!

Again, NLP can be effectively used to develop oneself, but it is not just about Personal Development.

5. NLP is about Changes.

No. Change is one of the most important concepts of NLP. If someone do not change, he/she can't get what they wish. It is one of the presuppositions of NLP that one gets what he/she currently getting if one do what one currently doing. This is logical.

One can change his/her attitude, thinking, actions, etc to get what he/she wants. This concept of changes is quite misunderstood by many NLP people. It is the output of changes matter, not the input of changes. Many NLP people tries to change others in order to get the output of changes. So, NLP is well-known for its manipulation style!

What we concern is the output of changes, not changing others!

6. NLP is about Management & Leadership.

No. In the 90's, some NLP Trainers figured out that the most profitable market for NLP training and consulting was in the business field. Companies have bigger budget than individuals. So NLP was packaged as Management and Leadership tools.

If NLP can be used to discover and influencing others, NLP can surely becoming useful in business. A good manager is the one who can discover all the available resources and influencing others to use these resources to produce results. Leaders are those people who can discover their visions and then influencing others to follow.

But NLP is not just about Business. It is just one of its applications.

7. NLP is about Coaching.

No. Coaching is the buzz word of the 21st century. Many NLP Trainers (including myself) are using this magic word to make NLP standing at the top of the trend. Coaching is about helping others discovering their problems, opportunities and solutions that they are originally unaware of.

Although I love this concept and NLP can be applied easily to coach others, NLP is still not just about Coaching.

Then, what is NLP about? We talk about this in our next article of the series.

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