In a past blog post we discussed the principles of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and how it works within the coaching model. These principles are the foundation of the NLP modality, however, in order to grow in your understanding of the NLP process, it is important to dig just a little bit deeper and move past the basic to uncover some of the major presuppositions of NLP. We refer in ALCN’s coaching model to these presuppositions as assumptions.
Understanding and embracing these assumptions offers an important starting point for communication, and helps to encourage the evolution of the coaching process. It important to remember that there are always exceptions to these points, but they offer a good cornerstone for understanding.
Communication is redundant – This means that while we may use different communication tools in NLP, we are always in the process of offering communication through these three major representational systems; visual, auditory and kinesthetic.
The meaning of communication is related to the response received – Many people falsely believe that communication is about the words spoken or the intentions of the communicator. True communication is based on the experience that is created from the process and the way the listener reacts to the message.
The map is not the territory – We all have a map based on what we perceive as reality. It is important to remember that people respond to what they understand as reality. The process of NLP is about changing an individual’s map (their reality).
Requisite variety – The part of a circumstance that offers the most flexibility in a situation will become the controlling part.
People work perfectly – Many people believe that in order to be effective as a coach, we need to fix someone. One of the major assumptions of NLP is that no one is wrong or broken. Instead, it is the job of the coach to determine how an individual functions in order to create something that is more useful in the situation.
People always make the best choices available to them at the time – By nature, human beings are resilient problem solvers. Because of this they are able to make choices based on the knowledge they have in a given situation. It is important to remember that sometimes there are better choices, but the information the individual has will not lead them to that choice.
Every behavior is useful in some context – NLP teaches that we can learn something about every behavior. Sometimes it is a direct correlation of a desired reaction, while other times, it is a character defining moment that teaches self-control or introspection.
Choice is better than no choice – The only way to truly learn is to take a step forward and experience life. While it is difficult to make the wrong choice, when something is learned from the error, it was a worthwhile experience.
Just about anyone can learn to do anything – Learning requires and openness to obtain and process new information. If a person is open to learning a new skill or technique, it is also possible to demonstrate and model that process to someone else thereby replicating the learning process.
People already have all the resources they need – Along with having the openness to learn, people also need to be open to see the tools they have around them for success. Once they recognize and understand these resources, they need access to them at appropriate times and places to create the desired outcomes.
There is no such thing as failure, only feedback – Going hand-in-hand with being open to make choices, it is important to realize that even if the desired outcome of a choice is not realized, it is not a failure. Instead it is a chance to receive feedback and learn from the outcome. Every response can be utilized.
Chunking – Sometimes the reason that individuals choose not to take on a task is because it seems too overwhelming. Anything can be accomplished (by anyone) if the tasks are broken down into small enough chunks.
Behind every behavior is a positive intention – NLP focuses on the thought that people are inherently good. While a behavior may be harmful or seems “bad”, there is always a positive intention behind it.
Symptoms – Pain, anxiety, depression, tumors, colds and other symptoms are not only indicative of medical conditions, they offer important communication about a specific action that needs to take place.
We are all responsible for creating our own experience – While it is good to rely on others for support, it is important to remember that we are in control of charting our course. Even the events we face our out of our control, we are responsible for our responses to the events. In general, we have much more control than we think, it is our responsibility to take this control and tailor our reactions in an appropriate manner.
Energy flows where attention goes – (from Huna) The teaching of Huna originally came from Hawaii. It is all about personal empowerment. This means that if you focus your attention on positivity and beneficial outcomes, all your energy will be poured into that focus.
In the end, these assumptions offer the groundwork needed to understand the practice of NLP. As noted, there are exceptions to each of these rules; however these sixteen points offer an excellent starting point in understanding the power of NLP in a coaching practice.
For more information about NLP, please feel free to contact us at the Academy of Leadership Coaching & NLP! And, check out our blog next week as we explore an exercise that helps utilize these presuppositions in practicing NLP.