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professionalsWorking as a leadership coach with top level business executives at some of the world’s largest organizations gives me the opportunity to give them tools they need to take their leadership to the next level and inspire employees to be their very best. Using leadership coaching within organizations is gaining both acceptance and understanding as businesses seek creative and effective ways to be competitive in a rapidly changing global business culture. Coaching is a very effective way to do just that, however, adding NLP to the mix can help managers be even more effective as they seek to gain understanding of employee motivations and behaviors.

When the subject of NLP comes up, often, the next question is “what is NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) and how can be applied to my role in leadership!? NLP is an interpersonal communication model that allows leaders to use specific communication methods and tools to create personal and positive change within their organization. It is safe to say that often, the success of a leader goes beyond an exemplary team, top-notch products and services, keen knowledge of those products and services, and understanding of leadership methods and techniques (although these are all very important in success). Excellent leaders also take the time to get to know their team members on a higher level to create the best possible results.

At its very core, NLP teaches that the difference between success and failure as a business leader is what the leader chooses to see and do with their resources and experiences in life. It is a tool to develop insights and strategies and help leaders change what they need to connect with their team. NLP involves three very basic principles that must be duplicated to create this change and develop leadership excellence:

1. Belief System
2. Understanding how individuals organize thoughts
3. Careful attention to physical responses such as breath, how one holds their body, posture and movement

In addition to this, there are other key NLP skills that leaders can utilize to gain a clearer understanding of their team members, and connect with them on a deeper level to create the best possible business outcomes.

Sensory acuity
Sensory acuity is a foundational NLP skill of NLP which involves the ability to actively listen and determine changes within an individual’s communication patterns. This can include changes in the tone of their voice and body language cues. Additionally, it can include the way they make decisions and how they go about the decision making process. The process can be affected by limiting beliefs (The things that hold team members back), uncertainty and how they choose to engage within their work role and other interpersonal levels of communication. While this is an advanced skill which requires the leader to have a firm grasp on NLP methodologies, if used within the leadership role, it can open new doors of communication and remove roadblocks that hinder organizational success.

Behavioral flexibility
Understanding language and how it is used is a major component of NLP training. Leaders need to adapt flexibility within their language and other behaviors to fit the needs of both their employees and the situation. Behavioral flexibility, when used appropriately can make a huge impact on the clarity of information, while supporting smarter decision-making among team members because they feel more accepted and thereby are more willing to provide feedback and input. Additionally when leaders show flexibility within their role, it encourages team members to be more engaged in the business process.

Pattern recognition
The use of NLP in a leadership position gives managers key insights to understand specific patterns within their team and how they affect business effectiveness. Some patterns create a positive impact on the organization, while others can serve to break down forward movement or create a complete pathway blockage. Recognizing both positive and negative patterns and then using effective listening, connecting and engagement skills can help those in leadership to develop effective strategies to create positive and lasting change.

The study and practice of NLP in combination with leadership coaching, offers a key differentiator in moving business towards success. It is important, however, to ensure that your team is learning these skills in the most effective manner using truest form of the practice of NLP. At ALCN, our International Coaching Federation approved coach training program is combined with powerful NLP skills in such a way that leaders around the world have been able to take them back to their organization to create lasting changes. Read more about our successes here. Or, contact our team to find out how you can include coaching and powerful NLP skills in your leadership techniques to move your organization to the next level.

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