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Is this really how NLP is being taught? Sack the NLP trainers!

A colleague recently told me they had developed a negative perception of NLP.  Naturally, I could always suggest he can change his perception at anytime, as he alone can choose his map of the world.  That might be ‘bad’ NLP which would serve only to re-inforce his already negative perception.

Being a curious sort I was eager to learn, “How did he achieve this perception?”  By listening it became clear he had seen and heard folk who had received a limited amount of training in NLP telling other people they could understand how they were thinking and if they were telling the truth or not.  Becoming even more wantonly curious I asked how could these folk make such determinations?  Apparently, the answer lies in the direction your eyes move!  Well, I nearly fell off my chair!  Oh dear dear dear!  Whoever trained these folk in NLP really does deserve to be sacked and have their training credentials obliterated!  What utter nonsense!!!

Is it any wonder the field of NLP suffers in this way when we have ‘trainers’ with such limited understanding out there.  Is it time to press the reset button on the training of NLP Trainers and so called Master Trainers?  If this is the outcome they are achieving the NLP Trainers are accountable…there’s that word again from my previous blog post! Curious?

Ok, so what is it about the eyes and their movements that can lead people to believe they can tell the inner workings of your very soul?  The simple and honest answer is, absolutely nothing at all! For people to leave an NLP workshop and have that as their understanding suggests the delegates have been ripped off and the trainer needs to refund their delegate’s money because they have not been trained in NLP!

Eye Patterns are a small part of a much larger topic called Representational Systems within the field of NLP.  Encompassing Body Language, Gestures, Posture, breathing patterns, vocal qualities (pitch, tonality, tempo, timbre etc) and the use of word predicates.  Eye patterns are one of many cues you can use to build an understanding of how the person you’re communicating with represents their experience to themselves and then how they communicate their perception of that experience to the outside world.

Do they do this is in a Visual fashion, an Auditory fashion, a Kinaesthetic fashion, Olfactory, Gustatory or do they prefer a dissociated non-sensory Digital manner?  All you can hope to achieve is to put a few pieces of the jigsaw together and then aim to match or mirror their preferences with the aim to build rapport with them.  There is nothing in Representational Systems that gives anyone the ability to determine if another person is lying.

A client I met once to discuss some influencing skills training for a team of business bankers asked if he could, paint me a picture of who I will see on the day? My natural response was to hand my notebook and all the flipchart pens from my rucksack and suggest he makes its as colourful and vibrant as he wishes.  He really went for it!

What would have happened if I replied by asking him to tell me first who was in the team and what their roles are and how long they have worked at the bank?

By receiving a visual cue I followed up and encouraged more visual behaviour.  This is Representational Systems in practise.  Had I followed up with an Auditory and Digital response to the visual cue I would have lost out, rapport would not have been built.  The skill I, as an NLP Trainer, wish my delegates to develop is to be able to respond unconsciously to the cues they receive from others so they can respond effectively.  By judging another person’s response as incorrect simply because it does not form part of a ‘normalised’ pattern is nonsense!  My colleague rightly developed a negative perception having been exposed to such ridiculous behaviour.

If like my colleague you have developed similar negative perceptions feel free to get in touch and I will aim to show you that you can form new understandings.  If you wish to know how NLP can be applied to the world of business and work to get the best levels of performance out of your team in a way that is respectful and ethical please get in touch also.

Finally, NLP was not created.  The foundations of the techniques and patterns were in existence long before the 1970’s when they were pulled together and labelled.  To understand this is important as it creates a sense that if people have been successful in creating change and influence for a much longer time than the last 50 years then the techniques and ideas that support that successful change and influence are credible.  Whether they are called ‘NLP’ or ‘CBT’ or whatever other TLA folk can create is irrelevant.  Change and Influence are fundamental to communication and our programmes are focussed on developing masters of change and influence at work.

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Who is most important? Self or Others?

As mentioned in a previous post the art of collaboration is turning conflict into a positive force.  To some people the mere mention of the word CONFLICT is a negative that should be avoided at all costs.  To others CONFLICT is exciting and creates an adrenalin rush!  How then do we find a balance, a fulcrum point on this spectrum?  A space, where CONFLICT is welcomed and the energy is used to drive forward a creative process?

A useful way of finding this fulcrum point is to value yourself and others equally.  In a collaborative setting the outcome is the solution, the process of achieving the outcome is fluid.  The key is engaging with others to drive the ideas and contributions generated by the group to a point where the creative tension gives rise to the synergistic solution.  This process works when all individuals within the group are able to de-personalise ideas.  Ideas are not people and people are not their ideas.  By all means challenge the idea and respect the person contributing the idea.  Equally, be open to your ideas being challenged and respect the person challenging your idea.

De-personalising an idea from the person contributing the idea is a key principle.  This creates the environment of TRUST where collaboration develops. In conflict management respecting the other person’s model of the world is a foundation to success.  By INTEGRATING a high regard for others with an equally high regard for self, you will be response-able for ensuring all contributions are considered within the overall outcome of the group.  Doing this will ensure that all members of the group are able to contribute and that all views are heard.

Where an individual has a higher regard for themselves over their regard for others, this may well lead to this individual attempting to DOMINATE the group and they may not take too kindly to having their ideas challenged.  Equally, at the same time, where an individual has a higher regard for others over their regard for themselves this may lead to that individual OBLIGING to every suggestion from others without ever contributing their own ideas.  Where an individual prefers to withdraw from situations such as these its may well be that this individual has an equally low regard for others and self.  AVOIDING this process only leads to greater and more destructive conflict at a later date.

In a collaborative relationship, the answer to the question in the title to this post, both self and others are equally important.

I would like to acknowledge ‘Styles of Handling Interpersonal Conflict (Rahim & Magner, 1995, p.123) in the compilation of this blog.

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Collaboration

Collaboration is working with each other to do a task and to achieve shared goals. It is a recursive process where two or more people or organisations work together to realize shared goals, (this is more than the intersection of common goals seen in co-operative ventures, but a deep, collective determination to reach an identical objective) — for example, an endeavour that is creative in nature —by sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus. In particular, teams that work collaboratively can obtain greater resources, recognition and reward when facing competition for finite resources. (Thanks Wikipedia!) The challenge of collaboration is staying focused on the greater shared goal.  Conflict over different approaches, different ideas, competitive pressures will surface.  Dealing positively with conflict is the art of collaboration.  Consider if you will a member of a team with a strong belief in their way of doing things.  Their belief is so strong that any challenge to their way of doing things is usually a source of great tension within the team.  This is not a helpful trait when it comes to collaboration.  A useful matrix to consider when looking to build a collaborative team is how the members of your team view themselves and others. If you have a high regard for yourself and a low level of regard for others, this will not be helpful in a collaborative relationship. If you have low regard for yourself and a high level of regard for others, this will also not be very helpful in a collaborative relationship. If ‘people’ including yourself are just not that important to you, this will not be very helpful in a collaborative relationship. Collaborative relationships work best when an individual values themselves and  others equally highly. Seek First Ltd specialise in developing the behaviours and language that build self-awareness (your regard for you), behaviours and language that build an understanding of others (how you regard others), behaviours and language that develop your influencing skills and behaviours and language that lead to effective collaborative action. Over the coming months this blog will go into more details about collaborative behaviour and language.  Our first Collaborative Behaviour Practitioner programme will be taking place in London this Autumn.  Contact us now for more information. email: listen@seekfirst.co.uk phone: 07740506667

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Working from the Proactive Space

At Seek First Ltd we seek to create a Proactive world where Organisations, Teams and Individuals engage respectfully and show appreciation for the contributions of all their colleagues.  We develop a culture of high performing teams and leaders within our client organisations through embedding accountability and empowerment within all our development programmes.  At the core of all our work we create a proactive space in which our clients can achieve their most stretching outcomes.