6 Ways to Understand NLP Certification

Here are descriptions of the training borrowing the concept of  "logical levels" from Robert Dilts. Although not all NLPers like the model of logical levels, they are a good way of getting at different layers of description.

Here is a way to understand the context, environment, behaviours, strengths, beliefs, and identity of NLP practitioners as they train.

What happens in NLP Practitioner training? 

The first thing to understand about training with NLP Canada Training is that it won't be like any other experience you have had of classrooms or even of personal training sessions. What you see and hear and how you move are all very different than other kinds of education and practice.

We call it a practitioner training because you learn practices. There will be some introduction to concepts and theories, but it will be largely beside the point. The point of NLP is to engage with your own mind and with the people around you through a series of exercises designed to heighten awareness and create better choices. This means that it is more about what you do than it is about what the trainers are doing at the front of the room (trainers at NLPCT are often not at the front of the room).

You will not be bored, except possibly while other people are working through more traditional ways of learning by asking lots of questions. Linda will answer these questions, usually patiently, so that everyone gets what he or she needs to relax into learning by doing.

We post lots of pictures on our website so that you can see, from the outside, what a class looks like. It looks like people gathered in groups of two or three, or sometimes gathered in tables of four or five. They are paying attention to each other: you can tell that just by looking. If you could hear them, you would hear the hum you hear when people who have known each other a long time are working or socializing.  You would hear laughter, and you might hear some voices dropped for more private or difficult conversations.  You would hear the noise of people moving in and around the room, and sometimes doors opening and closing as people take their exercises out into Queen's Park, just across the street.

You'd see people sharing plates of baking or bowls of fruit or chocolate. They would be hungry because people who are actively engaged in any activity get hungry. They develop an appetite for life that extends to good eating. And possibly, good coffee (or tea).

If you decided to focus on the trainers, you would notice that they are only centre stage long enough to explain and demonstrate.  For much of the class, they wait around the edges, watching for people who need a word of correction or encouragement to get maximum value from the work they are doing.

After a while,  you would notice that the level of engagement and activity might slump sometime after lunch, but then it picks up again and everyone stays involved until the trainers shepherd them out the door sometime after 6:00.  The days are as long and full as you remember summer days being when you were a kid.

What do NLP Practitioners learn to do? 

Behaviours are the way we give our intentions shape in the world. If you do not understand that statement as you read it now, you will begin to understand it better through training.  

Here's some of the things you will learn to do:

  1. Shake it off.  Whatever state of mind you are occupying, giving yourself a good shake is the beginning of changing it. NLP is about having choices about the state in which you want to confront or endure or challenge the things that are happening to you at any given time. Learning to shake it off means having the choice not to let the toxic stuff around you stick.  2. Guess. We play lots of guessing games in NLP training, and we play them until you guess wrong.  So you begin to learn that guessing wrong is the beginning of moving on. You begin to learn that if you guess right, you win, and if you guess wrong, you get new information and freedom to move ahead anyway.  Since most of the important decisions we make are based on inadequate or inaccurate information and we frequently filter out the wrong information even when it is available, it's important to learn to guess and keep moving.  3. Edit that.  A personal edit is an opportunity to take an unproductive feeling and change it. While you can't change the situations that taught you to feel stuck, you don't have to stay stuck.  You can open up new choices in learning so that the past doesn't bind you and the future is less scary.  4. Step into someone else's skin.  Find out what it's like to walk in their shoes or breathe the way they breathe. Find out how accurately you can gauge people's state, reactions and motivations by disciplining yourself to practices for paying attention.  5. Observe yourself acting within relationships.  Have you ever wondered where you fit into a group, or who is leading whom? Learn practices that give you a system for stepping outside yourself and seeing what an observer might notice about how you are relating to one other person or a whole environment.  6. Ask better questions and ask questions better. Your questions can be so inconspicuous that people answer them without filtering their responses. Your questions can be so accurate that you get precisely the information you need to meet your goals. You will begin to know that you can get answers when you want them. You will also begin to know when you should want answers.  7. Tell stories to make sense of what you want, what you learn, and what you want to change. Stories are often said to be our most natural and most powerful form of influence. You will learn to trade stories intentionally so that you learn more about others' strategies and communicate your own more effectively.

What will it look like you're doing during the course:

  1. Moving around.  There's no point in trying to move forward while stuck in one spot. In NLP practitioner training, you will find that you are always changing seats, changing focus, and often changing location while getting your whole body moving.  2. Laughing. Laughter is not just the best medicine: it's a terrific way to create space between old habits and new learnings.  3. Paying attention. You will lean forward, focus your eyes, adapt your voice, and generally signal with body, voice and language that you find the people around you really interesting.  4. Relaxing.  Your body will unwind a little, your facial features will soften, and you might find your mind drifting just as little as you listen to a particular hypnotic teaching story. It's okay to relax at NLP training: it means you are letting your unconscious uptake work harder than ever to grab new learnings and apply them to the stuff you carry around in the back of your mind.

What will change in the way you behave outside the classroom:

  1. You'll pay attention to your own physiology, gestures and expression and alter them purposefully to achieve your outcomes.  2. You'll pay attention to the way other people look, move and communicate and find that you can decipher a wide range of information.  3. You'll adapt to others more quickly so that you can anticipate leverage points, resistance and a willingness to move forward with you.

What strengths and skills will you develop as a practitioner? 

NLP practices develop your innate ability to pay attention to other human beings so that you can anticipate their actions, learn to do what they can do, and influence their choices. The skills it develops are the skills of observation, identification, imagination and communication.

Observation
The fundamental ability developed by NLP is the observation of experience: yours and other people's. 

NLP gives you a process for observing yourself as you experience a situation or state.  This includes the ability to discover traces of your unconscious processes through your physiology and the sensory impressions you make of your experience. It opens you to an awareness that the decisions you make are a combination of feelings and analysis and allows you to make different choices about how to balance those processes. You get better at knowing when to trust your instincts and when to take a second - or third - look before you leap.

You also become more aware of yourself as one part of a relationship or a situation.  You can choose to know more about how other people are experiencing you and what they value or anticipate in your actions and reactions. You can choose to see yourself as part of a bigger picture, to see how your actions and expressions fit with the situation in which you are taking action. In other words, you can do a better job of guessing how other people are viewing and responding to you.

Most obviously, NLP develops the ability to observe other people to gain more meaningful information about their experience. This begins with the discipline to begin by knowing what you want from your observation. Next you learn to suspend judgment and allow yourself to become aware of movement, expression, and rhythms that you might have dismissed as irrelevant from a more analytical perspective. Finally you learn to trust that what you notice has meaning and to trace that meaning back until you find what you need to meet your goals for the observation.  You might repeat the process once or many, many times depending on those goals.

Identification
Information becomes meaningful when we give it a meaning. Often that meaning takes the form of a label.  We notice something, say it, and then we connect that label with other things in our experience. NLP practices remind us to label what we notice in our own experience and in the world around us. Those labels allow us to stabilize complex situations, which can simplify our responses in useful ways. They also allow us to tie what we are noticing to our goals in ways that lead to noticing opportunities and achieving more.  The process for labelling in NLP is one of feedback loops:  notice, label, test the label, notice the "fit" between the label and the stimulus, and repeat for great precision if necessary.

As you become more adept at noticing what you are noticing and how it fits into your goals, you will find that more things fall into place and changes are easier to notice and easier to make.

Imagination
What do you think imagination means? It's the ability to construct a sensory reality in your mind that either does not exist in "real" life or is not present to your senses while you are constructing it.  Imagination means taking concepts and future possibilities and testing them against your senses and possibly against the senses of other people.  When you can construct a compelling future, you give people a map that makes it more likely they will notice landmarks around them an move into the future you have mapped.

The easiest way to imagine, although not always the most vivid, is to use words to pair concepts with sensory information that may or may not ever have existed in the world and been tangible to your senses. The more vividly your words can create sensory experience, the more useful the models that you create.

Communication
This is the core skill of all NLP processes, the ability to take information that is present to one human being and transfer it to one or more others through language, images, expression and movement.  Communication comes from the unconscious mind (through the things we do and say 'without thinking' about them) and from the conscious mind (when we intend to change something within ourselves or in other people). As you move through the practices taught in an NLP practitioner course, you will become more intentional about paying attention to what you and others are communicating through non-verbal behaviours and language patterns, and more intention about using non-verbal behaviours and language patterns to get results when you communicate.


Three Fundamental Beliefs of NLP 

The beliefs that support the behaviours and practices of NLP are often called presuppositions. They describe the nature of the relationship between an individual and the world in a way that best supports positive change and desirable results. The point of the beliefs is not that they are 'right' or 'true' but that they create a foundation which makes positive results more likely.  This becomes the first belief.  

It is more important to judge whether something is useful than to attempt to judge whether it is true. Usefulness is defined as something that will lead you more quickly to more satisfying results.

The next belief required to successfully practice NLP involves knowing that we have within ourselves the ability to solve our problems and make better choices. To practice on yourself, you have to believe yourself to be someone who is capable of making the choices that lead to results you will like. To practice NLP with other people, you need to believe that no matter how damaged or confused they seem, they have within themselves what they need to make more satisfying choices. The second belief is:

All people have within themselves the resources necessary to support satisfying lives.

The third core belief at the heart of NLP is that it matters what we think. This is expressed in different ways by different practitioners who talk about "shifts" or say things like "the map is not the territory" or "the one with the strongest outcome will win" or "the one with the most flexibility" will win.  All of these statements describe the belief that we are what we perceive ourselves to be and the nature of our results in the world is determined by what we believe about the world. If we believe the world to be a friendly place, we will find friends.

Changing how you think will change the results you achieve.


Who are NLP Practitioners?   

One of my personal beliefs, supported by evidence in psychology and the arts and life, is that we spend our lives making ourselves, that who we are is the product of our responses to the circumstances of our lives.  I embraced NLP, although as a professional and recovering academic it often embarrassed me, because at its core I found tools I could use to create a better self.

I want to be very precise here: NLP doesn't change who I want to be or tell me what the self I am developing should be. It's not a philosophy or religion and it doesn't manage the big view or long term development very well. Its focus tends to be on crafting a present moment that feels good and works. That's not always the best way to develop an identity and there is lots of evidence that people who have wanted to build identity through NLP have not done very well with that.

But the tools for discovery and the tools for shaping are different, and I believe that NLP practitioners are people who have a better appreciation for the tools they have to shape their responses and their results.  They are also, to quote an old song, "people who need people," because they live the practice of learning from everyone they meet. Through my work practicing NLP, I have learned with people from widely different backgrounds, belief systems, and contexts. Some of them have become wonderful friends, and some have learned and moved on.  I learn from everyone who comes to a course.

The primary way we learn from one another is through the stories we tell - with words and with structures and with behaviour - about how we have experienced the world and what we believe is possible. NLP practitioners are people who practice telling better stories to themselves, about themselves, to the world and about the world. They- the people and the stories - are rich in sensory detail, in layers of understanding, and in hope for a better ending.

I believe that NLP practitioners are people who embrace learning from and with other people as the core of their efforts to achieve more satisfying results in their lives. 
Call  416-928-2394 OR EMAIL news@nlpcanada.com. 47 Queen’s Park Cres. E., Toronto, ON, M5S 2C3