Making a change is as easy as 1, 2, 3…10…
The first and most important lesson I learned in the the NLP Master Trainer’s Training is this: “Accept and use whatever happens and make it work for your outcome.” Here’s an example of what this means. Let’s say that you’re with a client, and someone interrupts your session. Treat it as though it was all planned. When you’re a therapist, coach, consultant, motivational speaker, or any other agent of change, your outcome is to get your client the outcome they’re paying you to help them achieve. Therefore, anything that happens during the process is OK! I have learned this lesson in the context of hypnotherapy, but it applies for NLP change-work as well.
It is not YOU who is making new understandings for your client; it is your client’s brain that is making them. You are not changing your client’s behavior. Your job is to direct your client’s mind through a process and let “it” do the work. To make NLP work for your client, you must assume that your client’s mind is already changing that discouraging thought pattern or disabling set of behaviors. Once you assume that, all you have to do is:
1) choose the right pattern,
2) work with your client through that pattern,
3) accept and use whatever happens, making it work for your outcome (sound familiar?)
4) compare the feedback to the given outcome, and
5) proceed accordingly.
If the feedback and the outcome are aligned, which means your client has achieved what they asked for, then your job is done. If not, you reevaluate the session, choose a more appropriate pattern, perhaps also induce hypnosis in your client (to reduce subconscious secondary gain-based objections), and aim for the same outcome again.
But remember to maintain high sensory acuity. Be “out there”; observe, absorb, and constantly evaluate direct and indirect messages from your client, working with whatever happens so as to facilitate the change your client is paying you for.
Another lesson I learned early in my training is that you should never make your client a friend. Yes, of course, you can have social relationships with your clients, but AFTER you’ve done the change work. It is much better not to accept relatives, close family members, or friends as clients, for many reasons. The main reason is that no matter how good your intentions, your relationship with them stands in the way of their progress.
On the other hand, it is also not for your client’s benefit if you become friendly with them early on in the sessions. Stay formal. Be the authority they may need in order to change themselves. Avoid humor in the first session at least, and never tell jokes or lose control over the session. You are paid to help the person produce new results, not to be a comedian or just another friend. If your client suspects, even subconsciously, that your lack of skill is covered by humor and needy behavior, your prospects of success with them will be dim.
Stay focused on one outcome at a time. Don’t spread yourself too thin or work on 10 different issues in one session. Give their mind some time for processing, for re-organizing, for venting, for recovering, for grieving (a common need of ex-addicts), and so on. Give them the time to see one or two outcomes first, so that when they return to you their motivation and confidence in your skills will be strong.