How to use the NLP presuppositions in coaching and leadership 

Aug 28, 2023 | Becoming a Transformational Coach, Leadership, New posts | 0 comments

In this short blog I will introduce a few of the NLP  presuppositions as a way to enhance your work and the rapport that you build with your clients. 

What are the NLP presuppositions?

🤔 You may already know that NLP was modelled from excellence. Bandler and Grinder (the founders of NLP) identified that the therapists they modelled held a certain set of beliefs or principles of working; they believed certain things about their clients and themselves. These beliefs became the guiding principles; the presuppositions of personal excellence. 

By acting as if these presuppositions are true as a leader or coach you can greatly enhance your effectiveness when working with others. 

👏 Presupposition 1 – In any interaction, the person with the greatest flexibility will have the most influence in that situation. 

It’s often the case that we want other people to change so that we can communicate better with them better. You have possibly already had experiences whereby this hasn’t worked in your favour and you realised that people don’t change just because you want them to. 

You see, if we want to influence someone, or inspire or motivate them or invite them to consider a different way of thinking then you have to be the one who enters the other persons ‘map’ of the world to gain rapport, understanding and trust. 

This presupposition assumes that the person who can change their communication style, is curious about another person and who is willing to be the one that can flex their thinking and behaviour, is going to be the one that can influence the situation. 

When coaching and leading others being able to be flexible when you are communicating will invite a sense of understanding and rapport, it is when this is established that the pacing and leading can begin.

☑️ If you want to be an excellent coach, or an excellent leader, or somebody who can support somebody effectively, then one of the skills is to be able to walk alongside them and step into their map of the world and understand at a deep level, where they’re coming from. 

☑️ Understanding where their beliefs have come from, how they operate in the world and what makes sense to them. 

I like to ask myself when I’m coaching or even when I’m just interacting with people or getting curious about people; ‘what must be true for that person?’.

I do this to find out why they behave in that way, to find out what made them have that particular opinion and what has caused them to be expressing themselves in that way in the world. Through curiosity and openness you can begin to tune in with somebody else and understand how they tick and operate in the world.

👏 Presupposition 2 : We always have a choice. 

Ultimately, NLP is about having more choice in your decisions and the way you live your life. 

As a coach or leader you have a privileged position of being a positive role model for the people you support in demonstrating emotional resilience, success thinking and an optimistic mindset and being a leader who cares about the positive impact that you have on others lives. 

By being a positive role model you are consciously and unconsciously leading the way for people to have more choice in how they think, feel and behave in all situations. Life can throw curveballs and feel uncertain at times. Knowing that you have choice empowers you to make decisions that align with your values and live your life in a way that is right for you.

So again, it fits really with that other presupposition as well. It’s all circles back to change. If you want something different in your relationships, if you want something different at work, if you want something different in your health and wellbeing, then it’s about taking ownership of that. As a coach, leader or an educator, we can support people in taking ownership of their life and taking that personal responsibility for their direction by showing them how to be the change that they wish to see.

We can show them how to be the designer of their life, rather than the person who’s in the passenger seat and waiting for things to happen.

We can help people to be proactive and to take the necessary steps to move into action, to mobilize themselves to achieve the things that they want in their life. 

👏 Presupposition 3: clients aren’t broken. 

People don’t need fixing. 

As a coach or leader you empower people to take ownership of the decisions in their life and move forwards in a way that is right for them. Sometimes you might find yourself wanting to rescue your client as you unconsciously see something in them that triggers something in you. NLP teaches us that we ‘all have the resources we need or we can create them’. Having this attitude and belief about your clients ensures that you stay out of any drama triangles and invite your client to discover their own inner resources, skills and strengths. 

Sometimes people come to coaching feeling flawed and like something is wrong with them. They might have been doing patterns of thinking and behavior that have been part of who they are for a long time and can’t break free from them. 

These patterns of behavior and strategies that they’ve developed through life might make them feel like they are broken. 

I’ll often have clients who say ‘what’s wrong with me?’, ‘Why can’t I just sort it out?’, ‘Why can’t I just be the person I want to be?’ And ‘Why can’t I change these things?. 

In NLP, we say that people actually work perfectly. 

What that means is, we develop patterns of being, strategies and ways of doing things along with habits because somewhere in our life, they have served us and they have made sense to us. They’ve been set up as maybe a sort of a survival strategy, or a way of fitting in with the world. A way of being accepted, or a way of getting love, affection and attention. 

The PROBLEM is that these patterns may no longer serve the individual and are limiting their potential and personal growth. It’s limiting them from having happy, good, fulfilling, flourishing relationships, limiting them from feeling good about themselves and limiting them from believing that they are a deserving and good enough person.

 When  working with clients from an NLP perspective, we’re looking at that individual as somebody who isn’t broken, they don’t need rescuing, and they don’t need us to fix them. Actually, what they need is to understand themselves better to have self awareness around their own patterns and their own behaviors, so that they can start to unlearn some of the things that are no longer working for them. They then relearn and re-educate their brains so that they can actually become who they want to be, overcoming their challenges and their struggles. 

Find out more about NLP

If you are interested in learning more about NLP then come and join my free

Facebook group here 👇

Listen to my podcast here 👇

Watch the free NLP taster session here 👇

See you soon 

Sarah 🤩


Be the Change

Find out how NLP has the potential to transform your life!

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