I had a very interesting conversation the other day which brought home to me that not everyone knows what NLP is, and that when I go off raving about this or that – they may not have a clue what I’m talking about!
For this reason, I tend to simplify a lot of what I write and say to people to make sure they understand that for me, being a Mindset and Confidence Coach is all about helping my clients to help themselves. We have a dig around the challenge they want to work on and then look at ways they can solve it by themselves.
It is this ‘simplification’ that can sometimes lead to people not realising that NLP can be used for some very deep stuff indeed!
As a Master Practitioner of NLP, or Neuro Linguistic Programming to use its full title, I have an infinite pool of resources and processes on which to draw to support the solutions we come up with. Sometimes we work on very deep seated fears and anxieties which may have been around for some time and might be about much more than skating competitions, but which manifest themselves in the form of nerves and severe anxiety before a test, competition or even school exam. Sometimes we simply need to examine the problem from a different angle to put it into a much more manageable context and enable a young person to see that it isn’t such a big issue after all. They find the resources and determination within themselves to make what they were seeing as a problem disappear.
A Forward Looking Approach
On the whole though, unlike with many conventional ‘psychology’ based interventions, it is a much more forward-looking approach. Rather than dwelling on things in the past, it is important to focus on where you want to be in the future. The past is unchangeable and is therefore simply a way to set context. NLP was also originally intended to be a way of replicating excellence – modelling how experts did things by breaking down the individual thinking and decision making which led to their expertise. So it is all about making what is already good, even better.
NLP gets very quick results – sometimes they are instant – and lasting too. This, and its creativity and simplicity is why I love it as a tool for re-confidencing people. It is widely known and used for getting rid of fears and phobias – such as fear of spiders, flying, exam nerves and so on. We use processes to anchor useful emotions and feelings such as confidence, calmness and excitement when appropriate. Other well-established processes help clients to see things from another’s point of view to resolve conflicts or break through an internal barrier which is imposing limitations on their ability to progress.
I look at people’s beliefs – often such ones as “I’m not good enough” or “I can’t do that” or “I don’t really belong here”. This last one is often referred to as ‘imposter syndrome’ which can be very common in skaters when they move up a group and feel the pressure of being around more experienced skaters who have been there for a while. These are, quite simply, beliefs. They are only thoughts and thoughts can be changed. I just help people understand how to do that – and how to continue doing that as they meet other, different challenges in the future, too.
Above all though, I look at language. The language which we use to talk to ourselves can be much harsher than the language we use to talk to our friends. It can be very negative and full of self-doubt. And the more we focus on the negative, self-doubting language, the more our brain serves us up evidence that it is ‘true’ (whether it is or not!). That’s why it is so important to deal with the words we use and make sure we break bad habits and start to form more positive ones around how we think and talk. Neuro Linguistic Programming helps us to do this, and is definitely one of my favourite and most effective of coaching tools.