The Power of Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Transforming Careers and Lives
By Lori A. Jazvac.
Shellie Deloyer, founder, coach, and trainer at Bright Futures Solutions describes Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) as “a set of tools, techniques, and skills that empower people to create lasting and transformative changes so they can create the results and outcomes they’re looking for.”
I recently attended Shellie’s three-part webinar series, Activating Potential: How to Apply Mindset Tools to Empower Your Clients Toward Career Success, presented in partnership by CERIC and Career Professionals of Canada. Learning about NLP has given me a refreshing perspective on how to look at life, foster transformation, and build healthy relationships.
NLP: The Foundation for Growth and Change
As career professionals, we’ll often encounter clients who feel “stuck” and disempowered in their careers. However, it is not always about their lack of resources, but rather how they are using their conscious mind (the “goal setter”) and unconscious mind (the “goal getter”) to establish and achieve their goals. In fact, the conscious mind can be compared to the captain of a large ship and the unconscious mind as its crew. When the conscious and unconscious minds are in sync, then one gains a clear focus to efficiently achieve their goals.
The Solution Model
Sometimes, we see our clients carrying around disappointments, past regrets, fears, and the pain of career setbacks, all of which can hinder their future success. We can help guide them towards greater clarity, purpose, and motivation by encouraging them to step back to observe their problems and reframe their perspectives. Champion clients to become more aware of their problems, the root causes, and recurring patterns.
How do we steer them towards a solution? We can do so by rechannelling their focus to the skills that need to be developed, then motivating them to leverage those skills, take action, and implement and manage the solution.
Ask your clients this critical question: what is the secondary gain?
Secondary gain is at play when an apparently negative or problematic behaviour provides a positive or beneficial result in some way. The presence of a secondary gain makes the negative or problematic behaviour more likely to continue unless specifically dealt with. An example would be a person who knows that smoking is harmful and no longer socially acceptable, but believes that it’s a good way to relax and look sophisticated.
Secondary gain is often outside of conscious awareness, many layers removed from the presenting problem, so it requires some digging to identify the root. Work with the client to uncover the benefits that he or she gets, regardless of the difficulties and barriers presented by the problem. What pay-off or gain is being achieved that outweighs the pain of having the problem?
By raising their awareness, our clients will uncover some valuable insights and shift from a “problem mindset” where they make excuses and justify their lack of results, into a “solution mindset.” The key really lies in tapping into the unconscious mind more frequently to maximize success.
Some Thoughts from Shellie on Applying NLP in Career Coaching
I asked Shellie about the most important lessons she’s learned from applying NLP in her work with clients, and about how she believes NLP can help career pros in the coaching work they do.
Her response: “I’ve learned how much we all have our own limitations and baggage that we carry around. It’s part of the human experience, regardless of how good or not-so-good your life is, but these limitations hinder the process of living to our potential.
When we commit to cleaning up the past and getting clear on our direction for the future, then we can become empowered to create the life we want to live. NLP gives us the tools to be able to do so.
Awareness is great, and it provides the foundation to know what you need to work on. However, awareness alone doesn’t solve the problem. You then need the tools to be able to reconcile unresolved issues and build new skills that will lead you to your desired outcomes. That’s what NLP provides. It’s a set of tools, techniques, and skills that empower people to create lasting and transformative change.”
Shellie says that NLP gives career pros a very effective tool to reveal the root cause of problems clients present during coaching sessions, resolve these issues, and develop skills that will lead to positive change.
A webinar learning I took away was that helping clients reach their next level of growth involves asking the right questions, actively listening, brainstorming, eliciting values, and helping them discover the solution.
To uncover values, ask the client this question: “What’s important to you in the context of your career?” Repeat the question three times to keep eliciting more responses. Afterwards, have the client rank the values they named in order of importance.
Next, by using visualization, we can help clients to “see” a creative solution in their mind’s eye, and then we work on achieving that solution, step-by-step, while ensuring respect for their values.
NLP Presuppositions: Basic Principles to Respect in NLP Coaching
There are a number of foundational beliefs – or presuppositions – to respect when using NLP with clients, but three of them really resonated with me:
- People have all the resources they need to succeed and to achieve their desired outcomes. There’s no such thing as a lack of resources. There’s only a lack of resourcefulness.
- There is no failure, only feedback.
- All procedures should be designed to increase choice.
When we, as career professionals, adopt these liberating beliefs, we can support our clients in achieving what they may think of as impossible.
We can develop new skills and build our toolkit so that we’re equipped to help clients improve their resourcefulness and self-awareness by taking courses with Bright Futures Solutions and Career Professionals of Canada.
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” C. S. Lewis