It’s not about learning here, it’s about facilitation. Remember that 20/80 rule? 20% happen with your coach and 80% outside of the office… You remember? Great! So you’ve done your 80% and you’re still working on that; you’ve been practising that other language for quite some times, or you are just learning it and… you are stumbling a bit… you keep the practice, the listening, the reading, still… somehow you feel you are not going anywhere in terms of fluency and ease of usage. You know the words, all that vocabulary, you know the grammar enough but all does not stop that mumbling in your head… frustrating…
The first time, I used NLP coaching for language learning facilitation, was with an young Italian professional. She had been in Ireland for quite some times and was struggling with her writing, while she was very comfortable with reading. She was actually reading a lot, and enjoying it… but each time she was to write something, it was a nightmare… words were resisting… and writing a small paragraph of poor quality was taking hours… and she was never happy with her writing. We met for an hour and a half one late afternoon, and later in the evening as I was driving home I saw that email popping up on my phone: ‘writing: this is amazing: I write!!! I’d like to work again on this point, because I can really see a big difference. I just write!’
Neat, isn’t it? I was delighted and over the moon, knowing how important it was for her to write easily and well. There was more than that, as a French speaker having been working in English for more than 15 years, I knew that sense of satisfaction when you feel you master the language. Perfection, of course not… but that good feeling of ‘I have it’.
So what happens? What does the coaching facilitate?
Quite a few things often appears when having difficulties using another language and they are not exclusive. For instance –problem of confidence e.g. Am I using the right word? Is that the right sentence? Am I using the right accentuation? –problem of self-esteem e.g. they (native speakers) are so good at it; I’m so annoyed people have to speak slowly for me; people are so nice at making an effort to understand me –lack of spontaneity e.g. over thinking something instead of just saying it creating an hesitation pseudo permanent –and of course a lack of mapping of skills in our brain… e.g. our brain is really good at reading but really poor at writing, while both activities are using the same capabilities, and sometimes the brain need to be taught that –also possible fear e.g. I will lose my identity if I start thinking or writing in another language.
Sense of identity can be extremely linked to language, which is extremely linked to culture. Within sociology It has been well recognized that people’s attitude can vary depending on the language they speak. You can actually find countless examples of literature on this; and I can tell you, purely based on experience, I am a slightly different person when I practice my Italian, speak French or use English. Being aware of that difference is actually quite funny.
Using NLP coaching with someone learning language can really accelerate the learning process, the recommended approach is to start with 1–lowering barrier to learning and building up confidence 2–if needed work on sense of identity and realize how there is rather an expansion of identity rather than a loss 3–do some re-framing on situation, for instance more than often you hear ‘people are so nice at making an effort to understand me ‘ and see the learner completely omitting his/her effort in learning 4–then move to skills mapping for instance map reading skills to mapping skills. In some cases you may even think of doing wider skills mapping, I lately work with someone that was really good in Sales and marketing in her own language and was struggling in applying the concept in English, a mapping of skills did the job.
Now, Imagine… you have a two days training as part of a learning solution and you follow that up with individual coaching session to identify from scratch anything that could be in the way of fully applying the new skills to the job behaviour… Imagine for a moment the excellent results you will get quicker.