Coming Soon – NLP in the world, an interview series

I am delighted to soon launch my new project, ‘NLP in the world, an interview series’.

You must have guessed by now that I am indeed passionate about NLP and though I am focusing in using NLP at the individual level for change management coaching either in a business context or in a personal context, I have noticed that NLP is much more widely used. From a starting point, where it was created based on modelling some of the most successful psychotherapists (Eric Milton (hypnotherapist), Virginia Satir (family therapist), Fritz Perls (Gelstad therapy), Sigmund Freud (psychoanalysis), Carl Jung (psychoanalysis) and Pavlov (behaviourism), to cite a few), Neuro Linguistic Programming, it seems, is now used in many more fields and businesses. On top of my head I can think… coaching, self-development, psychology, learning difficulties, mediation, increase of creativity, improvement in competition, leadership training and development, team building, change management (either personal or business), and in terms of businesses, I can list… education, HR, corporate, management, career advices or outplacement company, sports. And I know the list is much longer, these are only my first thoughts. Suddenly, the more I learn about NLP, the less I know… in fact, an incredibly nice felling: the world is still to be discovered. Yes the world! And what’s best then than going into this world to look for the pieces of the puzzle!

The idea is simple, a series of interviews.

The method to be used: individual interview. Interviews will have all the same format, a set of questions common to each interview, and then some specific questions linked to the way the guests have been using NLP.

The conditions to be set: finding at least one person and if possible two per country to present how they have been using NLP – identifying as many usage of NLP as possible – identifying as many countries as possible.

The steps to be followed: first, identifying potential guests who have been using NLP within their work and are willing to participate –two, have either a phone/video or face-to-face interview –three, post interviews on this blog.

The timeline to be used: 12 months.

The goals to look for: pleasure in encountering my future guests -curiosity in discovering the wider panel of NLP usage, and hearing about it by people applying it versus the theoretical knowledge of a page on a book –curiosity again in seeing how many countries have adopted NLP. Started in English, NLP is now used in French, Spanish, Polish, Japanese, Hungarian and more. As many books were written with English language in mind (for instance the Structure of Magic, Richard Bandler & John Grinder, 1975) I am curious on how NLP have adapted in other languages. Has this created difficulties?

I won’t pretend with this project to find answers to all questions that could arise, I will just do my best to learn more and share it with you all. So watch this space, and let the fun begins!
© 2011 Florence Dambricourt – talking4good.com/

What is NLP about?

Last week, a friend of mine  asked me: ‘NLP, I got the acronym, Neuro Linguistics Programming, but what is all this about?’ So here I am, picking up the challenge to condense in a few words how I understand NLP, and more important how this benefits the individual .

Thinking about NLP, many sentences pop up in my mind, like -‘Positive Thinking’ -‘Life coaching methods’ –‘The study of excellence’ –‘Connecting unconscious and conscious mind’ –‘Understanding how one thinks’ –‘Metaphors and words’ –‘Empowering individual  to achieve self-improvement or self-achievement’ –‘Communication with others’ –‘Cultivating a state of excellence’. I honestly could go on for whole pages…

I guess then I need to go back to basic, and for this, I particularly like this small diagram, widely used within NLP sites and training (NLP communication model).
NLP Communication Model (adapted from Tad James Practitioner Course)You can see there that an individual’s behaviour is generated from his/her state (also called emotions) which is linked to the current physiology of the individual and his/her internal representation(s). Those internal representations, triggered by external events, are created following the application of a set of filters (including metaprograms) specific to each individual that I will call ‘the individual own version of the world’. NLP is ‘simply’ helping individuals to understand the link between Neuro -‘how one thinks’-, to the Linguistics -‘how one speaks’- and the Programming -‘how one acts’. By understanding the set of filters one applies, one can modify this and achieves a more satisfactory behaviour.

NLP supposes a major premise, ‘All… learning, behaviour, and change… are unconscious,’ and also includes a list of pre-suppositions, the key ones for me being: ‘Respect the other person’s model of the world’, ‘People are not their behaviour’, ‘Everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have available (at that time)’, ‘The map is not the territory (or the words we used are not the event or the item they represent)’, ‘People have all the resources they need to succeed (they may not be aware of it at that specific time)’.

Historically NLP is very interesting as it did not claim to create something new or re-invent the wheel. It did leverage from the existing fields of psychotherapy -linguistics, Phenomenology/Constructivism, Psychoanalysis, hypnosis and behaviourism-, the co-founders, Richard Bandler and linguist John Grinder, starting the creation of NLP by modeling very successful therapists in their field, like Eric Milton (hypnotherapist), Virginia Satir (family therapist), Fritz Perls (Gelstad therapy), Sigmund Freud (psychoanalysis), Carl Jung (psychoanalysis) and Pavlov (behaviourism), to cite a few. I will here refer to Lisa Wake and her ‘Map of the influences on NLP’ as well as her ‘Map of the History of NLP’, as a good summary  (http://books.google.ie/books?id=oahwVEXfmNwC&pg=PA7&lpg=PA7&dq=lisa+wake+map+of+influences+on+NLP&source=bl&ots=M32yn2Re8v&sig=uQjYdddskDDh5yzuI9AM4zXcH08&hl=en&ei=o0_mTZ2NKY22hAfV1ry0Cg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false) .

NLP is then an extremely powerful method as it empowers the individual (assuming individuals have the needed resources within themselves) and it focuses on the outcome and solution (the desired behaviour). For instance, you cannot make someone feel good, however you can assist the person in accessing their own resources, which they have identified as being needed, in order to start feeling good. As a result, the NLP practitioner is not there to fix the individual, but only to act as ‘an agent of change’ (Richard Bolstad, Resolve) by enabling the individual to access the solution within themselves.


© 2011 Florence Dambricourt – talking4good.com/

Understanding remote working impact

Let’s focus in today’s post on understanding remote working impact on individual. I am looking at corporate companies, where remote working can be divided into three situation: -a) the employee is partially remote, s/he is part of a group locally based and at the same time part of an extended team, called the virtual team based across various geographical locations, –b) the employee is not part of a local group and only part of a virtual team, s/he has still access to an office where s/he can meet workers from other groups, –c) the  extreme case, the employee is fully remote, working from an home-office without any co-workers around.

Literature is not prolific when looking at the notion of ‘remote working environment’. Many researchers, like Luckmann (1971), Giddens (1984), or Layder (1990), admitted that the working relationship is complex and multifaceted, with elements of structure and agency. Bion, Tajfel and Ash focused on the notion of group as an entity, the question of institution and the role played by the idea of being part of an institution. The most highlighting information found so far is from Jahoda’s study of unemployment (1982), where Jahoda looked at the functions necessary for a person’s psychological well-being which are fulfilled by work. She identified five vital latent functions which are: 1-regularly shared contact with people other than family members, 2-links with a set of goals and purposes, 3-access to social status and identity, 4-enforced activity, 5-a time-structure to the day.

It is clear that in the case of remote working, particularly the case c) above, two of the vital latent functions are missing, the first one ‘regularly shared contact with people other than family’ and the third one ‘access to social status and identity’. One will argue that employees have regular contact via phone and email (therefore  shared contact with non-family members), and have a role with work responsibilities (therefore a social status), however none of them are visible, the individual then losing his/her sense of being someone in the eyes of others (socio-constructionism perspective). In parallel this ‘invisibility’ effect creates a sense of loss of control, with the following consequences (Warr, 1987) –less variety in life –less certainty about the future –less opportunity for interpersonal contacts –lower social prestige. In addition we need also to understand the concept of group and institutions, and understand if a group dynamic can be created only via verbal communication. Time seems to become a key component in remote working situation where the individual is faced with a time issue as –time is needed to build up proper connection within the virtual team and being aware of everything that cannot be seen –and then time is also needed to balance the invisibility effects by building up a needed social network outside of work and family; as a result the employee’s orientation to work may evolve from a dynamic orientation (where job is fulfilling) to an instrumental orientation (where work is only a tool). We cannot forget there that a clear issue of work-life balance may surface with an invasion at home of employee’s work, and the employee not being able to cleanly separate work from family life. Going one step further we could even conclude that someone working remotely may be under a combined stress compiling unemployment stress and employment stress.

Two questions then –what can be done at management level to support employee in such situation? –what can be done at the employee’s level to cope with such situation? the intent being to keep the employee’s orientation to work dynamic.

© 2011 Florence Dambricourt – talking4good.com/

NLP at the employee level

Reading through the business world information on NLP, it seems the focus remains at the manager/leader level. What about the employees? Being passionate about NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and its possibilities, I recently offered some free NLP session at a local company. I was delighted to see many people jumping on the occasion, as I know once you start understanding the concepts behind NLP, you can start using them on your own, but I did not expect then that most of them will come forward with a specific item, linked to their work (from difficulty in performing team work or fitting in with the team, to simply completing a report or a project 100%). So here we went, one session (sometimes two) and a few weeks later a follow-up. In all cases feedbacks received were really positive and except one participant that wanted an extra session, all employees clearly noticed an improvement in their performance at work related to the simple item we discussed during our sessions. Now many would say ‘but this is the work of the manager. S/he should address these issues during 1:1 with the employee or during team exercises.’ I guess, this has been the approach so far, to put the emphasize on the manager role and rely on the manager capabilities to address those issues. However based on the content of the sessions I shared with those employees, I know this was simply not possible, each session highlighting a personal issue as the main factor in the issue faced at work. Whatever good can be our relationship with our manager, this remains a professional relationship and for sure, we do not want them to know that much about us.

How could we them import NLP in the business world to focus at the employee level as much as at the manager level? We all know that however good leaders are, without employees and teams behind them, their successes are more than limited. This small experiment, I was lucky enough to undertake, clearly shows that NLP did help those employees improving their own performance, and as a result made them more confident in their work. The key word seems here to be performance. Remains to identify if businesses would be willing to take onboard external NLP consultants to work with their employees in improving their performances. On top of my head I can see this at 2 levels 1) offer NLP sessions for employee that have identified recurrent issues they have not been able to resolve with their manager (or are not comfortable to resolve with their managers); 2) most company have a rating system, and they can decide to use NLP to address performance issues. Some people may think here that this may not worked as the employee may have the impression to be forced onto it, I would disagree, however one thing is clear, for this to work, the NLP consultant has to be dissociated from the team/manager s/he will be working with, either as an external or internal consultant.

© 2011 Florence Dambricourt – talking4good.com/

It's all about conversations: from concerns and solutions, to evolutions and innovations.