Neuro-linguistic Programming (shortened usually to NLP, for obvious reasons), is used by coaches and trainers, and in the workplace by HR professionals and managers, often in learning and development environments, and sometimes without anyone even recognising the techniques being used. Despite being a relatively young area of study, NLP has passed into the mainstream with celebrity proponents such as Paul McKenna and (purportedly) Derren Brown, helping more people to learn about this powerful way to unlock your own mind and those of others.
NLP is a field of study that started in the mid 1970’s with Richard Bandler and John Grinder. It seeks to help understand the links between neurology, language and programming (meaning human behaviour); in essence, exploring how our behaviour is influenced by our thoughts and our language. By understanding that our perception of the world is merely that - a perception, viewed through a series of filters put in place by our own belief systems, experience and expectations - we are able to pin point self limiting patterns, and replace them with more positive ones. This can help unlock our abilities, as well as enabling us to fully understand our longer term potential and make plans to achieve it.
The same can be offered to others using NLP as a coaching tool, and the powerful links between thought and language patterns and behaviours, once understood, can have other impactful uses in the business world. NLP, for example, can be used to help individuals learn to sell effectively, build fruitful relationships with colleagues and customers, present with confidence and set high quality and motivational goals for themselves and others.
NLP is a useful asset to have on your CV if you are a HR Professional or manager of people in any context - and getting a qualification to demonstrate your ability makes sense, and provides a tangible way to help prospective employers understand your level.
Overall, NLP is believed by practitioners and users alike, to impact the effectiveness and productivity of teams on many levels, both in small and subtle ways, and broader and more visible changes, leading to increases in profitability in businesses of many types. Being able to demonstrate and articulate this skill will be of interest to employers in many fields, from general management positions to those more weighted towards developing and training others.
How to qualify
If this has piqued your interest about NLP, then there are many ways to find out more. It is a broad area, and your research could take you to sites offering top level hints and tips about how to use NLP to improve anything from how you run your team reviews and how you perform in presentations; right through to ways to gain qualifications through online or blended study programmes which cover all aspects of NLP. Introductory courses exist online, allowing you to try the types of training available without committing too much time or effort beforehand.
The more formal learning tools include introductory courses which give a brief overview, diploma or foundation level qualifications which may require a few days attendance at a training course, through to the practitioner and master practitioner, trainer and master trainer qualifications. These latter courses are significantly more in depth, requiring intensive study, projects and real-life practise of the skills learned. It should be noted that the face to face courses are generally considered to be the more valuable, as the ability to put the skills learned into practise in a ’safe’ learning environment helps the overall learning process.
Choose a reputable course provider to ensure that you are getting the best experience possible, and make sure that you understand the end learning goals of whichever course you undertake. Some courses are more aimed for the use of NLP as therapy and others more for NLP as applied to business; be sure to pick the one most suited to your needs. The Association for NLP offer a wealth of advice and information on their site - and can help you find a practitioner or course near you should you wish to take your interest further.
NLP is a rich and developing field, and for HR Professionals, managers and those interested in psychology, a qualification in this area can be a source not only of interest, but also of business advantage.