The Circle of Excellence is a very simple NLP pattern typically taught inside an NLP Practitioner training, in order to practice spatial anchoring and state elicitation. Tony Robbins often does this pattern inside his seminars, you are free to use it, as he didn’t created it either. Nor did I.
There is another video on Global NLP TV explaining the steps to the circle of excellence. These videos are part of the NLP Practitioner course online which we have made available to students who have done our live NLP training. And learned the Circle of Excellence in their class.
But here are the steps that only a well trained NLP Practitioner should follow:
This is an extremely versatile pattern that can be utilized for any situation where there are unresourceful feelings present that occur in a particular context. For instance, for anxiety, for public speaking, or for frustration each time you have a job interview. This pattern is not for trauma or phobias.
1. Tell the client you are going to create a state of excellence for them: a state where all systems are 100% go!
2. You let the client imagine a circle in front of them on the floor: a circle of excellence.
3. Ask the client for VAK information about the circle: “What color is it?” “What sound?” “Is there a texture?” “What temperature?” Etc.
4. Ask the client what resourceful state would be helpful to have inside this circle of excellence. Then elicit the named resourceful state, by associating someone in a time in the past where they had this resource.
Example: “Think of a time when you were in the state of ______. Go back to that time, see what you would see, feel what you would feel, and hear what you would hear.” When the client is at peak state, motion the client gently into the circle of excellence. Or: “When you feel it, step in to the circle.” Then ask the client to step out.
5. Break state. This is a separator state. You do this by asking unrelated questions. For example asking someone what their phone number is backwards.
6. Test the circle of excellence, by letting the client step into it. Then step out.
7. Ask the client if more resourceful states are required in this circle to make it even better. If yes, go back to step number 4. Keep doing this until a very powerful circle of excellence is created.
8. Future pace the client into the context in which the circle of excellence is required. Then step into the circle. Test your work.
9. Instruct the client that they can take this circle of excellence with them everywhere they go (if within the map of the client, ask to imagine picking it up off the floor and putting it in their pocket.) Option: chaining a specific response to a specific stimulus.
10. “When I tap you on the shoulder (or touch your arm,) I want you to step into the circle of excellence.” “Tell me, specifically what things happen or go wrong in a future context where you need your circle?” or “How will you know that you need your excellent state?” Broadly speaking, you are eliciting the negative state to a degree.
11. Let the client step into the circle as soon as the problem state is accessed.
12. Break state.
13. Test your work by asking, by future pacing the client, if the client is still unresourceful when they think of this context. If the pattern worked, the context is now chained to excellent state or the unresourceful feeling is flattened.