NLP and other Modalities of Change

Modalities of Change

In our Global NLP Training many students have skills an certifications from other modalities of change.

Most common:

  • Other coaching modalities.
  • Medical modalities: traditional medicine, dentistry, psychology, psychotherapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, physiotherapy, pain management professionals etc.
  • Education: teaching in the traditional sense, special education, business trainers, motivational speakers etc.
  • Sports modalities: personal training, professional sports, sports coaching
  • Body work: reiki, massage therapy, alternative healing etc.
  • Spirituality related modalities:  various alternative healing, ministry, motivational speaking
  • Business: finance management, change management, team building etc.
  • Other: hypnosis, weight management, etc.

Various professionals walk into my training, some more skilled than others, some world renowned and some recently certified. However the level of skill an individual has in one field, doesn’t guarantee them becoming top of their class in NLP Master Practitioner training. The simple reason is, their willingness of using the new learned NLP tools in their practice sessions with others for coaching and change work.

Some students I need to stop in their tracks when first practicing, because I see them using other modalities they already master or hope to one day adequately. There is nothing wrong with that inherently, as long as NLP and coaching is learned! The student is at risk to practice the other method, versus learning NLP and coaching.

The irony is that it isn’t something the most skilled individuals in a given modality do, it is common for me to find out at the end or after the training that we are dealing with a celebrity in their field of sorts. They seem to understand, that if you want to learn, it is not about practicing what you already know how to do at expert levels. Real learning is about being uncomfortable, clumsy, even confused and frustrated at times. This is something easy to move out off, at least it is in Global NLP Training, as I designed the program with the understanding that the brain learns best when it is having fun, and is engaged in a creative way. Where it is about application! Which means the student has to apply the tools in practice in the class room, in order to learn! When the tools aren’t applied, then there is no learning!

The students I see gravitating to wanting to apply what they already know, versus what they need to learn is more commonly found in the student who feels the need to impress the other students. The thing is, there is no need to impress anyone, while you are learning. Because failure is feedback, the more experienced the trainer, the more they have actually failed! They are the individuals in the room with the largest failure record!

Another reason is a genuine interest to want to help the students they are working with, in something they do well! There is nothing wrong with that, but would be wise to do outside of the class room. Because the other student is there to learn NLP, and part of that is being the coach and the client in the practice sessions. Also keep in mind, that with 7 to 16 days in a room learning how to apply NLP, it requires full focus and energy. The trainers can manage this well. However, if the student engages in energy, emotional and thought engaging modalities during a break….are they still capable to fully learn? Especially, because the program was designed to work with conscious and unconscious processes! It has happened more than once, that a student was unable to enter the training room after a break or even the next day, because a well meaning student did some sort of other work on them after the class.

All I can say is, relax, and enjoy the learning process. You are not here to impress anyone. You will have plenty of opportunity to change, beyond your wildest of imagination inside the training room. You are here to learn amazing new tools, that have the potential to compliment what you already know, the ability to become even better in your previous modality, and the ability to make a giant leap forward. And perhaps it may blow the modality you already know straight out of the water where it comes to speed and effectivity. NLP is pretty ground breaking and cutting-edge for most individuals when they first encounter the power of it.

It is a shame really, because why would you spend time and money on an NLP Training, fail to practice in class, while applying another modality instead. My advise to students is always, learn NLP, and practice NLP. Do the integration after the training is over. After many years of training students, as well as personal experience, it is best to keep other modalities somewhere in the back of your mind. But fully focus on the immersion, and practice of NLP. So the learning process can allow itself to move to conscious competence or even unconscious competence.

The nice thing is, that conscious and especially unconscious competence in that other modality, you will integrate it on the spot in your mind! While learning amazing new tools.

Upon returning home, it is good to start with a brain storm with yourself to see how both modalities can further integrate and compliment each other. How can it be packaged to the client? I believe in any modality you learn, you take the pieces that work great for you. In all honesty there isn’t a single modality I have trained in, where there were at least a few things that I decided not to assimilate into my change work. And even in a bad training or outdated modalities, I found a few useful tools, techniques or understanding.

I think it is a wonderfully positive thing that there are individuals and (future) small business owners that come with an experience of decades in some modality to then see them combine it with NLP.  As a practitioner of change work, I find the larger the tool set of someone, the more you are capable of picking the best technique for the job. And perhaps a faux pas of an NLP Trainer to say this, often times NLP is the best modality, but sometimes tapping into other modalities of change is an incredibly wise thing to do.


  1. Great blog post, I love your comment “You are not here to impress anyone. ” I’ve often seen people on trainings that seem to want to be there solely to impress others.

    I’m keen to know, in business what area do you find NLP most useful for your clients?

    Thanks, M

  2. Thank you Mark! As business is such a broad topic….my answer would maybe differ. However, in general, I think everything begins and starts rapport. Regardless if you are manager, sales professional, engineer, accountant etc. The possibilities of NLP are great in any area of business really. People who are in a field of dealing with others predominantly, I find the application of the NLP perceptual positions and language patterns (both meta as well as Milton) extremely powerful. For the creative minds, and people in development of products or marketing materials for others, I would add submodalities to that. In the end all of NLP is based of modeling of people who do excellence really well. Take that out of the NLP tool development box, you can model any skill provided you have an expert present. If I had a large corporation, I would sure to model my top performers, and to find out what specifically makes them better than the rest. Then teach it to others.