NLP & Personal Development for 40+ Year Olds


NLP training and personal development are for all ages. Yet, surprisingly enough, there are no NLP techniques and very few personal development tools specifically about aging or developed for those over 40.

Even coaches, therapists, and others in the field of personal development have no idea how to coach “age appropriate” beyond working with children and teenagers. The personal development authors follow suit. One size must fit all. We are trying to apply the same toolsets to 20 and 50-year-olds. How is this even logical? Are you going to use the same goal-setting tools? And set similar goals? How do ideas about success differ?

I have struggled with the same. In my 40s, I increasingly realized that most personal development books and tools are created for people under 40. This is not surprising. When marketing companies do research and ask you to select an age group, they qualify EVERYONE in a certain age bracket to be the same. However, marketeers’ final age bracket ends at 65+, where everyone becomes one homogenous rest group. Life ends at 65 in our age-obsessed society, except for the 400 billion dollar anti-aging industry in the United States alone.

The irony is that scientists have proven that 65+-year-olds have more diverse interests and diversity than younger ones. Yet the same scientific community tends to study younger people; in fact college undergraduates are overwhelmingly studied more than any age group. Why? As these are the easiest to find inside a university, and this is where the research is done.

Also, the media, TV, Hollywood, and even Disney Movies want us to embrace our irrelevance over 40. Worse yet, being a (white) woman over age 40. It is a sad state of affairs that so many change workers follow these trends like sheep. And with this, I believe they completely limit themselves. We live in a very ageist society, where we tend to be drawn towards people like us, with the same labels we do, perfectly sorted by age. This results in those of us who work within the world of personal development predominantly working within their age group.

Even coaches over 40 are not niching down and state:
1. “I can function as your mentor.”
2. “I coach those in phase 2 of their life.”

And with phase 2 I refer to the groundbreaking work “Falling upwards” by Richard Rhor, who separates people into two phases:

Phase 1: Those of us who still need to build our container and identity.
Phase 2: Those of us who have built our container already and wish to fill it.

It is a mistake to not coach age appropriate. As clients are willing to be coached by anyone as long as they know what they are talking about. And you provide custom work.

How do you coach age appropriately? You do this by educating yourself about each age group. And consider that your application and the outcomes you seek using NLP and other personal development tools IS age specific.