NLP Training: What Meta Model Questions to Ask?

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In NLP training we learned the Meta Model.

I got the following question in from a student in our past Los Angeles NLP Training:

“When coaching, I find myself using meta modeling as a crutch instead of looking for more things that might be important. I think I get stuck being nit picky on those details that might not be as impactful. I find myself spending too much time on getting people’s definitions.”

During NLP Training we learned the following:

  1. The meta model allows for the unconscious to become conscious.
  2. It is an information gathering tool.
  3. Allows to bring clarity as to what the problem is, how the problem works, what we need, require, feeling, wish to have, etc.

Here are a series of tips:

Determine the Outcome of Using the Meta Model Before You Start

What is your reason to Meta Model? The meta model isn’t about certification in an NLP training course, memorizing and applying it to questions, or asking using the meta model for meta model sake. Before you sit down with another person, ask yourself this question: “what is your specific reason to meta model?” For example, finding out what NLP technique to apply, finding out what goal to set, finding out what the problem is, what someone may wish to buy from you, getting to know someone, creating consciousness for the client, etc. And yes, maybe sometimes you meta model someone to be able to create a definition or find out how they define something. Most of the time, the reason for meta modeling is likely going to be very different from this reason.

Link the Intention to the Meta Model Questions

Once you have determined the outcome for using the meta model, you ask the client questions in order to meet that outcome, clarifying anywhere that they are vague, or unclear. In a sense, the meta model questions need to drive towards reaching the outcome, while just asking more questions is just “too much information.”

NLP Training Reminder: Information Gathering vs NLP Technique for Intervention

As a reminder of your course, what I always like to make clear, is a good 80-90% of what your do is information gathering. The rest is an NLP technique for intervention. This is information for you, but also information that the client needs to become conscious of.

Stepping Into a Place of Curiosity

A good emotional state to step into is one of “curiosity.” When you are curious you are not judgmental; it is no longer about you, definitions, NLP, your NLP training, or the meta model. It becomes about the map of the client’s world.

NLP Training Reminder: “Shoot Things Through the Funnel”

When we, in NLP Master Practitioner training especially, learn how to design, we question one of the students on a presenting problem and design an NLP technique for them. The outcome we seek is information to create a design. So it focuses on a lot of what and how things work. In a group process, the curiosity and personal interest of a group of people can really bring things off track rather than shooting things down a funnel to get information that we need. People ask meta model questions individually, meaning one question is not connected to the other, let one question be a follow-up to the previous questions.

See Rather than Look & Listen Rather than Hear

When a person is so stuck on the meta model, they forget it is about the client. If you truly listen and truly see, then it allows you to ask much better questions. It allows you to ask better follow-up questions, be aware of their state shifts, tonality of voice, etc. These are powerful cues to ask for more.

NLP Training Reminder: We are NOT Psychologists

Some people like to go wider, and ignore shooting things down the funnel rather than setting an outcome for coaching, sales, marketing, or whatever your outcome may be. It is as if they are so anchored to wanting to be a psychologist, or are limited to an idea that things can only be solved through psychology, or even get enjoyment from someone sharing very personal details. They sit there meta modeling about childhoods, digging for trauma, assuming there is trauma, and all sorts of things, while what the client needs is knowing what goal to set. You are not a psychologist working with the mentally ill, or those in extreme ill-being. You are someone who works with people who want to increase their mental health, and to create more well-being in their life.

Knowing When To Stop

It isn’t about gaining as much detail as possible, it isn’t about the content of someone’s past present and future. What we learned in NLP training is how to find out how something works, how their problem works, who is involved in what way, or what do they want to buy, what they need, what helps make the decision, etc. There is a point at which you have enough details and don’t need any more. It is about relevant details, not all of them. You would never really be done meta modeling if your desired outcome is all details.

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