Sue Knight, author of NLP at Work and trainer and consultant explains her attraction to NLP and why she is still blown away by it.
I have been a trainer on and off (mostly on) for nearly 30 years now. I joined English Electric as a lecturer in their Engineering Training School in the late 60’s. My first training for the role was at an RAF base (there weren’t too many trainer training programmes around at the time and my manager was ex-RAF).
I was taught how to structure my training (basically tell them what you are going to talk about, tell them and tell them again), how to talk on any subject for one minute without hesitation, and how to use the overhead projector, how to write on a flipchart (walk as your write and don’t bend your wrist!) and how to give out handouts.
It was a great foundation for the training that I subsequently gave and I learnt a lot from my whole experience as a woman and civilian on that course. However I would say that my training then was formulaic and dissociated even though it was well received. I prepared notes and lesson plans at length before going into the classroom. And I learnt to give the prescribed sessions with clarity and consistency.
Then came NLP
Years later I came across NLP. I was attracted to it (not knowing what it was) through the example of a trainer on a creative writing course on which I was a delegate. What intrigued me was his role.
There was a writer hosting the training but he struggled to explain how he wrote in the rich and poetic way that he did. But this other trainer Roy Johnson had studied the writer (modelled him to use the NLP term) to uncover the secrets of his strategies, and that intrigued me. Not only that but Roy Johnson was an example of elegance, sensitivity and encouragement that I had not experienced in any trainer before.
I decided then and there that whatever this NLP thing was that I wanted to learn it. And when I did, I met with other trainers who demonstrated similar characteristics and more. I was blown away by their examples.
The effect for me
And now I remember my RAF training well and I have supplemented it a lot from my NLP studies and experience. I design courses by modelling my experience and state, the state of the world, my family and anything else that is significant at the time.
This way I bring what is most present for me. I seek to teach to the delegates’ unconscious minds by being the example of what I promote. I discover the unique learning styles of each member of my group recognising that they can change from moment to moment and I support them to discover the resources that they have already, especially their excellence. If I am working in-house then I will probably either have modelled the beliefs, skills and attitudes that the company is seeking or I will have facilitated them to do that for themselves.
I work real time, coaching each group towards their outcomes. Milton Erikson said unique consultants make unique interventions, with unique people, in unique ways in unique contexts. That captures the best of NLP training for me.
And my preparation time? Well it is constant as it is the way that I live my life, and I bring that, warts and all to the ‘classroom’ for my participants (my co-learners) and me to process. I was daunted by the earliest description of NLP that I was taught. The study of the structure of subjective experience but that is what I do. I create or capture experiences ideally the best we can find anywhere and we study them.
In essence all those years ago my training was all about me and now it is all about ‘them’.
That is the nature of my NLP training. What is yours?