“How can I change the direction my life has taken?”

“How do I help my family and friends they’re so stuck?”

“I’m lost and don’t know what to do next!”

“I have people who come to me, want to change but never take my advice”

These are not uncommon phrases that we hear when people are talking to us about coaching or learning about how to coach and support other people.  Both Jo and I regularly coach individuals both at a personal and professional level and know that they often only seek support at a stage when things have become unbearable.  Whether that be at work, in their relationships, with their health, wealth or general wellbeing or perhaps they’ve noticed patterns of thoughts or behaviours that they want to change.

And if you’re lucky enough to have people around you to talk to, you might have shared some of your concerns with them – only for them to tell you what they think you should be doing.  Or maybe people come to you for advice and support, they consider you a great listener and friend but no matter how hard you try to help them, nothing seems to shift or change.  You might even be a manager, clinician or professional who has constant contact with people who come to you to help you sort their problems out; yet no amount of support or conversations seems to really be making a sustainable difference.

People don’t do what you tell them to do

It’s really that simple, that is why what you’ve been doing hasn’t been working, even if they are coming to you asking for that advice.  Even if you are in a position of influence as a parent, carer, manager, doctor or friend. Even if you as the person that wanted to shift has been turning to others for help.

In our NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) sessions we teach you how each of us has a unique perspective on the world (we call it a “map”) and that map is based upon how we filter and process the information around us.  That map was created based upon previous experiences, decisions, what’s important to us, our beliefs (empowering and limiting) and a whole set of points of view that we take on from the world around us.

So when I am explaining my issue or problem to you, I’m really sharing my unique map of how I see that as a problem for me.

When you’re listening to someone explain what’s happening, you are also filtering what they are saying and creating a map or interpretation of what you think they are experiencing.

Your map and their map are never the same, you’ll never truly understand what they are talking about, what they experienced or how they see the world.

Think of the most amazing sunrise or sunset you ever experienced

As you recall the moment that you watched the sun appear or disappear, consider how you’d explain it someone else.  The beauty of the colours, the experience of the environment, what if felt like as you witnessed that happening.  What you put into words will never truly explain what you saw, heard and felt.

And the same is true for any of our experiences, we will never be able to put into language what is happening right now for us and what that really means.

So how do I help people to help themselves?

Firstly, stop telling them what to do, even if they ask for help.

Instead allow them to explore what’s been stopping them from making the change they are seeking and what they’d like to do about it next.  This is true if you are self-coaching as well.  Stop following 7-step plans generated by other people and come up with your own advice!

The style of NLP that we utilise with clients and teach on our NLP Training courses is all about the change coming from within, utilising a series of questions and strategies that enables people to tap into their inner advice and to come up with creative solutions that work within their map.

That’s not to say there isn’t scope to also offer advice and experience and if you do that once they’ve initiated the change that advice is much more likely to be heard.

We have a series of introductory events all about utilising NLP with yourself and others, check out our events listing page to find the next one for you and join us to experience the change that NLP can bring for your thinking, behaviours and outcomes in life.

See you soon


Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash