It’s just around 3 years ago that my interest in NLP had grown to the stage that I wanted to find out more about training courses. I’d read the books (and I want to say seen the movie!) and it was time to get some hands on experience.
Why did I want to learn NLP? Well I was working in outsourcing for a biotech company and helping our internal teams find appropriate companies that could run the trials we needed to complete on new drugs to see if they worked or not. So I was on the hunt for a course to learn more about relationship management, communication and a bit of psychology on how to get inter-company teams to work together effectively. And for me NLP not only fitted the bill perfectly, but it also gave me the opportunity to learn more about what made me and other people tick.
I was lucky when I started my hunt in that I knew a couple of people who’d already done Practitioner courses. For anyone out there thinking about doing an NLP course, the best thing you can do is to find someone you know and trust who’s already done some training. Personal recommendations are invaluable when picking the right course.
There are a host of different “veins” of NLP and various associations and boards that go with them. NLP’s growth has been organic since Bandler and Grinder started its development back in the 1970’s and no single organisation has command of the market. If you just start Googling you’ll find a plethora of options for licensed or certified NLP courses accredited, recognised or rubber stamped by various NLP organisations. Some of those organisations are global (or at least try to be), while others are small multi-national or just single country.
To name but a few there’s the American Board of NLP (ABNLP), the NLP Association, the Association of NLP (ANLP), the International Association for NLP (IANLP), the International Association of NLP Trainers (INLPTA), the British Association of Hypnotherapy NLP (BAHN), the International Neuro-Linguistic Programming Association (INLPA) and the Professional Guild of NLP. Phew! Confused with all those NLP’s, A’s and I’s in different combinations?! The main thing is once you’ve found your trainer check what accreditation they have and consider if that’s right for you.
So on to the courses. There’s 3 main levels of NLP courses – Practitioner, Master Practitioner and Trainer. In Practitioner you learn the foundations of NLP with the presuppositions, the concept of the cause and effect equation and you focus on learning the techniques such as rapport and anchoring. In Master Practitioner you move on to putting those individual techniques together and you spend time working on linguistics and the power of language. Plus in the course I did you spend a lot of time learning about values – what they are, how to find out someones values and how they affect thinking and behavior. Finally there’s Trainer level. For some that is a 5 day course, for others it’s almost a 4 week course. In essence at that level you learn how to teach NLP to others, you learn how to be an amazing, charismatic presenter and you have your knowledge of NLP tested in a collection of written and practical exams.
Some companies offer a collection of other courses such as short introductions to NLP (ranging from a couple of hours to a couple of days), Business Practitioner. NLP Coach, etc. The introductions can be really useful to get to know a trainer or to test out if this is really for you. But for me I had made the decision this was right for me and I wanted to learn NLP from the ground up so I went straight to a full Practitioner course. Depending on how you want to use NLP then perhaps a different course will be best for you.
So once you’ve identified a potential training company here’s some thoughts on things to consider:
- Number of attendees – NLP training is very interactive, so how many people does your trainer take on a course. For me I liked the idea of smaller groups where you got more individual attention, so my trainer had a maximum of 18. If you want to train with one of the big guns for the sake of their name then be prepared to be in a room with at least a couple of hundred people and don’t expect the personal touch.
- Course structure – as an example a Practitioner course can range in structure from an intensive 21 days, to 4 or 5 weekends over 5 or 6 months to pre-course home study, an open book exam and then an intensive face to face course for 7 straight days. Each approach has pros and cons in terms of your focus, time away from work, home and family, etc. Pick a version that works for you and that will help you do your best. For me the home study and 7 day intensive course worked perfectly as it meant just one trip back to the UK.
- Trainer – picking the right trainer is the most crucial. You’re going to spend a lot of time with this person and you need to feel comfortable that you connect with them. If you have an opportunity at least talk to them on the phone and if you can, go along to one of their introductory sessions (many trainers run these) so you can see how they work. If they’ve written any books then hunt them down to learn more about how they see NLP.
- References – I was lucky enough to have some recommendations from a friend of trainers to think about. But if you don’t have that then consider asking your potential trainer if they have any students that have recently completed on of their courses that you can talk to. Take a look at my ‘About Me’ page if you want to learn more about who I trained with.
- Accreditation/certification – as I said above consider if it’s right for you. Take a look at any association or organisation that approves or recognises the course and what their standards are.
For those of you already NLP trained – how did you pick your course? For those of you wanting to embark on training for the first time what help do you need to pick the right course for you?
(Picture credit – ABNLP)
© Jacqui Gatehouse and NLP THIRTEEN, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jacqui Gatehouse and NLP THIRTEEN with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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