How to Learn NLP Properly

bruce farrow trainer of NLP

A standard email in my inbox says”Dear Bruce Farrow, can you recommend an NLP Trainer or tell me how I should learn NLP”.

How do I learn neuro-linguistic programming properly? This is probably the most popular question I get asked  and, to be fair, it is a good one. Many people hear about the benefits of learning NLP, perhaps from friends and relatives, but are unsure of the best way of learning it themselves. So they do the sensible thing, and ask!

Firstly, everything I say on this page is my opinion based on many years training and working in the NLP field. I have nothing to sell here so I think I can give unbiased advice.

I am going to cover each ‘training’ media to let you know whether you are going to gain any benefits and, if so, what they will be.

Your options, according to Bruce Farrow Trainer of NLP are

Learning NLP from Books

Honestly, you cannot learn NLP from a book. To learn NLP is an experiential process in an environment that is objective.

There are some great books on NLP out there (and some really bad ones too) and they might spike your interest, or make you aware of what is out there in the world of neuro-linguistic programming, but you cannot embed the skills of NLP out of a book.

They are great to broaden your knowledge but there is a difference between being aware of something and being able to use it.

Books are also great to install some curiosity about learning NLP properly and perhaps can suggest that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Learning NLP from Videos

It seems we live in the video age where if you want to know how to do something you go on You Tube or look at other sources of video media.

The problem you face is, how do you know the person giving the video instruction or course, is qualified to do so? How do you know whether he is actually presenting good information? How do you know that he/she actually understands the topics?

I have seen many videos that are labelled ‘learn nlp’ or similar titles, where the instructor really hasnt a clue  what NLP actually is. I have seen videos made by ‘so called’ NLP Trainers who have never ever trained a single person face to face. Think on this. If an NLP Trainer, a qualified NLP Trainer, is any good – wouldn’t they be running successful live courses? Perhaps there are reasons why they hide behind a video camera – perhaps they are not confident that they can handle the questions that come from a live audience! Perhaps they are scared of being found out!

The problem, the major problem with video courses is that it’s one way. The instructor is telling you all the time what to do and what to think. He/she doesn’t understand your model of the world because he/she cannot interract with you and consequently he/she is ramming his model of the world down your throat.

Perhaps these courses might make you curious about learning NLP properly, perhaps you might get to understand the background to NLP but it is VERY unlikely you will be able to install the skills, language and thinking that NLP requires because you are not getting any feedback on all of those things.

Learning NLP in a Training

This is really, the only way to truly learn NLP because you have to experience NLP to ‘get’ it.

In a good live training you can see the trainer in action, you can hear his language and you can see him demonstrate concepts and then, most importantly, you get to practice what you are learning under supervision. You get feedback and you learn quickly. In other words all your learning senses are stimulated you see, you hear and you do.

NLP is not something where the trainer says “if you do this then that will happen.” It is a little more complicated than that and before you really get NLP you have to have the mindset.

The mindset is the most important thing that NLP can teach you – and that is the mindset of curiosity and a willingness to experiment. In addition there is something called the Presuppositions of NLP which the trainer should explain to you. They are essentially assumptions that a person who understands NLP, lives by. You could call them a set of rules or beliefs that are required to have the NLP mindset.

Learning in training environment gives you the opportunity of getting your questions answered about things that are specific and relevant to you. It gives you opportunities to ‘live’ in an environment of NLP thinking and that in itself goes a long way yo installing good NLP practices.

There is no other way to learn NLP IF you want to actually learn it and do something with it.

How to Pick an NLP Training

Looking around the choices of NLP courses these days is quite scary if you are new to the field, so I will attempt to simplify your choices or explain what they will be.

NLP is governed, in the loosest sense, by what are called Certification board. These are organisations that lay down standards for trainings and expect their trainers to follow those standards. The 3 largest Certification boards are the ABNLP, INLPTA and the SNLP.

The first thing for you to do is to track down their websites and look at the standards that they insist on.

Your next step is to find a training that fits your needs AND complies with the certification standards dictated by the board that the training is affiliated to.

Each Certification board has a particular way of training – the ABNLP go down the route of pre course study followed by a 7 day Practitioner course, the INLPTA insist on all learning to be done face to face so their courses are longer and the SNLP seem to do shorter courses without pre course study.

I trained under the ABNLP all my training days so am happy to recommend that the pre course study (about 60 hours) followed by a 7 day live training 9another 60 hours) works really well. However I am sure other boards have their own benefits too.

One thing is key – make sure you are getting at least 120 hours of training in total and ignore trainings that don’t offer any live, face to face, training.

Picking an NLP Course

The first thing to understand, that generally in life, you get what you pay for! You are embarking on learning a subject that could possibly change your life so be prepared to invest in yourself.

Do not pick a course based on

  • Geography
  • Price
  • Brevity
  • Discount

Pick a course based on the perceived quality of the training.

Picking an NLP Trainer

Look for an experienced and busy NLP Trainer – they will have a full schedule page on their website and will be proud of their Certification Board memberships and will display their logos on their sites.

Call the trainer and make sure you speak to the actual trainer who is hosting the intended course. An excellent trainer will be happy to take your call and will also be happy to provide references for his/her training. Prepare a list of questions you want to ask him so you can get a feel whether you want to spend 7 days in a training room with him, or not.

With something as important as NLP, price should not be an issue. You should be focussed on getting the best training available. After all, you deserve it!

Once you have got a short list of trainers make sure their courses actually comply with the certification board that they are affiliated to. Surprisingly there are many courses out there that don’t.

For example, an ABNLP course that does not offer pre course study should be at least 120 hours long in order to comply with the ABNLP. I have seen certain trainers advertise ABNLP Practitioner courses lasting 4 days without pre course study – blatantly flaunting the standards. Avoid these courses like the plague!

Do not book courses through resellers without talking to the trainer who is taking the course. This is just foolish!

One thing to note. The standard of NLP Trainings in areas of the world where English is the second or third language varies tremendously and greater care picking a trainer needs to be taken.

If you want a recommendation of a trainer then feel free to drop me a line and I will be happy to help you, if I can.

Bruce Farrow Trainer is actually a NLP Master Trainer has now all but retired from NLP Training although he still trains the International NLP Trainers Training in Thailand each year. he lives in London with his family and Barney the dog. He now has a manufacturing business abroad.