The history of NLP and Coaching Posted In: NLP article 1 Feb 2018

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) was developed in the early 1970’s when in the first instance two under-graduates Richard Bandler  and Frank Pucelik were working together understanding the work of the genius therapist Fritz Perls.  Dr Perls was the founder of Gestalt therapy and by studying him Bandler and Pucelik were starting to get similar results with their clients.  On an aside,  this detailed “copying” would become modelling in NLP terms.

A new associate professor, John Grinder, joined the university where Pucelik and Bandler were studying.  Grinder was an expert in transformational grammar and after some initial persuading looked at what Pucelik and Bandler were doing.

Impressed Grinder agreed to work with them and effectively put the academic rigor behind the results they were getting.  I.e. he gave a structure enabling the understanding of what was working with Pucelik and Bandlers clients.

Later the modelling process continued, but with two other world class therapists.  Firstly Virginia Satir, renowned for her work as a family therapist and Milton Erickson, the father of the hypnotherapy that took his name.

So, at the outset of NLP is a process that structured how was it that three therapists were getting such reliable, excellent results, when so many other therapists couldn’t.  Hence, at the outset of NLP was the modelling of excellence.

From this original work of modelling Perls and Satir  came the Meta Model.  A series of language patterns that allow us to recognize how we (or perhaps a client) represent experience.  It was noted in that original work that human experience when recalled can sometimes be generalised, distorted or deleted.  Namely, how we represent our experience at the surface, the “surface structure” can be different from reality, The Deep Structure.

The art of a skilled coach in using tools from NLP such as the Meta Model is to help their clients represent their world of experience in a way that allows them to make informed decisions.  I.e. not with a reality that is distorted, deleted or generalized.

Of course there are a plethora of tools and techniques within NLP that can help a coach manage the coaching process effectively.  From the outset this was the case, and so it remains today.