Navigating The Field Of NLP

January 19, 2024

You have an interest in personal growth and development, in human behaviour and how we communicate and interact within communities, in how a successful business works and how exceptional people get to be that way. You have heard that a field of study called Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) can provide you with a deep understanding of the human condition. So, you open your device and type NLP into your web browser. The results pop up and you are presented with an enormous marketplace to navigate. It can feel like wading through treacle! I have written this blog to help you to make a well-informed decision about choosing the correct course and the right training company for you and to protect you from purchasing an inferior experience.

There are three key areas that you should be aware of as you search for an NLP Course:

1. The different levels of training available and what they enable you to do in the marketplace.

2. NLP Boards and professional memberships.

3. Trainer certifications.

The NLP Training Ladder

Neuro Linguistic Programming as a field of study has significant depth and breadth and so has necessarily been divided into levels of complexity. Each level is learned during a dedicated course. Whilst individual training providers have created introductory level courses under a huge variety of titles, the core levels are standard across the profession. Please note that whilst the qualification levels are standard, the content may not be.

• NLP Introductory Training – an introductory training does not carry any level of certification and will not equip you to utilise NLP in any context. This training is designed to give you visibility of the field of NLP and to make you aware of how valuable it can be when employed across all life contexts.

• NLP Diploma – The NLP Diploma is not a formal certification. This type of training will offer you more depth of learning than an introductory event and will empower you to use your learning for your own personal growth and development.

• NLP Practitioner Training – The first formal level of certification in the use of NLP. As a certified NLP Practitioner, you are qualified to operate as an NLP Coach, Therapist, Consultant, to employ strategies in business, education and sport and experience hugely accelerated personal growth.

• NLP Master Practitioner Training – The next level of certification is Master Practitioner. This experience will elevate your communication skills and give you a deeper understanding of how to assist others to discover the solutions to life problems. You will be skilled up to work with a wider range of clients and simultaneously evolve your own consciousness and successfully manage your projections in life.

• NLP Trainers Training – An NLP Trainers Training certification qualifies you to embark on a career as a trainer of NLP. You are qualified to train and certify NLP Practitioners and NLP Master Practitioners.

• NLP Master Trainer – An NLP Master Trainer is qualified to train trainers of NLP and to guide trainers towards the qualification of Master Trainer. This is the highest level of NLP qualification.

NLP Boards and Professional Membership

As you search for an NLP Course, you will be confronted by a number of boards, all claiming to be professional and global. Beware! There are many NLP ‘boards’ in the market that have been set up by an individual and have little structure and a limited membership. The number of highly structured, globally recognised boards is actually extremely limited. There are two types of NLP board:

• Accreditation and Regulation Boards – These boards regulate the content of NLP training courses, the hours of study undertaken at each level and the provenance of the content delivered. We recommend that you choose an NLP Training School that is a member of a board in this category. Example of boards which falls within this sphere are the ABNLP (American Board of NLP) and the INLPTA (International NLP Trainers Association). The ABNLP provides accreditation across all levels of NLP as described above.

Please watch out for individuals who use the same acronym as the ABNLP and are not actually affiliated with the board. Look for the ABNLP logo which should contain the trainer’s personal membership number and the expiry date of their professional membership.

• Membership Boards – this type of board invites NLP professionals at all levels to join their community for the purpose of sharing ideas and innovating in the field. These boards do not offer accreditation or regulation, please be mindful of this in your search.

Trainer Certifications

Trainers of NLP must carry an accredited qualification and be a member in good standing of an accreditation board. To get absolutely the best training experience, it is strongly recommended that you train with a fully accredited NLP Master Trainer.

Searching for a suitably qualified NLP Master Trainer can also be quite a confusing exercise, as different accreditation boards offer varied routes towards the accolade of NLP Master Trainer. If an instructor tells you they are a Master Trainer, ask them about the route they took to get there. Some of the smaller and less recognised boards offer a training course of varying time commitments over the course of 10 days to 6 months, often undertaken remotely. Experience has demonstrated that a trainer doesn’t master their craft by simply taking a course. Mastery comes from continuous professional and personal development, knowledge accumulation and hands on experience with regular constructive feedback.

The larger and more widely recognised boards like the ABNLP dictate that, to become an NLP Master Trainer is a much longer undertaking. The ABNLP requires that a trainer undertake a robust programme of personal and professional development over a minimum of 5 years from becoming a certified trainer of NLP. Their progress is continuously monitored and reviewed, the quality of their students learning is monitored and they are asked to demonstrate their competency by assisting Master Trainers on an annual basis. Which approach do you think creates real mastery? Please ask questions to be sure that your trainer is adequately qualified to guide your learning journey.

It would also be highly advantageous for you to check the ‘lineage’ of your Master Trainer. As a guide, make sure that the lineage can be traced back to one of the creators of NLP, Richard Bandler and John Grinder. For example, I was awarded my NLP Master Trainer certification by Tad James who received his NLP Master Trainer certification from Richard Bandler. This check will ensure the content that you learn will actually be NLP and not something that has been added on later by another source.

I hope that this quick guide will help you to part the fog that the world wide web creates around NLP and that you discover the right NLP Training School for you. My heartfelt advice is to speak to your potential trainer directly, ask questions and above all, feel that you can trust and connect with them. NLP is a wonderful journey of development and growth and you deserve the best possible return on your investment in self.

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