NLP Conferences are an interesting experience……and the NLP Conference in London last weekend was no exception. It was certainly very different from the NLP Research Conference in Cardiff that I attended earlier in the year
I attended the Saturday and Sunday events with colleagues from Blue Bamboo; it was also great to meet up with some of the people that journeyed through the Trainers Training experience with me (that seemed a long time ago. Perhaps the bonding and sharing that we all went through that culminated in our trainer’s certificate created some sort of odd temporal distortion. Of course, a significant amount of ‘real’ time had actually passed since then. Odd thing,time…..)
Anyway, I digress.
The theme for this blog is a sort of ‘random thoughts and opinions on the recent NLP Conference’ – for those who are curious about these matters. As I write now, I get an eerie sense that I might well go off on one….it is, after all, a fairly well-embedded habit of mine.
So to start, as blogs are supposed to be a personal view, I make no apologies for sharing some thoughts that hereby acknowledge my subjective map of the world. My views arise from attending some seminars, but clearly not all (although it encourages me to push forward with the temporal distortion piece so I can attend all the sessions simultaneously next time…) I also bring forward some thoughts formulated from break out moments and soaking up the general ambience of the weekend.
For me, the NLP Conference left me feeling encouraged, concerned, affirmed, delighted, curious, disappointed, inspired, determined – of course, I have all of these feelings and more while watching a single episode of Spooks. So why, “encouraged”? Because I sensed that the overwhelming majority of people who attended wanted to share, learn and observe. Like every bus queue, birthday party and marching band, there were multiple perspectives and maps of reality present. And therein lies the beauty and challenge for human beings – living with difference yet looking for connections. NLP as an organic and evolutionary thing resides in this space too; many would argue that creating some shared framework on how best to present NLP to the ‘outside world’ would be important. It’s fascinating to read all the threads and comments on line about this topic and seeing the emergence of different opinions, all vying for dominance. For my part, I’m keen to see leaders in the NLP field give weight to those who are pressing ahead with establishing some core standards and definitions of NLP. Sadly, there are still many ‘out there’ who practice, train and qualify others in NLP with very little credibility and, at worst, in an unhealthy or even dangerous way. Hence the continuing debates around regulation.
At the Conference, NLP was certainly presented in many and various ways; from my perspective, some healthier than others. For example, it was obvious the distinctions between those hell bent on selling their business and those simply wanting to share and explore; between those who clearly embodied the pillars of NLP and those whose behaviours at least seemed to indicate to the contrary. Rapport, for example – a fundamental of NLP – was off the radar for some. As was sensory acuity, a responsiveness to feedback and behavioural flexibility. I guess I came with an expectation that all NLP people exhibit these behavioural characteristics to a greater or lesser extent…….
What was great to witness was the enthusiasm to continue with the evolution and ongoing development of NLP, whether as a philosophical outlook, a trail of techniques or even as an integrated tool within coaching (to name but a few). So with all this innovation, is there a need for a clean, congruent centre to hold it all together? I believe so – and the tweets, threads, articles, forums and discussions across the NLP and coaching space is indicative of a growing sense of the importance of establishing some common definitions and a ‘best way’ to present NLP to the public.
So whilst I remain optimistic that this will emerge over time (being encouraged by the work of ANLP and others, for example) I want to offer up a piece of the jigsaw to consider as we practitioners and trainers of NLP work the issue through. I introduce them in the form of a question:
What would need to be different at a personal level for each of us that would enable genuine co-operation and collaboration? The ego has a powerful way of suggesting that ‘my way is the best way’……..
So having been a little pejorative in my review of the NLP Conference, I’ll end the blog with some of the highlights for me:
- Observing a couple of exquisite coaching sessions, examining the topic of getting really well-formed goals for clients, Michael Hall. I’d recommend any of his work; in person, it was a joy to see such beautifully crafted coaching questions, gentle and compassionate rapport and responsiveness, a clear focus on getting a congruent and aligned next step for his client and deeply integrated NLP at work. Fabulous.
- Listening to Judy Pearson speak on Intuitive Wisdom and Collective Consciousness; rigorously referenced and credible, beautifully paced and presented and a topic close to my heart – how we can find shared space beyond conscious thought when we trust
- An informal conversation with a chap looking to go on trainers training, as he was working out which one to go for; interesting how chance encounters can help to clarify, reinvigorate and affirm the choices we made (or are about to make)
- Dianne Lowther’s session on NLP in Business; great to see such congruent integration of NLP, a number of robust ways of introducing NLP to business customers and how self-belief and a passion for your subject matter can go a long, long way to win over hearts and minds about NLP
- And, back to Michael Hall: a lovely session introducing a simple tool that can measure levels of self-actualisation (how satisfied are we that our basic needs are being met as well as our high ‘meta needs’, taking Maslow into a highly accessible realm.
All in all, money and time well-spent. Looking forward to the next one now…..!
There are some further thoughts, including a White Paper and additional resources being posted into the Blue Bamboo website in the next few days. Sign-up for access to Blue Bamboo’s Resource Centre, a veritable knowledge base of up-to-date, downloadable information on the subjects we know best. It’s free and registration takes seconds – all we need is your email address. The Resource Centre link can be found on our Home page. www.bluebambooconsulting.com