The Wright Way

The Wright Way

Monday, May 31, 2010

Totally covert NLP?

Normally for some of my consultative client sessions, I am asked what is NLP? Never following a script for this, I tend to go with what I intuitively feel might be the best explanation for each particular client. Remembering of course that the % of people who have even heard of NLP, let alone have an inkling of what it is, is really quite small.

In a recent client session, a lady explained how she was affected by boredom and loneliness and how, at particularly vulnerable times of her day, she would 'comfort' eat. This was followed by remorse and upset at having succumbed to doing something that she knew was not doing her any good.

She didn't ask me what NLP was - so I surmised that she either knew or had an idea, and continued on the path of casual chat I'd outlined at the beginning of the session.

Conversationally we explored some areas for her that might lead to more positive outcomes, without even a hint of the mention of food. In fact the bulk of the conversation centred around music, singing and her (future) involvement with that. We talked about that in particular because at the mention of the topic her whole physiology lit up! Along the way I encountered the usual 'put-me-down' phrases such as "I'm too old", "I couldn't do that", "What people are thinking about me" - and I challenged these, reframed some things, examined strategies and structures of behaviour...and so on. It was engaging and absorbing and she had clearly quite forgotten all about the issues and sentiments that had brought her to see me in the first place.

At the end of the session she said "Thanks so much - that was really interesting and useful - and we haven't even done any NLP!" When I replied, "Haven't we?" she looked really puzzled. "But I thought - isn't it to do with ..." and she listed a whole range of NLP techniques she heard about and was probably anticipating my using in a food-related context. I pointed out that NLP is all these things and much, much more besides - including all of how we'd explored things in the session.

She was even more interested and surprised thereafter - and is looking forward to seeing me again. Totally covert? Not really - I did let the cat out of the bag after all - albeit right at the end of the session. And those of you familiar with my book "Don't Think of a Black Cat" will understand exactly what I mean by releasing the feline from the sack.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Following Your Dream - not someone else's

Sir Ken Robinson is a wonderful speaker - and when he illuminates for all of us what we REALLY should be doing in education then I applaud till my hands are sore.

I spend all my teaching time encouraging the children to discover what it is they are geniuses AT. I also see clients aged 25-65 who have been tied into lives doing things other people have wanted them to do.

First time I encountered this I watched 3-4 times straight off. I hope you'll be as enthused as I am!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Serious Play and the ability to focus better...

This is probably not quite what you are expecting from a discussion topic suitably titled...but is prompted partially by this particular TED talk in a link posted by Nina Lancaster on NLP Connections forum:-

Now apropos of this and not entirely unconnected comes from a remark I made while talking to a parent of one of my young coachees earlier today.

I was describing how I've recently been challenged to adapt fun cricket games activities for large group numbers. The games tend to take on a somewhat chaotic and highly charged faculty where the participants are challenged to maintain a high sensual attention level through the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic modalities. This is not only highly exciting and stimulating, but also brings out of them some amazing feats of performance. This, I believe, is to do with their not having time to 'think' and therefore over-clutter their mind with inhibitive, cautious, negative and self-conscious thoughts. I've also participated and it is definitely a quite liberating activity experience!

Now the comment I made was that: when the players then later get into a more serious, competitive and formalised game of cricket, they find it much easier to focus because the game is much more ordered and structured and the level of 'chaos' around them is very diminished. Consequently they are not overawed in any way.
Without the practice of functioning at a highly stimulated level, they are more prone to skills or technique 'freezing' when they are in the cauldron of a competitive environment. Its definitely one way of encouraging a process of thinking clearly under pressure, by pushing the envelope of stimulating sensual awarenesses in a fun (and almost crazy) play activity, which is exciting and pleasureable and yet has purposefully serious intentions at a more unconscious level.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Work in Progress...

It a simple enough phrase..."Work in Progress"...

And yet I've discovered that when using it with young sportspeople, that it actually liberates them from any performance shortcomings where (more often than not) they would hang their heads, beat themselves up, and all the other attributes that go with our culture of instant success, instant gratification, name it!!

So what is the power behind these 3 words?

1. Well, have a look at the presuppositions when the player hears my response to their assessment of how they've played.
PL: "It went X, I did Y, I didn't do Z, I forgot to do M and I made a mistake with N."
PW: "Yes - and lets be realistic now. These parts of your game - it's work in progress."

What is it? It's work > which presupposes they are putting some effort into the activity away from competition. Which means they are motivated and active towards getting to grips with these parts of their game.
What's happening to the work? It's in progress > which presupposes its on the move from A to B and is improving, getting better. This implies positive and purposeful outcomes are already taking place.

2. Liberating emotional possession of competition errors.
What is the work in progress? IT is! (a nice little impersonal IT) > which actually puts a space between (1) the errors and imperfections of the performance and (2) the player themselves, by introducing that neutral and unemotional wedge (3), IT (ie the work being done to improve those particular parts of their game).

3. No impatient time constraints.
There's no start or finish to Work In Progress either - just a plan, programme and record of improvement, accelerated or organic. These are process goals related to levels of competency, for which the acquisition timescale has never been set.

Part of the difference between my approach to young players and say those of the non-coaching fraternity (ie just adult players etc) - is this very point of detaching the emotional effect of errors of performance from the players themselves. When players are bombarded with a continual chorus of "You should do X" and "You mustn't do Y" and (perhaps the funniest of all) "Don't forget to remember to do Z" - heavens, how confusing is that - these remarks are miles away from my "Keep on with the Plan - because this is all Work In Progress."

So, "WIP" could be my phrase of 2010!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Sea omnipotent - Clean Case File #5

I met a very intelligent, intense and vibrant lady who is MD of her own successful company. She wanted to raise her energy levels through a better understanding of exercise and fitness and have more positive feelings about her appearance and lose some weight. She also felt at something of a “crossroads” in her life. On the face of it, these are all observations, feeling, desires and goals for quite a considerable number of people.

With further conversation we talked around some of her perceived barriers to achieving these desires and goals, one of which was that she felt that she tended to live “in her head”. Outwardly this seemed to me to be a total contradiction, so I asked her to elaborate, if she had a mind to. She said she wanted to ration her emotions because the intensities of some (particularly those inter-personally related) were causing problems with her self control, and this was getting in the way of a better life.

This was actually the real barrier – not the 2 or 3 she’d actually first mentioned! She needed “me” time and this was being eroded on a daily basis by “going the long way round” all inter-personal matters in the workplace. She felt X but was unable to express how she felt about X, and so took route Y to “keep things smooth”. This was suppressing her emotions, rather than rationing them – and the suppressions were not doing her any good.

PW:- When you think of working relationships and scenarios, how would you really like to be?
CL:- I’d like to be calmer, more inspired, listen better and be an enabler.
PW:- And what kind of an enabler is that enabler?
CL:- Someone who gives people time to express themselves and brings the best out of people.
PW:- And when bringing the best out of people, where is more inspired?
CL:- They are one and the same really.
PW:- And thinking about someone listening better, what has to happen to make listening better?
CL:- They have to be quiet.
PW:- And when quiet, what kind of quiet is that quiet?
CL:- It’s calm and attentive and listening.
PW:- And when calm, attentive, listening and quiet…is there a relationship with inspired and enabler?
CL:- Yes, it’s what I want to be. It’s what I need to be, for me, and for everything to work better.
PW:- And thinking of calm, attentive, listening, quiet and inspired….what’s that like?

She did give a ‘looped’ answer here first, and then I invited her to close her eyes and notice what she noticed – and then asked her exactly the same question.

CL:- Ah yes, I understand. I see what you mean….actually I do see a picture of the sea – a vast and vivid picture of the sea.
PW:- And what kind of sea is that sea?
CL:- Well at the moment its placid and calm and in control, and I know it can get rougher when the weather is different. It’s very inspiring and powerful.
PW:- And when you think of an enabler, where is sea then?
CL:- (chuckles) Well the sea is an enabler in lots of ways isn’t it? Shipping, transport, food, moisture, supporting weather systems, supporting life…..
PW:- And when sea is rougher what happens to calm and inspired?
CL:- Well it’s still inspiring and awesome and everything. And it’s only rough on the surface; it’s so deep and strong and powerful and away from the surface it’s still calm and in control.
PW:- And as you think now about living in your head and rationing your emotions – what needs to happen?
CL:- (chuckles again and pauses) I need to be like the Sea.

I drew our session towards a close, and she was animatedly excited and enthused by the prospect of using the metaphorical imagery of her Sea and all the qualities she had bestowed upon it. Here was her “master key” that would help her to become an inspiring enabler, who was calmer and a better listener. In less than 20 minutes with the help of Clean Language she felt confident that she knew which signpost at the crossroads she now needed to follow.