Category Archives: NLP

Managing your state

We can’t exactly measure our states but we know when our state is changing. However, it’s not true to say we have no control over our states – not only that, it’s a limiting and unhelpful belief.

Everybody manages his or her state to some extent. For example, ‘I will take a long bath; that will make me feel better’ or ‘I will go out for a run’ are both strategies to change our state.

As we pass from state to state, we think of them as good or bad and we know the states we enjoy and the ones we don’t, so we have a basis for deciding whether to maintain a state or change it to something quite different.

External Event

We usually think that a state happens as the result of an external event, however, a state is not always directly linked to the external event, and it only occurs after some other processing takes place. This processing is unique to each of us, so the state that results from an event will be different for each of us.

Events themselves are neutral, it’s only after we have processed them through our filters that we label them as good or bad. If the majority considers an event bad, this does not make it so. It simply means the majority have filtered the event in a similar way and come to the same conclusion.

The good news is that just because we think an event is ‘bad’, this does not mean it cannot change for us if we change our filters.

Internal Movie

Another way that states arise is when we imagine something or replay a memory. This can be completely unrelated to what is going on around us, yet it can still generate a powerful state. If we really get into the process, an internal movie can generate just as powerful a state as an external event.


By behaviour, we mean any activity. This could be something subtle, such as the way you stand or breathe, or something much more obvious, such as a brisk walk or talking. 

Our state is affected by activity, even a subtle activity. How do you stand when you put on that really expensive and sharp-looking suit? You are power dressed and you know it. If you stand that way right now, even without the suit, how do you feel?

Changing state

We can change our state in the moment by changing any of the above things that affect state and we can make more permanent changes to the way we generate states by changing our filters.

What state do you want?

Your state influences everything you do. If you are clear about the optimal state for doing something and then access that state, you will be making it much easier to achieve your outcome.

Whatever your planned activity, you might start by considering the following:

  • What state you want to be in?
  • What state do you want other people to be in?

You then need to plan how you, and others, can achieve those states. It may well be that you can’t do it all in one jump, so what intermediate states would you or others need to go through?

Baseline State

Many states are fleeting or transitional, but each of us usually drops back into a state in which we feel ‘at home’ – your baseline state. This may be balanced and harmonious or it may be out of balance and uncomfortable. Nevertheless, it has become habitual, even if it is one of continuing anxiety or depression or dullness. The quality of your baseline state contributes hugely to the quality of your life, since you spend so much time in it.

Eliciting states in others

We are always eliciting states in others whenever we interact with them. Another person will always pass what they experience of us through their filters, coming up with a meaning which will affect their state.

The simplest way to elicit a particular state in another person is to ask them to remember a time when they were in that state as vividly as they can. This works best when you are in rapport with the other person, and you are already doing your ‘version’ of the state you want them to access. If you want them to access confidence, be in a confident state yourself, with all the voice and posture signals that exude confidence.

Post courtesy of People Alchemy – for access to the Alchemy for Managers online resource visit


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The Skills/Motivation Matrix – do you recognise any of these?

Skills and motivation are the two key components needed if you want to achieve optimal performance. Having one without the other, both or even neither obviously has a massive impact on what a person can achieve.

As you will see from the words below, depending on the skill/motivation combination determines what kind of approach is required in terms of managing that person and maximising their performance.

Directing (low skills/low motivation)

Raising skills and motivational levels through training of short-term tasks.

The manager helps the person to envision a future they can construct, own and direct, and they set themselves short- and long-term goals to achieve this. Learning is structured through a series of cumulative events or short-term tasks with deadlines.

Guiding (low skills/high motivation)

Raising skill levels through on-the-job training, guidance, envisioning, support and encouragement. 

The manager needs to effect a real commitment to the employee’s vision of their future, ensuring that activity is consistent with this goal and is founded on what this future would really be like if the skills are fully developed and embedded in different practice.

Inspiring (high skills/low motivation)

Increasing motivation through opportunities for short-term successes, brokering resources, making connections.

Find out why there is low motivation. Skill is required to work adeptly on the positives expressed by employee in the dialogue, without being trapped into agreeing with or joining in the dissatisfaction. A range of short-term actions should be agreed that will bring a raft of successes to build on further and generate new enthusiasm.

Delegating (high skills/high motivation):

Exploiting connections, creating rich opportunities, disseminating benefit through delegated freedom to experiment.

The freedom to experiment needs to be well supported to allow mistakes to happen and to gather learning from such eventualities. The manager will be careful not to supervise the processes, but to work alongside with subtlety to evidence their interest, maximise the on-going dialogue about the learning arising from the experimentation.

To find out more about Catalyst’s accredited Leadership & Management courses and for information on our FREE seminars call us on 0207 436 3636 or click here to visit our website.


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NLP – how can it help you succeed? Part 2

NLP, or neuro-linguistic programming to give it it’s more intimidating title, is all about changing the way you approach situations, they way you think about them and then your behaviour in dealing with them. Ultimately, the end goal is use certain techniques in order to be more successful in everything you do.

Part 1 can be found here for the first six presuppositions of NLP or remaining six.

7. People are not their behaviours.

This means that you accept the person, even if their behaviour is unacceptable to you, given your map of the world. If the behaviour is not useful to them, you can support and assist them to change that behaviour.

There is a distinction between self, intention and behaviour. We often get these muddled up. Take the time to separate these, especially in difficult situations with other people.

Consider how you would want others to view you. How many times have you done something and thought later ‘I don’t know why I did that. It just wasn’t me’?

8. People have all the resources they need.

People do not lack resources. They can, however, experience  less resourceful states where the resources are out of reach. This means that in a different and more resourceful state, they can accomplish whatever they choose.

9. If someone else can do it, then I can do it.

If someone can do something, then, barring physical limitations, it is possible for anyone. There are no limitations to a person’s ability to learn. 

10. The part of a system with the most flexibility will have the most influence on the system.

This is the sometimes called the Law of Requisite Variety. It means that the more choices you have, the more options you have and therefore the more likely you are to be successful within the system you are operating in.

11. There is no failure, only feedback.

If a person does not succeed in something, the key is to learn something; treat what’s happened as feedback and thus do something different next time around.

Consider failure as simply meaning that you have not succeeded yet, and make it an opportunity to learn. Failure is just a label for the result you did not want, but it is a label with a sense of finality and dead end. Feedback is another label for the result you did not want and it offers hope of eventual success.

12.If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.

So if what you’re doing isn’t working, do something else!

And remember, it is easier to change your own behaviour than anybody else’s.


Remember, we are not saying that all these are true, though they might be. We are simply saying that they are a useful set of beliefs that offer you a more successful approach to life, an approach that will bring improved results if you act as though they are true.


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NLP – how can it help you succeed? Part 1

NLP, also known as Neuro-Linguistic Programming, essentially is just a way of thinking. NLP has identified a set of beliefs that have proved useful; in other words, it has been observed over time that you and I will get better results if we act as though these beliefs are true.

Have you noticed that some people get consistently better results in their lives than others? Ever wondered how they do it?

You probably already realise that it is largely about their approach to life, their way of thinking about life. So, what do they do that is different?

Presuppositions of NLP

1. The other person’s model of the world deserves respect.

In NLP, the set of beliefs we develop over time is called our ‘model of the world’. Since we each develop our own model of the world, based on our own experiences, our model is true for us.

Another person’s model is equally true for them, and just as valid as ours. It thus deserves respect in the same way that we would wish them to respect our own model. It is not our responsibility to change another person’s model of the world through an attempt to convince them that ours is better. 

2. The meaning and outcome of communication is in the response you get.

We are generally taught that if we clearly communicate our thoughts and feelings through words, the other person should understand our meaning. We know from experience, however, that this does not always happen. The only way you can determine how effectively you are communicating is by observing the response you get from the person you are communicating with. If you get a response that indicates that they did not understand, then your communication was faulty. You therefore need to find a different way to get the concept across.

Acting as though this is true means that you accept 100 per cent of the responsibility for effective communication. You cannot ‘blame’ somebody else if your communication does not succeed.

3.The map is not the territory.

The model of the world which we create is what we use to navigate through life. We use it like a map to navigate through our reality. The map we use is not the actual reality, any more than the map in your car is the real countryside. It is simply an incomplete representation, which includes inaccuracies and errors, just as your road map can get out of date and not show absolutely everything that is there.

Each of us acts according to our personal map of reality, not reality itself. We operate and communicate from our maps. Most human problems are caused by the maps in our heads. Think about this; it is easier to change the map than the territory.

4. The mind and the body affect each other.

The mind and the body are one unit, fully interconnected. It is not possible to make a change in one without the other being affected.

5. People are doing the best they can with the resources they have available.

People set out to do well, not poorly. We do the best we can with what we have at the time in the way of resources.

6. Every behaviour has a positive intention.

A person’s behaviour has a positive intent for them at the time of the behaviour. From the perspective of their map of the world, the behaviour makes sense and seeks to provide a benefit.

The intention behind a behaviour may not be obvious to others or may not be considered positive by others.

Consider how things would be different if you assumed that everything anybody did was for a ‘good’ reason. Good by their standards that is.

I will post Presuppositions of NLP 7-12 later in Part 2

Post courtesy of People Alchemy


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