Third Generation NLP & Coaching

Third Generation NLP Skills and Coaching

1st Generation NLP

As NLP developed over time, the original coding from the mid-1970’s, came under scrutiny by the founders and other pioneers.  The original modeling seemed to be more focused on a mental model of change and John Grinder in particular noticed that some concepts and techniques were not easily transferred to new trainers of NLP and some generally there was room for improvement from the original coding.  

With the growing data-bank of subjective experience from NLP practitioners doing change-work with clients, friends, family, business people, sports celebrities, and in other contexts over time, the re-coding of NLP was then labeled “New Code” NLP in the mid-1980’s.  Robert Dilts identifies this period and its focus on ‘getting it in the body’ as ‘Second Generation NLP.’    

The Second Generation is ‘New Code’ 

Second Generation NLP or ‘New Code’ broadened the context for skills and techniques to be used and transferred to new trainers.  The focus was more on a ‘somatic’ or ‘in the body’ understanding of what creates change and is consistent with the quest for ‘excellence.’  Co-founder, John Grinder, listed several preferences including a more metaphorical perspective that allows the unconscious mind to make its own connections for the highest good of the individual organism.  Specific patterns and processes were added from one generation to the next. 

NLP pioneers chose for a number of reasons to avoid modeling spiritual systems through the 1st and 2nd Generations NLP.  One of the reasons was that pioneers wanted NLP to remain credible, generally more scientific, and to avoid being lumped into ‘new age,’ ‘pop psychology,’ or some other category that might create a negative perception of this powerful technology for change. The primary evidence of efficacy was that NLP patterns and processes got results.

NLP developers also wanted to stay true to the quest to model human excellence.  Spirituality, they understood, was a key part of the definition of what it means to be human.  Third Generation NLP applications are, ‘heuristic’ in nature or ‘rule of thumb,’ meaning that solutions at this level are intended to ‘lead by experience.’  You may not know that you’ve made a particular change until you are in a situation that highlights the new skill set or behavior.  In the methodology of Behavior Modeling, NLP Practitioners sort for finding the ‘difference that makes the difference.’  Given useful belief systems that make the most difference, learning becomes automatic and changes in behavior are generated from the deepest place in the ‘decisional network’ or programming of the individual.  Third Generation NLP focuses on the relationship between NLP Coach and client where the client is held in high esteem and is invited to meet the coach in a context inside which a broader field of experience is available due to the mutual connection to the field. 

Third Generation NLP Coaching

The Third Generation NLP Coaching perspective places the NLP Coach in a larger context of an entire ‘field’ or ‘larger system.’  I am not just a coach, interacting with my clients as myself only.  I am a connected to that which is now encompassing me, my client, and the larger field of experience now available, and we are aware of, directed, and generally inspired by that larger context.  This larger context could be described as team, family, profession of coaches, planet, spirit, universe, or mind of God; however it is conceived by the individuals involved.  This larger context is consistent with and interconnected with each moment of coaching with the client.  It is also consistent with the NLP model of Perceptual Positions.

Perceptual Positions

In First Position, or position of Self,’ I am looking through my own eyes, being me.  From Second Position, or Other, I have ‘taken on’ becoming the other person involved, looking from their eyes, experiencing through their beliefs and values and hearing their voice, noticing how experience occurs from their body.  Insights will occur easily from seeing things from the other person’s point of view.  Note: People naturally use the first person pronoun when they are in Second Position or the ‘Other.’ 

Third Position is the “Observer.’  Third Position could be anyone else, a fly on the wall, or a benevolent mentor, or guide, angel, or other intelligence from the Observer Position.  Another set of insights typically occur from this perspective.

The shift to Third Generation is characterized by the movement to the larger perspective of connection and resources immediately become available that will change every thought, every action, and guide every choice that now emerges from the interaction of coach and client.  In the language of Behavior Modeling, this is a ‘difference that makes the difference.’

Coaching Versus Crashing

The one constant is life is CHANGE.  Things are always changing.  Fear of the unknown, dealing with loss and separation, uncertainty and vulnerability are challenges every person faces in life.  People often choose survival strategies, to attack, escape, become rigid, or fight.  Consequently people tend to regress, be influenced, be ambivalent, fail to let go, be confused, or get caught up in conflict.  

Robert Dilts and Judith DeLozier Identify CRASH state as a collapse into:

  • Contraction
  • Reaction
  • Analysis Paralysis
  • Separation
  • Hurt and Hatred

In order to move through or change the CRASH State, they point out it is important to be flexible, stable, balanced, connected, and be able to let go.  They identify the notion of an ‘inner zone of excellence’ that Is connected with something beyond ego. These processes they collective label COACH State characterized by;

  • Centered
  • Open
  • Attending with Awareness
  • Connected
  • Holding

It is then important to practice strengthening The COACH State in order to stay balanced in face of challenges.  Practice at developing the ability to have equilibrium in turbulent times helps move the skill deeper ‘into the muscle.’  Greater resourcefulness is any situation is the outcome. 

Article by: Bill Thomason, April, 2014