Adjusting Your Lens


The other week I went to a seminar on the use of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) techniques in coaching. Many coaches I know are trained in NLP but it’s not something I've looked too much in to in the past as my background is CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) so I was keen to find out a little more about it.

In summary, NLP is about studying the structure of our own subjective experiences, how the information we receive is filtered and perceived. NLP techniques are used to help identify opportunities to choose an alternative way of interpreting events, helping you adjust your perceptual lens.

One questioning technique was explored in the seminar, which I’d like to share with you here. Below are a set of suggested questions to ask yourself whilst processing a situation that effects you in a not ok way, a person or an event that is affecting you in a negative way e.g. a boss that rubs you up the wrong way, a friend that is getting to you etc.

So, imagine the situation. Replay it and ask yourself these questions:

  • What is it that’s bothering you?
  • What is it exactly that affects you?
  • What is that about do you think?

How is that true (the thing or person affecting you) about you? How are you similar to the thing that is bugging you about someone else? The idea here is that if you can name something that is bugging you, think it and identify it then chances are there is a bit of that characteristic in you too. I guess by recognising this we are more empathetic towards others and more understanding of what might be driving their problematic behaviour.

  • How would you wish that person was like instead?
  • How can I be like that? Be an example of how you'd like other people to be in the world.
  • Who are three exemplars/role models of this (friends, people you know, famous people, colleagues etc)?
  • When and how have you been like this person/displayed these characteristics in the past?
  • How are you like this person?
  • If you acted in a similar way to that person, how would it feel?

Ask other people how they manage to behave in the way you’d like to be e.g. how do you live your life in the present? how do you relax? Learn from how others do it.

Give it a go. Hopefully it will help you adjust your lens to a more helpful and understanding focus.

Alice Stapleton

About Alice

Alice coaches those who want to change career but don’t know what they want to do instead. She offers Career Coaching designed to help graduates, early to mid-level career-changers, and parents returning to work gain a clear vision of what career is right for them, and how to achieve it. She is also an accredited Coach Supervisor, and host of The Career Change Diaries podcast.