Being inquisitive and honest about what, specifically, you are doing now to achieve your goals is a powerful approach to achieving them faster and more enjoyably.

Asking and answering questions like:

Where do I spend my time now?

What am I currently doing now to help achieve my goals and outcomes?

What am I currently doing now that actually hinders my progress?

When taking action, where do I start? How do I know what to do next? What do I know when I’ve successfully finished?

Are likely to provide answers that show how you can improve your performance.

NLP provides two approaches that are likely to amplify the effectiveness of the answers that we get. The Meta Model and Eliciting Strategies. A good NLP training will develop these concepts further.

The Meta Model

The meta model is composed of a series of questions which, based on the words your client uses. They enable your client to uncover information that they are currently consciously unaware of. Answering them will often provide light bulb moments.

When we speak we tend to:

1. Leave out information (deletion)
2. Make assumptions (distortion)
3. Assume because something has happened one or more times that it will always happen (generalise)

When you use Meta model questions you will be asking your client to check for deletions, distortions and generalisations.

The questions can appear personal and interrogative and therefore need to be asked with respect. It is often better to ask them after having received specific permission from your client to to ask direct questions. For example you might chose to phrase the question :

“I’m going to ask you some direct and maybe difficult questions as they’re often the best way of finding out what to do next. Are you happy with me going ahead?”

It is also important that the questions are asked in a way that neither supports nor challenges your clients current point of view.

Typical questions include:

What does that mean?

How do you know?

Who specifically?

According to who?

Better than what? Better than whom?

Are the any exceptions?

What would happen if you did? What would happen if you didn’t?

For a full list of questions see: Meta Model Questions

It’s often best to ask these questions using your clients actual words. Bring in as few additional words as possible.

For example your client may say: ‘I’m really nervous as I walk up to make a major presentation.’

A good response might be: ‘Excellent that gives us something to work with, how do you actually know you’re nervous as you walk up to make major presentation? What actually happens?’

The answer may give the client some ideas about what he could do differently, or lead you to ask further questions.

Eliciting Strategies

A strategy in NLP is the sequence of visual, auditory and kinestetic experiences someone goes through to achieve something. Understanding someone’s strategy can be to used to fine tune and improve something that is working. They can also be used to dramatically improve something that isn’t working yet.

To elicit someone’s strategy, in this case with someone who gets frightened presenting. You ask a series of questions along the lines of:

What happens just before you get nervous?

What happens next?

And then what?

And then what?

And what happens just before you feel good again?

Teach me how to do this? Take me through all the steps to start feeling nervous, and then to feel good afterwards?

In the case of someone who frightens themselves they may go through the following strategy :

As they walk up to present they look at the audience. Internally they may imagine the audience is looking very serious. They may then remember what it looked and felt like when past presentation went badly. They then notice that they’re sweating and becoming tense.

We’re particularly interested in what happened just before someone started to feel uncomfortable, and just before when they felt comfortable again. Even though the latter point may occur sometime in the future.

With this information it will often be obvious to a client what they can do differently, and this is often enough to make a huge difference in how they perform. In addition it often becomes obvious what you do next.

Author's Bio: 

Michael Beale is one of the UK's leading NLP Trainers and Business Coaches. For further details see Michael's website on NLP and NLP Courses.