Firstly, Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a system of personal excellence. It is based on the idea of studying excellent individuals and replicating their actions and strategies so that they may be taught to a larger audience. Essentially, NLP is the study of subjective experience and how it can be improved. Neuro-Linguistic Programming can be used for an incredibly wide array of self-improvement areas. Some of the most common uses for NLP include improving self-esteem, communication skills, building rapport, conquering phobias, reducing stress, and effective management and leadership. Like an instruction manual for a new electronic device, NLP can act as an instruction manual for the human mind. Without it we could probably still figure out how to use it, but we would definitely miss out on some of the best features.
NLP modeling is that which the entire discipline is built upon. Modeling is the process of creating useful descriptions of the structure of human abilities. Essentially, it is being able to break down what is going on in an individual’s mind whenever they are doing something. NLP focuses on breaking down the thoughts and actions of those who operate at the very top of their field. By modeling these excellent individuals the hope is that a series of teachable habits, thoughts, and strategies can be developed.
One of the best metaphors to use when describing NLP models is that of a map. A map is a representation that describe essential structures or information of an area. But a map can never have every piece of information that is relevant to an area. Instead, a map tries to identify and organize the most important information into a useful system that can help somebody find their way. Models act much the same way. Models are just representations of the “real thing.” Model airplanes look like airplanes and may act like real airplanes but they aren’t actually a real airplane. Architects create models of buildings to help clients visualize the final product, but they aren’t the final product. NLP tries to create models of other people’s lives and abilities so that they can be applied and taught to others. Whereas model airplanes are probably made of plastic and the models architects use are built of balsa, the models that NLP use are made of experience.
If you have the desire to become an expert salesman than it would make sense to observe, study, and attempt to model somebody who has already accomplished that. By studying how exactly they interact with the customer, what they are thinking about during the transaction, along with the myriad of other variables that are present in something as complex as a business transaction, that knowledge can be replicated and taught to somebody else. Instead of stumbling around in the dark trying to find our way, we can use a pre-developed model to help us find our way. The difficult part of this process is that modeling is not easy. Unfortunately it’s not easy to see inside an individual’s mind to see what they are thinking when they answer the phone, or ask a specific question of a potential client. Indeed, effective modeling can only be done by going very slowly and breaking down every aspect of what a person is doing. By asking many questions and asking the individual to look very closely a their own thought process the beginnings of a model can be developed.
It would be silly to try to build a house without a model so why do many people expect to go through their life at their optimal ability without referencing a model. NLP modeling provides these examples of excellence that allow us to learn and apply them to our own lives.