5 NLP Techniques that Benefit the Coaching Journey

Ram Ramanathan  •  Jan 16, 2020  •  13 min read

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5 NLP Techniques that Benefit the Coaching Journey

Coaching helps people to focus on the ‘here and now’. Coaches the world over use different models to facilitate this learning experience for clients. Neuro-linguistic programming is one technique that is highly beneficial for one’s coaching practice. NLP is about learning the language of the brain. This is why coaches who learn NLP techniques are even more likely to create success stories in their coaching practice.

What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming?

NLP is the use of psychology with sound strategies and techniques a person can use to create results they desire. Neuro (neurology) and Linguistic (language) program (patterns, themes) is about the language of the brain and knowing NLP gives an individual the power to reprogram thinking using the many techniques of NLP. This brings effective changes to transform lives.

The use of NLP has created astounding results in the lives of all. NLP brings in a tremendous change in the way a coach works with the self and the client. A coach learns winning tactics that bring greater coaching success. A successful coach with the knowledge of NLP is equipped to create a business module for self while serving the world at large. To understand this better, we list 5 techniques among the many NLP techniques you can use to elevate your coaching practice.

1. Anchoring

This Neuro-Linguistic Programming technique is useful to regenerate a resourceful emotion. You work on recreating the emotion while associating it with physical action. Anchoring creates an association with the emotion and the chosen physical action.

For example, a coach may ask the client to choose a positive resourceful emotion such as happiness. The client then needs to decide the action that is associated with the body. It can be as simple as touching one’s finger. Once the client decides the anchor, he can revisit the emotion and experience it fully. The moment the client senses happiness, he may choose to touch the finger. A coach may partner with the client to change the memory centered around happiness and use the same anchor to bring a change in the current frame of mind. (The anchor can be decided by the client such as tapping one’s own shoulder to establish the anchor.)

A coach who works with this technique gives clients an opportunity to work on their thoughts and emotions.

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2. Belief Change

Every person has a set of self-limiting beliefs. However, many beliefs turn into a habit. Not all beliefs serve us in a positive manner. NLP techniques take a deeper look at the belief while understanding the negative implications.

For example, a belief can stem from any statement you have said repeatedly over time:

  1. I am not good at dancing
  2. I am a bad cook.

The beliefs a client may hold true about self and the world might be damaging and untrue. If a client believes ‘he cannot’, he certainly won’t. As coaches, the use of Neuro-Linguistic Programming techniques such as Presuppositions is useful to bring a change within the client by demystifying with curiosity, observations, and inquiring on the client’s current state to move to the desired state. The coach uses these techniques to nudge the client to a space of self-exploration. Here, the client develops the capacity to study his current state of mind and assumptions and learns to make changes to expand his frame of reference. A coach who uses and practices the 14 presuppositions creates opportunities to partner with others and bring a change. These 14 presuppositions form the central principles of NLP. A coach who learns and practices them will know these principles for life. “People make the best choice they can at the time” and “All actions have a purpose” are two such examples of NLP presuppositions.

3. Mirroring and Rapport

Coaches have the primary responsibility of creating a space where the client learns to trust their own self. Mirroring and rapport are important NLP technique coaches can use to break the ice and establish a better connection with the client. An NLP Coach is trained to mirror the other person’s behavior. The fine art of being subtle is combined with the ability to converse – this comes naturally to NLP coaches. It establishes greater rapport and trust as the coach mirrors the client’s body language, gestures, voice, and words. Why is this important? A client will connect better when they like a coach who is ‘just like them’. Mirroring, however, comes with tremendous NLP practice. Establishing a rapport helps a coach to lead the conversation as well as pace it. It also makes a client feel supported in an accepting environment giving them a chance to explore their thoughts and emotions.

For example, a coach mirrors the way a client is talking with the coach. He may smile when the client smiles.

4. Reframing Thoughts

Coaches are often faced with multiple challenges in their client-coaching journey. The NLP technique of reframing gives a coach sound knowledge to change certain emotions towards an optimistic outcome. A coach may use this technique to increase or decrease the presence of emotions with their clients. 

For example, a client may approach a coach and express concern over his body image. He may use statements such as, “I don’t want to be fat.” The coach explores to reframe the client’s thinking by inquiring about his goal. Here, the client then realizes his goal is to be fit. He moves from a space of ‘don’t’ to realizing his aim with a focus on what needs to be done for a fitness routine. Did you notice how a coach can gently use the power of reframing thoughts? As the brain doesn’t register ‘don’t’ messages, it deletes it. So, it only absorbs the message “I want to be fat”. Therefore, by reframing thoughts a client gives a message to the brain to act on what he wants. Here, ‘want’ would refer to ‘being fit’ once the thoughts are reframed.

5. Creative Visualization

NLP techniques include the study of the art of persuasion. A coach learns to work with clients and remove their limiting beliefs along with conflicts within the self, and habits that do not serve them well. A coach may use the techniques of mindfulness to work with clients around self-acceptance. He may also make a client explore quick visualization techniques towards successful outcomes. With these NLP techniques, coaches empower clients to find their way towards actions.

NLP includes the use of many techniques (apart from these) aimed to change the communication with the mind. When a client learns the methods of creating a thought process for the benefit of self, there is faster and visible progress in the coaching sessions.

Neuro-linguistic programming gives coaches the opportunity to bring effective change and create results in their coaching practice. This also establishes rapport and trust in the client-coach relationship leading to greater success and outcome. 

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Ram Ramanathan


Ram is the Founder and a Principal at Coacharya. As the resident Master and mentor coach, Ram oversees and conducts all aspects of coaching and training services offered under the Coacharya banner.


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