More About Coaching, NLP, & Other Approaches to Personal Change

About Coaching

Coaching is unlocking a person's potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them." - Coaching for Performance by John Whitmore

Coaching is a conversation, a dialogue, whereby a coach and coachee interact in a dynamic exchange to achieve goals, enhance performance and move the coachee forward to greater success." - The Complete Guide to Coaching at Work by Perry Zeus and Suzanne Skiffington

Relationship, Goal, and Facilitation

The key features in any good coaching are that it is:

  • Relationship based: Personal Coaching involves a relationship between you and the coach that is tailored to your needs and aims.
  • Goal-focused: You determine the goals of the coaching. The role of the coach is to help you formulate goals in such a way that they have every chance of being achieved and to help you stay focused in working towards those goals.
  • Facilitative: The coach's role is a supportive one, helping you in processes involved in working towards your goals." - The NLP Coach by Ian McDernott and Wendy Jago

Fields That Overlap But Are Not The Same As Coaching

Therapy tends to be past-oriented, problem-focused and progress measured while coaching is future-oriented, solution-focused and performance measured.

Training tends to be based on a learning agenda set by the trainer and aimed at transferring skills and understandings from trainer to trainee, while coaching is based on the coachee's agenda and utilises their skills and understandings.

Consulting tends to be based on skills and expertise delivered by the consultant to a business organisation, while coaching is based on developing the skills and expertise of an individual coachee.

Mentoring tends to be a relationship where someone with experience in the mentoree's field shares that experience and advises about career decisions towards a future similar to the path taken by the mentor, while coaching is a relationship where a coach helps the coachee utilise their own experience to set their own goals and work towards those.

Some Applications of NLP

NLP is a model for understanding human responses, and is not in any way a medical treatment. Techniques based on this model of understanding brain-body responses have been researched medically both in New Zealand and overseas.

Phobias and Trauma

NLP has become well known for its success in working with people with phobias and post traumatic responses. The process involves re-coding the way the memory has been stored in the nervous system.

The coreResearch and Recognition project by NLP Trainers Frank Bourke and Richard Grayhas worked with hundreds of military veterans in the USA. They title the NLP-basedTrauma and Phobia process “RTM” (Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories). Someof their activities in the last decade have been:

* A Pilot Studypublished in the Journal of Military, Veteran, and Family Health, (JMVFH; NY$300,000 Pilot Grant). 25 of 26 (96%) no longer tested as having PTSD and theirPTS intrusive symptoms were fully alleviated in under five sessions. (Gray& Bourke, 2015)

* FirstReplication Study. Results were published in the JMVFH in 2017 (Tylee et al.,2017). Over 90% of the 30 male veterans were symptom and diagnosis free at thetwo- week, six-week, and twelve-month follow-ups.

* SecondReplication Study. Results are in preparation for submission to a peer-reviewedJournal. Over 96% of the 30 women veterans have scored below diagnosticthreshold on the PCL-M and PSS-I at two weeks post and all subsequent measuresto one year, follow-ups.

* ThirdReplication Study. (NY $800 K Grant). 75 veteran study published inPsychotherapy Research (Gray, Budden-Potts, & Bourke, 2017). Over 90% of themale veterans completing treatment have scored below diagnostic threshold onthe PCL-M and PSS-I. About half of those treated were followed to six monthsand retained freedom from PTSD intrusive symptoms and diagnosis.

* Neurological Studies using EEG, pre- andpost-treatment, were done at the Mind Research Network in New Mexico. The firstpilot “Quantitative EEG Markers of PTSD and Impact of the (RTM) TreatmentProtocol has been submitted for publication to the J. of Biological Psychiatry.The research is being conducted in Dr Jeff Lewine’s laboratory at New Mexico’s,Mind Research Network. for Neuro-diagnostic Discovery. Dr Lewine is one of theforemost neurological research scientists in the US working on PTSD and is currentlyconducting a randomized controlled comparison study of RTM vs ProlongedExposure using neurological pre and post measurements.

* On April 15, 2018 the RTM Protocol waspresented at the Annual World Conference of the Society for Brain Mapping andTherapeutics in Los Angeles, California. The presentation was titled “TheReconsolidation of Traumatic Memories Protocol (RTM) for PTSD: a brieftreatment in the neural context of reconsolidation blockade”. 

Fear of Heights

In New Zealand Dr Bruce Arroll, AucklandMedical School studied a similar intervention used with Phobias of heights. “Abrief treatment for fear of heights: A randomized controlled trial of a novelimaginal intervention” in The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine,April 2017. Dr Arroll reviewed results from 98 participants. The participantswere a convenience sample of the public with a score >29 on the HeightsInterpretation Questionnaire (HIQ), a questionnaire validated against actualheight exposure. Dr Arroll says “This is the first randomized trial ofthis novel imaginal intervention which is probably effective, brief, easilylearnt, and safe. It may be worth considering doing this prior to some of thelonger or more expensive exposure therapies. This study will be of interest tofamily doctors, psychiatrists, and psychologists.” Link:

Allergies & Asthma

A one year research study (May 1993-May 1994)into the treatment of asthmatics, using NLP, was done in Denmark. Results werepresented at the Danish Society of Allergology Conference (August 1994), andthe European Respiratory Society Conference (Nice, France, October 1994). Thestudy was run by General Practitioner Jorgen Lund and NLP Master PractitionerHanne Lund, from Herning, Denmark. Patients were selected from 8 generalpractices. 30 were included in the NLP Intervention group, and 16 in the controlgroup. All received basic medical care including being supplied withmedication. The intervention group had an initial day introduction to NLP andTime Line Therapy, and then 3-36 hours (average 13) of NLP intervention. TheNLP focus was not mainly on the asthma; it was on how the people lived theirdaily lives. The results affected both the peoples general lives, and theirasthma. Patients tended to describe their change subjectively as enabling themto be "more open", get "colossal strength and self confidence""a new life" etc. The lung capacity of adult asthmatics tends todecrease by 50ml a year average. This occurred in the control group. Meanwhilethe NLP group increased their lung capacity by an average of 200ml. Dailyvariations in peak flow (an indicator of unstable lung function) began at30%-40%. In the control group they reduced to 25% but in the NLP group theyfell to below 10%. Sleep disorders in the control group began at 70% anddropped to 30%. In the NLP group they began at 50% and dropped to ZERO. Use ofasthma inhalers and acute medication in the NLP group fell to near ZERO. HanneLund points out that the implications of this project reach far beyond asthmamanagement. She says "We consider the principles of this integrated workvaluable in treatment of patients with any disease, and the next step will beto train medical staff in this model."

Allergies are like fearful, or phobic, reactions of the immune system to some stimuli. Some people will be able to produce the allergic response just by thinking about being in the presence of the substance they are allergic to. For example, someone allergic to the pollen may start sneezing when they see a plastic flower. The pollen is not there, but their body-mind thinks it is time to start sneezing. What happens is that the immune system makes a ‘mistake’ and marks out some harmless substance as being dangerous. From then on, whenever this substance is introduced to the immune system, it responds inappropriately, i.e. ‘overreacts’. 

Meta Analysis

Meta-analysis of NLP interventions Catalin Zaharia completed a meta-analysis of 425 NLP studies, concluding that only twelve met methodological criteria for evidence based medicine. However he found that the remaining studies did indeed show a robust effect. In “Evidence-based Neuro Linguistic Psychotherapy: a meta-analysis” in Psychiatria Danubina 27(4):355-363, November 2015 he reports “The overall meta-analysis found that the NLP therapy may add an overall standardized mean difference of 0.54 with a confidence interval of CI=[0.20; 0.88]. Conclusion: Neuro-Linguistic Psychotherapy as a psychotherapeutic modality grounded in theoretical frameworks, methodologies and interventions scientifically developed, including models developed by NLP, shows results that can hold its ground in comparison with other psychotherapeutic methods.”

More Research on NLP

An article by Dr Richard Bolstad on Research on NLP .

Complimentary Modalities

Ericksonian Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy is a widely accepted and researched method of enabling people to effectively support their health, personal development, and relationships. It is a process of communicating with our own or someone else’s unconscious mind, assisted by having the person enter a relaxed state. It allows us to connect with the deepest programming within our minds and bodies. When body relaxes and mind quiets, a natural rebalancing function of the body-mind system occurs. Body knows how to heal automatically.

Chi Kung (Qigong)

You can learn exercises (as little as 15 min to 1 hour a day) to harmonise and build up your energy levels.

Chi Kung is the ancient Chinese health system, the basis of Tai Chi, Kung Fu and acupuncture. Research shows that Chi Kung breathing, movement and mediation techniques promote health, prolong life and assist healing, including healing illnesses which do not respond to other treatments. The main function of these exercises is to collect and exchange Chi between human beings and nature. With daily practice it also helps to strengthen body, promote creativity, develop intellect, and improve quality of life.


Huna is the Hawaiian tradition of shamanism, an ancient way of living in harmony, respect and oneness with all life forms. It implies working with the powers of the mind and the forces of nature. Huna techniques are designed to support physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing, change limiting beliefs, create harmony and improve relationships.

Universal Tao Energy and Healing Exercises

The Healing Tao is the natural way of inner health and healing. As with other shamanic traditions, it serves to empower oneself, affirming spiritual autonomy and self-mastery. Exercises are taught to improve and develop the physical body and spirit as well as transform negative emotions into positive ones. The Universal Tao System promotes health, happiness and fulfillment.