Beliefs are things which we consider to be true about ourselves and, or about the world. They can empower of disempower us, depending upon what they are. Your beliefs tend to determine your outcomes. This then has the effect of reinforcing a belief, be that an empowering or a limiting one. As a coach it is important to work within a set of clearly defined beliefs, by doing so you empower both the client and yourself. The ones that I work with are the Presuppositions of NLP, these are listed below. This is not the complete list, just the ones that are most relevant to coaching.

Respect for the other person’s model of the world

Our model of the world (MoW) is what we believe about our capabilities and the broader world in general. We do not all share the same MoW. Often we make generalisations about different models, and call them religion, science, or philosophy. Nevertheless, they do go much deeper and more personal than these higher level ways of imagining life. In a coaching context we do often want to help the client to change their MoW, because sometimes that is part of the problem. But that sense of re-evaluation needs to come from inside the model, not from the outside.

Behaviour and change are to be evaluated in terms of context and Ecology

Before embarking on a particular change pathway it is important to ensure that the client has considered the consequences of doing so. This starts with them, what are the consequences for them of making this change. It then extends out from them to their dependants, relationships, family, friends, and society in general.

Resistance in a client is a sign of a lack of rapport

If a client wants the coaching to be successful for them, then they need to ensure that they surrender 100% to the process. Anything less than surrender is sabotage. That being said, the coach needs to take responsibility to build rapport with the client to help them to surrender to the process. If you label someone as being resistant then you will not be able to assist them.

People are not their behaviours

In an echo of the belief above, it is important to sperate someone from their behaviour. As we will see shortly, someone’s behaviour is important, but it is still not who they are. For example you need to deal with naughty behaviour in children, but you do not label them as being naughty.

The most important information about someone is their behaviour

Despite the fact that we do not label someone as being their behaviour, their behaviour is still important. In a coaching context, focus on what the client actually does, not just what they say they will do.

Every behaviour is motivated by a positive intent

It matters not how badly a particular behaviour works out for someone, at some level they believed that it would produce something positive for them. It is important to understand what this positive motivation was, so that the client can learn from and or let go of any problem behaviour, whilst satisfy the positive intent in another way.

Everyone is doing the best they can with the resources that they have available

This is a way to access a sense of forgiveness in yourself and for others. For sure we may well be able to better in the future, or to access more resources. But, now and in the past we did the best we could with what we had.

The Map is not the territory

The words people use are not necessarily the event or item that they represent. Another analogy to work with here is that the menu is not the food. When you go to a restaurant you eat the food not the menu. The menu is simply the linguistic description of the food.

You are in charge of your mind and therefore your results

Each individual is responsible for their own actions and results. It is the clients life and their responsibility. The coach is only responsible for their own life and their own results.

People have all the resources that they need to succeed – there are no unresourceful people only unresourceful states

What this belief is about is the idea that we all already possess everything that we need, to be successful in our own life. The problem is not about having the resources, it is rather about your ability to access them. One of the things that prevents us from accessing what we already have is being in a negative state. This might be something like, anger, frustration, irritation, sadness, anxiety, fear, worry, guilt, shame, hurt, jealousy, or disappointment. Human life contains these emotions, they are an essential and integral part of being alive. But at times they can stop us from accessing more of who we are and therefore prevent us from achieving what we want in our lives.

There is only feedback – there is no failure

Treat any apparent failure as an opportunity to learn something. That way no matter what happens you will either be successful or you will have some feedback to work with. Labelling yourself as a failure is a dead end street.

The meaning of the communication is the response you get

In general flexibility is important for a coach. Being flexible can help the client to unlock their thinking. This also applies to a coach’s communication skills. No matter what you thought you communicated, the response you get is what you did communicate. This means that the coach cannot blame the client if they do not seem to understand what the coach intended. The coach must be flexible enough to explore a different way to communicate.

All procedures should be designed to increase choice

A client is a client because they think that they have run out of choices, they are stuck. The coach must help them to open up, and to explore new choices and options.