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What is NLP Modelling?

What is NLP Modelling?

NLP modelling is a five stage process as described by John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St Clair in their book, “Whispering in the Wind”. This is distinct from analytical modelling, also known as cognitive modelling, in which the expert subject will be asked questions about their process.

NLP Modelling is distinct form Analytical Modelling Click To Tweet

The disadvantage with analytical modelling is that conscious preconceptions of the questioner influence what is asked and conscious preconceptions of the expert influence the answers given. While experts do their best to teach, many of their books and lectures show evidence that they may not be the best people to describe their own expertise accurately.

Fritz Perls and Virginia Satir, the early models for NLP pattern development, held classes in their own therapies and both failed to teach the sensory acuity and language patterns they used so effectively to elicit change with their clients. It took NLP modelling, using unconscious uptake with no preconceptions to isolate the essential patterns that made the difference.

Note: To learn more about the NLP Modelling, claim your free copy of , our e-book:, ‘Creating Models of Exceptional Effectiveness: Introduction to the Art of Capturing, Describing and Transferring Expertise and Expert Performance‘, by Chris Collingwood, NLP Trainer. For a limited time only.

The five stages of NLP modelling require the following:

1. Select a Suitable Model

First a suitable model is selected. If it is worth modelling someone, they should be a model of excellence at their skill or in their field. Some people ask, “How do you identify excellence”? This is a subjective matter, but we can look for elegance, minimal effort and congruence in the model when they are performing in their context. We can compare the results they achieve with those of other exemplars, including the merely competent.

A suitable model is also someone with whom we can spend time while they work. NLP modelling does not function with written work or sound recordings. Video recording is a very poor second to live modelling and should only be considered as a last resort. For training modelling projects, it is more useful to model someone who does something with excellence than to model someone unavailable in person.

NLP modelling does not function with written work or sound recordings Click To Tweet

2. Spend Time Around the Model

Having identified one or more excellent models in a skill, the act of modelling requires us to spend time in the presence of the model while they work or perform their expert function. Our state includes open peripheral vision, internal silence and minimal tension required to assume a similar posture to the model. In this state, we observe, listen, match and use micro-muscle movement to mimic the model’s micro behaviour over time, while we remain comfortable with not knowing. It is essential to keep everything we take in at this stage, unconscious, so no speculation and no searching for meaning.

3. Reaching Criteria

The third stage of modelling is reaching criteria. This will only happen cleanly if we are rigorous in our unconscious uptake. We continue modelling with unconscious uptake until we can achieve the same class of results as the model and in the same time frame. When we can do this, we continue to practice our skill unconsciously. Just because we reach criteria does not mean the skill is reliably available immediately and would remain intact under conscious scrutiny. We need a period of unconsciously led skill practice before conscious awareness starts to happen spontaneously. If we are modelling for our own use, the project ends at this point and we do not search for more conscious awareness. We use our skill in real time with unconscious, automated flow.

4. Transferring a Skill

The fourth stage is only necessary when modelling is intended for skill transfer to others. The skill can become conscious after a period of unconscious practice and will begin to do so spontaneously. The choice in coding the model for transfer depends on the area of expertise and the manner in which it functions. Often, there is choice in how to represent something depending on the desired outcome and the capacity of the learners.
Finally, the model is coded, arranged into stages for transfer and others learn the skills. The evidence for successful coding and transfer is in the performance of the learners.

Note: To learn more about the NLP Modelling, claim your free copy of , our e-book:, ‘Creating Models of Exceptional Effectiveness: Introduction to the Art of Capturing, Describing and Transferring Expertise and Expert Performance‘, by Chris Collingwood, NLP Trainer. For a limited time only.

NLP Modelling: Describing and transferring Exceptional Effectiveness

Inspiritive offers a unique service, the modelling and transfer of excellence. As a result of our modelling projects, we have developed descriptions for:

  • Successfully building one’s desired future
  • Futures and commodities trading (a monograph is also available)
  • A model for trading the stock market
  • Cross Cultural negotiation and a model for effective organisational leadership for an Australian multinational, plus a suite of new NLP processes.

Working for Australian, management consultancy Onirik, Chris has been involved with, projects for creating models for high performance excavator operation at a coal mine, exceptional performance at a call centre for a major charity as well as a number of other projects.

We are always on the look out for talented individuals with whom we can work together for our NLP modelling projects. One of the benefits for the individual is a greater understanding of their competency and often an improvement of their skill. If you have a talent that you would like modelled, call us for a coffee and an informal discussion.

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Chris Collingwood

Chris Collingwood

Christopher Collingwood, BA (Psych)., MAppSci Social Ecology, a director of Inspiritive Pty Ltd., has over 21 years experience in coaching, consulting and leading seminars in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. He holds the Graduate Certificate in NLP, is an NLP Trainer Assessor, and has undertaken extensive training with the major developers of NLP, including Dr. John Grinder, co-originator of Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

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