Basic NLP Coaching Principles upon Which to Build

Basic NLP Coaching Principles upon Which to Build

Basic NLP Coaching Principles upon Which to Build


The basic principles in the field of NLP set the stage or the context for the understanding of the body of knowledge of NLP. There are also basic principles for working with the Unconscious Mind which are taught in our trainings in the Time Line Therapy® section and also basic principles of how hypnosis works (and no it is not power over the weak mind as the Hollywood movies have shown you).

For this post I am going to refer to five basic principles (they are called presuppositions of NLP) which are fundamental for the understanding of the body of knowledge of NLP.

  1. Respect for the Other Person’s Model of the World.

It may surprise you to find out that not everybody thinks the way you do and that you’re not always right. They are not always right. In fact the notion of “right” becomes relative when you deal with different individuals. Of course there are basic moral considerations which are always right regardless of the circumstances (like do not steal, or do not cheat), but that aside, people have different values and different motivations which just because they are different from yours it does not mean they are wrong. Once you grasp this idea, you can let go of pointing fingers at others and notice that just because they’re different it does not mean their model of the world is wrong.

  1. People Are Not Their Behaviors.

Simultaneously with the previous principle described at number 1, once you understand that the behavior of one person even if it is wrong is not the person, it is just a behavior which can be corrected. Then you can allow for change to occur. This does not mean you should put up with unacceptable behaviors from other people just because you accept them for who they are. Who they are is not their behaviors, and once you get that, things begins to shift in your relationship with them.

  1. Everyone Is Doing The Best They Can With The Resources They Have Available. Every Behavior Is Motivated By A Positive Intent.

Every behavior? Hard to believe! And yet, here is a telling story. One of our graduates works in the correctional facility for juveniles. One young man was convicted for stabbing his girlfriend (luckily he did not wound her mortally). Once in prison our graduate asked him “For what purpose did you do this horrible action?” and he told his story. “Well” he said “she was nagging on me continuously. I left school early and I was working two jobs and brought home money to take care of her, but she was never happy. She kept badgering me and yapping at me all the time”.

“All right” our graduate continued, “but what was your purpose in stabbing her?” “To make her leave me alone, she made me feel like a low life slob”. “So you felt like that, but what was your intention in stabbing her?” “To have some quiet time.” Our graduate asked again, “And that quiet time, what would the intention in having quiet time?” “Then I could be happy and free.” “So here you are in prison when your intention was to be happy and free?”

Please notice that our graduate did not ask even once “Why did you do this behavior?” To establish the real intention behind even a terrible behavior you ask the questions described in the example above. As much as this is difficult to understand even the worst behaviors somewhere deep down have a positive intent – although most of the time this positive intent is not even conscious to the person doing the bad behavior.

  1. The Most Important Information about A Person Is That Person’s Behavior.

This one if understood would be an eye opener for most people. Don’t judge people based on their words but based on their behaviors. How many times have you believed what a person said to you only to notice that their behavior was completely different? One area in which this principle plays a major role, often resulting in broken hearts, is relationships. Your girl/boyfriend promised to call you and spend the weekend together only to go out partying with others.

  1. And Here Is One of The Most Empowering Principles. You Are In Charge Of Your Mind, And Therefore Your Results.

Most people go through life thinking they have no choice but to accept the conditions laid down for them by background, economic status, family, government, etc. In this way they don’t even try to stick their head above a certain level of mediocre achievement because they think they can’t. Once they learn and recognize that they really are in change then they reclaim the power to make changes that could lead to real transformation. The techniques contained in the body of knowledge of NLP involve the toolset based on which that transformation becomes possible.

These are only five of the principles that form the basis of NLP life coaching  techniques. While you are encouraged to think differently, you become a participant in the creation of your own achievement and success. You step out of the passive observer waiting for life to deal the cards for you. You become cognizant of the scenario in which your life develops and the power you have to make the changes you want. You stop being dependent of whatever comes your way. You begin to create for yourself opportunities to make an appropriate input to situations that will change for the better the total outcome of an entire well-planned event. This could lead to many moments where the entire outcome you intend gets under your control. And that’s satisfying and rewarding.


Until next time, be well.

Adriana James

About the Author: Adriana James

NLP Master Trainer, Hypnosis Master Trainer and NLPCoaching Master Trainer. She is the author of the book Values And the Evolution of Consciousness - a book about how to take advantage of the massive changes which the world is going through and  Time Line Therapy® Made Easy - an introduction to Time Line Therapy® techniques easy to master by everyone. To read more about Adriana go here.


  1. Brett Ellis
    Brett Ellis

    As an NLP Trainer since 2007, reading this article now has helped me get more completion at a new level of insight and begin a new open loop that continues to spiral upward!

    The body of knowledge that NLP is continually supports my life in new and fresh ways! Even as I sit here and type these words after a long days hard work in my field, I feel refreshed having read this article.

    Who would think that after a hard days work that simply reading this article could empower me to move on further?? Just when I was read to rest my mind, something popped! Probably my old understanding, who knows, and who really cares?!!

    I’ve found something new from a basic level of NLP that was taught to me in 2006 when I first became certified as an NLP Practitioner. I remember how excited I was to find what I could do after my first training and I’m still excited about growing and what I can do for others today!

    What a wonderful showcase of tools and knowledge I’ve come to find along the road. I have a life full of purpose and I’ve been fulfilling it for years now. In 2002 I was homeless believe it or not. I had more than 15 years of I.V. and other drug abuse surrounding me and look at me now!! I’m proud of me!!!

    So I continue laughingly as I wonder who will be next in the long line up of changes and transformations that the body of NLP will walk up to and say Hi! 🙂

    By the way – I work harder today than ever before!! Who’d of thunk that, lol… 🙂 Not Me!

    • Avatar

      Wow Brett! What an awesome transformation in your life and as you put it continuing to Spiral upward! Congratulations!

      I also found something new in these basic NLP principles, Having adopted and applied NLP, TLT® and Hypnosis and by gathering new learning’s and understandings these same principles I was taught 7 years ago have much more meaning to me now and they are the very same words used.

      • Brett Ellis
        Brett Ellis

        It’s amazing hey Lauren how the same words hold different meaning and function as we climb the staircase of belief to turn the key at each new door we find on the climb!! 🙂

        We are the keys of creativity that opens those doors of belief not only because of our attitudes that change in the climb, but due to the decisions we make to continue the climb and the progress.

        Sometimes I’ve sat down a while on the staircase and spat the dummy complaining my legs are weak and my eye’s are blind, but then I seem to somehow get up again and keep going! Hmmm what is that? It’s certainly not funny when I stop, but it is once I get going again lol…

        So, if I can’t laugh at myself after the fact, what can I laugh at? LOL 🙂 I’m sure that my life is not that serious that I can’t laugh at my old behaviors, once they’re done of course… hehehehe

  2. Avatar
    Fini Todd

    I LOVE these! When I first learnt about the presuppositions of NLP in my prac training it was like a big awesome slap in the face! I had this whole new understanding and way of looking at my world. I found I was applying it every day to situations that crossed my path and having those great “ah huh” moments. It also made overcoming problems so much easier. Then, during my master prac training I gained a whole new, deeper understanding of the presuppositions when completing the exam and described what they meant. I really reflected on what they meant to me and how they built a foundation within NLP and working with clients. As I had grown as a person since prac, my understanding of the significance of the presuppositions had also grown and it really clicked to me how powerful these concepts are. And now, as Brett also said in his post, when I read through this article I have new learnings again and can see more growth and understanding in myself, my world and my journey. The learnings never stop!, especially with access to resources like these articles and the amazing trainings with the Tad James Co.

    • Brett Ellis
      Brett Ellis

      Welcome to the club Fini!!! Being addicted to having growth comes with hard work! That’s the weak legs bit for me, lol, weak knees but a strong heart with great friends makes the climb worth climbing and the club worth joining!!! 🙂

      With our perceptions changing so often, it’s easy to forget that our projections have changed with us!! Thanks for reminding me – that’s great support, what a mind slap for me!!! 🙂 🙂 I must have been out of my mind LOL!!

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