• Posted: April 2009
  • By: Michael Carroll

Continually Raising the Game

Reflections on a Brilliant Experience

Three weeks ago people from eighteen countries came to the ‘Centre of the Universe’ Croydon, for what was going to be a very special experience indeed. NLP cocreator John Grinder, Carmen Bostic St Clair and myself were set to teach the Premier NLP Practitioner Course, so called because it was the ‘first’ of its kind in the UK and because it sits right at the top of the tree of NLP courses. It wasn’t so long ago that you had to go to California for training of this calibre. Now Croydon is the capital of the NLP world and California comes here. A series of events occurred in our thirteen days that led John and Carmen to say that ‘this was the best experience of training we have ever had’. Now if John and Carmen were saying that, imagine how the participants who were new to NLP felt. “Mindblowing” was a term frequently used.

When I first became involved in NLP, the ‘scene’ was very different to how it is now. The courses on offer were either intellectually driven with a minimum focus on application, or, on the other side there were courses which made the claim of unconscious installation through a mix of aggressive metaphor and embedded exercises. The first group knew what to do but not how to do it, the second group knew more of the how but didn’t have a clue what they were doing. My early goal as an NLP trainer was to offer something different. I wanted to deliver courses where people trained in NLP, applied the tools to themselves, and knew precisely what they were doing when working with others. This covers people trained in NLP -understanding, doing and knowing.

So what made the recent course so special? Well all of our courses are special; John, Carmen and I, as a training team give a group of people everything we have.  We continually challenge ourselves by bringing in new material as well as exploring new ways to teach the existing material. The result? Constant development!. In the recent course, we had a great group of people who were willing to explore and play. The group and trainers made a great team. As John and Carmen said ‘it just came together’

Roger Lane said “The highlights of the course for me were the result of 2 compounds - the composition of the course members on an individual basis, and the calibre of the training team, who consistently provided master classes in such a majestic manner. Any trainer knows that such mastery only comes with practice - indeed, the dictionary is the only place where success comes before work”

Seven months ago, just moments before we started another course John Grinder said to me ‘we should teach people to calibrate and create change through micro muscle movements”. NLP is about flexibility, so I adapted what I was going to do on the spot, to incorporate John’s suggestions. I spent pretty much all of the first two days teaching people calibration through micro muscle mirroring and how to create change through micro muscle mirroring.  As a result, the group’s calibration, detection of difference in others through self-awareness, pacing and leading and rapport skills were pretty amazing after these two days. The stage was set for John and Carmen to come and do their magic.
John and Carmen said “Michael’s acceptance of the challenge of opening with
micro-muscle movement mirroring as a superb channel of calibration created an opportunity to establish and maintain high grade rapport, a source of precise information, and especially an exact indicator of state shifts in the person with whom you apply it and a method for the assimilation of patterning.

John Grinder’s first session on the third day was a delight. People had been sensitised to their internal state through the micro muscle exercises and John went straight for involuntary unconscious signals. In true Grinder style, he wove his magic with multiple demonstration subjects. The NLP co-creator was in town and the everybody knew it. In the afternoon, Carmen’s first session complemented John’s perfectly with a series of rich metaphors, artfully sculpted and delivered with style and panache. Through multiple descriptions Carmen was emphasising the value in individuality and difference. Now it was the audience’s turn to explore different sensory perceptions and multiple descriptions. For the next three days John and Carmen led people on a sensory rich journey into the powerful change processes of New Code NLP. By the end of module one the group had integrated an array of NLP tools but most importantly the new Practitioners had applied what they had learned to themselves and were developing greater self awareness.

Jackie said: “I have to say that I am changed by the insight that has been imparted to me because of my recent NLP experience delivered at ‘the centre of the Universe’. How ‘specifically’ have I been changed? For the first time, through my encounter with John and the team, I have greater understanding of some of the natural gifts that have helped me on my way through life. Most powerful for me is the way some of my most treasured patterns became so obvious to me because of this encounter”

I taught the first day of module two and the focus was on language. We had already covered most of the language patterns inductively. My job was to make the hypnotic patterns from the Milton Model and specifier patterns from the Meta Model explicit,  so people knew how to layer patterns of influence and knew what they were listening to in another person’s language. We used a series of role-plays, and class generated visual cues to anchor what they had learned. The group were tasked to continually demonstrate their linguistic flexibility for the rest of the course.

For the rest of week two, we created a dance between New Code and Classic Code looking at how these two elements of NLP complement each other. It was interesting observing participants explore classic patterns such as anchoring and submodalities. The New Code operates at a higher logical level than the Classic Code and includes components of these classic code patterns and people found it very easy to execute them.  We also explored how ‘parts integrations’ and timelines are useful metaphors for change. No NLP course would be complete without covering metaphors. The participants enjoyed the journey down this road, crafting stories and anecdotes that layer change in another.

Leila said: “To use a metaphor, the first few days were the charcoal drawing, laying a strong and important foundation for the final composition. John & Carmen saturated the canvas with bright, complementary colours, textures and exciting new materials, encouraging me to turn the painting upside down to look at it in a different way and splash it with pure gold. Sometimes I was the painting. They taught me how to look at it, listen to it, and respond with what it needs, so we can work as a team. Michael had a tough job after that, and did it well. The last few days were special for me, as I felt changes in myself, and watched them in the people I was working with. The painting was finished, and it looked good.”

John, Carmen and I have different styles. John is the co-creator of NLP, a gifted academic and gets rapport by reputation. Carmen’s background as an educator (committed to discovery learning) and business-woman brings a feminine, creative and pragmatic style to the course. I am from South London, a coach and a hypnotist, I love change. I like seeing people developing skills in a course that can be used afterwards.  I love bringing it all together.  Bringing together the triple experience John, Carmen and I offer is especially enjoyable, as in doing so, I step into all the different perceptual positions.

For me the icing on the cake was the certification day. I created a context where, through a series of exercises in groups of four people, delegates revisited and were required to demonstrate competency in every major aspect of the course. It was so great to see how people had integrated what had been learnt. The level of pattern detection was impressive. The group demonstrated a high level of skill in using the New Code and Classic Code tools. To revisit the course in that way in one day was an excellent test of competence and an opportunity to integrate.

I have had many experiences where I have challenged myself to raise my game and when I reflect, I think that one will be tough to follow. I wonder now and again, how can it get better? Then I kick myself, in my world to stand still and not improve is not an option. I just now reset the bar and get ready for my next jump. I urge all readers to do the same.

About The Author

Michael Carroll is the founder and course director of the NLP Academy and co-founder with John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St Clair of the International Trainers Academy of NLP. He is the only NLP Master Trainer in the world certified by John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St Clair and he works closely with them in developing and delivering high quality NLP training.

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