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4 essential skills you need to be an effective NLP practitioner

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There are some core skills that you need as a coach or therapist who uses Nero-Linguistic Programming (NLP) in your practice. Of course, your own NLP knowledge and training are key, but these four ‘soft’ skills are also vital to your success as an NLP practitioner. They are likely skills for which you have a natural affinity, or you wouldn’t have chosen this work. But it is still important to be mindful of their role in your work so that you can continue to develop your NLP practice.

1. Empathy

Hands-down, the most important skill of any coach or therapist is a well-developed sense of empathy. You need to be able to put yourself in the shoes of your clients, build trust, and guide them towards a successful outcome. Fortunately, NLP gives us the skills we need to show our empathy and grow that sense of trust, through mirroring our clients’ body language and speech.

2. Active listening

Listening is a skill and one that many people don’t bother to learn. Your ability to truly listen to your clients and understand their perspective is part of what makes their time with you so valuable. As an NLP practitioner, you are ahead of the game, with your knowledge of how to decode what your clients don’t say, as much as what they do say.

3. Knowing when to be silent

Silence can be as powerful as words. A good coach or therapist knows when to leave space for a client to work through a thought or emotion before guiding them further. Just because someone has stopped speaking out loud, doesn’t mean they have finished processing. Before speaking, give your clients a moment to see if they can use NLP techniques themselves to re-frame their thoughts or notice unconscious patterns.

4. Knowing when to push

It is a careful balance, being an NLP practitioner. Sometimes silence is your most powerful tool, but sometimes you need to know when to intervene, to push a client further on their road to self-discovery and personal empowerment. Knowing when to stay quiet and when to push is a core skill of any good coach or therapist.

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