Uses for NLP

While the original goals of neuro-linguistic programming were therapeutic, the patterns have also been adapted for use outside psychotherapy for interpersonal communications and persuasion including business communication, management training, sales, sports,and interpersonal influence, used for coaching, team building, public speaking, negotiation, and communication. A range of books have been published related to the application of NLP to coaching.

NLP Rapport and Acuity

A classic interaction in NLP can be understood in terms of several major stages including establishing rapport, gathering information about a problem state and desired goals, using specific tools and techniques to make interventions, and integrating proposed changes into the client’s life. The entire process is guided by the non-verbal responses of the client. The first is the act of establishing and maintaining rapport between the practitioner and the client which is achieved through pacing and leading the verbal (e.g. sensory predicates and keywords) and non-verbal behaviour (e.g. matching and mirroring non-verbal behaviour, or responding to eye movements.

Once rapport is established, the practitioner may gather information (e.g. using the meta model questions) about the client’s present state as well as help the client define a desired state or goal for the interaction.

The practitioner pays particular attention to the verbal and non-verbal responses as the client defines the present state and desired state and any resources that may be required to bridge the gap.


The client is typically encouraged to consider the consequences of the desired outcome may have on his or her personal or professional life and relationships, taking into account any positive intentions of any problems that may arise (i.e. ecological check).


Fourth, assisting the client in achieving the desired outcomes by using certain tools and techniques to change internal representations and responses to stimuli in the world.

Other tools and techniques include indirect suggestion from the Milton model, reframing, and submodalities. Finally, the changes are “future paced” by helping the client to mentally rehearse and integrate the changes into his or her life. For example, the client may be asked to “step into the future” and represent (mentally see, hear and feel) what it is like having already achieved the outcome.

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