A Skill Every NLPer Should Learn (But Most Don't)
Whenever I work one-to-one with students of NLP I am frequently asked:
“Can you teach me how to track and pattern?”
The skill of building solid tracking skills and identifying patterns is a very useful one, not just as NLPers but in everyday situations.
As a coach or consultant it can be really valuable to identify the patterns that get in the clients way and help them change them.
In a way, that’s one half of the job.
For example, recently I helped an executive at a multi-billion dollar organisation identify a crucial pattern about how performance is rewarded in her organisation that had eluded her for 6 years.
That single conversation was a turning point in her career.
And one she was very grateful for.
The skill of tracking and patterning isn’t that hard to develop once you get a few things right and are willing to practice.
The first is you must be willing and able to be present to moment and to observe cleanly - at a behavioural level.
If you’re inside your head, talking to yourself when you need to be outside — paying attention to your friend/family/client, you aren’t going to NOTICE when an event is happening.
Secondly, everyone who wants to track ‘at the speed of life’ needs to have developed a reasonable working memory to capture changes from one state to another.
Thirdly, you need to know a few things about the perceptive process, what makes up a pattern and aspects of how cognition works -- so you don’t mistake ‘noise for signal.’
There are many ways to develop these skills, something we cover in our modelling training, C.I.T.A.D.E.L., but here’s one exercise to get you started.
As you go about your day and experience different locations, people, contexts and situations, practice observing and taking mental snapshots of what you see.
Your attention needs to be on the outside and free so you can begin to notice more about what is going on. The very things most people miss because they aren’t paying attention.
Once you’ve got a mental snapshot of the context/situation/people, close your eyes and pull up the mental picture(s) you have taken.
Speak out loud what you have observed (or record it to your phone).
Then open your eyes and compare.
How well did you capture and describe what is present?
Repeat this process several times until you can observe and recall what is present to a high level of accuracy.
By taking the time to practice this you are building the foundational skills you need to pattern and ultimately model effectively.
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