Practice groups are essential for developing your NLP skills and enabling you to get the most from your training and your life.
The overwhelming feedback from graduates of our NLP Practitioner training is the importance of Practice Groups. Our experience is that students who regularly attend practice group sessions are the best performers during assessments.
What is a Practice Group?
NLP practice groups offer an opportunity for students of NLP to gather in mutual support to practice their skills in order to advance and maximise their learning.
They usually take the form of informal and voluntary weekly sessions, with members taking it in turn to host the event, often in their own homes. As shared events they are usually free. If one member has the facilities to offer to host all the events donations towards refreshments may be requested. Although they are usually formed between members of the same course they often continue after the course has completed, sometimes indefinitely and often welcoming new members.
We consider practice groups so important that regular attendance is an essential part of our accelerated personal and professional development programme.
We are often asked for guidelines, so here are some to support you in getting the most from your practice and support sessions. You may like to think of these groups as an investment in the future quality of your life.
Do you have a Practice Group you want to share,
or do you want to start one?
The best place to begin
Previous students strongly recommend getting together for one evening each week or fortnight. It can be useful to find a more experienced NLPer to act as a facilitator, guide or supervisor for your group. Many are happy to attend periodically if you cover their costs. You are also likely to find that a number of friends will have an interest in what you are doing. It works well to include them by holding an occasional open evening for them, say once a month. Teaching is the best way to learn, and gives you direct feedback on how much you are learning.
Finding or starting a practice group
The practice groups set up by JSnlp students or graduates are privately organised, usually by members of the same course, and are around three to six people in number so as to fit comfortably into an average sized living room. Generally threes are better than twos because you then have an observer or metaperson. If you have any difficulty finding people from your area, check out our Facebook and LinkedIn pages to see if there is an existing group near you. To join the conversation simply join either or both the Facebook or LinkedIn pages. Alternatively if you already have a group running and can welcome new members or would like to start one register your details on our new Practice Group application page. As soon as enough groups have applied we will open the Practice Group Register for viewing.
You can also try to google NLP practice groups. It is worth remembering that there are plenty of other people, whether NLP trained or not, who would appreciate the opportunity of NLP practice. Ask friends and colleagues if they are interested in joining you and learning some NLP for free. Arguably, anybody is better than nobody and any practice is better than no practice. Find practice partners, agree on and diary in practice evenings. Rotate around each others houses to optimise travel and hospitality. Find ways of making the evenings fun and enjoyable with treats, good food etc.
Agreeing on a format
The best use of your time on the practice evenings is to agree mutually satisfactory outcomes on how you are going to use the time and stick to your time frames. (Time management is a skill worth mastering; your time is your life!) It is useful to spend some time talking about material you are learning in seminars or from books. Do bear in mind that talking about NLP is not the same as practice. Aim to spend 20 or 30 minutes per person in each of the three classic roles of Client, Practitioner and Observer. Set clear confidentiality agreements and stick to them.
When starting it is often easier to practice specific patterns, techniques or skills to improve your mastery of the material. For example, person A wants to practice their well-formed outcome skills. Person B agrees to be A’s ‘client’, and thinks of a real life issue or problem that they are happy to explore. Person C agrees to be the observer/metaperson and finds out from A how they can be of most use in that role. Agree a time frame for running each of the three rounds and a time frame for feedback, eg 20 minutes running time, plus 10 minutes feedback. It is really important to rotate roles, so that everyone gets to practice whichever skill they want to.
With experience this can gradually change to NLP co-coaching: This is primarily for the benefit and support of the person in the client role. The practitioner uses their skills for the benefit of the client. The metaperson observes and acts as a resource person for the practitioner at the practitioner’s request. The practitioner asks for the specific kind of help they want whenever they are uncertain of the next move to make.
With time, these practice groups often become a really important resource. Many groups work well for years and become important peer support groups. They often lead to lifelong friendships of value and depth.
Good luck with yours and enjoy.