The Guru Mindset Verses the Trainer Behaviour

The following article was published in Rapport – Issue 54 : Spring 2017  | Rapport is the magazine for NLP professionals 

The Guru Mindset Verses the Trainer Behaviour

I have had some conversations recently that quite simply made my blood boil … and no amount of state management helped.

My agitated state is in fact the culmination of a long line of experiences that have over the last few years included conversations with:

  • Self-proclaimed “Guru NLP Trainers”.
  • Applicants for ANLP Accredited Training.
  • Students registered for our NLP Master Practitioner Training.
  • Would be students for our NLP Practitioner Training.

What do all these have in common you ask.  Well first of all, it’s the lack of quality training and the “I am your guru” marketing and sales bullshit that have become the norm in the world of personal development and NLP training in particular.

Not that long ago I was speaking to an NLP Trainer and they said that they don’t give feedback on their student’s assignments because they did not really believe in giving feedback!

Somewhat taken aback, I asked how then did the students know how well they had done or if they passed or failed the assignment?

The answer I got was: “Oh, well – I pass everyone – regardless, giving feedback is so old school”.

I was genuinely speechless!

Another NLP Trainer made the following statement during a NLP Trainer Training Programme, “to be honest, once I get them registered and we present the course I have no interest in giving feedback, further support or CPD, the job is done”.

The issue I have here is twofold, first of all, if there is no formal assessment and feedback on the assessment it’s NOT training – it’s either entertainment or information giving at best. More about this in another article perhaps. 

Last week an NLP Trainer submitted their application to become an ANLP Accredited NLP Trainer. Lots of supporting business focused documents to support his application – BUT the focus and the language of the training material he planned to use was extremely therapeutic, in my mind really it was designed for the NLPt route to psychotherapy registration. 

What experience did the trainer have to be delivering this training? ZERO!

What’s more, there was no formal assessment process, no pre-screening process and zero follow up support that would be suitable for a programme of studies that was so aligned to the NLPt Psychotherapeutic model.

It seems to me that the Guru Mindset has become all too prevalent within the NLP Trainer group core belief set.  NLP trainers are being certified by either incompetent individuals or individuals that have themselves been so poorly trained they themselves have modelled the “I am a Guru mindset” and taken it on for themselves.

It’s like the thinking is; “I am an NLP trainer, therefor I can turn water into wine”. 

Here’s another example, last year I was asking some fairly basic questions to an individual that had submitted their application to become ANLP Accredited NLP Trainer. They were aghast that I had the temerity to ask for such things as business and student policies, pre-screening process etc. 

“But I don’t think I need these as I am an NLP Trainer”! was the response I got. When I explained that he was in fact flesh and blood and the UK government had laws on advertising, Health and Safety, requirements for policies for students that may wish to have a refund, appeal on a pass / fail mark on an assignment make a complaint etc.

This individual claimed that they have never even heard of most of what I was asking for and “why would he need to have a pre-screening process in place”. What are contraindications was his next question. My heart sank, he never did succeed in becoming an ANLP Accredited NLP Trainer.

So now he and others just like him have become disillusioned with NLP and the entire experience he has had.

Then we have those that register for our NLP Master Practitioner training programme.  Quite recently a student came into my office during a weekend workshop and asked if they could have a word.

It went something like “Over the last couple of weekends there have been lots of references to the Meta Model and to TOTES – I am really struggling as we did not cover much of this in my Practitioner training”.

The student presented their NLP Practitioner Training Manual – the Meta Model was mentioned – a half page which included the great statement – learn to ask better questions. There was no mention of NLP Modelling or TOTE.

How is it possible for an NLP Trainer to be delivering NLP Practitioner training and give little or no training time to these basic requirements?

So, just like the poorly trained would be NLP Trainers mentioned above, we have this great body of people being taken through a process that reports to be rooted in modelling excellence only to come out the other end feeling like it’s not quite what it said on the tin.

Not a great body of people to be turning out on the general public, if those being trained have a negative sense of NLP, how will the general public ever have a positive one?

So, this the brings me to my starting point, the conversation that made my blood boil.

The phone rings, “Good morning, UKCPD how can we help?”

“Hi, I have been looking at your website and I have a couple of questions, do you have a moment?”

Sure, how can I help?

“Well, it’s your NLP Practitioner course, it says on your website that its 20 days, is this correct?”

Yes, our programme is 20 days’ contact training supported by a weekly practice group a library and online support training material, what’s your question?

“Well, I have been speaking to another NLP training organisation and they say they can give me all the training and a certificate to be an NLP Practitioner, a Life Coach and a Hypnotherapist in 7 days”.

I respond, “yes .. I know that these options exist in the market place.  What we do is very different” .. he cuts in…

… “The guy I spoke to on the phone says that the training the material is delivered in such a way that the knowledge slips past my conscious mind and I will know everything I need to know to practice”.

My heart sinks and I ask, ok … so what’s your question?

Then with a clear and totally sincere voice he says: “If I do the course with the other training organisation I have mentioned, will you give me a certificate to say I am accredited with the professional body?”

Sorry, ???  – he then adds, “yeah, the other guy said that they were not accredited but it was easy to get accredited by asking one of those organisations that are to produce a certificate”.

Unless we take ourselves seriously and behave in a professional manner with quality standards, NLP will NEVER get the respect and wider public adoption it deserves.

As long as we have the guru mindset married to a poor business model, NLP will always be considered as a marginal body of knowledge – this is disappointing as I truly believe that NLP is the tool box of genuine success.


Tony Nutley is the Director of Training at the award winning UK College of Personal Development. The UKCPD team deliver NLP, Coach and Leadership & Management training services to a range of organisations that includes public bodies and PLC’s. Additional information can be found via www.ukcpd.net

If you are reading this, then you are part of the resistance and an investor in the future success of us all!

Comments are closed.