Asking the right questions

By Shermeen Zuberi
Fri, 08, 19

The good thing here is individuals are ever evolving. They aren’t meant to be stagnant in one place or condition.....


Is it just me or do people analyse their conversations once they are finished? You know, going through it again in mind, thinking of better words that could have conveyed what they wanted in a better way? After the person has moved on, it’s just me overthinking what I just said to them, like pretty much everything else, editing, proofing, until it becomes this perfect copy ready to be delivered. But, yes there’s a catch, real conversations don’t happen like that, do they? They’re spontaneous. Which is both exciting and, well, for those who are shy like I am, intimidating. Imagine being intimidated by something as simple as striking a conversation. Fearing what comes so naturally to those around me (I’m assuming here). How do you get a message across, or, in worst case scenarios, how do you acknowledge what you’re feeling because you are unable to communicate effectively with even yourself!

The good thing here is individuals are ever evolving. They aren’t meant to be stagnant in one place or condition. They seek to improve in order to lead the life they want and deserve! And that’s what I strive to do, too. Every day. I don’t mind asking for help from those who are obviously good at what I ‘lack’, but a lot of times these ‘suggestions’ and ‘motivational talks’ got me nowhere.

I came across an accelerated learning strategy for the detection and utilisation of patterns in the world: Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) – neuro from neurology; linguistic(s) for language; and programming refers to how the system of neurology and language works in our brain. This seemed good, almost like I would be learning the language of my mind!

Just like every new field, NLP training and coaching is still an emerging field in Pakistan, despite having started in the 80s in the west. Only now people in Pakistan are inclining towards learning/knowing mind-sciences, some perhaps more interested in investing in themselves, their own mental and psychological growth. Since it’s expensive, you don’t want to go uninformed. Arslan Larik, Certified Master Coach & Trainer by the American Board of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Timeline Therapy, Hypnosis, and ICF, and a passionate entrepreneur with a strong belief in the power of empathy, breaks it down for Us.

Clearing misconceptions

Before we understand what NLP is, let’s take a look at what it’s not.

Myth #1: NLP is mind control and manipulative.

Fact: I haven’t seen anyone control someone else using NLP even though you can use NLP to influence other people. Most of the time people can’t even control themselves.

NLP can enable you to get into rapport with other people and their unconscious mind, and then you can increase your ability to impact and influence them. The more you can connect with someone unconsciously the more you will be able to influence them. I was teaching at an NLP training once and I had this real estate agent, Y, who was interested in closing more sales. I had Y walk me through how he showed open houses to prospective buyers. I really had some aha moments as I realised he was not connecting enough to his prospects’ emotions. By making some minor tweaks to his sales process through using NLP techniques the training was more successful. That’s not mind control; NLP is about connecting with people at an emotional or unconscious level, outside of their conscious awareness.

Myth #2: NLP does not or will not work for me

Fact: I know that some people who have studied or experienced NLP have had an experience of trying a technique and not getting the result they wanted.

One of the key skills in NLP is being able to tailor your actions and behaviours. We call this “behavioural flexibility”. This means you have to watch, observe and listen for clues that tell you what’s going on for you or for the person you are attempting to influence. Once you use your perceptual or sensory skills you can adjust your approach accordingly.

You are probably already getting great results in some or many areas of your life. You are using approaches and strategies you may not even be aware of that are working well for you. NLP helps you have a better understanding of how things work for you and those you are working with and how to make them work even better. And if there are areas that are not working well for you often making minor changes to a process or strategy is just what you need to make a big difference in your personal or professional results.

What is NLP?

When NLP was first developed, the early models basically quoted people getting great results working in the field of therapy. However, along the way many of the behaviours, skills, and techniques happened to be extremely useful in other contexts, including communication, influence, and change. I have seen NLP used successfully in the context of leadership, sports, sales and persuasion, public speaking, and customised one-on-one coaching to name a few.

I’ve also observed newly-trained NLP students regularly help people overcome habits or limiting beliefs in a single session. However, it doesn’t make them a therapist. People can gain therapeutic benefits from many things, like reading a book, going on vacation, walking amidst nature, and meditating. That does not make it therapy.

What counts as successful therapy is when people, who work closely with coaches and therapists in one-on-one sessions after having collapsed or snapped psychologically, are able to overcome obstacles and accomplish performance and behavioural transformation. Each beautiful moment, be it an individual effort or a couple struggling to keep their marriage has led me to learn a lot about human patterns and the way our mind functions.

Which certification to choose?

Decisions, decisions. So do you go for the Practitioner Certification or the Master Certification? How are they different?

The first programme broadly entails the tools to model, the techniques to create healthy interventions, and frames to understand your choices, goals, targets, and insecurities, and to empower yourself better for future.

On the other hand, Master Practitioner Programme entails mastering the process of modelling, techniques for coaching, and a way deeper hands-on practice of the interventions. And the biggest difference is more content.

Another explanation of the difference can be that at Practitioner level you will be able to apply NLP to contexts and situations that you are familiar and comfortable with, while in Master Practitioner you will be able to apply NLP to almost every situation you (or your client) may face.”

Is this programme for you?

NLP is for everyone. If you’re a student, a teacher, a housewife, a psychologist, a salesperson, a business owner, a corporate professional, an artist, well, you stand to benefit from it.

The scope is limitless as it is not bound to any field, sector, profession, gender, cast or creed. Pakistan doesn’t have an abundance of therapists, counsellors, behavioural coaches or anyone whom you could turn to in order to discuss or cure your persistently harmful behaviours, habits or thought patterns. A whole new generation shift could happen with mentally and psychologically stronger individuals – women or men, youth or adult – with the advent of NLP Therapy in Pakistan.

People who register for NLP sharpen their observation and listening ability. You’ll be able to identify patterns in people's behaviour and language, cut through distractions, and therefore respond to the subtext of their communication better. At the same time, your own thinking would benefit from these skills as you learn to identify the direction you want to take in your conversation and action.

That’s just the beginning. To list a few more benefits, NLP would enable you to:

• Change, adopt or eliminate behaviours as you desire

• Choose your mental, emotional and physical states at any time

• Remove limiting beliefs; access powerful internal resources

• Get the results you want

With this certification you can become life coaches, motivational speakers, spiritual leaders, radio show hosts, writers, expert consultants or advisors, hypnotists, guided meditation experts or relaxation experts, yogis, personal trainers, soft skills trainer, wellness experts, career counsellors, therapists, mediators, marketers and much more.

It’s not something you can do on your own, however. These benefits only happen with live training and practice. If you are seeking to learn to speak to your unconscious mind and bring about the desired change in your life as well as surroundings, you know where to sign up for now, don’t you?

Priming your mind

Times like these, when we are under lots of pressure, negative thoughts come naturally. It’s positive thinking that you have to make a conscious effort about. One way to inculcate it as a habit is to practice gratitude. Just do it every day, like an exercise, like spending an hour at a gym.

A sales guru and a phenomenal coach in his lifetime, Zig Zagler, was confronted by a girl at one of his workshops who wanted to change her outlook on life. According to her, everybody at her office was conspiring against her. He asked her to think of at least one thing that was positive about her work life and to note them in her diary. Things like, “access to clean drinking water at office” are usually taken for granted. There’s no harm in aiming higher; just don’t forget to count your blessings. When you have a list, stand in front of a mirror and repeat them every day – loud and clear, with passion (incantation). “I love my job because –.” He followed up on her a month later and her perspective had drastically changed.

Then comes forgiveness. It’s the hardest of all, even if you “say” you have forgiven the person who has wronged you in any way. The test of forgiveness in any religion is when you can pray for that person.

Integrity of NLP

Electricity can be used to light up a city, but it can also be used to electrocute someone.

NLP is like electricity. Its value depends on the positive or negative application.