Seeing the Metaprograms

image In order to handle the wealth of information that bombards your five main senses at any one time, you naturally filter information, paying attention to some things and letting go of others. Metaprograms are some of the unconscious mental filters that direct what you pay attention to, how you process information and how you then communicate with others.

In the NLP literature (including Neuro-linguistic Programming For Dummies and Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook For Dummies, both by Romilla Ready and yours truly and published by Wiley), you can read about several types of metaprograms that people run without conscious awareness. This section introduces you to four useful ones within coaching that can inform the quality of your conversations and observations.

I explore four metaprograms in the following sections:

  • Global/Detail: Watching the big picture versus the specifics.
  • Options/Procedures: Working with choices versus step-by-step methods.
  • Toward/Away From: Shifting towards pleasure or away from pain.
  • Internal/External: Paying attention to one's own experience or what is happening for other people.

Begin to pay attention to spot these patterns, noticing clues in language and behaviour. For example, when a client talks about an issue, is she more likely to give you the big picture (global) or flood you with information (detail)?

Other metaprograms ...

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