Behavior Modeling is the core technology that makes Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) possible. In the late 1970's, John Grinder and Richard Bandler, the co-founders of NLP, asked the question, “What is excellence?” They started wondering what might be possible if they could reproduce or ‘model’ expert behavior. Among other definitions, NLP has been called, “the study and application of excellence. The co-founders defined expert behavior or ‘expertise’ as exceptional ability.
A potent belief system in their exploration of these possibilities was that ‘if anyone could produce a result, then the component parts of that ability can be taught and installed in others. ’ Another belief system or ‘presupposition’ of the emerging technology they called NLP is that, ‘anyone can achieve any outcome as long as that person can break the task down into small enough pieces or chunks, and sequence it properly. '
Behavior Modeling, as they understood it, is a primary way that humans learn. Children “model" or copy the behaviors of the people in their world. School children, for example, emulate their heroes. As adults people tend to identify with people and values expressed at their own economic level or the one just above them. In business, you may look for mentors or coaches to guide your career path. You model behaviors from people whom you perceive as possessing the qualities and abilities you want to emulate.
John Grinder and Richard Bandler “modeled" what they had learned from cognitive psychology, Gestalt Therapy, systems theory, cybernetics, computer science and other fields, to develop the foundational pieces of what became Neuro Linguistic Programming. With a set of skills and elicitation questions, they were able then to model excellence among some of the most successful people of the time. They modeled Viginia Satir the family therapist and her ‘systems approach’ to family behavior. They modeled Gregory Bateson who contributed important foundational pieces of NLP and several other fields from his Anthropological background and writings that include the book, Steps to An Ecology of Mind. They modeled Fritz Perlz, the Father of Gestalt Therapy, and they modeled Milton H. Erickson, M. D. , the foremost Hypnotherapist of our time and the primary contributor to the practice of Brief Therapy. Their student, Robert Dilts, modeled Albert Einstein, Nicola Tesla, Sherlock Holmes, Jesus of Nazareth, and others in his books Strategies of Genius 1 & 2.
When an expert is asked how they do what they do well, the typical response is “I don't know, I just do it. " At some level an expert does know how they do what they do, but these skills and abilities tend to be held at an unconscious level. We do what we do automatically (unconsciously) once a level of proficiency is acquired with regard to a specific ability. With Behavior Modeling technology, a Modeler has access to protocols for asking the right questions in an order that is useful in eliciting the critical elements of an expertise.
Now, the wonderful thing about Behavior Modeling is that it is amazingly empowering to the person being modeled. What is your favorite topic of conversation? For most people, it is themselves. And, when an expert or ‘exemplar’ of an ability is modeled, she learns more about how she does what she does well. When she can understand at a conscious level how she does what she does well, she does it more consistently. Doesn't it follow, that If you do what you do well more often, you will naturally be more successful? So, even the expert being modeled can improve on her own ability, and universally, people who have been modeled report being incredibly enriched from the experience. People love to be modeled.
HOW DO I CHANGE UNWANTED BEHAVIORS?
In a private NLP Success Coaching session, I not only want to know what outcome you want to achieve, I will also model your present behavior. When I conducted public Stop Smoking, NOW! seminars, I got really curious about the behavior of smoking. I want to know, “How do you do that?" Some people laugh nervously at this question, but I say, “No, really, I am really curious. If wanted to do this behavior the way you do, how would I do it? What would I do first, and then second?" and so on, until I have elicited a specific strategy for how the person achieves the specific outcome of being a smoker. I am interested in modeling the unwanted behavior so I will know exactly where to intervene and interrupt the ritual of smoking. I also want to do some belief change work to make sure my client adopts the identity of being a ‘non-smoker’ and is now ‘tobacco free. ’
If you are working with an overweight person, and you find out specifically ‘how’ they produced the result of being overweight, and simply change the behaviors that produce the result, that person can readjust the strategy that led to the present outcome to a strategy that produces a different result, like achieving natural body shape and weight. (NLP views any outcome as an achievement, even if it is not the outcome desired. ) Part of the ‘how’ may include thinking in new and different ways and moving your body in new and different ways.
Author Anthony Robbins reports being depressed and gaining 30 pounds in two months. He says he was living in a 600 sqare foot bachelor apartment in Venice Beach, California. When Tony realized that he had achieved an outcome that had specific behavioral components, he simply changed the components of his strategy for gaining weight and being depressed and started doing the things necessary to get a result he actually wanted in his life. For Tony, realizing the significance of what he had accomplished, caused him to wonder what else he could change in his life. Tony studied with Richard Bandler and John Grinder to learn the specific skills of their technology for personal change that led to his becoming the #1 motivational speaker world-wide.
Bill Thoamson has been a NLP Coach since the mid 1980's and can be reached for Coaching at NLP Success Coach