Is NLP the Same as Coaching?

Is NLP the Same as Coaching?

NLP has been around since the 1970s and is often used in coaching. However, NLP is not coaching. NLP is a set of techniques and methods that can be used to help people change their behaviour or mindset. 

NLP originally developed as an 'alternative psychotherapy' in the 'humanistic psychology' movement that believed everyone was capable of growing to meet their full potential. 

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as 'partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.' 

Essentially, NLP can be a powerful methodology to use within the 'frame' of coaching. That is, NLP can help coaches better understand their clients and develop strategies to help them achieve their goals. NLP can also help coaches build rapport with their clients and create a safe and supportive environment for change.

Is NLP the Same as Coaching?


So, while NLP is not coaching, it can be a valuable tool for coaches who wish to work at a transformational level, or in an 'Inner Game' style of coaching. This is because it has a toolkit that includes tools that help change the internal processes that often limit people from doing the behaviours they need to do to achieve their goals. With NLP a Coach will have multiple tools for changing unresourceful emotions and limiting beliefs rapidly. 

Both NLP and Coaching have professional standards bodies that help define training standards. The ICF is the most recognised body for coaching training in the world. NLP does not have an equally highly recognised global body. In Australia, the independent standards body for NLP training is the NPAA.

The most important thing to know is NLP is considered an advanced coaching methodology, but not everyone that knows NLP has used it inside of coaching as the 'frame' that sets the boundaries for the relationship between Practitioner and Client.  If you are going to learn NLP to use it as a Coach, it is useful to learn it from a qualified NLP Trainer who is also a professional Coach recognised by the ICF.  In this way, you will know exactly which of the NLP tools are recognised as OK for use in coaching, and the few that are considered ‘therapeutic’. 

To learn more about the base level qualification in NLP, click through here. If this is the first time you have heard about NLP, click here to visit our free e-learning Introduction to Coaching which includes intro lessons about NLP.

Thank you for reading! I hope this article has been helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please do connect.

About the Author

I am a qualified Coach (ICF PCC level) with over 12 years of professional experience as a Coach. I am also a Coach Trainer. I am passionate about supporting others to fulfil their potential and to turn their dreams into a reality.