What is NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming?

Any life coach would do well to learn Neuro-Linguistic Programming. This brief post is a quickie overview of NLP. You should visit the iNLP Center definition of Neuro-Linguistic Programming if you want a fuller treatment.

Definition of  Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP)

neuro linguistic programmingNeuro deals with the neurological system. NLP is founded on the idea that experiencing the world is through your senses and that these translate sensory information into thought processes, consciously and subconsciously. Thoughts activate the neurological system, and this affects physiology, behavior, and emotions.



Linguistic refers to the use of language to make sense of the world, to conceptualize experience, and to communicate that experience. Linguistics in NLP is the study of how your words and your body language influence experience.


neuro-linguistic programmingProgramming relies heavily on learning theory and addresses how experiences are coded or represented mentally. Your individual programming comprises internal processes and strategies that you use to make decisions, to solve problems, to learn, to evaluate, and to get results. NLP shows how to re-code experiences and how to organize internal programming in order to get the outcomes desired.

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is the study of the structure of subjective experience. According to (Stevens, 1980),

“NLP is a detailed operational model of the processes involved in human behaviour and communication model of the processes involved in human behaviour and communication… NLP is not itself a psychotherapy. Its principles can be used to understand, and make changes in any realm of human experience and activity… This technology is detailed and explicit, and can be easily taught and learned.”

The process of neuro-linguistic programming can be derived from its name.

neuro-linguistic programming - your five sensesNLP suggests that all behavior is the result of neurological processes.  These neurological processes are ordered, represented and sequenced into maps and strategies through systems of verbal and non-verbal communication. The various components of this system are programmed to accomplish specific results.

Behaviour is programmed by ordering neural representations of sights, sounds, feelings, smells, and tastes. All external stimuli are processed through internal representations, and unique outcomes are generated for each stimulus. Our sensory experiences provide the basis for various strategies that are defined for generating and guiding behavior. NLP concentrates on the form, not the content, of behavior.