Training Which Integrates Principles, Skills and Tactics

As one of many people who teach NLP, it’s good to highlight what makes my approach to training stand out from my peers. The key in my methods is the structured interplay of several levels of learning – most specifically, the integration of general principles with appropriate skills and well-chosen tactical examples.

Tactics are specific actions derived from general principles and enacted through skills. Tactics take the form “in this exact situation, do this specific thing for this specific result”. It’s easy to see that for a specific role, you will need a lot of tactics – enough to cover all the available situations. In short, tactical thinking means carrying around a very, very heavy rule book.

An example of tactical thinking in NLP is a heavy reliance on techniques for achieving any result. These are the individuals who are continually asking for “a technique for X” or “a hypnosis script for Z”. They don’t know the principles behind the techniques and only think at a tactical level, so they ask for more tactics instead of deeper learning.

By contrast, knowing the principles behind something will allow you to evolve new tactics for any given situation. However, the principles themselves are abstract, so you need to have some examples of how they may be applied to the real world as a guide to wider application.

Unless you have those examples, it can be difficult to figure out applications. Principles on their own are like trying to warm yourself by the picture of a fire. Principles combined with carefully chosen examples can be a powerful and flexible combination.

Skills are the glue that bind it all together. They are the means by which we enact our principles through the tactics we have evolved. They are the ‘how’, while principles are more about why we do that and tactics involve what we do in a specific situation.

For example, you might know in principle how a bow and arrow works. You might be in a specific situation where you are shooting at a target. Yet the skill of drawing, aiming and releasing is quite separate from the principles and tactics.

This interplay between principles, skills and tactics is something that characterises my training methods and if used correctly, can greatly accelerate and deepen learning. It’s not a standard NLP Trainer thing and I rarely teach this method to others because they don’t know it’s there – it’s largely invisible during training. With this in mind though, you can see one way that learning can extend far beyond the completion of the course.

So the correct balance between these elements, presented in the correct order is one key to the acceleration of learning.

Questions, comments? Add your two cents below.

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