Clean up your language

Updated: Apr 6, 2020

Many years ago during my #NLP #practitioner #training I learnt a couple of #language tips that have proved to be invaluable as coach over the years. I thought I'd share a couple of them, so you can use them in your own self-reflection or with your clients.

Avoid using the word "try" and say what you will "do" instead. When you say "I will try to be on time" you give yourself the permission to not be on time and thus not take #responsibility for your actions. Say "I will be on time" or "I will be be 15 min late" instead and own it. Notice when your client says "try", it probably means they are not committed to that action.


Avoid using negation - "not" or "don't" in your language. Say and focus on what you want to do / will do instead. Our #unconscious #mind cannot process negatives directly, so it will do what you say you don't want. E.g. Don't think of a blue tree. You just thought of a blue tree, didn't you? When you say "Don't forget...!", you just told yourself to forget, so use "Remember..." instead. Always focus on the positive, what you want instead.


A great little tip, especially when there is conflict or disagreement, is to replace "but" with "and". When you say "but" in a sentence, you negate everything you just said until that point. When you start your reply to someone else's argument with a "but", you just discounted what they said. Replace it with "and", this enables you to acknowledge what you have said / heard and add in your opinion.


Be careful with "why". Using "why" unskillfully and without #rapport puts people into #defense mode and makes them feel you are #challenging them. It's because asking "why" goes straight into asking about peoples' #values, which are deep seated in our neurology and you need a lot of trust and strong rapport with someone to be able to explore these. Use "what" or "how" instead.


Avoid using "should" and "would" and use "can" and "will" instead. When you notice you or someone else is using "should" or "would", you put yourself into #effect or "#reactive mode, in other words, you have given responsibility / control to some perceived pressure of #necessity as if it's not your choice. Instead, be honest and make it your #choice, will you or will you not do it? Again, own your #decision.


Listen for "I can't", "I mustn't", "I am not", "I shouldn't" or "I would never" in your own (and others') language. These words often indicate #unconscious #limiting #beliefs or #decisions the person has made in the past and they still hold true. These #decisions had a #purpose in the past, often to protect you, or you would have heard it from a significant person in your life and believed to be true e.g. from your parents, teachers or partner. The issue with these beliefs is when they run your life unconsciously and causing you not being able to live a fulfilled and happy life. So, notice your #language and inquire into where these might come from and if they are still true.


Working with a #professionally trained #coach will help to uncover these limiting beliefs, surface them to your #awareness, so you can decide what to do with them moving forward.


#cleanlanguage #coaching #coachingskills #nlp #professionalcoaching #reflection #selfcoaching #thoughtoftheweek #

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