What is NLP Modelling?

NLP Modelling is accelerated learning.

NLP Modelling is the ability to fully replicate a desirable skill or behaviour that another person has into two discrete parts.


1) The full unconscious set of behaviours that perform the skill
2) The coding of such behaviours into a teachable / learn-able format

Modelling is at the heart of NLP, without it NLP would not exist.

For years psychologists, anthropologists and others from the Human Sciences have tried to adequately describe the interactions between individuals and the way we think. NLP used a different tactic, rather than describe through theory and allegory, John Grinder and Richard Bandler systematically created workable models of their exemplars through application and demonstrable results.

The Truth or Theory?

NLP Modelling is not concerned with the truth or theory, to do so would be to relegate the results to an impractical set of concepts better suited to discourse at the local wineries. NLP Modelling is concerned with the pragmatic outcome of achievable behaviour, that is the ability to replicate in full the behavioural output of the person modelled into a set of teachable procedures so that others may learn them.

What does this mean?

If you know a person who performs extremely well or even exceptionally in a particular setting, and you would like to be able to have the same degree of grace and agility, presence and panache then NLP Modelling is perhaps the elegant method for acquiring that skill.

Natural NLP Modellers

Children are natural modellers, they exhibit the quality of grandiose and exhubarent curiosity without thought of the consequences or expectations of their learning. They have a (called it what you will) talent to learn at phenomenal rates given the appropriate supportive conditions.

Given this, a child has the potential to learn anything.

It has been shown, that to learn a language, for instance, the early developmental environment must be inclusive of people. People serve as a model from which to learn from. Given that a child has no way of knowing how to construct a verbal language without people, they will be unable to develop their language skills.

A deep image scan of the brain of a young adult woman who was forced into living in isolation for about 5 years since birth, showed that even though in her later years where she had human contact and was taught the symbolic of language, i.e. that over there = car, this sound = birdsong etc.. was totally incapable of forming sentences or phrases of any kind after her period of isolation.

This inhibitory learning clearly shows the natural ability that children have for learning, can stop the development of innate abilities.

On the upside, what it does demonstrate is that a child given the right learning environments will flourish.

A person having passed through the schooling system will have been exposed to learning information by instruction. This presents a different methodology of learning to a child, through which they need to acquire new strategies in order to learn. Some children do this successfully and others not so successfully. Yet the important point here, is not that the child cannot learn, rather, the strategies they use to understand the information are acquired through trial and error and experience, through what they have been taught by their parents/guardians.

These new methods of learning will either help or hinder a child’s progression through school and into adulthood as they attempt to learn through the methods employed by the schooling systems.

When adulthood arrives the person has been entrained into using learning methods which may not have been appropriate for their own particular learning style, hence the reason why some people say ‘I’m not a good learner’, ‘I don’t remember much, or have a bad memory’

NLP Modelling is a method that re-teaches the person how to learn effectively, how they were learning in their earlier stages of development.

So what is NLP Modelling?

NLP Modelling is about learning anything you desire to learn that you believe someone else can do and wish to have similar competency in.

Where can it be used?

NLP Modelling can be used in many different areas. Take for example: you enjoy squash as a sport and wish to increase your level of play (specifically your backhand). You know someone who’s game is much better than yours and have noticed that they return the ball with their backhand exceptionally well, almost when someone gets really good at Elo and how it started.

By using NLP Modelling, you can learn how they do what they do and be able to have the same performance as that person, minus the differences in your own physiological make-up.

NLP Modelling is extremely useful for learning another person’s ability that has taken years to develop and to learn it with the same efficacy and performance that your chosen person has.

How does it do this?

As we talked about earlier, NLP Modelling uses the same process of learning that you used as a child. The learning of a set of skills and techniques without any rationalisation or conscious intervention. This allows you, the model-lee, to develop the necessary skills, behaviours, motor skills and unconscious processes that the other person has without trying to interpret what they do.

Children do not learn by rationalisation.. if they did, they would probably stop before they begin, because the rationality would be.. “How can I move these thousands of muscles in sequence just to stand up!!!” Similarly if you were to rationalise and unravel the process of learning complex and unconscious processes and strategies that the person has spent years developing, you would spend 10 times longer attempting to understand it.

So the Rationalisation of NLP Modelling is to NOT understand what you are wishing to learn at the level of consciousness, but to engage your unconscious resources by mirroring and matching the other person.. or shadowing what they do.

How does this work?

Our learning strategies as humans, means that we learn by pattern and difference. That is the repeated observation of attendance of our nervous system on information streaming into our senses.

A pattern is the redundant part of any element, something that is repeated over and over again is said to have a ‘pattern’. It is this pattern that tells us it is important, and the rest superfluous to our endeavourers because there is only randomness to the information and therefore non-sense.. For example… if you were to watch people who have outstanding relationships and are in that ‘moment of communication’ where they are in deep rapport, by observing these people and others who have the same rapport-fullness, you will notice that a pattern begins to emerge. Their gestures and postures match, that is, they exhibit the same physical characteristics as each other. There is a dance between the people, the vocal qualities are the same – volume, pitch, tempo and cadence.

So to put this in practice you would mirror another’s body postures and gestures to get into rapport.


Shadowing the person you wish to learn the skill from, in-part, enables you to pick up the pattern of their behaviours at an unconscious level and ‘tune in’ your motor-skills to theirs. This allows you to develop the necessary motor-skills through action rather than observation. The patterning of these motor skills will assist your aid in learning unconsciously which parts of the skill to be learnt are important to keep and which aren’t. If you attempted to do this consciously, then you could spend a very long time indeed, as our conscious mind is not set up for patterning.

Because people who exhibit excellence in a particular skill do not have the conscious capacity to understand what they do and how they do it, learning in this fashion is like trying to look down a cone shaped funnel to see the world, naturally you would be missing an enormous amount of information that would otherwise have been available to you if you attended to the world without the funnel.

It is therefore important to model without this funnel (conscious attention) in place.

What else can NLP Modelling be used for?

In short any thing you desire or wish to learn.

Some examples: –
Photographic Memory
Leadership – Visioning
Someone who has the ability to consistently take their vision and make it happen
Any sporting endeavourer
The arts, learn to paint, draw or sculpt
Language skills of politicians
Health practitioners who have exceptional ‘healing skills’
Surgeons who are highly skilled during operations – NLP Modelling is perfect for learning the adeptness of these people so that students can learn these same skills more quickly
Those who manage other people very well – the ability to gain trust and respect
Relationships, those who can meet people on the first meeting and entrance them
Retention of information or the ability to understand complex information and make sense of it for others

The possibilities are endless!!

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