Notes from "The Wheel of Change" Webinar at NLP Planet
Aligning Neurological Levels (Away-From & Towards) From Robert Dilts
1. Choose a problem you've had, and would like to change in a fundamental way.
2. Stand somewhere with plenty of space in front of you (enough to step forward six times). Think of the environment where the problem (that you want to move away from) occurs. Notice what you see, and listen to the sounds there.
3. Take a step forward. Consider what you actually do and say in the problem situation. Just run a movie of what happens with that problem.
4. Take another step forward. When you do those things, what capabilities, what skills are you using (perhaps habits that you wish you didn't use, but that happen automatically, or skills that don't seem to work for you)? And what skills are you not using?
5. Take another step forward. Consider what beliefs you are acting on in that situation. What is important to you when you are in that situation (it may be just changing the situation)? What do you find yourself believing about your potential or lack of it, and about the situation that you want to change?
6. Take another step forward. Who are "you" in this situation? What kind of person are you in this situation and what would you like to change about that?
7. Take another step forward, and remember that you are here for a reason. You only got yourself into that situation because, in a wider sense, you're here on earth for a reason. You may not know in words what that reason is, but notice it now. Realise that this "reason" connects you to something vast. You may think of it as God, as the universe and the laws of nature, as consciousness or beingness, or just as humanity. But it is a vast source of energy, in front of you now.
8. Take another step forward, into that source of energy. Feel its power.
9. As you feel that power, take a step back and notice how that power gives renewed strength to your mission, your reason. Take another step back and feel how that power transforms your sense of who you are. Take another step back and feel how that power changes what you believe about that situation you were considering; changes what seems important there. Take another step back and notice how it changes what skills you can use there, gives you new choices. Take another step back and be aware of how using those skills, with that vast power, changes what you will do and say there. Take another step back and be aware how those actions, done with that power, will change the situation itself.
10. Thank that power.
Double Handshake (Sameness-Differences) From Robert Dilts
Stand in a pair and look at the person in front of you. Realise that you could recognise this person as different, compared to any of the 7 billion people of the planet. They are different to all humans who have ever lived, and different to all who ever will live. There is no-one else who has exactly the same appearance, life experiences and opinions as this person. Meeting them is a unique moment in your life. As you realise this, reach out and hold their right hand with your right hand.
Look at them again, and realise that the shape of their face, the colour of their eyes and the type of hair they have has been inherited from their parents. When you look at them, you see into their family of origin. The way they speak and even their gestures are learned in a social context. Looking at them, you are looking at their culture and their social group. Their DNA is mostly the same as that of every other human being on the planet, including you. Looking into their eyes you look into the eyes of all humanity, and your brain recognises your common ancestry with them. As they breathe, notice that they breathe in air that is produced by the plants on this planet, and as they breathe out they nourish those plants. They have co-evolved with all the other living things on this planet and could not have emerged outside it. When you look at this person, you look at one of the fruits of the ecosystem of the whole planet. Their body is made of atoms from the sun, and looking into their eyes, you see the structure of the universe revealed. As you understand their inseparability from all that exists, reach out and hold their left hand with your right hand.
Now, without needing to think of any particular meaning, reach out and take their right hand in your right hand, and reach out over the top of this and take their left hand in your left hand. Allow your body to understand them as simultaneously unique in all history, and one with all that exists.
The Wheel of Change
Bill Moyer works with organisations seeking social changes. Moyer has proposed that "There are four different roles activists and social movements need to play in order to successfully create social change; the citizen, rebel, change agent, and reformer. Each role has different purposes styles, skills and needs, and can be played effectively or ineffectively. (Moyer, 2001, p. 21). I want to apply these roles to individual change work. I will call Moyers' four styles:
- The Auditor (what Moyers called the Citizen)
- The Rebel
- The Innovator (what Moyers called the change agent)
- The Reformer.
The above sequence is the sequence in which the change styles are required, as a person, organisation or society shifts from their old state to their new state. This sequence is what I am calling "The Wheel of Change". Different stages of the change process require different relationship styles. As a result, some practitioners are good at helping clients who are starting this process of change, some are good at helping clients who are good at finishing the process, and others are good at helping clients who are in the chaos at the centre of the process. If you understand this whole change cycle, you can recognise the strengths of your own helping style, and develop the skills you have previously found difficult. These change styles differ in their relationship to two personality continua (metaprograms) described in NLP (see Charvet, 1997):
- Preference for Sameness (Matching) vs Preference for Difference (Mismatching)
- Towards Motivation vs Away-From Motivation
The above table summarises the relationship of the NLP metaprograms (personality styles) to the change roles. Matching and Mismatching refer to the extent to which a person pays attention to and appreciates the similarities (between two aspects of their experience, between their view and yours, between what has previously happened and what is happening now etc) or the differences. Sameness people notice similarities and prefer that things stay the same, whereas Differences people notice differences and prefer that things change. Towards and Away From refer to the "direction" in which someone is motivated to act. Some people are motivated mostly towards their goals and desired results, some mostly to avoid risks and problems.
Different coaching and consulting styles are more effective for dealing with clients "stuck" at different stages of the wheel of change. For example:
- Reflective Coaching is important for dealing with the Auditor style/stage. It matches the person's concern about the problem and helps them clarify what needs to change to re-establish harmony.
- Provocative Coaching is useful for dealing with the Rebel style/stage. It utilizes the person's challenging style and challenges them to stop complaining and start doing something different.
- NLP and Solution Focused Strategy Creation is useful for dealing with the Innovator style/stage. It helps the person create new and innovative ways of responding to situations.
- Ericksonian Tasking is useful for dealing with the Reformer style/stage. It helps the person plan how to integrate their new learnings into their daily life.
The wheel of change provides a radically new frame for thinking about change styles and techniques. It suggests that these techniques can better be evaluated by their match to the style of the client than by their match to the preferred style of a coach or therapist. This new frame confirms that whichever style you have intuitively preferred has indeed been successful with those clients who match its strengths, and the frame invites you to expand the skill you have into the other three areas to achieve the same success there. The model answers the most frequent questions that I hear from new coaches after their training, as they struggle to understand why what worked so well in the training room is sometimes failing in their clinical practice. It dramatically enhances the range of choices that you can elegantly and congruently incorporate into your own skill as a coach, giving you a sense that whatever stance the client brings to their session, you can enjoy utilising it to create amazingly swift and elegant outcomes. At the same time, it gives us:
- A model for selecting coaching responses
- A model for assessing where we are in the steps of the coaching process
- A model for understanding each client's unique style of changing
- A model for cooperating in the change process in a group or organisation
- A model for changing the world
- Bolstad, R. RESOLVE: A New Model Of Therapy Crown House, Bancyfelin, Wales, 2002
- Bolstad, R. and Kurusheva, J. Outframes Transformations, Auckland, 2013
- Charvet, S.R. Words That Change Minds Kendall/Hunt, Dubuque, Iowa, 1997
- Dilts, R.B., Epstein, T. and Dilts, R.W. Tools for Dreamers Meta Publications, Capitola, California, 1991
- Farrelly, F. and Brandsma, J. Provocative Therapy Meta Publications, Cupertino, California, 1974
- Haley, J. Uncommon Therapy, W.W.Norton & Co, New York, 1986
- Moyer, B. with McAllister, J., Finley, M.L. and Soifer, S. Doing Democracy New Society, Gabriola Island, Canada, 2001