If you’re like most NLP Practitioners I talk with, your training included a lot of elicitation, and little or no NLP modeling.
That’s unfortunate, because modeling is the core skill of NLP. In fact, Richard Bandler and John Grinder used it to create Neuro-Linguistic Programming. NLP’s rich array of techniques, models, and applications got developed and refined using modeling.
How ironic that NLPers so rarely learn NLP’s core skill and strategy. But fortunately…
If you learned elicitation, you learned NLP modeling skills
Elicitation is a process for figuring out what someone does and how they do it.
For instance, Jane and Mary both feel happy, but they use individual strategies to do it. When doing NLP with Jane, you need to know that she feels happy by saying pleasant words to herself in a happy voice. When doing NLP with Mary, you need to know that she feels happy by watching color movies of herself having fun.
Mary’s strategy might work for Jane, but you will have the easiest time getting Jane into a happy resource state by using her own strategy. You discover Jane and Mary’s strategies by eliciting them.
NLP modeling is also a process for figuring out how someone does something. Modeling typically involves more detail than elicitation. However, you can use all your elicitation skills to do modeling. If you already do elicitation well, you will probably find modeling easy (and fun).
The key difference between elicitation and modeling
Elicitation requires getting enough detail about how someone does something that they can reliably access their state, skill, or resource. You know you have successfully elicited Jane’s happy state when you can get her to go into it, reliably and repeatedly, using the cues you elicited. Because Jane already knows how to do her happy state, you can usually elicit just a few components and get the entire effect you want.
Modeling requires getting enough detail about how someone does something that someone else can reliably do it. Jane already knows how to do her happy state, so you just have to trigger it. But Mary doesn’t know how to access happy states using Jane’s method. Triggering Jane’s state won’t work for Mary, who has a different set of anchors. Instead, Mary has to build the new state. As an NLP modeler, you need to elicit enough detail from Jane that you can teach Mary to do what Jane does.
How much detail is enough?
To know whether you’ve elicited enough detail to make a valid model (a strategy someone else can use), simply try on the state, strategy, or resource you have elicited. Do you get the outcome?
If you try on Jane’s happiness technique and feel nothing, or very little, you haven’t elicited enough details to generate the effect. Jane also does something else that makes her strategy work. Once you discover the additional components and add them to your model, you will be able to get at least some of Jane’s happy state.
Even if you have no formal training in NLP modeling, you can start modeling now. Simply use your elicitation skills to figure out how someone does something, then test to discover whether you can duplicate what your subject does or experiences. Begin with skills and states that won’t require knowledge you lack, or lots of practice.
Once you can do the skill or get the state, teach it to someone else. If they can do the skill or get the state, you have a viable model… without formal training in NLP modeling!