Is it the method or the result that is important?
Having watched a professional discussion about the pro’s and con’s of NLP and other psychology based tools for HR, OD and people development (training & coaching) activities, it got me thinking…
Call the plumber we have a problem…
Remember when you phone for a plumber you want that person to install a shower or stop a leak… you don’t want to hire or contract on the name or brand of the tools they use… does it matter what type of pipe cutter they use or if they are soldering or using compression joints….no!
Why then do we in HR (HRD etc) get so wrapped up on the tools and try to sell them to our “customers”? Indeed many practitioners use strong language when describing a technique:
“Mind expanding, confidence boosting and exhiliratingly refreshing”
” … has truly changed the way I think, feel and behave.”
“…the real surprise was the personal empowerment”
So it does hit an emotional nerve with some people – a solution to a personal problem/ block maybe? But just because the “whole journey” was “spiritual” for one does not make the tool the “best thing since sliced bread” for everyone else. Remember this is often learnt during a sustained program of SELF DEVELOPMENT and not an intervention for a single issue (be it a one off or a short program of support).
Solutions not tools
In Human Resources, Coaching or organizational deevelopment, our customers want solutions to their problems. Indeed in sales most training tells us not to sell features but benefits..
So not that our tools kit contains 75 valuable and unique tools, but that we can solve your problem within one hour… and it will cost you just $xxx
People don’t care about NLP – Holes not drills!
The majority of our customers do not care if we use NLP, TA, Solution focus, ID, ABC or 123 methods… 99% of the time they just think this is irrelevant jargon – they just want their problem removed or the job they want to do easier or increased performance. Sure many of the tools we have are great in a given context or application – but to the best of my research to date there is no “Swiss knife” of the HRD world – no one set that can solve all problems, indeed many of these are just parts of a tool, not even tools in themselves… much like a drill-bit.. a potentially powerful tool – but on its own… almost useless. Much like many of the psychology tools we use. People do not buy drill bits – they buy the ability to make holes!
In our case the “power drill” is the context, management support, our relationship and many other factors that enable the “drill” to produce the hole.
Professionals in our industry need to start looking at our customers needs not our insecurities by feeling that we have to say… “look at me I’m an NLP practitioner” or “I’m a master practitioner”
Indeed how many DIY fans have solved difficult problems by buying one tool (i.e. a power drill) – but that tool takes the difficulty/ pain away for that job.. and it may make others easier… but other tools are equally valid at other times.
Hey Mr, I have a Rothenberger rubber U-gauge manometer hose I can solve your problem…
Selecting a training provider
What I would say is do not attend this type of self development if:
1) you are going on your own – go with a friend or trusted colleague
2) if you are emotional or potentially emotionally vulnerable – loss of family member/ pet, job, unstable marital relationship
3) you are expecting a “quick fix”
4) if you cannot invest time into research, reading and practice throughout the duration of the program
If selecting a NLP provider consider carefully your purpose:
a) business communications effectiveness, Business/ management coaching OR
b) counselling/ therapy or LIFE (not executive) coaching
While the skills are the same the application and nature of the people on the program will be considerably different, and hence so will your experience.
For the learning to be effective you need to have examples relevant to your application.