~ Article written by Shawn Dwyer and L. Michael Hall PhD ~
During October when when completing metacoach training – I was impressed all over again about the crucial role of the coaching basics. Over and over I found myself emphasizing- listening and supporting, questioning and meta-questioning, state induction and framing and so on. Nor are these the only basics in Meta-Coaching. I found myself reminding people-
“… think representational system, which system is the client offering his information in?”
“What predicates did you just hear from your client?”
“Did you calibrate to the shift of state that your client just experienced? Did you notice the change of breathing, and flushing of the face…?”

The Basics

The basics that are taught in Modules I and II of the Meta-Coaching System are not to be learned about and then forgotten. They are there to learn and then to over-learn so that they become part and parcel of the way you think, the way you perceive, and the way you respond. They are to be deepened by continual use of them. In fact, when you regularly and consistently refresh your knowledge of these basics and over-learn them, you begin to commission them to drop out of conscious awareness so that you have them as unconsciously present all the time.
If that is not the case with you, then you probably have not sufficiently over-learned them. If you have to recall them or if someone recalls them to your awareness, you probably need to go back to the basics and refresh them.


Years ago I found myself in a “beginning level NLP” workshop at a conference. I didn’t know it was for beginners. I entered because of the trainer, I wanted to hear her. She was well known and I had never heard her present. Upon finding out it was for beginners, I immediately felt disappointed and considered leaving. But I didn’t. And I’m really, really glad that I did not. Within the first minutes when she was presenting the most basic information and definitions- I heard something about representational systems that I had never heard or thought of before.

The speaker presented it as if it was obvious and common knowledge.

Meanwhile I was writing furious trying to get it all down! For me it was wonderful- fantastic – worth the whole price of the Conference! And that changed my way of thinking about “beginning level NLP.” It blew out any assumption that “I know it all about the basics.” I realized that not only do I not know it all- but there are depths that I have not even started to
plummet. And, I can learn new things from anyone!

The basics give you depth.

So, go back to them. Read another basic book on NLP every year. Just when you think, “I know all about that” you will find- if you have an open mind and heart that there are many, many things yet to be discovered and that what you may think of as simple has layers of depths.

When you first study NLP, you study the different models.

So what happens when you deepen your knowledge of the basics- you begin to find connections between them. That’s how I happened to discover the redundancy between the Meta-Model, the Sub-Modalities (Meta-Modalities), Meta-Programs, and Meta-States. And that lead to the Four Meta-Domains of NLP.
Therefore next time you are tempted to say or to dismiss something as “It’s just the basic,” do a second take. Remind yourself that it is not “just the basics.” It’s not that simple. It is the foundation upon which the whole edifice of your work is built. And within those basics are depths that can give you insights which are not obvious, yet hidden with those basics are often leverage points of change.

Giving feedback

Recently we concluded a triad of coach, client, and meta-person. I was the person giving feedback and benchmarking. I asked the coach, did you see him look up to his right and then to the left? “Yes, but I did not know what to do with that.” “Okay,” I suggested, “watch this.” “Joe, what were you looking at when you looked up right and then left.”
“I was comparing the two choices.”
“Were you seeing something when you look here (point to his right) and then here (pointing to his left)?”
“Yes, the choices.”
“And what did those choices look like?”
“Lists. There were two lists.”
“Was there writing on them?”
“Were both black-and-white print or any words in color?”
“Oh, the right once was written in color, the left in black-and-white. That’s interesting.”
“Interesting … because …”
“Because when I see something in color, that’s my choice.”
“Is that the case here?”
“Yes … I guess so. I didn’t realize that…”
Ah, so much in the basics. By just exploring a bit about a visual access cue, much deeper insights were probed.

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