Using NLP Meta Programmes to Motivate Your Coaching Clients Part 4, People – Process

To read part 1, click here.

To read part 2, click here.

To read part 3, click here. 


The Meta Programme covered in this article is People – Process.

Imagine each Meta Program as a scale, with the most extreme example at each end of the scale. Some people will be extremely ‘people’, others extremely ‘process’, but many will be somewhere along the scale and some may be totally neutral in the centre.

When you are coaching, you identify the Meta Programmes your clients are using by listening for the language they use to motivate themselves to achieve their goals and objectives. By matching their language, you will help them motivate themselves.

Remember, people tend to use more than one Meta Programme and the purpose of these articles is for you to recognise the different combinations your clients use, and match their language to help motivate them to achieve their goals.

The people and process Meta Programmes are interesting as the more responsibility someone has in business, the more processed they have to become to deal with their workload. This can result in leaders who are normally more people focused becoming highly processed and forgetting that it is the people who get results for a company, not the systems!

Highly ‘processed’ people tend to talk about everything except the people who do the work. They quote figures; statistics, numbers, and talk as if it is the machines, systems and processes that are achieving results, not the people.

Accountants, CFO’s, Engineers and HR managers are often (but not always) highly processed. They enjoy working with numbers and systems, and may sometimes seem cold and disinterested with people, but they will always have their eye on the facts and figures.

When you are coaching your ‘process’ clients, keep to the facts as they tend not to be naturally creative and can struggle with non-tangible concepts. Rather than asking, “In an ideal world where would you like your business to be in 3 years?”, it is better to ask: “What figure do you want your turnover to reach in 3 years?”, or “By what percentage do you see your business increasing in the next 3 years?”

Being given concise facts, figures, results and statistics motivates them.

Your ‘people’ clients are the opposite, they talk about the effects and impact that doing something will have on others. They talk about how people will feel and the impact that anything they do will have on the people involved. ‘People’ clients can find it difficult to detach themselves from their feelings as they are affected by how things will impact others. However, they have great empathy and can see things from the perspective of others.

When coaching your ‘people’ clients’, use the names of the people they work with.   Ask them how they feel doing something will impact on others.

When I first started coaching, I noticed that a few of my ‘people’ clients had problems achieving their goals as they did not want to appear pushy. Discussing how achieving something will impact on others and how your client feels about this will usually resolve this.

‘People’ clients often don’t focus on themselves as they are too busy helping others, they become motivated by helping others achieve their goals and objectives. They are motivated by statements such as, “everyone will love pulling together on this new project”, “this will really help John and Sue develop (knowing names is a powerful motivator for ‘people’ people!)”, and “your team will really enjoy doing this project.”

When coaching your ‘people’ clients, you may have to remind them that you are coaching them, not the people they work with!

In Leadership Development coaching it is important that you help your ‘process’ clients learn to communicate better with ‘people’ people by asking about them, and it is important that you help your ‘people’ clients learn to include more facts and figures for their “processed’ people.

Fiona Campbell is a Senior Management Associate with PROTRAINING. She is an Executive Coach, NLP Business, Leadership Development and Communications Trainer and Author. Fiona has 25 years experience in the hospitality sector working with companies including Xerox and Yellow Pages.

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