NLP Training: Strategy Elicitation

How to Elicit a Strategy Using NLP 1 of 2

How to elicit a strategy and work out where a client is stuck. Adam runs through the process for eliciting a strategy: finding a specific context; a trigger; the state and behaviour.

How to Elicit a Strategy Using NLP 2/2

In this part, Adam slows down the client’s strategy in order to work out how the subject makes himself stuck and identifies the criteria the subject uses to test against.

Here’s some more information about strategies:


The version we use here came from the NLP family: It was created as a result of Modeling. Bandler and Grinder’s system for
Modeling was essentially to discover somebody’s belief systems, physiology, and mental strategies. In the process of modeling, they would elicit a person’s internal program, which they called “mental syntax” or “strategy.”
NLP focuses on strengthening your own internal resources so you can effect changes in your life. The solutions come directly from your subconscious mind, therefore is from the root of you, this ensures you are fully committed to making that change.

In Neuro-linguistic programming, a strategy is a mental sequence used to achieve a goal. Strategies are usually described in a sequence of sensory-specific terms of the representational systems and submodalities employed.

There are many quotes that should be stated regarding NLP but the one below by NLP’s founder Richard Bandler offers the first link to freedom and the first step to finding a solution.

“The problem with understanding, is you might be wrong”
Richard Bandler

“Personal Strategies” has been formed to offer a comfortable and sympathetic solution for anyone wishing to make a change. Whether you are looking to change a habit or improve some areas of your life or improve existing strategies.

How “Personal Strategies” can help:

Motivation – renew your energy
Redirection – review your goals
Internal resources – be stronger
Habits – Stop bad habits
Life coach – find your future
Smoking – Just stop

“We are what we repeatedly do” – Aristotle

Society can condition us all to follow and creates directions we have to travel, rather than allowing us real freedom to choose.
In Neuro-linguistic programming, a strategy is a mental sequence used to achieve a goal. Strategies are usually described in a sequence of sensory-specific terms of the representational systems and submodalities employed. They may include alternatives, fall-back strategies, and the like.
Steps in a strategy might include listening to a person, asking oneself a question, imagining something, undertaking transderivational search internally, checking how one feels, and the like.
Richard Bandler says we can learn using intence strategies as a foundation: “Which learning strategies are useful in which contexts? What if we design new, more intense states and used those as the basis upon which we learn? All the models and techniques can be of use in many areas or professions. None of these areas are different from one another once you denominalize the words, i.e. “therapy, creativity, learning, business.”
A Strategy is a specific syntax of external and internal experience, which consistently produces a specific behavioral outcome, or to put it in plain English, a strategy is something that somebody does in their brain and nervous system that produces a specific result. It’s what somebody does in their head when they do what they do. An analogy that seems to work really well in describing strategies is the analogy of baking a cake. In the process of baking a cake, you get all the ingredients together, get a bowl, and you put the ingredients into a bowl in a certain order. It’s important to take all the ingredients and put them in a bowl in a certain order. In a recipe, there’s a certain order or sequence of when the elements should go into the recipe. And so, if you put the elements of the cake into the bowl in the wrong order, or even in the oven before you put them into the bowl, you’ll get a substantially different outcome.

A strategy is a specific order and sequence of internal and external processes or internal and external experiences that consistently produce a specific outcome. If you reverse the strategy, that is, if you reverse the order and sequence of the strategy, the outcome that you get may be substantially different.

How to Work with Strategies



*    Has a well-defined representation of outcome.
*    Uses all three (3) of the Major representational systems.
*       At least three points in every loop.
*    Every loop includes an exit point.
*    Goes external after “N” steps or “X” time.
*    Uses least number of steps to get the outcome.
*    Logical sequence with no steps missing.
*    Has the internal & external sensory modalities to get desired outcome.
*    Preserves positive by-products and eliminates negative consequences.
*    Follows T.O.T.E. model.
*    Minimizes bad feelings.


*    Trigger which starts the process and carries with it the final criteria.
*    Operations to alter the present state to bring it closer to the desired state.
Test which compares the present state to the desired state based on pre-sorted or ad hoc criteria.
*    Decision point which determines the next step based on the congruence or lack of congruence of the test comparison.
Knowing the functional well-formedness conditions allows you to ask very specific and directed questions. Knowing the functional properties of strategies allows one to recognize when one receives an answer to a different question than the one asked.

Questions to Elicit Strategies

Test:    What let you know it was time to decide?
When did you begin deciding?
How did you know it was time to decide?
Operate:    How did you know there were alternatives?
How do you generate alternatives?
Test:    How do you evaluate alternatives?
What has to be satisfied in order for you to decide?
Exit:    How do you select which alternative to take?
How do you know (or what lets you know) that you have decided?


Installing or Changing Strategies

*    Rehearsing
*    Reframing
*    Metaphor
*    Anchoring
*    Dissociated state rehearsal



*    Maintain the function.
*    Intervene before the strategy goes haywire.
*    Calibrate.
*    Reframe or use SubModalities on unpleasant feelings or voices.
*    Delete unnecessary steps.
*    Make sure that the criteria are accessed sequentially and not simultaneously.
*    Make least amount of change to get the results you want.


*    Make up what you think could work.
*    Check your own strategy for applicability.
*    Model someone else who has a good strategy.

We have an audio section on strategies in our NLP shop

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