NLP Coach or Life Coach?

group of nlp coaches

The question “NLP Coach or life coach?” has been asked so much that I thought I’d write a blog to fulfil that desire.

What’s the difference between a life coach and an NLP Coach?

There is a huge difference between NLP training and coaching training. So what are those differences? When I was on holiday many years ago, I saw an NLP Practitioner work with my flat mate to remove an allergy to cats. She did that in about 20 minutes! I was doing some coaching at the time, but there was nothing in my coaching manual that could touch that.

nlp practitioner at work 3
NLP Practitioners at work in the control panel!

So I got interested in this weird stuff called Neuro Linguistic Programming (my mother asked if I could have a profession she could actually pronounce easily). Then I remember being non-motivated in my life – none of my usual tricks or coaching could get me back to where I wanted to be. I thought of that NLP Practitioner and we agreed to meet in a cafe in London to talk. During that talk (I though we were having a casual chat, now I realise she was using very graceful language to influence memories to be present.

During this ‘casual chat’, I suddenly was aware of a memory popping up to say “hello”. So I said “oh a memory has just surfaced. The last time i was truly motivated was exactly the same time i split up with my girlfri…….” And my voice got stuck there with emotion.

terry elston working with practitioner

It was obvious to both of us what we were dealing with. We went back to her study, where she applied some Time Techniques, located that memory, talked and got compliance from my unconscious mind to have learnings and complete that event. Within an hour, we had cleared up the whole issue – that had been apparent in different gives for almost a year. I fell in love (I’d say the first time authentically) about a month later.

The question is – could standard coaching techniques have given that result? Probably not, unless your coach has been trained in working with your unconscious mind and working specifically with memories.

What is coaching?

This is what mind tools has to say:

Coaching is a useful way of developing people’s skills and abilities, and of boosting performance. It can also help deal with issues and challenges before they become major problems. A coaching session will typically take place as a conversation between the coach and the coachee (person being coached), and it focuses on helping the coachee discover answers for themselves. After all, people are much more likely to engage with solutions that they have come up with themselves, rather than those that are forced upon them!

What is NLP?

This is what wikipedia has to say:

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy. Its creators claim a connection between the neurological processes (“neuro”), language (“linguistic”) and behavioral patterns learned through experience (“programming”) and that these can be changed to achieve specific goals in life.

Seven Day Training NLP filters man's head image

So, as you can see, NLP does what it says on the tin: It works primarily on and within the nervous system directly (you could say inside the control panel of the unconscious mind). That’s the reason you can remove phobias, panic attack, allergies and disease with NLP yet may not be able to with standard coaching techniques (and coaching techniques never claimed to do that).

As an NLP coach, you would be able to use standard techniques to guide people to their goals, plus be able to remove any obstacles in the way, including memories, traumas, phobias and other blockages.

To see an article by NLP World UK, look here:

To see the article by mind tools, look here: