A few years ago, I completed an MBA. It was hard work but the path was pretty straight-forward, with a number of compulsory subjects and some electives. And once I finished, I graduated and could put “MBA” after my name.
There are three basic levels of NLP training.
The first basic level of training is “Practitioner”. An NLP Practitioner will typically have been exposed to between 7 and 18 days of NLP training, focused on learning the fundamental patterns, techniques and attitudes.
The second basic level is “Master Practitioner”. Building on the Practitioner, Master Practitioner usually involves an extra 6-18 days of training. Sometimes this is focused on learning additional “advanced” patterns, while other trainers will focus Master Practitioner on Modeling.
The third basic level is “Trainer”. NLP Trainers Trainings are usually conducted over about three weeks, and is less focused on improving “NLP skills” and more focused on how to present NLP material.
In a sense, the fourth level would be the Graduate Certificate of NLP. The GradCertNLP is government accredited as equivalent to a third of a Masters degree and so there is a much higher standard of quality control. This incorporates Practitioner and Master Practitioner trainings into a 40-day period of training. To me, the Graduate Certificate of NLP sounds great, though it is still very new… Nobody in China has completed this level of training yet.
Some NLP trainers call themselves “Master Trainers”. The term was first coined by Richard Bandler when he and John Grinder split up, some might say as a way to position some trainers as “better” (others might suggest to ‘recognize seniority or skill’). There are a few other fancy titles floating around too.
Now: Not all trainings are equal.
There are different lengths of training, different styles of training and vastly different content. In general:
- A longer training will be better.
You’ll learn more, experience greater personal shifts and develop better skills.
- A smaller group of participants will be better.
You’ll get more attention from the trainer, your peers will help you more since they’ll know you better, and the training can move along faster.
- A more highly trained trainer is better.
There is so much more to being the right NLP Trainer for you than just whether the person is calling themselves one. How many days have they spent learning and growing in the past year? How are they applying their skills? What are they best at?
There are also different streams of NLP. There is the “Robert Dilts/NLPU” and “Richard Bandler” and “ABNLP/Tad James” or “Tony Robbins” and even a few with “John Grinder/New Code”. And more spin off and brand themselves each year. Some trainers will be stuck in one ‘way’ while others will have explored a number of streams in depth and be focused on communicating their own or a combination.
Perhaps the biggest difference between my NLP training and my time at university is that you can keep redoing your NLP training. The best practitioners and trainers that I have seen are those that have jumped back into the arena and remained perpetual students, never getting too attached to what they know to learn something new. So wherever you are at now, I hope that you can start moving towards where you want to be in NLP.