Four ‘Magic’ Questions that Help Resolve Most Problems - Introduction to The NLP Meta Model


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Most problems in business are from Values, Beliefs (inside world problems) Strategy, Environment (outside world problems) This presentation give you an introduction and examples of how to use NLP Meta Model questions to quickly identify where a problem lives.

When you know this communication is clearer and problems get solved quicker.

Published in: Business
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Four ‘Magic’ Questions that Help Resolve Most Problems - Introduction to The NLP Meta Model

  1. 1. The Four ‘Magic’ Questions that Help Resolve Most Problems Introduction to the NLP Meta Model NLP Business Coaching Series
  2. 2. + The Importance of Asking ‘Magic’ Questions Some people are naturally good at having open and honest communication with others however, for most of us this is a vital leadership skill that we need to learn. Often in business people get promoted to leadership positions because they are fantastic at the specific job they do. They get put in ‘charge’ of a team and are sent off to lead others without any training in how to ask the type of questions that really uncover the facts about something. As a business leader you probably want to know more about what is happening within your company, create open and honest communication, retain your key people, make more sales and develop your future leaders from within your company. You can only achieve this when you have all the facts about a situation and, when you know what the people you work with really think about something. The four ‘magic’ questions covered in this presentation are used by the worlds top visionary business leaders to understand and resolve problem quickly.
  3. 3. + Inside World and Outside World We live in two worlds. Our inside world, the world inside our head where we imagine how things are going be, complete with our own running commentary (this is before things happen!!). And our outside world, the place where we actually do (some!) of the things we we thinking about doing. The way you can know what is going on in someone’ inside world is by the listening carefully to the language they are using and asking the ‘magic’ questions that produce the answers that tell you what they are thinking.
  4. 4. + Asking the Right Questions to Help Your Business Good decisions can only be made when you have good information. Great leaders get out there, pay attention, listen and connect with everyone in their company, including their customers. For more on this check out Enhancing Communication for Business Leaders Part 3 They find out what potential problems could possibly arise before they happen. They ask great questions when talking to people, to find out what problems could possibly be encountered and how they would go about resolving this. Wherever there is a problem in a company there is always someone who will know how to solve that problem. However, most people will not naturally volunteer this information as they may feel it is not their place to do so. The job of asking magic questions is to help others talk about what problems there are and how these problems can be resolved.
  5. 5. + The Value of Open and Honest Communication Many successful business leaders from the outside look as if they have the easiest job in the world. They don’t seem to be doing anything apart from spending all their time chatting to and entertaining people. Very often they just seem to be having a great time laughing and joking with everyone. People trust them and are happy to talk honestly and openly to them. They are able to plan for all the things that could potentially go wrong because they know how to get the facts from people, rather than what people assume about a situation. They very rarely encounter unexpected surprises that could affect the success of their business. When they do, it is usually something that they could not have foreseen. When this happens they will learn from the situation and prepare for that happening again in their future contingency plans. Often it is not until they leave a company that others appreciate the amazing job that they were quietly doing, and the value they brought. By asking the right questions they were able to pre-empt possible problems and take action to ensure these potential problems did NOT arise.
  6. 6. + What is the NLP Meta Model The NLP Meta Model was the first formal (Neuro Linguistic Programming) NLP model published by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in their book The Structure of Magic, Volume 1. They took elements of the work on general semantics by Korzybski, and transformational grammar by Chomsky, and modeled the successful therapeutic language interventions used by Fritz Perls (the founder of Gestalt therapy) Milton Erickson (the grandfather of modern hypnotherapy) and Virginia Satir (the pioneer of family therapy) to create what we now known in NLP terms as the Meta Model. The Meta Model can best be described as an ‘information gathering tool’ that can also be subtly used to help others get change. For more on this check out Enhancing Communications for Business Leaders Part 4 The power of the Meta Model comes from asking the right ‘magic’ questions in response to what someone is saying to find out more about their perception of a situation. It takes a day to teach the Meta Model as part of the NLP Business training I deliver. As this is an introduction to the Meta Model I want to demonstrate its power by introducing you to just four of the ‘magic’ questions.
  7. 7. + Business Problems are Usually in These Four Areas Being asked to do something that goes against what you think is right, honest or fair – values Being asked to do something that you think you can’t do (others may disagree) – beliefs Being asked to do something you don’t know how to do – strategy Being asked to do something when you don’t have the right equipment or tools – environment Values Beliefs Strategy Environment I wish to thank Kathleen La Valle, a Society of NLP Master Trainer, for introducing me to way the Meta Model questions fit around the Values, Beliefs, Strategy and Environment Model by Robert Dilts.
  8. 8. + Two Magic Questions to Quickly Find Out Where the Problem Lives When someone says “I can’t do this.” The first question to ask is “ What specifically can’t you do?” Say their answer is, “I can’t do this report.” You then ask, “What is stopping you?” By finding out specifically what the problem is and by then asking, “What is stopping you?” you are encouraging that person to tell you where their problem is. The magic of these type of questions, is that someone has to think before they answer. It is almost impossible to give a flippant reply. What specifically? Gets to exactly the specific thing someone is referring to. What is stopping you? Gets to the reasons why they are unable to resolve problem.  
  9. 9. + Is The Problem in The Inside World or Outside World If the problem is a values or beliefs problem – then this is an ‘inside world’ problem The solution can only come from how that person chooses to change the way they think about the situation or not (I say or not, as sometimes, someone will choose to step away from something due to their values or beliefs) If it a strategy or environment problem – then it is in the outside world. The solution will come from either providing instruction or training on how to do something or providing the right environment, tools or equipment to get the job done By identifying that the person can’t do this report and then asking “what is stopping you?” Here are four possible answers.  
  10. 10. + ‘Inside World’ Answers A Values answer “When this report gets published it will affect a lot of families. I have to outline the proposed redundancies and this is something we promised we would not do.” This is a value problem because, it is going against the values of the person who has to write this report, as they are being asked to do something that they promised they would not do. A Beliefs answer “I have been recently promoted and, although I have been writing reports for years, my reports have to go to the board of directors and I am not sure if I am confident enough to do this.” This is a belief problem because, although the person knows how to write reports, they are telling you that they are not sure if are they confidence enough to submit their report to a board of directors.
  11. 11. + ‘Outside World’ Answers A Strategy answer “I have just got a new computer and I don’t know how to get into the report template that I am used to using.” This is strategy problem because, that person is used to writing reports on a specific template however they don’t know how to access that report template on their new computer. An Environment answer “This office is so noisy; every time I try to start I get distracted and can’t concentrate on getting my report finished.” This is environment problem because, the problem is the noise in the office is distracting the concentration of that person.
  12. 12. + The Benefits of Knowing Where Problems Live As you can see from the previous examples from a very simple statement “I can’t do this” just asking two simple questions ”‘what specifically can’t you do?” and “what is stopping you?” quickly drills down to where a problem lives When you use this structure with everyone in your company you can quickly establish where certain types of problems keep recurring. • You may have to address what you are asking people to do and discuss how this fits with their values • People may just need reassurance that they can do something. • You may highlight a need for training in a specific area. • You may have reached a stage in your growth where it is time to invest in more equipment
  13. 13. + Third and Forth Magic Questions Asking the two previous magic questions may be all you need to ask but I wanted to give you two more!! There is no particular order to ask these questions however, in my experience “what specifically is the problem?” tends to be a good place to start!! The third magic question to ask is “What needs to happen for you to do your report?” This instantly takes the person into a solution mindset, as they start to think about the things that need to happen to get the report finished. The forth magic question is “If you could do your report, how would you do it?” This encourages the person to imagine doing the report and, in doing so provides them with possible solutions. How great is that!
  14. 14. + Roundup I trust that you have found this introduction to the use of the Meta Model useful in understanding that, it is the quality of the questions you ask, that encourages open and honest communication. As I mentioned at the beginning of this presentation the Meta Model is an information gathering tool. Becoming an expert’ information gatherer’ is achieved by life long learning. Which means attending training courses, on-line education and master-classes, watching videos and reading books Along with my Enhancing Communication for Business Leaders e-book series on Amazon, some of the expert authors on the NLP Meta Model are Dr Richard Bandler, Sue Knight, Matt Caulfield and Joseph O’Connor When you master the use of the Meta Model you will be able to really understand what is going on in both the inside and outside worlds of just about everyone you come in contact with. To find out more about the range of training and coaching services I provide feel free to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you. Fiona
  15. 15. + Fiona Campbell is an Executive Coach and Licensed NLP Business Coach trainer for the Society of NLP. Fiona is currently delivering her Licensed NLP Business Programmes in Dubai Check out her LinkedIn Profile for more details