How to do a Modelling Project - Section 2
Learning how to do a modelling project
If this is your first attempt at conducting a modeling project
(perhaps you are on an NLP Master Practitioner course) remember, your
primary outcome is to become familiar with the basics of NLP
modelling. Until you have
completed your first project from start to finish you will not know
what is involved.
Your evidence that you have achieved your learning-to-model
outcome will come in four forms, each demonstrating a higher level of
competency. In our opinion, demonstrating the minimum criteria
specified below fulfils the requirement for NLP Master Practitioner
certification and anything else you gain is a bonus.
The MINIMUM is that you:
(a) Demonstrate you have acquired a model of modelling
that enables you to:
- Specify, plan and implement your modelling project
- Gather information appropriate to the outcome of the project
- Construct and document a model from the information gathered
- Test model's effectiveness at reproducing the required
(b) Describe the difference having learned to model makes to you.
PREFERABLY you will also demonstrate that you can use the model
you have constructed to reproduce results similar to your
CONCEIVABLY, you will demonstrate that you can devise an approach
which enables others to acquire your model and facilitate them to
ULTIMATELY, you will demonstrate that the acquirers are able to
reproduce results similar to your exemplar(s).
We are right behind David Gordon and Graham Dawes when they say:
Modeling is a doorway into the vast storehouse of
human experience and abilities, providing access to anyone willing to
turn the key. For the individual who pursues modeling, this means:
- Access to an ever-widening range of new experiences and
- An increasing ability to bring those experiences and
abilities to others.
- A finer understanding of the structure underlying unwanted
experiences and behaviors so that you know precisely what to
change in those experiences and behaviors.
- Ever-increasing flexibility in your experience and responses.
- A growing appreciation of the beauty to be found in the
patterns of human experience.
There is an excellent article, Why Model? by Joshua M. Epstein's based on his 2008 keynote address to the Second World Congress on Social
Learning to Model
Modelling, and learning to model, are highly systemic processes.
Modelling is a type of learning, and therefore learning to model is
'learning to learn'.
You will realise very quickly that modelling is an iterative
process. That is, the results of each activity feed back into other
processes, which are modified by the new input. The now modified
processes feed forward to the next operation, which feeds back, and
so on. For example:
I decide on an outcome for my modelling project. This largely
determines the information I gather from my first exemplar. The
learning that comes from gathering that information means I change
the emphasis of my outcome. Both the revised outcome and the learning
from the first gathering of information influences how I gather
information from my second exemplar. This in turn may alter my
outcome, it may help me to see some gaps in the information gathered
from my first exemplar, and will certainly influence how I gather
information from my third exemplar, and so on, and so on.
Learning to be comfortable with not-knowing, an abundance of
information and ambiguity about what to pay attention to, especially in the beginning
of a modelling project are prerequisites for becoming a master
What constitutes a modelling project?
In general, almost anything that interests or excites you enough
to want to acquire another way of doing, being, feeling, thinking,
believing, etc. We recommend you go for something that will really
make a difference in your life - and/or others' lives too.
Having said that there are some practical constraints (aren't
You need to have completed enough of your modelling to
be able to demonstrate your learning and competence by the end of the
You need to choose a topic where you have sufficient access to
And you need to remember that your primary purpose is to
demonstrate you are learning how to model. The project is the primary
means by which you will acquire that learning and then be able to
demonstrate your learning.
As a minimum, you need to show that you can model patterns of:
One of the most interesting parts of the process will be selecting
the 'chunk size' of the project. This will require you to balance
your desire to acquire some big chunk skill with the resources
available within the time scales. As a general rule, people learning
to model initially overestimate what they can achieve (i.e. they bite
off too big a chunk) and they underestimate the value of modelling a
small chunk in depth.
It's OK to start with a big chunk outcome and refine it as the
project progresses. In fact, it is common not to discover "the
difference that makes the difference " (Bateson) until well
into the process. But when you do, that piece should become the focus
of your project.