First published on on 19 July 2006


by Penny Tompkins and James Lawley

Section 1 of 8


The following sections summarise over ten years of experience of modelling, conducting formal modelling projects and training modelling. Our ideas are presented as working notes and guidelines rather than a finished article. We intend to keep updating and expanding these notes. Please revisit this site and let us know if you think there is something we should add. All new contributions will, of course, be credited.

Section 2: Learning how to do a Modelling Project for the First Time

Section 3: Defining a Modelling Project

Section 4: Stage 1: Preparing to do a Modelling Project

Section 5: Stage 2: Gathering Information

Section 6: Stage 3: Constructing a Model

Section 7: Stage 4: Testing Your Model

Section 8: Stage 5: Acquiring the Model

(Incomplete) list of References:

Most NLP books are about the results of modelling projects, not about the modelling process itself. For example, the first five (pre-NLP) books by John Grinder & Richard Bandler's (and others) were the product of their modelling. You have to read between the lines to infer how they modelled:

Bandler, Richard & Grinder, John, The Structure of Magic vol.I, (Science and Behaviour Books, 1975)

Bandler, Richard, and John Grinder, Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. Volume 1, (Meta Publications, Cupertino, CA, 1975)

Grinder, John, and Bandler, Richard, The Structure of Magic vol. II (Science and Behaviour Books, 1976)

Bandler, Richard, Grinder, John, and Satir, Virginia, Changing with Families (Science and Behaviour Books, 1976)

Grinder, John, Judith DeLozier, and Richard Bandler, Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. Volume 2 (Meta Publications, Cupertino, CA, 1977)

For more overt information on modelling you can consult:

The original and highly technical work on eliciting, designing, utilising and installing strategies is by Richard Bandler, John Grinder, Robert Dilts & Judith DeLozier, NLP Volume 1 (Meta Publications, 1980).

For a shorter and simpler introduction to strategy elicitation, see chapter 4 of Charlotte Bretto's, A Framework for Excellence (Grinder, DeLozier & Associates, 1988).

Anthony Robbins has a very readable couple of chapters on modelling strategies in Unlimited Power (Simon & Schuster, 1988).

Leslie Cameron-Bandler, David Gordon & Michael Lebeau wrote The Emprint Method: A Guide to Reproducing Competence in order "to provide you with tools that will enable you to identify and acquire (or transfer to others) desirable human aptitudes."  Although David Gordon now says it is really about modelling emotional competence, it is still one of the most comprehensive models of modelling yet published. (Real People Press, 1985)

Judith DeLozier's article 'Mastery, New Coding, and Systemic NLP' in NLP World (Vol. 2 No. 1, March 1995) has a brief description of a "not knowing" state that is excellent for "intiutive modelling". An account of her and John Grinder's modelling project of people who have completed interesting modelling projects can be found in Turtles All The Way Down (Grinder, DeLozier & Associates, 1987).

Robert Dilts &Todd Epstein's Tools For Dreamers (1991) is packed with micro and macro processes for modelling with lots of examples of strategies for creativity. (Meta Publications, 1991)

The three volumes by Robert Dilts, Strategies of Genius Volumes I, II & III are the definitive work on "conceptual modelling", especially when your sexemplar is an historic figure. (Meta Publications, 1994/1995)

Robert Dilts, Modelling with NLP, provides an in-depth look at the modelling process and its applications. (Meta Publications, 1998).

Robert Dilts and judith DeLozier, Encyclopaedia of NLP, (NLP University Press, 2000)

James Lawley and Penny Tompkins detail a new form of modelleing in Metaphors in Mind: Transformation through Symboilic Modelling (Developing Company Press, 2000). Their website contains numerous articles on modelling, including 'Intrducing Modelling to Organisations', (Rapport 40, 1998)

John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St Clair, Whispering in the Wind (J & C Enterprises, CA, 2001)

John McWhirter 'Re-modelling NLP: Part Fourteen: Re-Modelling Modelling' (Rapport 59 2002)

David Gordon and Graham Dawes have written Expanding Your World: Modeling the Structure of Experience with a DVD which provides an excellent introduction to their form of modelling (2005).

All information on this web site (unless otherwise stated) is © copyright 1997-2006 Penny Tompkins and James Lawley of The Developing Company. All rights reserved. You may reproduce and disseminate any of our copyrighted information for personal use only providing the original source is clearly identified. If you wish to use the material for any other reason please contact:

Penny Tompkins or James Lawley
The Developing Company
P.O. Box 349, LISBURN BT28 1WZ, United Kingdom
Tel./Fax.: 0845 3 31 35 31 * International: +44 845 3 31 35 31

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