Back to Course

MindBridge NLP Coach Certification Training

0% Complete
0/0 Steps
  1. 1 - Introduction to NLP and Professional Life Coaching
    8 Topics
  2. 2 - Fundamentals of Influential Communication
    5 Topics
  3. 3 - Characteristics of Excellence in Communication
    2 Topics
  4. 4 - a. Identifying Thinking Styles
    1 Topic
    1 Quiz
  5. 4 - b. Rapport
  6. 5 - a. Values Clarification
  7. 5 - b. Submodalities
  8. 6 - a. Anchoring Techniques
    2 Topics
  9. Managers as Coaches
  10. 7 - Clarifying Communication
    5 Topics
  11. 7 - a. Power of Questions
  12. 7 - b. Intake- Initial Pre-Coach Session
  13. 8 - Criteria
    3 Topics
  14. 8 - a. Perceptual Flexibility - Perceptual Position Quiz
    3 Topics
  15. 8 - b Well Formed Outcomes
    3 Topics
  16. 9 - 3 NLP Techniques Demonstrations
  17. 10 - Identifying Mind Maps
  18. 10- a. Meta Program Psychometric Quizzes
  19. 10 - b. Key Meta Program Patterns Explained
    7 Topics
  20. 10 - c. NLP Coach Session Demonstration
  21. 10 - d. Evaluation Forms -Outcome Coach Session
  22. 10 - e. Evaluation Video of NLP Coaching Demonstration
  23. 11 - NLP Coaching Sessions
    2 Topics
  24. 11 - a. Evaluation of Demo - Categories of Experience
  25. 11 - b. Directionalizing the Session
  26. 12 - Insights and Just for the fun of it!
Lesson Progress
0% Complete

NLP Founding Principles

4 Key NLP Presuppositions

The Map is Not the Territory

All of the models and techniques of NLP are based on the combination of two principles: The Map is Not the Territory and Life and Mind are Systemic Processes

In the belief system of NLP, it is not possible for human beings to know objective reality. Wisdom, ethics and ecology do not derive from having the one right or correct map of the world, because human beings would not be capable of making one. Rather, the goal is to create the richest map possible that respects the systemic nature and ecology of our selves and the world we live in.

People who are most effective are those who have a map of the world that allows them to perceive the greatest number of available choices and perspectives. NLP is a way of enriching the choices that you have and perceive as available in the world around you. Excellence comes from having many choices. Wisdom comes from having multiple perspectives.

An Explanation of NLP Presuppositions 

Presuppositions relate to unconscious beliefs or assumptions embedded in the structure of a statement, action or another belief, and are required for the statement, action or belief to make sense. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, to presuppose means to ‘suppose beforehand’ or ‘to require as an antecedent in logic or fact’.

Epistemological Presuppositions

Epistemological presuppositions are deep and often unstated beliefs that form the foundation of a particular system of knowledge. As the foundation of an epistemology they must be ‘presupposed’ and cannot be proven.  In fact, they are the fundamental assumption upon which all of the other concepts and ideas within the epistemology are ‘proven’.

Euclid, for example, built his entire geometry upon the concept of the ‘point’.  A point is defined as ‘an entity that has a position but no other properties’. It has no size, no mass, no color, no shape. It is of course impossible to prove that a point really has no size, mass, color, etc. 

However, if you accept this presupposition, along with a few others, you can build a whole system of geometry (i.e., “A line is the shortest distance between two points.”, “A ‘rectangle’ is four lines connected together at equal angles.”, etc.). The conclusions of this system can then be ‘proved’ with respect to their adherence to the fundamental but unproven concepts. It is important to realize that one does not have to accept Euclid’s assumption about a point in order to create geometry. 

The fundamental presuppositions of NLP form the basic epistemology upon which the methodology and technology of NLP is built. They are like the fundamental concepts of Euclidian geometry. And, similar to Euclid’s notion of a ‘point’, the basic presuppositions of NLP cannot be proven in any objective fashion. You cannot objectively ‘prove’, for instance, that there really is a ‘positive intention’ behind a particular behavior; that is why it is considered a ‘presupposition’. Similarly, one cannot ‘prove’ that ‘the map is not the territory’ and that ‘there is no one right map of the world’. These are part of the basic ‘epistemology’ of NLP – they are the basic beliefs upon which the rest of the model is based. 

Thus, accepting the presuppositions that ‘the map is not the territory’ or ‘behind every behavior is positive intention’ is ultimately an act of faith. If we accept these presuppositions, then we will find or create them in our experience rather than waiting for the proof that they are ‘true’.

The basic NLP Presuppositions have been synthesized from many different fields: general semantics, transformational grammar, systems theory, cybernetics, pragmatism, phenomenology, and logical positivism. 

The epistemological presuppositions of NLP can be summarized as follows: 

The Map is Not the Territory

As human beings, we can never know reality.  We can only know our perceptions of reality. We experience and respond to the world around us primarily through our sensory representational systems.  It is our ‘neuro-linguistic’ maps of reality that determine how we behave and that give those behaviors meaning, not reality itself.

Life and ‘Mind’ are Systemic Processes

The processes that take place within a human being and between human beings and their environment are systemic. Our bodies, our societies, and our universe form an ecology of complex systems and sub-systems, all of which interact with and mutually influence each other. It is not possible to completely isolate any part of the system from the rest of the system. Such systems are based on certain ‘self-organizing’ principles and naturally seek optimal states of balance or homeostasis.

At Some Level, All Behavior is ‘Positively Intended’

That is, it is or was perceived at some time as appropriate given the context in which it was established, from the point of view of the person whose behavior it is.

A positive intention does not mean the consequences or results are positive, they may be quite destructive. It does mean that the behavior is attempting to gain, get, have or achieve something that they consider valuable. 

People make the best choices available to them given the possibilities and capabilities that they perceive to be accessible within their model of the world.  Any behavior, no matter how evil, crazy or bizarre it seems, is the best choice available to that person at that point in time.

Click Link for More on ‘Positive Intentions’:
The Law of Requisite Variety

In systems theory there is a principle called the Law of Requisite Variety which states that in order to successfully adapt and survive, a member of a system needs a certain minimum amount of flexibility.  That amount of flexibility has to be proportional to the variety in the rest of the system. 

One of the implications of the Law of Requisite Variety is that if you want to get to a particular goal state you have to increase the number of operations which could possibly get you there in proportion with the degree of variability in the system. It is important to explore variations in operations used to accomplish goals rather than simply repeat the same one, even if it produced creative results in the past. 

Since the environments and contexts in which we operate change, the same procedure will not always produce the same result. If you want to consistently achieve your goal you must vary the operations you are using to get to it. When you always use the same procedure in varying situations, you will produce varying results. 

So, as a system becomes more complex, more flexibility is required. Another implication of the Law of Requisite Variety is that the part of the system with the most flexibility will be the catalytic element within that system – like the queen in a game of chess. 

All of the models and techniques of NLP are based on the combination of these four principles. They form the basic framework upon which NLP is built. According to these presuppositions, wisdom, ethics and ecology do not derive from having the one ‘right’ or ‘correct’ map of the world, because human beings are not capable of making one. Rather, the goal is to create the richest map possible that respects the systemic nature and ecology of ourselves, and the world in which we live.

When done please take the time to reflect on the lesson and post a comment or question below. What was your reaction to the videos? What insights did you gain? What questions arose for you?

Also, consider responding to the comments of others to start a dialogue.

After you have posted your comment hit the Mark Complete Button and move on to the next lesson.


  1. In depth definitions and examples of the four main principles of NLP is very useful in review. The Map is not the Territory: is our perception of reality not reality. How we experience and respond through our sensory representational system; they determine our behaviors and meaning not reality itself.
    Life & Mind Are Systemic Processes: based on self-organizing principles & naturally seeks optimal states of balance & homeostasis.
    All Behaviors have a Positive Intention: The behavior is perceived appropriate given the unique context from the doers point of view; Positive consequences are not necessarily the result; people make their best choices available to them – possibilities, capabilities they perceive accessible given the context.
    The Law of Requisite Variety: Amount of flexibility available with the system; goal state increases the number of operations increase; the same procedure will not always produce the same results – vary the operations.