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MindBridge NLP Coach Certification Training

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  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 5 of 26
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4 – b. Rapport

Jerry December 28, 2020

NLP rapport techniques, like many other aspects of NLP are quite subtle but extremely powerful in their implications and effects.

Dictionaries define rapport as a relationship marked by harmony, conformity, accord or affinity. It supports agreement, alignment, likeness or similarity.

Rapport forms the basis of meaningful, close and harmonious relationships between people. It’s the sense of connection that you get when you meet someone you trust and whose point of view you understand (even if you don’t always agree).

The ability to rapidly build and sustain or regain rapport is essential for those of us who need to influence in our professional or private lives. Knowing how to enhance rapport can bring countless opportunities. When you have rapport with someone, they will usually want to help you to succeed. 

Rapport is similar to trust. You can build trust and rapport simultaneously, but rapport focuses more on establishing a bond or connection, whereas trust relies more on establishing a reputation for reliability, consistency and keeping your promises.

According to researchers, when you have a rapport with someone, you share:
  • Mutual attentiveness: you’re both focused on and are interested in what the other person is saying or doing.
  • Positivity: you’re both friendly and you show care and concern for one another.
  • Coordination: you feel “in sync” with one another, so that you share a common understanding. Your energy levels, tone and body language are also similar.


NLP rapport is established and maintained by pacing. By definition, this is the process of moving as the other person moves. Pacing or matching accepts the other person’s behavior and meets them in their model of the world. It is about reducing the differences between yourself and others at an unconscious level.

You can pace or match many different aspects of behavior. Of course, if the other person is aware you are matching their behavior it becomes mimicry. Obvious attempts to “copy” people will break rapport. Successful pacing is at an unconscious level.

When rapport is established, you can influence the other person’s behavior. If you would like to know if you have rapport, you can make a movement and find out if they follow you. For instance, you might lean forward and see if the other person does the same.

What you can match

Matching is something we all do naturally in some contexts. Watch what happens when someone talks to a small child. They might crouch down to the child’s height, talk more slowly (or excitedly). Romantic couples in restaurants often seem to be engaged in a dance, leaning and smiling in mirror postures.

Body postures

You can adjust your whole body, half body or part of your body to match the other. Matching typical poses that the other person offers with their head and shoulders is useful. If the body posture is unusual however, matching can seem disrespectful. Subtlety is vital.


You can match the rate of a person’s breathing, where they are breathing (chest, abdomen or stomach) or how deep. This is not a good technique if the person has difficulty with breathing, as you may feel similar symptoms.


Matching the pace, volume, pitch, tone and type of words is a little tricky to learn, but worth it. Try watching a TV program in a foreign language in order to notice these auditory processing distinctions. You don’t have to try to match all these aspects. Choose one. If a person is talking slowly, slow down. If they speak softly, drop your volume.

Beliefs and values

Authentically trying to understand another person’s beliefs and values without judgment can create very deep rapport. Once again, you do not have to agree with them or change any of your own values; the goal is to understand.

Language patterns

Matching language patterns is a favorite NLP rapport technique with sales and marketing people. By using the same words to describe things and processes, the person feels understood.

Listen for their power words. We’ve often learned to paraphrase what someone says rather than use the same words. We call it active listening. This is mistake when it comes to NLP rapport. We attach particular words to corresponding experiences. If someone says she wants to be confident and you talk about her capability, you can miss the rapport boat.

Matching representational systems can be very powerful and subtle. Has anyone had a conversation like this? “I just can’t see the big picture here” “Well you need to read the instructions and listen more carefully” This is a mismatch of representational systems.

When matching, you should first focus on body language, then voice and finally the person’s words.

Body language includes body posture, facial expressions, hand gestures, breathing and eye contact. As a beginner, start by matching one specific behaviour and once you are comfortable doing that, then match another and so on.

For voice, you can match tonality, speed, volume, rhythm and clarity of speech. All of us can vary various aspects of our voice and we have a range in which we feel comfortable. If someone speaks very fast, much faster than you do and at a rate at which you would not feel comfortable: match this person by speaking faster, while staying within a range that is comfortable for you.

For words, predicates are words and phrases (primarily verbs, adverbs and adjectives) that often presuppose one of the Representational Systems. If your partner is using mainly visual words, you can also use mainly visual words and similarly for auditory, kinesthetic and auditory-digital words.

To the extent possible, you should also use the same words as the other person. For example, I may say something is ‘awesome’. In your model of the world you may interpret awesome as ‘outstanding’ and use this word when speaking to me. For me, outstanding may have a different meaning or evoke a different feeling than ‘awesome’. In this case, you would not be matching but mismatching my words.

Developing NLP Rapport Skills

The more you practice, the more you will become aware of the different rhythms, gestures, breathing patterns that you and others have. It is fascinating to enter another person’s “mental map of the world” by mirroring their behavior. You can learn so much more about them this way.

Be sure to be subtle in mirroring when establishing rapport. If the other person is making grand, sweeping gestures, you may choose to make similar, but smaller, less obvious movements.

In the beginning it may feel awkward. But the value in learning to achieve and maintain rapport is worth the time and effort it takes to become skilled in this area of communication. And you might be surprised to discover that your ‘intuition’ will be enhanced as you become aware of behaviors and actions of which you were previously unaware.

Mirroring is something we automatically do when we’re around people we feel comfortable with. To learn to mirror purposely in order to gain rapport enables us to enhance our communication with others and have the support of everyone we meet to help us achieve outcomes and goals.

When speaking to clients, family members or business colleagues, find a specific behavior or movement to focus on and match or crossover match. You might select one behavior per day to practice until you can build a whole repertoire of NLP rapport skills.

You might… Use your hand movement to pace another persons breathing.
Move your foot to pace another person’s head movements.
Tilt your shoulders slightly as the other person tilts their head.
Lift a finger as the other person lifts an eyebrow. And feel free to create your own crossover matching techniques! Also remember to practice mismatching, but be sure to end the interaction in a state of rapport.

There are certain behaviors that are particularly helpful in building rapport. These include:
  • If you are sitting, then lean towards the person you are talking to, with hands open and arms and legs uncrossed. This is open body language and will help you and the person you are talking to feel more relaxed.
  • Look at the other person for approximately 60% of the time. Give plenty of eye-contact but be careful not to make them feel uncomfortable.
  • When listening, nod and make encouraging sounds and gestures.
  • Smile!
  • Use the other person’s name early in the conversation. This is not only seen as polite but will also reinforce the name in your mind so you are less likely to forget it!
  • Try to ask the other person open questions (the type of questions that require more than a yes or no answer). These questions are more comfortable to answer, because you are not being put on the spot to give a clear opinion.
  • Avoid contentious topics of conversation. It is much easier to stick to the weather, the last speaker, and travel arrangements than risk falling out over politics.
  • Use feedback to summarize, reflect and clarify back to the other person what you think they have said. This gives opportunity for any misunderstandings to be rectified quickly.
  • Talk about things that refer back to what the other person has said. Find links between common experiences.
  • Try to show empathy. Demonstrate that you can understand how the other person feels and can see things from their point of view.
  • When in agreement with the other person, openly say so and say why.
  • Build on the other person’s ideas.
  • Be nonjudgemental towards the other person. Let go of stereotypes and any preconceived ideas you may have about the person.
  • If you have to disagree with the other person, give the reason first, then say you disagree.
  • Admit when you don’t know the answer or have made a mistake. Being honest is always the best tactic, and acknowledging mistakes will help to build trust.
  • Be genuine, with visual and verbal behaviors working together to maximize the impact of your communication.

Re-Establishing Rapport

It takes time to rebuild rapport when it has been lost.

First, address why you lost rapport in the first place. Be humble and explain honestly and simply what happened. If you need to apologize, do so.

Next, focus on ways of repairing any broken trust. Put in extra work if you need to, and keep your word. Transparency and genuine concern for the other person’s needs will go a long way to rebuilding trust and re-establishing rapport.

Developing NLP Rapport Skills

Some people find the idea of matching another person uncomfortable and they feel that they are trying to fool or take advantage of the other person. To overcome this uneasiness, realize that matching is a natural part of the NLP rapport building process and that you are doing it unconsciously every day with your close family and friends.

Each day gradually increase your conscious use of matching at a pace that is comfortable and ethical for you. Matching done with integrity and respect creates positive feelings and responses in you and others.

NLP Rapport is the ability to enter someone else’s world, to make him or her feel you understand them, and that there is a strong connection between you.

To extend your ability to create rapport you need to have excellent sensory acuity and calibration skills, spend time practicing just one form of matching until you can use this easily and without thinking about it. Then add another element, then another, and so on. That’s all there is to it – keen observation and practice.

With consistent practice you will be able to effortlessly create rapport with total strangers in just a few minutes, whether or not you like them, and whether or not you have areas of common interest.

And remember, engaging in rapport must be subtle and done with respect. If the process intrudes into the other person’s conscious awareness they may respond unfavorably or become uncomfortable.

When done please take the time to reflect on the lesson and post a comment or question below. 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 topic.


  1. Rapport is a form of bonding creating a connection with another person. In NLP processes provide many tools to accomplish this outcome. Rapport Skills – Techniques such as Matching body, voice or words; Mirroring a persons body gestures, and posture; X-Over Mirroring includes body gestures, rhythms, breathing, and blink rate.
    Pacing, paying attention to breathing, voice and matching language patterns and matching the representation system.
    Practice, Practice, Practice!