NLP logical levels

NLP logical levels widely used by many NLP practitioners or even non NLP folks as well across the globe. In this short post we will discuss what it is? How can you use it? And much more.

What are NLP logical levels?

NLP logical levels consist of 6 levels, which can help you to identify where you may need to make changes in order to achieve your outcome.

Robert Dilts first published the NLP logical levels in 1990 in the book “Changing Beliefs with NLP”. He created NLP logical levels based on work of Bateson’s on logical levels of learning.

6 NLP logical levels

  • Environment
  • Behavior
  • Capabilities
  • Values and Beliefs
  • Identity 
  • Vision


The lowest level of NLP logical levels is Environment.

It is about the external factors and surroundings, like specific place, event or the location.

This can be experienced externally by our senses. 

For Example, The cosy environment in your bedroom, makes you feel comfortable and sleepy.

In case a behavior change environment plays its part, like a smoker will feel the urge at specific space and time. If we can swap the comfort from that place or time we may help them. More on that later.

Environment includes people, place and time.


This step is about sense specific. Your reaction, your action, your gesture, your movement and many more are included at this step.

Key for this step is about your actions and reactions in a particular situation. 

Let’s Continue with an example of a smoker, like some smoke when they are bored. So their reaction to boredom is having a smoke.


Capabilities are our skills that we do automatically or habitually.

This step includes both thinking and taking action, capabilities that are visible in your behavior.

We usually state our capabilities in statements with the word “can”.

Capabilities are about “the HOW”.

Values and beliefs

We speak or say what we believe in and behave accordingly.

Values and beliefs are our guiding principles in life, that drives our thinking, decision and behavior.

We give meaning to whatever we do with our values and beliefs.

Values and beliefs are about “the WHY”.


Identity is how we view our own self. 

It is about our sense for life, our mission, our vision. 

The word that simply defines you.

Identity is built out over a period of lifetime, and it’s very difficult to change.  

Identity is about ‘the WHO”

Vision (Beyond identity)

Vision about spirituality,ethics and religion. It is about high calling, it is above everything.

It is about your place in the world.

Why use NLP logical levels?

NLP logical levels can help you improve your communication, understanding other people and build robust rapport with almost anyone.

The logical levels provide you from which level your subject is operating, believe me it helps to identify which NLP technique to use in order to make the desired change.

If you practice enough and get grip of the words used at different levels, you will be a star in communication.

For Example.

Imagine you are trying to sell something and your client says “I can not approve this” this means he may not have authority to approve your proposal.

NLP logical levels

NLP logical levels questions and example

EnvironmentWhere are you?


Who all are with you?

When you are there usually?

How is the smell and the taste?

What do you see?

What do you listen?

Any sentence which answers the question related to time, place ans space.


“I do this when I am with X”

“If I eat too much sweet I feel bloated”

BehaviorWhat do you do when you are there?“I smoke after having a meal


“I can not hold the urge of eating chocolate when stressed.”

SkillsDo you show any unique skills while doing that?


How do you do whatever you are doing here?

Can you relate with others here?

“I can’t hold my urge of eating chocolate when i am stressed”


“I need a smoke after lunch.”

Values and beliefsWhat drives or motivates you at this place?


What is your belief about yourself?

What is the reason whatever you do here?

“If I don’t eat chocolate I will be more stressed.”


“If I don’t smoke after lunch I feel lousy.”

IdentityWhat is your self image according to you at this place?


Who are you?

“I am addicted to chocolate.”


“I am a person with a lot of stress.”

VisionWhat is your vision and mission at this place?


What is your ultimate calling?

“I am like any other addict.”

Let’s take example for NLP logical levels

To understand the concept of NLP logical levels better, let us continue with the example of smokers.


  • Do you smoke regularly at the same place and same time? Where is it?

Most of the time smokers have a place and time that triggers the urge to smoke. Once you find out about that place your next question should be to identify the specific details of the place which may be causing the urge.


  • What about your behavior that causes the urge to smoke?

This question can make your subject think deeper, this will also give the clue which behavior to focus on for making the behavior change.

You will also find the behavior which may be useful,


  • How do you carry out the process? From urge to actually doing it? Do you observe any pattern? What are all internal and external resources you use for that?

The capabilities related language will be like, I can or I can not. For Example I can not focus if I do not smoke.

Values and Belief

  • What belief do you think causes these urges?

Here the answers can be similar like capabilities, For example – I can not focus if I do not smoke, or sleep something like that.


Remember, Beliefs are – working generalization, be very careful while dealing with them.


  • Who are you if you live with these beliefs?

This level can come as a thunderbolt to many, We are what we do regularly. 

To dig deeper in this level you can also ask who you are not?

This will give resources to you and your subject to make change work easier.


  • What is your ultimate calling? Do the beliefs you are living by serve to your ultimate calling?

At this level, making a behavior change is most difficult but, if you change just this level rest will have a cascading effect.

In our example, If our subject finds his act of submitting to the urge of smoking is not serving him any purpose. He is now more likely to change

Where can you use NLP logical levels?

You can use NLP logical levels at many case, here are the few to start with

  • Building Rapport
  • Effective presentation
  • Coaching 
  • Goal setting for individual as well as organization.
  • Gathering resources for making behavior change
  • To identify which NLP techniques to use 

NLP logical levels is a must concept to master, It is easy enough and with skillful use of NLP meta-models you can do wonders in your NLP practice.

The trainers pack of NLP exercises
NLP practitioner manual

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Suggested Further Reading

3 best NLP books for beginners

NLP logical levels