What is NLP Modeling? 1 process for active learning

NLP modeling is the process that can enable anyone to master the skills of others by understanding their strategies, physiology, and beliefs.

NLP modeling is about studying people, their beliefs, physiology, and strategies for certain types of behavior.

In NLP, it is believed that if one can do something, anyone can do the same thing by implementing the NLP modeling process.

While Richard Bandler and John Grinder were working on NLP modeling, they did differently understand thinking strategies. 

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They did this to understand the success of Virginia Satir for her successful family therapy and were able to model her thinking strategies, not only behavior.

One can argue that NLP itself is a colossal modeling project. If you have some background in NLP, most of the NLP techniques result from observing stellar performers of that field.

For Example, NLP Milton Model language patterns are the results of the understanding work of Milton Erickson by NLP founders.

NLP meta-model language patterns can be the result of the work of Noam Chomsky, and there are many examples to prove this point.

What are the phases of NLP modeling?

There are three phases of NLP modeling,(1) Observing the model, (2) find the difference, and (3) Design a method.

Now let’s look at the phase of NLP modeling in detail.

Phase 1 – Observing the model

Observing the model is about getting to know the person you want to model.

You need to use 2nd position as shared in NLP perceptual positions, which means seeing the world from the eyes of others.

You need to imagine yourself as another person in the process, try to see, feel, and listen to the way that other person might have done.

Focusing is on what they do by observing physiology and behavior, how they do by understanding their strategies, and why they do it by finding their supporting beliefs and values.

Physiology and behavior can be observed directly and may not require any specific techniques. However, some techniques like the NLP meta-model, representational systems, and meta-programs are used to understand strategies and beliefs.

I suggest using deep trance or Milton model language patterns to understand the strategies and beliefs of the person. For me, trance works well.

Phase 2 Finding the difference that makes the difference

In this step, the elements gathered in step 1 are critically observed. Here, the task is to identify the key elements for the process.

If you come across an element that may not affect the process, that should be removed.

NLP modeling is some form of accelerated learning that gets all necessary elements and keeps only contributing factors and elements with systematic subtraction.

Some of the questions to think about are:

  • How does this person achieve results?
  • What are the behavioral patterns and beliefs of this person?
  • What is this person doing differently than others to achieve results?

Once all the elements are gathered, you can refine and sequence them into a process.

Phase 3 Design a method

Once you have relevant elements ready, now the task is to design a method for adapting to change.

You need to find out the natural sequence of the elements remaining after step 2, finding the difference that makes the difference.

Think of this step as baking the cake. You have all the ingredients if there is no process or method. Chances are, the cake will be a disaster, but if the process is followed, you may end up having the best cake.

So how do you do NLP modeling? What are the basic steps in modeling NLP?

Basic steps in NLP modeling

Here are the six basic steps in NLP modeling

Identify the model

First someone requires to choose someone with a stellar performance in their respective field.

The critical point here is to select someone who is excellent at their skills and consistently produces superior results. 

You can select anyone as a model, and you can select some sportsmen with great skills in that particular sport.

You can select your colleagues who have skills like good sales, negotiation or anything else.

While selecting the model, keep in mind the behavior you want to learn and implement shall be relevant.

Assimilate their behavior pattern

In NLP modeling, an NLP modeler should put himself in the shoes of the top performer he wants to model.

The role of the modeler is as an observer in the NLP modeling method.

The key is repetition. With enough repeated imitation of the model’s behavior, you will unconsciously absorb the behavioral patterns. 

While observing the model, you aim to know how he achieves outstanding results consciously.

You will have to analyze his physiology, tonality, behavior, words, and other related submodalities. 

It is an essential step in NLP modeling. So let’s understand it in a little more detail.


While NLP modeling is more than just copying behaviors and strategies, you copy the top performer and try to figure out what is going on.

For example, you want to learn the dribbling skills of a player, you imitate his action, behavior, and movement and pretend yourself to be him while playing.

To model a top performer, you will need the details on his physiology, intonation, strategy, beliefs, values, and the representational system he follows.

You can use the NLP submodality checklist, representational systems, eye accessing cues, and other NLP techniques.

Produce similar results as a top performer

When you can produce a similar result simultaneously as the top performer, you have assimilated the behavior unconsciously.

The time frame will depend on the modeling project and the skill you have selected to master. However, it results from Noam Chomsky’s work or even in a year.

You need to repeat imitating the top performer until you produce similar results as a top performer in roughly the same amount of time.

You can take the help of other NLP practitioners to check the congruence of your results and the model’s result.

Clean up the pattern

This step will work on elements that may not be necessary to produce outstanding performance or results.

Even for the top performer, there will be particular behavior that may not be contributing to their success.

For Example, While modeling dribbling skills, if the top performer makes a few lunges, you can omit them while you are doing them to see if they contribute to the same results.

Let’s take another example. Say you are modeling a top sales performer. If he has a pattern of tapping feet while closing the sales, you can dispense the tapping and see if you get the same results.


So, in a nutshell, you will check the pattern for the elements contributing to results and decide whether to keep them or discard them from the modeling process.

Code the model

After you have cleaned the pattern from the unnecessary elements, now it is time to create a description of what’s going on.

The description of what you and the top performer are doing to get outstanding results.

It should be in such a way that it helps others who are genuinely committed to mastering the skill.

Pass it on

Here the process gets verified. In this last step, you will teach or implement the modeling project to someone else. 


We learn better while we discuss and teach others what we have learned.

You take the model you have created so far and implement or teach someone else. If you face difficulty getting the same results, you may need to work again on your modeling project.

You need to work on the description created, and it should be in the way that a committed learn must be able to get the same results.

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NLP practitioner manual

You need to have some background knowledge to do NLP modeling at least an introductory NLP course. You can check out this course on The ultimate introduction to NLP. You will learn about NLP representational systems, NLP meta model, eye accessing cues, and much more, which can be enough to do an NLP modeling exercise.


Modeling with NLP