Online NLP classes Versus Live Training: What should I do?

Being an educated consumer saves you time and money. Today, more and more information is put online in the form of courses.  You can even take a driver safety course online instead of sitting through a boring rendition of “when the light is yellow, I must stop!”  It certainly is convenient because I can take the class anytime it fits into my schedule.  Many college and university classes are online. The course-taking population now thinks that they can learn anything online except…..

There are some things you cannot LEARN online. By learning I mean, integrating what you are learning into your behavior and have it run automatically. There is a difference between LEARNING and LEARNING ABOUT. LEARNING ABOUT means you are gathering information. You can learn about geography, history, plants, physics, chemistry, biology – any information-driven subject that has a lot of facts.

As you know, though, THE MAP IS NOT THE TERRITORY. Learning about Paris or London or Iceland or Russia is not the same as visiting those places, walking the streets, meeting people, eating the local food, seeing the immensity of the Eiffel Tower and the thrill of your stomach dropping as you are lifted to the top. You can learn about dolphins but it is not the same as swimming with them. You can learn about horses but you have to get on a horse to learn how to ride it.  It is the same as driving a car, learning a sport,  or riding a bicycle.

Anytime the body or neurological wiring is involved, you have to DO IT. Reading about it will not give you the experience of doing and practice. LEARNING means you have integrated new information into known past information, created new meaning, have practiced it, and then been able to future pace it into new behavior. Memorizing is not learning. Think about it. If you memorized the 12 cranial nerves when you took biology and never used that information. i.e. became a doctor or neurologist or psychologist, you probably don’t remember them past the test to 1 year later.

You don’t want a surgeon, doctor, mechanic, dentist, appliance repair person, hair designer, therapist, or a myriad of other service professionals getting their certification online and “practicing” on you. There is a big gap that has to be crossed from learning about and actually learning through practice.

And so we come to NLP. Before online training, people read books about NLP. Some of my students had read dozens of books before they took a live, over-time training. Without exception, they would say, “so this is NLP.”  Learning about NLP and actually doing NLP so that you get results cannot be learned online because (1) you need a variety of partners to give you feedback to know whether what you are doing is working and (2) you need a qualified trainer to help you understand the concepts and when and where they are to be applied. You simply cannot be an effective communicator through an online course. When I teach basic NLP concepts with practice sessions, students will take the “ideas” (NLP is not a theory) and go out into the world and find that people don’t always follow the “ideas.” A qualified and certified (certification through a legitimate certifying body) trainer will expertly guide you as you navigate the often confusing and ever-changing world of people and their quirks.

NLP is a powerful tool for communication. It is also a powerful tool for lasting change. The NLP processes have to be done live with an expert who knows what they are doing, knows the underlying principles of how “changework” works and be an expert calibrator (sees the minute changes in physiology and voice). They have to understand the Neurological Levels Model so that the change a person is making is being made at the appropriate logical level. Otherwise, the change will not hold.

Stuart Dreyfus and Hubert Dreyfus did research on nurses from the time they entered nursing school through several years of working in the field. This model works well for any skill that is practiced for expertise to develop. Richard Bolstad adapted the model for NLP.


Context-free rules to guide what they do

Don’t know which rule takes precedence

Advanced Beginner:

Given guidelines instead of rules; not black/white


Manage complexities of actual situations

Combine processes and design interventions as a part of longer-range goals

Apply a vast array of guidelines


Unconsciously skilled at things the Competent only manages

Assesses vast array of experiences instead of using guidelines


Intuitive grasp of the situation without time wasted on problem-solving

Challenges rules and guidelines

Says things like “It just felt right.”

Practice is holistic rather than step by step

NLP is a complex model that has been weakened by individuals who put money and numbers over quality and learning. They say you will be certified as a practitioner or master. These classes are a result of market demands and not necessarily thoughtful learning. On websites, a person lists dozens of organizational certifications, none of which are recognizable to credible NLP trainers. You get a certification from an online class or a 5-days-or-less practitioner and then want to take a live class your certification will not be recognized if the instructor is a long-standing, credible NLP trainer. If there is no mention of where the instructors got their NLP training, I’d be wary of taking NLP from them.

Not everyone who takes NLP is going to be a practitioner or therapist or coach. In fact, most of my students are business people using NLP communication to improve relationships and improve their business abilities, getting a competitive edge. But no student I know took an online NLP class and quadrupled their income. That comes from incorporating the skills and tools of NLP over time.

NLP is not an academic subject, although it is taught in some universities. It is an organic model of how people work and the patterns of success. I can tell you what the patterns of success are, Like the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. But taking those habits and making them habits is another story altogether. It is like saying, I know if I exercise I can be healthier and lose weight. Yet, actually incorporating an exercise routine into your day is actually harder than you thought. And so, people hire trainers to make them accountable. Making NLP skills a part of WHO YOU ARE is the same way.

Finally, we’ve all heard that practice makes perfect. Actually, it is practice perfectly makes perfect. If you don’t learn to practice the “right” way, you will practice errors and those errors will become wired into your muscles. Your effectiveness at the task will be greatly reduced. It will take considerably more effort to unlearn something than learn it the right way first.

Do you take online training or live training in NLP? It depends on your outcome. If you want to know about NLP and you are gathering information, go for it. You can take an online course for as little as $9.95. However, if you want NLP to make a significant difference in the quality of your life, which I suspect is why you want to know NLP, taking a live training taught over a year is how you are going to get there. Yes, OVER A YEAR.  Most credible trainings taught live are at least 10 days with practice in between. My training takes 14 months. No one over 30 years has ever said it wasn’t worth it. A person will go from good to spectacular. When you think about it, a year of your life, while you are living your life isn’t a long time. Whether you are looking back for a short amount of time or a long time, seeing a different, brighter, more authentic, and wholesome future will only happen if something changes in the present. You can learn how to control that change with authentic, credible, thoughtful and expertly taught NLP. You will find it is worth the time and the money to do so. You will also be part of a community that you can use to help develop your skills further through discussion and practice. If you are going to spend the time learning something, learn it the right way from the beginning. Your investment will go a lot further.

In closing,  you can say, I’m saying all this because my core NLP training takes 14 months and cost about $30/hour for training. It still adds up. It would be so much easier for me if I put the whole thing online, took your money and moved to Paris. I have had many students come to me over the years and ask why I don’t do online training. It is because, after 30 years of teaching, training, and coaching people, studying adult learning models and applying them in my classroom, watching the superb skill of the individuals who become NLP Masters through me, I want to do my best for people who take training from me, to get the best training money can buy, experience the power of the NLP model and use it to make themselves and the world a better place to live. I’m a stickler for doing it the right way to serve people from the highest place. I cannot do that online.