Our latest blog post looks at Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and the continuing work of Mike Nichols - the founder of NLPS Global.
Sport has always been a huge part of Mike’s life and after a career in Basketball in the UK and US he decided to pursue a degree in Sports Development. Midway through his degree in 2011, the government announced it was cutting the role. Feeling a little lost, Mike was perusing a book in a shop when he stumbled across a book on NLP. His interest was peaked and he soon gained a qualification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) - a qualification that sparked his career to date. Mike primarily works with elite and/or aspiring athletes to help them reframe their communication and optimise their understanding and performance.
After speaking to Mike about what we do and the perspective of neurodivergent sportspeople, athletes (and staff), Mike was inspired to write a blog post about how NLP techniques can be utilised from the other side - by coaches.
The key points Mike makes in his blog are:
👉Neurodivergent athletes perceive information differently, so coaches should adapt communication styles.
👉 NLP provides tools to help coaches understand athletes' nonverbal cues, emotions, and learning styles.
👉 NLP techniques like positive reinforcement and affirmations can build neurodivergent athletes' trust, confidence, and motivation.
Another of Mike’s blogs breaks down NLP into simple terms. We particularly like “Mindset Magic…” and the deep-dive into NLP and its ‘Meta Model’ centred around: “Deletions, Distortions, and Generalizations.“
NLP makes a lot of sense to us, but whether or which model of communication you subscribe to, the important takeaway is this; we all experience the world differently - we all process, communicate and behave differently, and effective communication therefore relies on a) an understanding of this, and b) all parties to ‘meet in the middle’.
We’d like to leave you with an analogy (courtesy of Mike)...
"After our conversation yesterday I wanted to come up with an analogy to help coaches understand communication with neurodivergent athletes and came up with a radio analogy...
I think the analogy would benefit coaches a lot.
*The Radio Frequency Connection: Communicating with Neurodivergent Athletes*
In the vast spectrum of human communication, understanding neurodivergence is akin to tuning into different radio frequencies. Each frequency represents a unique way of processing information and perceiving the world. For coaches working with neurodivergent professional athletes, mastering this analogy can be the key to fostering effective communication and support.
*Tuning In: Understanding Neurodivergence as Frequencies*
Neurodivergent athletes, like different radio frequencies, have diverse cognitive styles, sensory sensitivities, and communication preferences. Some athletes might process information rapidly, akin to a high-frequency transmission, while others might navigate the world with a deeper, more nuanced perception, akin to a lower frequency. Recognizing and respecting these variations is essential for meaningful communication.
*Clear Reception: Tailoring Communication Strategies*
Much like adjusting the radio dial for a clear signal, coaches can tailor their communication strategies. For athletes with heightened sensory sensitivities, using clear, concise language and minimizing distractions can enhance their reception. Providing visual cues or allowing extra time for processing information can be invaluable for athletes operating on different frequencies.
*Creating Harmonious Communication: Nurturing Trust and Understanding*
Effective communication with neurodivergent athletes isn’t just about transmitting information; it’s about creating a harmonious frequency between coach and athlete. Building trust and understanding is fundamental. Coaches can achieve this by actively listening, being patient, and adapting their coaching style to resonate with the athlete’s unique frequency. It’s a two-way transmission where the athlete feels heard and supported, fostering a relationship based on mutual respect.
*The Symphony of Success: Embracing Neurodiversity*
Embracing the analogy of radio frequencies in communicating with neurodivergent athletes transforms coaching into a symphony. Each athlete's unique frequency contributes to the harmonious melody of the team. By understanding, respecting, and embracing these diverse frequencies, coaches not only empower neurodivergent athletes but also create an inclusive, supportive environment where every athlete can shine, fostering a culture of acceptance, understanding, and success."
Than you Mike for reaching out, exchanging ideas and mutual learning!