In this interview, James Hayes shares with us what inspires him about NLP and coaching.
What excites you the most about NLP?
I get excited by awakening people to opportunities and decisions that they are holding themselves back from. People allow insecurity or self-beliefs to prevent them from doing the things they want to in life. There are so many opportunities that get passed up because of something on the inside, some thought or emotion. These are things we can learn to change, but the average person doesn’t know how. With NLP, people start to learn how to reorient their thinking and their feelings to make different decisions in their lives. I like to think that NLP can help people have the kind of impact that they were born to make. Everyone can do this if they just know how to work with themselves.
Do you have any student success stories you can share?
One of our students was terrified of public speaking. When she came to the group, she’d sit in the back, and anytime she asked a question she’d turn bright red. Whenever she had to speak in the group, she’d fumble her words, and her voice would crack. One of the things she was working on in the training was getting comfortable with other people’s perceived opinions of her, most of which were totally overblown in her mind. Through the NLP training, one of the pragmatic things she focused on changing was her relationship to other people’s perceptions. She did so well that she ended up doing a one-day training with me as a guest speaker. She is now very confident and engaging as a public speaker. This is a tangible and pragmatic example of someone changing something about themselves that has them show up in a completely different way.
Do you have any favourite NLP techniques?
I like framing and reframing. In layman’s terms, this means being able to change the story inside your mind about different aspects of life. We all have stories that we tell ourselves that make up our reality. These stories govern the decisions we make. Reframing is a clever way to change an outcome by changing your story. You can do it internally to change your own story or conversationally to help others reorient their thinking and change their narrative on the inside. It's very powerful and I’ve seen a lot of success with it.
Do you have a favourite quote?
I do, and it’s from Teddy Roosevelt. The quote is known as, “The Man in the Arena.” The whole heart of this quote is if you’re in the arena “doing,” then whatever the outcome, the credit belongs to you. Even if you fail, you will know that you have done more than those people who never tried. I think this quote really helps people inoculate themselves against the fear of failure and perfectionism.
What are you reading right now?
I’m not reading anything currently, and that’s a deliberate choice. I’m focusing on not filling myself up with more information. Instead, I’m spending my time meditating and being in my awareness so that I can more fully see the less obvious structures and biases that sometimes get in the way.
What is your vision for The Coaching Room?
I want to make The Coaching Room a referral based community. Our growth is based on the strength of the community because people want to be a part of what’s happening here. Our trainings are leading-edge and effective, but what’s really moving for me is the community of people who are part of what we do here. They’re changing their lives and each other’s lives. What’s exciting about a referral based community is that our success depends on the success of the students. The more they grow and the stronger and more emotionally intelligent they become, the bigger and stronger our family grows alongside them.
How do you apply NLP in your own life?
I apply NLP everywhere I can and in every context that I can. In my personal life, I use NLP to more fully connect with people. I use it to more fully understand my partner, my friends, and my family. It helps me to communicate in a way that is more receptive for others to process and integrate. In my professional life, I use it to connect more fully with clients. I use it to work with the things that make me feel uncomfortable and insecure. NLP is a part of every facet of my life; I haven’t found an area yet where it’s not relevant.
What is your enneagram and how do you use enneagrams?
My enneagram is type 1, which would be the reformer, also known as the perfectionist. The enneagram is like a useful map to help understand some of the trials and tribulations, as well as strengths, that people have based on what they pay attention to and what they value. It’s not a replacement or substitute for getting to know the person. I would never presume that I know someone because I know their enneagram. Knowing someone’s enneagram is useful to give you some insights into their habits and what they might be going through.
What are the biggest traps that people fall into in this space?
There are two traps that are common in this space. The first trap is usually a beginner’s trap. People get very excited when they start learning about NLP, and they project what they are learning onto everyone else except themselves. People assume that they are more developed and mature than they really are. Another trap occurs when people study the content in depth. Some people get overly excited and try to apply all of the techniques they are learning to everyone they meet without their permission. At The Coaching Room, we have a philosophy of only applying what we learn to the self and only using these tools with other people when you have their permission.
If you could only choose one lesson to share, what would it be?
The most valuable lesson is to know that with every struggle, with every problem, with every distaste or disdain you might experience, first look within. Part of your experience involves others and the situation you find yourself in sure, but the often overlooked part (the part you directly control) is you. How are you complicit in the situation or problem you say you don't like?
Why do you do what you do?
I became interested in coaching and NLP because I was really aware of the situations I was holding myself back from, all of the people I wasn’t connecting with, and all of the opportunities I wasn’t going for. The self-talk inside my head was causing me misery. I became aware of all of the unnecessary suffering I was going through and that other people go through. I do this because I want to do something about it. I want to help others avoid the same unnecessary, melodrama that can go on inside and get in the way of what you are here to do and express in this life.
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