In this interview, Jay Hedley shares with us his experiences with NLP and the vision that The Coaching Room has for helping others awaken their true selves.
What excites you about NLP?
The main thing that excites me about NLP and the field of NLP is its impact on people's personal development. Almost 10 years ago, we realised that NLP had within itself a developmental model. For us, this was the missing piece of the puzzle in the field of human development, because NLP shows us how we construct and represent reality for ourselves. It shows how we facilitate the need to motivate, drive, and will ourselves. It models the structure of meaning and volitional will.
There is no other area in the field of development that we know of that models will. This is the missing piece in the field. Other areas of personal development show us that we have a representational structure that we call the self. However, NLP goes further to show us how that self is constructed and indeed maintained.
As we were playing with deconstructing and reconstructing the self, we started to realise that NLP had the ability to map the whole self-structure. It shows how a person grows up and then struggles through time, becoming frustrated as they hold themselves back from their potential.
This has huge implications in contexts of leadership, communication and personal & professional development. It reveals not only the structure of our inner game, it identifies why that exists (presuppositions, self-beliefs and assumptions).
Can you share some of The Coaching Room’s success stories that make you proud?
We don’t do pride, because what we do isn’t about us, it's about our clients and students. By their own standards and own experiences, many of our clients would say they owe their success to themselves, with NLP as the vehicle.
We work with some of the most impactful global leaders all around the world, in all kinds of fields; Airlines, Consulting, Finance Sector, Tech and Software, Government, Not-For-Profit etc.
In mining for example, we’ve had CEOs that lead organisations to be more economically, environmentally, and human resource sustainable. In one company, this led to a workplace of more than 45% women, which transformed the whole culture of the organisation. That culture outlasted the CEO. Even five years later, that culture is still maintaining itself, enculturating, awakening, and developing every human being within that mine.
We also work with sporting organisations like the Fiji Rugby 7s and NSW Institute of Sport. We have had a global impact with a variety of students coming through our NLP and Meta-Coach Training System. We have leaders in the fields of career coaching, leadership development, life coaching, and many other fields of human development. We have hundreds of people out there doing extraordinary things that have nothing to do with us. It just so happened that they found their sense of purpose, drive, and intentionality with us but they had to unlock it, not us.
What is your favourite NLP pattern?
My favourite NLP pattern is the movie rewind pattern, also known as the phobia cure pattern. The reason it is my favourite pattern is that it reveals to us that all internal experience, including memory, is purely constructed and can be absolutely deconstructed, so therefore it is not real. It is only representative of us and our potential, so it can never actually be our potential. By transforming and releasing ourselves from past experiences, events, and memories, that hold, maintain, and haunt us we can release ourselves to facilitate absolute self-actualisation.
The simplicity of this pattern is that it does its work in about a thirty-second time frame. In this short amount of time, a human being can transform their whole way of being and release themselves into their potential by releasing themselves from the anchor that is holding them back in life. Revealing that the structures that hold us back are unnecessary, frees us to live our potential. This is a really simple, yet absolutely profound, experience.
What is your favourite NLP-related quote?
In Buddhism, there is something called a Terma. From a traditional Buddhist perspective, a Terma is a hidden aspect of reality, that is a bit like a doorway into a house. From the outside, it seems you can tell what’s going on in the inside in terms of capacity and space. But, like Dr. Who’s TARDIS, when you get inside, the inside goes on infinitely. A Terma is something that looks simple but has depth and complexity that could keep you going on a journey for your entire life.
An example is leading psychotherapist - Fritz Pearl’s quote, “Awareness is curative.” We are looking at a simple global statement that has depth because nothing occurs without awareness. There is an awareness of self-structures and habits. Where did they come from? How do they operate? What is the drive behind them? What is the personality structure that is operating them? You would have to go on for a lifetime to fully expose and appreciate the complexity of the human self and its structure. That one awareness is curative for me and has led to a 15-year investigation, and I’m only just starting to get into who I am that I’m not.
What is your vision for The Coaching Room community?
Our vision as an organisation is to begin the process of ending unnecessary human psychological suffering. While physiological suffering is a given, human psychological suffering is not necessary. Day to day suffering in terms of dissatisfaction, dislike of self, dislike of life, and depression are all unnecessary. Our vision is to start a fire in our community that awakens people to the potential of who they are rather than who they take themselves to be, so they can go out there and make a difference.
From a corporate leadership perspective, self-leadership is leadership, and self-leadership is self-development. It is clearing everything out of the way that doesn’t serve the person as a human being. This enables the person to do what they know how to do, but are not doing because the structures are in the way. It’s about having the conversations you know you need to have, but you aren’t having because you are afraid of what people will think about you and how you are seen and perceived. All of these things stop people from leading.
Among the leaders that I have coached, there is one truth that runs through them all; they know what to do, they just aren’t doing it. Our approach is to free them to facilitate them freeing themselves, and in that, we are allowing them to do what they know how to do. This frees them to awaken that same potential in others to be able to free themselves.
Leadership is about clearing what is holding you back so you can help others clear their own path. The egocentric drive to be seen, loved, and respected is what gets cleared out. We work in corporate environments so that the leaders can come together as a team and lead as an individual team rather than a team of individuals.
How do you apply NLP to yourself in your own life?
The answer to that is more about how do I not apply it because that would be the exception. Having this conversation and allowing myself to express fully the voice that wants to communicate that has something to say is always there. I apply NLP in every aspect of what I do.
That said, NLP doesn’t actually exist; it’s a communication model (a concept) that examines how humans communicate with themselves and what they project out into the world as reality in different ways. It then works with those projections.
As a communication model, it looks at how we interpret the world in our minds and then how the mind facilitates a mind, body, emotional state experience. These experiences are used to create a representational meaning that goes into our physiology and neurology to help us overlay and language how we communicate with other people.
The communication that’s going on inside is filtering how I perceive the world and what you’re trying to communicate. The meaning of the structures from your communications has an impact on how I communicate back with you, creating a dynamic interplay. There isn’t a part of that process that I’m not constantly seeing and trying to work on to release myself from structures that arise that don’t work for you or for me in how we are relating to each other. There is no space where I’m not applying NLP. It has taken me 15 years of intentionality and commitment to get to this point of constant appraisal. At The Coaching Room, we have a community of people doing the same thing.
How did the Integral Leadership Program suite come about and what’s happening in that space?
Integral leadership is a process that we have evolved in the leadership work that we’ve done at The Coaching Room. It is a combination of the work we’ve done personally and professionally over the years. We’ve pulled together all of our knowledge to create an integral leadership course that is a series of 5 one-day modules, that look at all aspects of leading.
The program begins with the self in leadership where we look at self-structures and enneagram typology. These are the structures that hold a leader back from doing what they know how to do and keep them from being the leader they know they can be but aren’t. By clearing out the identity structures that run them habitually, they can get themselves out of the way to be a better leader. We help remove the fear that keeps leaders from taking action. These structures are all running through us and stop us from stepping up and standing up for who we are instead of who we want to be seen as. This work of clearing enables people to connect and communicate better with others.
We also work on the dynamic interplay of working with others. Leaders need communication and dynamic relationship skills to approach conflict situations in a different way, where they can stop personalising other people’s viewpoints. This is a different way of communicating and being for a leader.
We have a vision for a leadership team that gives people clarity, meaning, purpose, and intention. Creating high-quality meaningful decisions is something few people know how to do until it becomes obvious that they are missing it. The obviousness is in the lack of actual engagement by people in giving themselves and fully committing to the work that they are doing so they cannot not do it. The work then becomes an expression of the drive within.
Integral leadership is about looking at yourself as a leader and looking at others in your organisation as a team. You need to understand where you are and where you want to be but also what stops you from getting there. Part of the process is understanding how maintaining the status quo holds the organisation back from going where you know you can go. The next step is creating a tipping point in the organisation to actualise that.
Our five-day program is revolutionary in terms that it isn’t teaching you anything. You are discovering within yourself the truth of what is stopping you from actualising your potential. There isn’t anything like it. We’ve worked with multiple organisations to help them release themselves to their full potential as individuals, as leaders, and as teams to better serve their clients in a more effective and pragmatic way.
What is the biggest trap that people get caught in during their personal development?
From my experience, the biggest trap that I have found from a personal perspective has been spiritual materialism. That is becoming attached to being a developed human being; I’ve done enough; i've worked on me already... The unfolding of a human being is unending no matter where you are, no matter how successful you are, and no matter how much you have achieved. There is always more work to do.
This became obvious to us when we started working with celebrities. In working with celebrities, we found there was a frame where they felt they had achieved so much that they didn’t need to work on themselves anymore. That is, until there was an event that caused them to realise that there was more within that they could examine.
People will often wait for reality to reveal to them their limitations, and that is their limitation. They are waiting for reality to unintentionally develop them rather than leaning into intentional development of the self as a human being.
Life passes quickly, and my realisation has been, that I wasted the much of my life where I could have been giving myself to my unfolding and my development. At The Coaching Room, we are about touching people and awakening the truth within them so they can free themselves to their potential to lead others into the same awakening.