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Most effective tool for taking interviews? – NLP Meta Model

NLP Meta Model for asking the right questions

Table of Contents

Most effective tool for taking interviews? - NLP Meta ModelNLP Meta Model is a collection of a really useful set of questions that can be used to collect specific information by challenging the generalisations, correcting the distortions and recovering the deletions present in the speaker’s language.

In any conversation where specific information is invaluable, the NLP Meta Model can be priceless. It is a tool that can help you understand not just what a person is saying but also what exactly is happening in the person’s mind on the basis of which they are saying what they are saying.

Whether you are Coach, a therapist, a trainer, a leader, a manager, a parent, an HR professional, a marketing executive or a journalist, this is one tool that you should not only learn but also master.

You may be wondering how can one tool be so useful for people from almost all walks of life?

Let me tell you what the meta model really does to answer that question.

What does NLP Meta Model do?

In an earlier post, we had discussed how the map is not equal to the territory. It is this understanding that is at the heart of the NLP meta model.

Let’s first summarise what we understand from “map is not equal to territory” and take it forward from there.


Most effective tool for taking interviews? - NLP Meta Model

So we know that there is a reality which we perceive through our senses. Given that our senses have neurological constraints, we only perceive a part of reality instead of the complete reality. Since we have to be prepared for different eventualities based on the limited reality we have perceived, our system uses certain filters to make things easier for us.

These filters include:

  1. Generalisations
  2. Deletions
  3. Distortions

These filters lead to a greater degree of differences between objective reality and the perceived reality. The final information that we are left with after these filters are used becomes a part of our map or our subjective reality.

Now from the point of view of a therapy, when a client comes for therapy and says that he/she has a problem, where does the problem exist. In the map or the territory?

In most cases, the problem is in the map. Which means when the client describes their problem, they are trying to represent what is actually a part of their map and not necessarily the reality.

We already know from the foundation course that:

If the map is closer to reality, it can be a very useful navigation tool but if it is very different from the reality, the map could be the single biggest reason for the client to feel lost.

In short, it is very important for us to help bring their map closer to reality.

What is also very important to recognise is that there is not just a difference between the reality and map but also between the map and the client’s representation of the map.

Most effective tool for taking interviews? - NLP Meta Model

Wait what does that mean?

A client represents his / her problem generally with the help of a language. It would be extremely rare if not impossible for a client to use language so specifically that he/she would represent the map exactly as it is.

Some amount of generalisation, deletion and distortion would take place due to the limitations of languages. Thus this creates a gap between the map that the client wants to represent also known as the deep structure and how the client represents it to others also known as surface structures.

That said, by now you would have rightly realised that in order to help the client effectively, one needs to bridge the gap between the representation of map, the map and the reality.

This is exactly what the meta-model does. The meta-model questions do this by helping the client not just identify these generalisations, deletions & distortions but also challenge the generalisations, correct the distortions and recover the deletions as far as possible.

In short, the NLP meta model questions focus on helping the clients

  • Understand the problem through the collection of specific and relevant information
  • Identify the steps and resources that can help in resolving these problems and
  • Identifying the patterns of thinking and behaviours that have helped in the past

Meta Model as a topic is covered extensively in the level 3 of our Advanced Coaching Certification Program and the Advanced Psychotherapy Certification Program.

In case you are not planning to join the certification program for now, you can enroll for the online module on effective questioning skills and develop a deeper understanding about the NLP Meta Model questions.