NLP and Emotional Intelligence

I recently received a marketing email from The Coaching Room.  As I do coaching myself I clicked on the offer only to discover that its base technology was NLP.  I told their representative making the follow-up phone call that I used a different technology and that I had my doubts about the scientific validity of NLP which surprised the caller.

These doubts were reinforced by a recent blog “Another nail in the coffin…”.  The cornerstone of NLP technology is the VAK (Visual-Audio-Kinesthetic) model of learning styles.  The blog describes a study done at the University of Indiana.  At the start of term, Polly Husmann and Valerie Dean O’Loughlin asked hundreds of undergrads on an anatomy course (which involved lectures and practical lab classes) to take one of the most popular online learning styles surveys, the VARK. Taken by millions of people worldwide, the VARK categorises students according to how much they prefer to learn visually, via auditory information, through reading and writing, or through kinaesthetics (by doing or by practical example).

The results are bad news for advocates of the learning styles concept. Student grade performance was not correlated in any meaningful way with their dominant learning style or with any learning style(s) they scored highly on. Also, while most students (67 per cent) actually failed to study in a way consistent with their supposedly preferred learning style, those who did study in line with their dominant style did not achieve a better grade in their anatomy class than those who didn’t.

This is of course is not news.  In another blog produced by the British Psychological Society “10 of The Most Widely Believed Myths in Psychology” Myth #1 is that we learn more effectively when taught via our preferred “learning style”.  Over 96% of British teachers believe this myth yet psychology research shows consistently that people do not learn better when taught via their preferred learning style.

Myth # 9 is that Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) is scientific.  A minority of psychologists are trained in neurolinguistic programming (NLP) and advocate its use but it was developed by two self-help gurus in the 1970s who simply made up their own psychological principles after watching psychotherapists working with their clients. NLP is full of false claims that sound scientific-ish, such as that we each have a preferred “representational system” for thinking about the world (which translates into learning styles), and that the best way to influence someone is to mirror their preferred system. A forensic trawl through all the claims made in NLP programmes found that the overwhelming majority are piffle.

One of the main reasons I like the 7MTF/Humm is that it is based on a scientifically valid technology using seven factors.  The five most common 7MTF/Humm factors correspond directly to the Five Factor model.  Indeed I often describe the 7MTF/Humm as the “Five Factor Model + the corporate psychopath + the corporate bully.”

This blog was first published on LinkedIn on 7 April 2018.  NLP and Emotional Intelligence



Add Your Comment

Chris Golis - Author


"Put in a sales perspective, I loved your presentation! I got a lot from what you talked about and I will read your book."

Peter Morris, Executive Officer, Lomax Financial Group

Your presentation on 'Lifting your Level of Emotional Intelligence" to 10 CEOs scored an average 8.9 out of 10 for the topic and 8.5 for the presentation which is great. A couple of the attendees gave you a 10 out of 10, and the comments were:

- Great presentation. Very informative.

- Excellent presentation.

- made me think.

Christi Spring CEO Institute. - web