Certify Me – I’m Incompetent

I just returned from Israel and met dozens of people who claim to have trained in NLP. My friend and teacher Menachem Kasdan was recently called in to certify a group of people as NLP Practitioners.

What he found was shocking.

These people were completely unable to understand basic terms such as calibration.

They didn’t know what the meta-model was.

They never heard of the Milton model.

And yet, they professed to be knowledgeable in NLP.

Which of course leads someone to ask a question, what makes a person competent?

Dave Dobson never certified anyone in Other Than Conscious Communication. Why?

Because he didn’t believe certification based on the classroom counted. It was what you did with it out in the real world that was important.

The latest trend is teaching NLP online. You never meet the trainer. They never get to observe you.

You never work in small groups with people. Never get feedback.

Of course, it goes without saying your skill level is going to be very weak.

In order to learn NLP effectively, you need to get feedback from someone with a high level of competence.


  1. Dear Harlan,
    You have been cheated.
    Implying that the NLP community in Israel does not know
    NLP is a lot of “Hutspa”.
    Who needs someone to come from abroad to certify Israeli
    We have a wonderful group of trainers who can teach anyone,
    Harlan, what NLP is.
    Ben Hazan is one of them.
    No, you did not grab my attention.
    You only showed me that you do not walk your talk.
    You should have prepared your homework.
    You did not meet NLPiers, because the organizers did not think it to be of there Interest.
    How sad…

  2. The NLP community that I have met does not for the most part know NLP. It’s like playing the game of telephone where the message gets passed down from one to another and the original message is lost in the sauce.

    Ben Hazan is a great NLP trainer. And the reason he is so good is because he gets himself up and attends trainings all over the world.

    But I met dozens of people who were trained in NLP in Israel and their level of competence was sorely lacking.

    I didn’t come to Israel to teach NLP. I came to teach copywriting.

    The level of NLP I witnessed in Israel was not up to standard.

  3. Calm down guys.

    I understand both of the sides. Harlan is right, there is a trend of people who claim they know NLP, when they got questioned they mention something about embedded commands and thats all.

    Israel is not the only country that has this trend. I met self proclaimed NLP experts in US, UK and other countries. Simply because NLP made it to the mainstream.

    On the other hand, there is also a community of people in Israel that knows NLP, and practice it on a casual basics. Maybe next time you’ll come to Israel, lets meet up for NLP coffee. I know some people that definitely know NLP.

    I’m not sure that you can measure the knowledge of NLP based on trainings you took around the world. Where do you put your knowledge into practice? Do someones training worth something if someone didn’t put it into practice?

    Woww… I didn’t want to write that much. The whole point of this comment was just to say that there is “wannabes” everywhere: NLP, Internet Marketing, SEO, just name it. As one of your biggest fans in Israel I want you to have the best experience you can have. Hence, I just want to invite you for a coffee with my friends & me, next time you’re in Israel.

  4. Interesting blog post. I agree with the viewpoint you attributed to Dave Dobson. Competence should not (in my opinion) automatically be bestowed upon someone at the end of a training. If anything the participants are in the process of developing competence with their newly discovered skill sets. They are in-competence, but not yet competent.

    Keep in mind that state and context play a huge part in demonstrating competency (which we should not confuse with mastery). As such, a person demonstrating competency in the classroom is not necessarily also competent in demonstrating the skill sets in a different context e.g the street or in a business boardroom. This has been an issue with such fields as the martial arts where “competent” black belts have been handed their arses in a street fight by “un-trained” street fighters.

    I believe that at the end of an NLP training, participant’s competency should be contextualized by the training organization to the classroom, as there may not be evidence that the person can demonstrate the skill sets anywhere else, unless this has been built into the course curriculum. Up front and continual framing by the trainer(s) throughout the training for participants to “Play and Experiment” with the material outside of the classroom, will aid them in discovering what works, what doesn’t work and determine what is useful and what is not.

    Ultimately, feedback loops and the strength of those feedback loops from fellow participants, trainers, and Joe / Jane Public will help accelerate participant’s learnings and understandings. As such I would also highly recommend that people interested in learning NLP / Hypnosis find a respected trainer that trains in smaller groups 12- 18 people and in person (not over the net).



Share This