What Richard Bandler & Marilyn Monroe Understood Can Make You a Better Coach | By Judy Frabotta

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MarilynMonroeOnly parts of us will ever touch only parts of others. Marilyn Monroe

In the early days of NLP, Richard Bandler had a travelling road show of sorts. His free-style workshops were packed with all kinds of people—car salesmen, CIA operatives, cult de-programmers, and the odd therapist, to name just a few of the people I encountered.

The curriculum, geared to people already familiar with the basics, tended to be whatever was on Richard's mind—whatever puzzle he was trying to work out at the time. The week I attended, what Richard was working on was Parts.

Although much of what I learned about NLP has dropped into unconscious memory, the language and practice of Parts work has remained front and center.

  • "I really want to stop procrastinating, but Part of me just can't get into the game."
  • "Part of me really likes him, but Part of me is scared."
  • "Part of me wants to go to medical school,  but another Part wants to write folk music."

The language of Parts belongs to our ordinary understanding of ourselves. And even the most casual self-examination reveals dozens of sub-personalities inside, some of whom may disagree quite vehemently with each other about who we are and what we are capable of.

Some of our Parts are loud and dominant—others are fully formed but quiet and waiting to be engaged. Some Parts are disturbing and some are good at hiding.

Here are 3 ways I use Parts with clients:

  1. Self-awareness. Parts work is a great tool for understanding and accepting internal contradictions. If a client has already told you that he is, say, an extrovert, he is now free to tell you that Part of him has a strong need for alone time. We are never just one thing.
  2. Goal setting. Some clients flounder among conflicting goals and priorities. Helping them identify and name the Parts in conflict can spur a useful internal dialogue while acknowledging all aspects of the self.  Goals formed with awareness of internal conflicts are less likely to be sabotaged by renegade Parts.
  3. Resource states. One of my clients wanted to get more comfortable giving talks. A self-described introvert, he expressed resistance to being exposed. On the other hand, he had a powerful message and an amazing personal story to back it up. He was articulate and warm. Inside, a  great speaker was waiting to be unleashed. As he prepared his next presentation, I asked him to imagine that he was writing a script for an character with a great public speaking persona. What would that character say? How would he deliver it? He enjoyed the creative exercise of creating a fictional character. When the time came to give the talk, he stepped fully into the role he had created. He smiled as he watched his closest colleague's jaw hit the floor. At that moment, he realized he was having fun. A Part was born.

Judy Frabotta-squareContributing Author: After a long and varied career as a management consultant, Judy Frabotta is focusing her energy on coaching and mentoring entrepreneurs, executives, people in career transition, and people with big dreams.  She can be reached through LinkedIn or email her at judy@frabotta.com.


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