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Structured Practice Session

Meeting Agenda - August 24, 2003



(GENERAL REMINDER: Please show up on time or a few minutes early, so we can start right at 2, giving plenty of time for both the presentation and free practice sessions.)

15 minutes: Open frame. Those in attendance talk briefly about what's up for them, comments about last month's meeting, ideas and suggestions.


Feature Presentation (approx.. 1 hr)

John-Erik Omland: Structured Practice - fine-tuning your outcome frame questions.

A trap that we, as programmers, can sometimes get into in our sessions with clients is getting stuck on our own map and trying to "fix" the client. When we stay too much on our own map, we start to mind-read. Instead of asking quality questions to flush out more of what they are experiencing on their own map, we interpret - from our own map - what a client must mean. The impact on rapport and information gathering can be devastating. A session can quickly turn from being a useful, potentially life-changing event, into a laborious process of missed communication

We will review the basic "NLP outcome frame questions" and the structured meta/programmer method (called "coached outcome frame" by NLP Marin). The outcome frame questions allow the programmer to structure their session with a client. The meta person can also use this list to help keep the programmer on track.

Using the coached outcome frame model, we will refine our use of the outcome frame questions, to get higher quality information from the client. We will work in groups of three. The programmer gets to ask one question of the client, at which point the session pauses while the meta asks the programmer a specific set of questions. The questions are designed to help the programmer get off his/her own map and refine their listening and thinking skills, so that the next question asked of the client becomes a precision tool to uncover higher quality information about the client's map and to help the programmer refine their information gathering strategy.

After the first question, the meta will address the following questions to the programmer. The programmer will answer each question before being asked the next. (The last question is not answered aloud, but is thought about and then the programmer asks the client the next question.)

  1. Did the client answer your question?

  2. Did you get what you wanted?

  3. With which internal stance, attitude, emotional state,... did you recieve the answer? How do you make yourself safe as programmer, in the interaction?

  4. What did you learn?

  5. What do you respect more about the client's experience than they do themselves, at this point?

  6. What do you want to know now?

  7. What question could you ask to get that information?

At this point, the programmer asks the next question and the process is repeated. Each round will last 10-15 minutes at which point each group will pause and discussion and and give feedback about the process. Next, rotate roles and begin the next round. There should be time for all three participants to occupy each role.

We will reconvene for about 10 minutes as a large group to discuss briefly any insights from the process, before we break into new groups for the "free practice" portion of the meeting.


Free Practice: (rest of time, approximately 1 1/2 hr)


Break into new (or same) groups of 3, work on your stuff with others. As programmer, incorporate the insights gained from the structured outcome frame exercise, to refine your questions and approach.

Refer to the list of the NLP "outcome frame questions" handed out earlier. The programmer can use these questions to structure their session with the client. The meta person can also use this list to help keep the programmer on track.

Suggest 1 person work for 45 mins, then either switch with meta person or rotate new (programmer, client, meta) positions. Leave 5-10 minutes at end of each round for meta feedback and tea break.


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