Categories of NLP trainings and certifications.

If we look at the way NLP trainings and certifications are offered in the world today, we can categorize them according to the way they are focused, what their focus or purpose is. 

There are 4 categories of focus, which are mostly offered. 


Coaching/Psychotherapy - NLP as a tool to treat people with problems/mental diseases.

Personal Development/Growth - NLP as a tool to work on yourself and eliminate problems.

Communication/Self-Management - NLP as a tool to improve social skills and EQ.

Sales/PR/Advertising/Success - NLP as a tool to improve communication and perception.


I have combined psychotherapy and coaching into one category because they use the same training structures. Nevertheless, they are very different from a legal point of view and in terms of the topics covered. 

See the section: Psychotherapy vs. Coaching.


All NLP certification trainings are also about the structure of change and how to use NLP methods and models to achieve change - in a client (patient), in oneself, in a partner, in another person, in an employee, in a customer, in a colleague or simply in the presentation of information or in communication.


As an NLP prospect and NLP trainer it is useful to understand the different purpose of these trainings and their focus.

The NLP prospect can then choose the training that fits his goals, contexts and intentions.

The NLP trainer can consider which target groups to address, what to teach in the courses, and what learning objectives to strive for.

Framings for the four categories (What is it? What is the purpose? Context?)



Psychotherapy / Coaching: 

This NLP training is designed to build and improve competence in working with clients to help them with problems or mental illness. The training is for coaches, psychotherapists and people in social and helping professions. 

Appropriate licensure is required for the psychotherapeutic field.


Personality Development / Personal growth: 

This NLP training is for learning about psychological patterns and structures, identifying your own limiting and unfavourable ways of thinking and behaving, and learning to work on these using NLP techniques. This training is for anyone who wants to learn how to manage and work on themselves and others.


Communication / Business:

This NLP training is designed to improve communication skills in personal and professional contexts with all people, as well as to build and develop interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence. The training is for all those who are in communication-intensive professions or have to deal more often with challenging interpersonal situations, people in everyday life and want to develop their competence and stress resistance.



This NLP training is designed to learn the structures and dynamics of successful and effective communication in order to act more effectively and successfully in conversations, publications, interactions. Questioning techniques, formulations, language models, psychological models and rules of brain-friendly communication are learned and practiced. The training is for all those who want to improve their communication and language skills and who work in professions with high communication requirements.




Some differences between these 4 categories and how to recognise them:


Coaching (psycho-therapy)

Personal growth / development

Communication / Self-management

Success / in sales/PR/advertising

Work on

"Deficits, problems,(disorders, diseases)"

Self, personality identity, shadow, 

Skills, variety and range of patterns

Skills, behavior, perception

Examples to work on

Bad habits, weight loss, anger (phobias, trauma, compulsions).

self-image, self-confidence, unconscious parts

Patterns, observation, behavior, 

Refining appearance, skills, tricks, secrets of success


Problem solving (healing)

Personal development, problem solving

effectiveness, improvement, stability, progress

plan, steps, recipe, procedure

Topics that are worked on in the courses


Stuck, un/resourceful

Learning, curiosity, exploration

Success experience, excitement, 

States that are often used

Problem state

Stuck state 

Control state 

Excitement state

Skills as a result of the training 

Treating other people

Work on self

More competent in dealing with others/with oneself in work/life

More efficient / successful in business

Methods used in the training 

Treatment, demo sessions, 

Exercises, rituals

Exercises, tasks, role plays 

Role play, follow scripts, steps

Communication of the trainer

Explicit, interpretation of sessions/intentions

Implicit, indirect, stories, group trances, metaphors

Direct, explicit

Explicit, consultative

Role of the trainer

Master/role Model

Pathfinder, scout, "guru"



Participant engagement

Repetition of session/demo

Going through experiences 

Understanding and practicing the skill

Apply procedures

How to recognize this type of focus

(Deep) problems, (long sessions)/long demos).

Tears often flow, personal issues/baggage from the past

No tears, everyday/work topics, less/less coach-client exercises, 

Ambitious participants, formal dress code

Learning objectives regarding the NLP categories

"FOCUS:/NLP Content"

Coaching (Therapy)

Personal growth

"Communication / Self-Management"

"Success in Sales/PR/Advertising".


Be able to establish a useful and trusting connection with the client to make the session more effective

Getting along with more people who are stressful 

Be able to create a basis for mutual understanding and better communication with friends, family, co-workers, customers.

Ability to connect with audiences, public and customers. 

“Well formed conditions of goals "

Articulate and define the client's goals to solve the problem

Collect, define and structure what needs to change in life

Define well-formed goals for change, self and others, objectives, requirements.

Define well-formed goals for business conversations, objectives, requirements.


Using them to install useful states and delete bad anchors for the client to create resourceful states in the session

Install useful anchors for yourself for self-control, delete bad anchors by yourself or in exercises to each other 

Use anchors to improve intention and communication. Use anchors for emotional self-management.

Use anchors to connect states/emotions to messages/products. Use anchors to improve recall and recognition.


Use the metamodel (MM) to identify the structure of the world model (MoW) that explains the problem. Use MM questions to challenge and change the client's MoW.

Use the MM to analyze own patterns and problems that have arisen. Use MM questions to free yourself from limitations.  

Use MM to elicit vague and unclear information in MoW and communication. Use MM questions to define issues, avoid misunderstandings, and create your own inner dialogue.

Use MM to elicit vague and ambiguous information in MoW, messages and communications. Use MM questions to define themes, goals, and intentions and avoid misunderstandings, 

Milton model

Use the MiltonModel (MiM) to talk to the unconscious and to put the client in a trance

Use the MiM to talk to the unconscious in group trances / metaphors and teach participants to do trances with themselves and others 

Use MiM to self-hypnotize and be vague or relational in conversations, speeches, discussions.

Use MiM to be vague or to create good internal representations and emotions in speeches, ads, product descriptions, talks, conversations, publications.

Ecology / ecology check

As a tool to determine if the client's goals or changes are sustainable and actionable - and the results are not regretted 

As a tool to assess whether one's goals, changes, behaviors, actions are sustainable and actionable - and the results are not regretted 

As a tool to assess whether goals, changes, behaviors, actions are sustainable and actionable - and the results are not regretted. Ecology as an element to create stable change and avoid relapse. 

As a tool to assess whether goals, changes, products, actions are sustainable and viable - and the results are not regretted. Ecology as an element to create acceptable business interactions / products / etc. 


Using SubM to change the client's inner representation, beliefs, emotions and values to solve the problem

Use SubM for self-control and to change inner representations, beliefs, emotions, values to create more personal freedom

Using SubM for self-control and to change inner ideas, beliefs, emotions and values. Using SubM language to influence the thinking of others.

Use SubM language to influence the thinking of others. Use of SubM in VAKOG representation and description.