MBA Candidate Coaching - NLP Values Work

Case study abstract:

This case study is an example of a transformative outcome utilising NLP Values Work within a ‘Breakthrough’ format. The situation revolved around the client gaining a 2nd interview to do an MBA at a world leading business school after failing the 1st interview. Confidence issues and values dissonance were key factors in this case study. A follow up coaching session with the client was conducted in 2013, again looking at the clients’ values to see how they had developed.

The case study:

The client shall be known as the ‘Client’ for the purposes of this case study, had recently decided to apply for a place at London Business School. At the time London business school was placed in the top 10 for Executive MBA’s in the world and this was both an attractor and a source of trepidation for the Client. The Client approached me for a break-through coaching program to get her ready for a 2nd interview at LBS as the initial interview had not in her opinion been successful and that she felt she was only being invited for a second interview due to being a part of an important demographic in that she was both female and from outside of the UK. The Client stated that they now suffered from a serious lack of confidence and that she did not know how to go about preparing for the 2nd interview.

I agreed to offer a 4 hour breakthrough program broken into 2 sets of 2 hour sessions over 2 consecutive days in the run up to her interview. The Client agreed to a pre-session task of writing about what she values about successfully achieving a place at London Business School. The Client agrees to the process overview and her Unconscious mind responds affirmatively that the desired outcome is possible and any changes required are permitted.

The client’s model of the world:
After taking a detailed personal history, and essentially generating a working model of the client’s world, we quickly uncovered the Client had a negative script that she attributed to her mother which was affecting her belief that she could be successful. The Client could reproduce a succinct auditory record of a teenage memory of her mothers’ voice stating that she was wasting her time studying so hard as she would never become anything special. Further to this the Client reported having an issue with low energy and procrastination that concerned her about taking on the task of an Executive MBA that would cost her the significant investment of £58,000. When questioned about her motivation for achieving an MBA from London Business School the Client displayed a range of values that both enervated and deflated her. For example when talking about creativity, recognition and power and achievement the Client’s physiology was brighter and more congruent. When talking about the possibility of earning more money and the prospect of a future career further up the ladder of responsibility the Client’s breathing would become shallower, her complexion would become greyer and generally she seemed less congruent. The Client’s eye cue system is normally organized and showed a tendency towards being visual with auditory digital in her congruent states and auditory with kinaesthetic in her less congruent states. The Client’s major meta programs were:

External Behaviour
Introvert/Extrovert: Introvert around groups of people and people she did not know but contrastingly extrovert around individuals that she did know; for the Client to be extrovert around a group of people she would have to have known them all quite well.

Internal Process
Sensor/Intuitor: the Client was very specific and practical (and fairly negative) about her version of reality when her physiology was incongruent and yet when in a congruent state the Client expressed signs of being creative, bigger-picture and more in flow.

Internal State
Thinking/Feeling: the Client displayed a highly critical mind-set, classic signs of mismatching and tended towards being quite detached in her incongruent states and more involved and connected when in her more congruent states.

Adaptation Operator
Judger/Perceiver: the Client makes a living as a successful project manager under pressure to meet deadlines incumbent within her day-to-day work activities. In uptime states the Client showed signs of being a Judger (with a ‘through-time, timeline) and in down time states the classic signs of being a Perceiver for example: greater flexibility, flow and more fluid sense of time (in time).

The problem:
The Client presented a series of presenting problems that seemed to have at their core an issue around her values system and her self-belief. What at first seemed like a complex series of issues that cut the Client off from vital resources in the form of other people and a limiting belief about her own value, coupled with a dissonance around the kind of success she aspired to, under closer examination revealed itself to be a crisis experienced at the cross over point between independent as an individual to being interdependent as a high level player in the business and social environments.

The solution:
Session 1
I worked with the Client to build a bright and attractive picture of the desired state/outcome and then proceeded to fulfil the criteria of a well-formed outcome. We then formulated a swish pattern with key location and visual sub-modalities factored in and then enacted this until we had a noticeable loosening of the problem state and a greater sense of possibility in the client. We then treated the negative auditory script from her mother with an auditory scramble until the playback was so distorted and ridiculous that it could no longer function as an effective trigger for a limiting self-belief state. We then went through the process of releasing the major 5 negative emotions through timeline therapy in the following order: anger, sadness, fear, anxiety and guilt. Before session 2 I worked with the Client to create a resource anchor, showed her how to load it up and then tasked her with loading as many positive states into the resource Anchor as she could before we met again the following day for the next session. At the end of the first session the Client displayed behaviour more in keeping with her congruent states and all future pacing showed that presenting problems were not repeating themselves in key contexts.
Session 2
The 2nd session was about deeper and longer lasting change work that would support well passed successfully securing her place at London Business School. As such this session was dedicated to Values work and started with the iterative process of eliciting the Client’s values around Career. By the 2nd and 3rd iterations of writing out her values we had uncovered a significant dissonance around money. Essentially it simply did not occur in the Client’s values hierarchy about her career. When we drilled down on the Client’s beliefs around money we found that she had a complex equivalence around materialism, authenticity and money i.e. ‘if you are driven by money then you are materialistic and therefore inauthentic’. In response to this I presented the Client with a metaphor based around diving in the sea. The divers want to spend a long period of time enjoying and exploring an entirely different world deep under the surface of the sea. In order to spend more time down there and not be distracted about having to head back to the boat they would take not one but two tanks of air. Thereby ensuring that they would have plenty of time to pay full attention to their surroundings and get maximum value from their experience. To break the metaphor down essentially air represents money in this case and in order to have enough currency to exchange for time and space the Client would have to value the currency more; whether it be money or air in either context. The metaphor successfully reframed money for the Client and when we elicited her values again money had appeared and was in the top 6 values. The Client eventually settled on money moving to position 3 for the period of the course to test what having a higher focus on money would be like and to ensure that she could generate the right kinds of activity and more importantly the relationships needed to create the possibility to earn more money so that she could enact her hearts desire to be more creative and to work for the benefit of others whilst being able to influence how her energies are being utilized. The final version of The Client’s values showed a clear foundation of resources that supported her motivation that enabled her to organize herself so that she could achieve her highest goals of freedom that supported her happiness in her career.

We then role-played some example questions in the format of an interview at London Business School, covering again some of the questions the Client was asked in the 1st interview, and I offered some advice from my perspective of a business owner of a telecoms company as to what I would be looking for in a senior executive. We then covered the model of Rapport, visual acuity and basic calibration to ensure that the Client had the opportunity she needed to get her message across. Further to this we processed some of the Client’s previous successes within the succinct format of C.A.R. (also known as T.A.O.) thereby enabling her to interact within the interview at the level of Unconscious Competence; from here the Client would be able to provide quicker and more confident responses to the interviewer’s questions.

• Challenge: This is the ‘Task’ or challenge that I engaged with, how I analyzed it and prepared to take action.
• Action: This was the ‘Action’ that I decided to take, why and what the outcome was that I expected.
• Result: This was the ‘Outcome’ and I learned X, Y and Z from this and would adjust my strategy accordingly in the future.

As a part of my research for supporting the Client I contacted an Alumni from London Business School and was advised to expect the need for a level of ‘polish’ to the applicant, as well interesting and intelligent answers. Furthermore the candidate needed to come across as if they knew their own mind and fully comprehended their opportunity at London Business School and the significance of the investment they were making both in terms of time and money.

Timeline goals:
We then put her interview at London Business School, her successful completion of her course and her first new placement in her advanced career position into her future timeline.

Follow up:

In a recent interview (June 2013) with the Client she stated “the whole concept of values at the time (the coaching sessions) was a revolution to me… that values are this.. ‘back-bone’ that really allows everything to function in a coherent manner. I remember being moved this idea. I remember being struck by its power again and again”. The Client has now completed her Executive MBA and will shortly be graduating. The Client reported that some distinct shifts had taken place amongst some key value areas for her:

2011 2013

Recognition > Visibility
Power > Influence
Relationships > Interpersonal Skills > Networking

The break-through program format was quite pressurized and did not really allow enough time to fully resolve all of the Client’s issues, however the time limit did serve well to focus the clients’ attention and energy on the tasks in hand and helped to keep the Client associated with her desired outcome. What is interesting to note is that the issue around interpersonal relationships had developed over the interim period from 2011 to 2103 into an increased awareness of the importance of connecting to other people, and developing her interpersonal skills has supported this development. The client was able to transform their perception of money-based transactions into a metaphysical state of sharing and exchanging value. The resultant outcome was the transformation of an unhelpful attribution of negative meaning to the natural process of exchanging Value; subsequently enabling the emergence of a new way of being and correspondingly a new conception of what it means to apply our will in the world for both personal and collective outcomes.

Client feedback:

“I used Mark's support throughout the process of applying for a place at the highly competitive Executive MBA at the London Business School. He helped me to prepare a consistent, convincing and interesting profile, which we afterwards used throughout the rigorous application process. When I secured an interview at the LBS, Mark not only prepared me for the questions but also showed me how to pitch my message at the level appropriate to the high-caliber audience. What sets him apart as a coach is his thorough understanding of the business context: his advice is grounded both in his coaching and in his management experience. His knowledge of the NLP techniques is also invaluable in transferring loose ideas into a precisely structured application. Meetings with him left me not only well prepared, but also more aware of my motivations’, goals and values which made my message clear, strong and convincing.
I have no doubt that without his help I would not be able to count myself among the 80 or so lucky MBA students at one of the top 5 business schools in the world. I highly recommend his services specifically for any rigorous and competitive recruitment process where excellence has to be the standard. Mark, thank you!” (July 21, 2011).

Submitted by Mark Shraga, Trainer Member

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