Independent Survey Confirms Effectiveness of NLP Training / NLP Certification Training

Summary by Matthew B. James, MA, PhD

Entire Article Copyright © 1998 Matthew B. James, PhD & Advanced Neuro Dynamics, Inc.

Permission to Reproduce This Article In Its Entirety Is Hereby Granted


For years, NLP aspirants and graduates alike have wondered about the effectiveness of NLP training. This survey provides evidence both of the effectiveness and the value of NLP training.


What is NLP?


NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming, as it is taught today, is a series of techniques, processes, and attitudes for creating change in people and organizations in business, education and therapy. In the book Applications of Neuro Linguistic Programming (1983), Robert Dilts defines NLP as a model of how our brains work, how language interacts with the brain, and how to use this knowledge to systematically and methodically “reprogram” ourselves and others.


Not all techniques are, however, used to create change. Many are just used to improve communication and management skill. In business, for example, NLP Comprehensive, an NLP training institute (1996), said that the techniques provide business leaders with the ability to establish great rapport with clients, understand and overcome objections, and identify each client’s individual decision-making style. The Southern Institute of NLP says that “Business and sales people report productivity in negotiating, conducting meetings, making presentations, marketing and influencing the behavior of clients, employees, and coworkers.” The Empowerment Partnership says that they do in-house business training which range from performance enhancement to sales training with great advances in productivity.


Applications of NLP also include very impressive interventions in education and therapy which allow clients to let go of past negative emotions and limiting decisions, as well as to reprogram strategies for dealing with future events. NLP techniques are also useful to improve learning ability and retention, and increasing student grades.


NLP Training Proven Effective:


In an independent survey of 192 graduates of all levels of NLP certification training, gathered in mid-1997, the researchers found an incredibly high level of satisfaction and almost no dissatisfaction with the NLP training they received. The survey determined, “It appears that while the Neuro-Linguistic Programming methodology and techniques may be useful in a wide range of professional occupations, those interested in counseling, medical, or personal pursuits most commonly populate NLP training courses. Responses obtained from managers, sales representatives, and educators in the sample population reveal that NLP training can be a valuable and cost-effective asset to improve interpersonal communication skills.”


Purpose for Attending the Course:


The survey respondents indicated varied interests and reasons for attending the NLP trainings:


As a Manager                            11.5%

As a Professional Trainer           26.0%

As an Educator                         11.5%

As a Counselor or Medical Professional  48.4%

As a Sales Representative           7.8%

For Personal Development        58.3%

Other                                       18.8%


(Total is more than 100% because the respondent could answer “yes” to more than one question.)


Level of Certification Attained:


The responses indicate the level of certification attained by each participant during the Summer and Fall, 1996 trainings:


Practitioner                   22.9%

Master Practitioner        48.4%

Trainer                         27.6%

Master Trainer               1.0%

Other                           3.1%


Time Elapsed Since First NLP Training Course:


There was a wide range of time elapsed since taking the training. This is important in determining the on-going usefulness of the NLP training received.


6-12 Months      23.4%

1-2 Years          31.3%

2-3 Years          12.5%

3-4 Years          8.9%

More Than 4 Years        22.9%

No Response     1.0%


Usefulness of NLP Training:


This is an especially high percentage of the 192 respondents finding the training useful even after 4 years.


Extremely or Very Useful           93.8%

Somewhat                                5.2%

Not at all or Not very                1.0%


Willingness to Recommend Usefulness of NLP to a Friend or Colleague:


The usefulness was also crosschecked by determining if the respondent was willing to recommend the NLP training to a friend or colleague.


Extremely or Very Willing          89.6%

Somewhat                                7.8%

Not at all or Not very                1.0%


Value of the NLP Training Investment:


This is also a very high belief in the value of the training, again, even after 4 years.


Extremely or Very Valuable        88.0%

Somewhat                                9.4%

Not at all or Not very                1.0%


The Student’s Confidence in Using the Techniques:


Here, the researcher noted that the student’s confidence level was directly related to the amount of training that the student had received, and that confidence increased with the level of training. I.E.: The certified NLP Trainer was generally more confident than the certified NLP Practitioner.


Extremely or Very Confident     67.7%

Somewhat                                26.6%

Not at all or Not very                4.7%


Effect On the Ability to Establish Rapport:


Again, the researcher noted that the student’s ability was directly related to the amount of training that the student had received, and that the ability to establish rapport increased with the level of training. I.E.: The NLP Trainer was generally more capable of the establishment of rapport than the NLP Practitioner.


Extremely or Very Capable        72.9%

Somewhat                                24.0%

Not at all or Not very                3.1%




These findings indicate a high level of satisfaction and utility level (up to 93%) for a long time after the training — from 6 months to 4 years after the training. This means that the “high” generally attributed to seminars and trainings, which usually “wears off” does not do so with NLP trainings, and that there is substantial on-going benefit after the training.


Unfortunately, the survey was only done with graduates of NLP trainings taught by our training company, The Empowerment Partnership (formerly Advanced Neuro Dynamics), and so allows no means of comparison among different training organizations or trainers. The report said, “the quality of training instruction at our training company appears to be very high. The majority of respondents, even those who had completed only one training course, indicated a high confidence level in their ability to effectively use the NLP techniques taught in the training course(s).


The usefulness of this survey may be limited as to deciding what NLP training an individual might want to take. It is, however, an excellent first step toward showing the immediate and long-term value and the effectiveness of the various levels of NLP training for professionals. We hope it will encourage more research in this area.


Taking an NLP Training:


Taking an NLP training is easy to do. There are trainings in NLP given all over the world, and if you are interested in taking an event with The Empowerment Partnership, please go to


The Report:


The report entitled, Determining the Effectiveness of Neuro-Linguistic Programming Training for Professionals, was written by Robert W. Norris and submitted on July 26, 1997, to Middle Tennessee State University as a Masters Degree Thesis. Questionnaires were mailed to 250 graduates of Advanced Neuro Dynamics’ graduates who had graduated in the Summer and Fall of 1996, and were mailed only to people who had taken training for business, training, sales, personal enrichment, education and medical or counseling purposes. 192 useable questionnaires were returned — a return of  76.8%.


The full report may be obtained from The Empowerment Partnership at There is a charge for reproduction of the report.


Mahalo, Matt James