Which NLP Certification is better?


As of tday I can immodestly say that I am considered an expert in NLP in India and definitely through my collaboration through generous associates worldwide, consider myself at the cutting edge of NLP. Since it is an ever growing field I am sure there will be others who will surpass me and I look forward to many doing that. But not today and as the country's self proclaimed foremost expert on NLP I want to say certain things freely and I am sure it will contradict my earlier views. 

I have always been more excited to learn more about NLP, travel to meet collaborators, train with other trainers, research, work with challenging clients and under unique conditions rather than simply teach NLP. To my credit I have only conducted one NLP Practitioner training program in my entire career which took 8 months and I am in no hurry to repeat that again. 

Routinely I find myself in the unenviable position of being asked for recommendations about which certification in NLP is better, Bandler's School or Grinder's School or Wil Horton's School or Tad James's School or Pucelik or NLP University(Dilts) or NLP Comprehensive. There are hundreds of licensed trainers from each and every school of NLP now teaching in India and not only that, considering that India has the largest english speaking population in the world and the average Indian's mentality to be subservient to white-skinned trainers, this has attracted a large number of white folks flying in for a tropical vacation combining business with pleasure and having the immense luxury of having their Indian counterparts and wide eyed students wait on them hand and foot.

My personal favourite remains the Dick McHugh school, the gentle Jesuit priest who brought NLP to India at such affordable prices, quality and with his excellent teaching skills in the 1990s. At the time he began teaching he was the only option available! 

The prices of these NLP courses range from a few thousand rupees to a few lakhs depending on which school you go to and which country you go to. There is a misleading notion that if you learnt it from one of the co-founders or an early associate of theirs, then you are closer to the purity of what you learn or the certificate carries greater value. Obviously many Indian compatriots think that if you are foreign returned with your diploma then it carries even greater value. Never mind the fact that they were only abroad for a week or two, they make it sound like they spent two years in Harvard!

For one, I always thought that apart from the sentimental value that I attach to my over 50 odd NLP certificates of various courses that I have bothered to collect (there must be another 50 or more that I didn't bother to collect), these certificates are just as valuable as the toilet paper I keep in my guest bathroom for my western visitors and friends. Before you feel offended let me explain, First I cannot get any bank loan with them, I haven't been able to establish that I am a therapist in my visa applications to the various countries with those certificates (those guys want academic certificates), It's not even useful to do other NLP programs with other schools since they want us to carry their school's NLP Practitioner or Master Practitioner certificate. Try taking a Bandler school certificate to a Grinder school or vice versa for an advanced program and see what grief they give you. Eventually they will take your money, clients are hard to come by these days, so they will grudgingly take your money while giving you a mouthful of how your other NLP school's education is woefully inadequate. Even greater woe be unto you if you learnt it from Indian NLP trainer like me. 

The only thing that the certificates have served in the past is to 'wow' my fellow colleagues with them or impress some naive clients. I remember trying to impress the other Krish Srikanth, the cricketer with all the people I got trained with and his candid reply was "So What? How is that of use to me? I am only interested in the results." On a humorous note he ended the meeting saying that all those who carry the name 'Krish Srikanth' are destined to come across as loud mouthed! I don't think I can surpass him in that category!!

So it brings me back to the question, So what , if you got trained with Bandler or Grinder or their father or their grandfather. Are you personally any good? Did you practise? Did you hone your skills? Are you the embodiment of what you learnt? Did you apply the stuff that you learnt to develop yourself , improve your relationships, communication and became more customer focused? Did you make mistakes? Many NLP trainers I know are not doing any therapy or coaching out there, except in the demonstrations in their classes, so if you had a practice, then you would know that making mistakes is part of the trade? And do you learn from your mistakes?

Make no mistake in this understanding, finally it doesn't matter who you got the certificate from? The customers care if you are able to solve their problem, they care if you can help them find the solution, they care only if you can support them to meet their goals. 

I have seen some college students in the past diligently reading 'Unlimited Power' and applying the techniques with such finesse that would put most Master Practitioners to shame. So where you get your education is not the most important criteria in my opinion. Your willingness to learn and serve will always trump all other factors.

Choosing quality education is useful and necessary and nobody can deride that, however quality education in a training program without follow up, without practise, without supervision, without ongoing education, ongoing updation and consults with peers is then more of a joke. To choose quality education this guide by Steve Andreas remains my all time favourite!


The biggest advantage that Transaction Analysis Body has had inspite of my many reservations against it, is that it has a centralised body and they exercise a certain modicum of quality control, rigorousness in certifying and the fact that they defer to an elected committee. In NLP , it's like the Wild Wild West, free for all with gringos, amigos, rednecks, red indians, eskimos and now our very own east indians running amok all over the world. The absence of a centralised body is the biggest bane and now with so many schools and so many vested interests the dream of a unified body in NLP is as long gone as a unified body in Karate or a unified body in Kung fu. 

Bruce Lee broke norms with the unified body of Kung Fu in North America and created Jeet Kune Do School which was immensely popular in California because of his dedication, passion, research and finally superior fighting prowess. None of the founding fathers of Kung fu in North America were any match for him, which went on to show that finally the guy who practises with dedication and commitment rules the roost!. If only all NLPers were more open they'd realise what they were missing by being loyal and adherent to only their school trainers and being dismissive of other NLP trainers. I have been guilty of that myself in the past and have benefited immensely by my reformation. 

At the time of being an apprentice with John Grinder between 2006-08, John asked me once whether I got 'good' business because of my association with him. I had to painfully explain to him that most people in India are yet to get used to the idea of training, even less with that of NLP and even less people know Grinder. Frequently I was jovially asked if I am referring to the consumer appliance of wet grinder used for making our famous 'idly/dosa' batter when I mention John Grinder. So the answer was 'No'. Many people were impressed, some people didn't believe it at all. Many thought something was wrong with John to work with a lowly nobody from a unheard of city in a third world country. But No business, I repeat No business came because I was a personal associate of Dr. John Grinder, the co-founder of NLP. None of the NLP trainers in India came knocking on my door to learn what I had learnt, ok maybe 1 or 2!

As far as my accomplishments in the world of results go, I have trained 5 members of the Indian Cricket Team, One Olympic athlete, half a dozen MPs(Senators in India) including one Cabinet Minister, half a dozen billionaires and been a visiting faculty in the top management institutions of India including IIM-Bangalore and XLRI, Jamshedpur. I can candidly tell you that none of the business came because of any certificate or association. I either got it because a client who was happy with my work referred me or I took my briefcase and went to sell.

So if you want business to do well, you definitely need to be good at your work and it would definitely help you to sell yourself and your services better.

In the last decade, the one eyed man of NLP was King in the land of the blind(INDIA), today we have over 3000 'one eyed' NLP trainers (maybe more) running around joined by other 30-40 half blind white folks. So only if you do good work and produce results you can sustain yourself in the long run.

If you want to spend lakhs on education, please do so knowing exactly what you are getting. I don't regret the hundred thousand dollars, i spent on my NLP education, I do remember the disappointment of not getting business because I had those certifications &credentials. 

Today I know , realise and fully understand what I am going to get for the money I spend/t and am in no delusion of what the certificate will do for me!