x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

New Dubai academy teaches skills to better your work and home life

A form of life coaching called neuro-linguistic programming can have a positive effect on practitioners' work and personal lives.

DUBAI // Changing the way we think and act by 'reprogramming' our brains can help us achieve our goals, experts claim, whether we are an athlete, executive or a busy mum.

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), a form of life coaching, involves a set of techniques to alter unwanted patterns of behaviour.

An academy specialising in the discipline opened in Dubai this month and aims to help residents from many walks of life.

Business-focused coaching will be a key part of the UAE NLP Academy, said its founder, John Hannah.

"Communication and the ability to influence and motivate staff are key tools to business development," he said.

"Helping staff become more confident at, for example, public speaking or running meetings all adds up to the free flow of work and who is able to conduct it effectively.

"Increasing a person's skill set, improving performance and removing stressors will allow the employee to better work with clients and colleagues."

These skills can also transfer to your personal life, Mr Hannah says, and NLP can assist with a variety of issues, from insomnia and anxiety to eating disorders.

Malin Blomdahl Lenner, 28, a personal trainer at Smart Fitness in Dubai, is training for a physique competition in the UK.

She first came across Mr Hannah about two years ago, when she was in an abusive relationship.

"I started being coached by John and realised the relationship was holding me back in life," she said.

"He helped me to rebuild my confidence and get out of the relationship."

Ms Lenner said the practical approach to NLP, different to psychological counselling, allowed her to focus on her obstacles and quickly find solutions to address them.

"Working with my subconscious through exercises and games to train the mind to take on new neurological behaviours means you act differently in the situations you want to change or leave," she said.

Ms Lenner now hopes to train to become an NLP coach.

Sarah Brooks, 39, has worked with Mr Hannah to overcome anxiety attacks. A member of the Abu Dhabi 4x4 off-road driving club, she was feeling anxious during difficult driving situations, which made her more aggressive at work and in her personal life.

Mr Hannah used visualisation techniques with her, helping to reprogramme her mind when in stressful situations. Now, instead of being asked to leave the driving club, she has been promoted.

"This was my hobby every weekend and I didn't know how to react in difficult situations," she said. "It has affected the rest of my life now. It seemed such a small activity but gave me such a quick and huge reward."

 

mswan@thenational.ae