The NLP Logical Levels or Personality Map

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The NLP Logical Levels is a valuable tool for

  1. Organising your thinking, information gathering, and communication
  2. Understanding ‘what makes people tick’.

The Logical Levels is without a doubt one of the most valuable NLP models or tools: so much so, that we introduce it on the first day of our NLP courses;  so that it is being used and practised right from the beginning of a person’s training.

It was originally developed by Robert Dilts and Todd Epstein and is widely known by the names Neuro-Logical Levels or Logical Levels.  Here in Pegasus NLP, and as part of our aim of teaching a Plain English version of NLP,  we call it The Personality Map since this describes what it actually does: it maps the six different groupings of how we think, feel, and act. ) 

Using the model enables us to understand in a clear and structured manner what makes a person ‘tick’.

The Logical Levels or Personality Map is a model which we can run in the background as we are chatting with or interviewing someone. In a coaching session, for example, we can use it to identify whether a person’s difficulty is the result of

  • Environment: negative responses to their surroundings (e.g. workplace)
  • Behaviours: adopting inappropriate physiology or actions (including breathing, tension, etc)  
  • Skills: not having appropriate skills to do something
  • Motivation: not being able to motivate themselves to deal with it – because it does not fit their values
  • Beliefs: having certain negative beliefs about the issue which is getting in their way
  • Identity: considering that it is something that doesn’t fit with their self-image
  • Vision: they cannot recognise how it contributes to their vision for their life.

The Logical Levels can be used to organise our thinking about an individual, a group or an organisation. For example this is how it operates in understanding yourself:

Mission & Vision Where you are going with your life? With which people?  Which activities and places are central to this vision for your life/future – and, perhaps, the contribution you intend to make to the world.
Identity The self esteem level. Your sense of self, what you identify with, etc. This can include identifying with your job, marriage, religion, etc. it can also include how you interpret events in terms of your own self-worth.
Beliefs & Values Whether you believe something is possible or impossible, whether you believe it is necessary or unnecessary, whether or not you feel motivated about it. How your personal Values support or hinder you.
Capability & Skills These are your ‘internal behaviours’. The level of innate capabilities and learned skills which you have for dealing with life situations – and how effectively you use these.
Behaviour Your actions – externally observable behaviours, posture, movements, etc. including what an observer would see or hear or feel when you are engaged in a particular activity.
Environment Your surroundings: the people and places etc that you are interacting with, and responding to, when you are engaged in a particular activity.

Why use this?

Developing skills in using the Logical Levels adds a quality of precision and depth to both our communication with, and our understanding of, other people.

The Logical Levels provides us with a structured way of understanding what’s going on in any ‘system’ including the human personality, a partnership or marriage, a family, a team, a department, or even an organisation.

We can use the model to recognise how the various levels interact and how they are related. And it provides a means of

  • Asking for, and verifying the relevance of, information
  • Keeping track, in a highly structured manner, of the huge amount of information is often available when discussing an issue
  • Recognising at which level a problem is occurring
  • Recognising the most appropriate level at which to target the solution.

The above version of the Logical Levels is based on the original model which was developed by Robert Dilts and Todd Epstein and which was, in turn, based on the work of anthropologist Gregory Bateson and philosopher Bertrand Russell.




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