The difference between Coaching and NLP

Often people can’t make a clear difference between Coaching and NLP. As I see it, it’s due to two reasons. First one is the fact that a large number of NLP techniques can be used as support techniques in coaching and second reason is that many NLP schools expand their portfolio with coaching training without clear distinctions to NLP.

Difference between Coaching and NLP


NLP is much broader methodology and it can be applied in many different areas and in many different ways. It is a methodology that deals with identifying, describing and applying successful strategies from one person to another or from one area of life to others. It studies how people react to personal experiences and how they give meaning and importance to experience through language and behavior. As such its applications are interesting in any area of personal development (including coaching).

On the other hand, coaching is a structured method of communication that allows a client to identify the most important goals, personal values, to define appropriate strategies and supports client to take action steps to achieve the desired result.

Although there is a difference between coaching and NLP, we cannot say that these areas do not overlap. NLP deals with the identification of successful strategies, some of the strategies (techniques) can be used and in coaching. Coaching doesn’t have to be associated with NLP and NLP doesn’t need to be associated with coaching.

NLP is a methodology that studies strategies (techniques, methods) while coaching is a method (strategy) that is used to support client to get desired outcome.

Peđa Jovanović, Professional Certified Coach (ICF) and Certified PCM Trainer