me kay cooke

Stanley Tool Kit


Stanley arrived for his first coaching session as a miserable, middle aged, middle manager with a mind full of dread at the thought of going into the office to work each day.
Breakfasts were a torture ground of intense imagination where, he visualised each day ahead as a nightmare to avoid. Unsurprisingly most days in the office delivered much of what he feared, thus confirming his thinking bias. He felt hopeless.

An hour later and Stanley left the room with a spring in his step. A week later he emailed to say work life was much improved and, he’d taught his 14 year old son the same mind trick that he’d been practicing, with astonishing results.

Stanley’s process of generative change

“What do you want Stanley?” I asked as we began our first session of NLP coaching.
“What would you most like to see/hear/feel that would let you know you’d found a solution?”

“I need to improve my social skills” Stanley stated factually.
“And what would that do for you?” I wondered.
“I’d get on better with people in my office” he replied.
“What has stopped you getting on better with the people in your office?” I asked.
“I feel judged” he said.

A few ‘stories’ later, Stanley had loosened up a bit, we had laughed at the Iron Man suit he would like to have had in his wardrobe.

“So what feeling do you want instead?” I enquired.

“I want to feel less miserable, less stressed, less anxious.”

Stanley soon discovered this non brain friendly language confused his mind because the picture his brain created, still contained images of being stressed. In trying to drive his attention ‘away from’ feeling stressed, he had to keep looking back over his shoulder at the thing he was trying to avoid.

So we flipped the language into ‘calm confidence’ – a goal that his brain could aim itself towards, simply and clearly, feeling strong and resilient regardless of the behaviours and words of people around him.

The secret mind trick Stanley would later teach his son, was learning how to change the pictures and sounds inside his mind, changing the way he felt and therefore changing what he could do. Submodality algorithms are only limited by the creativity of the mind in charge.

Discovering he had a control panel for both ‘pictures’ and ‘sounds’ that could make him feel better or worse on purpose, was earth shattering for Stanley. “Why?” He asked “Why didn’t I know how to do this before now?”

I wondered if he could imagine a future where children are taught these tools routinely, at school. He could, I can, can you?