I remember being astonished back in the mid-90s when I realised that coaching had grown up in the same part of the world as NLP and at the same time – California mid-70s – and yet that each was virtually unknown to the other.

It was so obvious to me that they were highly complementary ways of working and that they would actually benefit each other enormously. So I began experimenting with how to integrate these two disciplines. That ended up with me writing a book The NLP Coach in 2001 and then creating the first NLP Coaching training. Both the NLP and the coaching world showed a lot of interest.

That’s how I came to be asked by the Association for Coaching to write the chapter on NLP coaching for their industry guide, Excellence in Coaching in 2006. And that’s how in 2011 I was asked to write the chapter on ‘NLP Coaching’ for the cutting edge book Innovations in NLP.

So as you can see I’ve been on this mission for some little while. However, something special happened earlier this year which really brought home to me how far we’ve come. Around Easter the ITS NLP Practitioner Programme with Neuroscience was formally recognised by the International Coach Federation as relevant training for people who are coaches and was accorded approved Continuing Coach Education (CCE) status.

Much has changed since I first began this initiative. Most important is the work I have been doing with Patricia Riddell, Professor of Applied Neuroscience. Because of advances in the field we are now able to integrate the practical tools of NLP with the theoretical underpinnings of neuroscience and explain why things work. This is a very exciting development.

What I found interesting was that in addition to giving the whole programme the thumbs up the ICF were also very specific. When we applied we were required to demonstrate how the programme actually relates to their 11 Core Coaching Competencies.

So the ITS NLP Practitioner Programme with Neuroscience has been approved for delivering 47 hours of core coaching competencies. And an additional 28 hours were approved for offering resource development in such things as personal and business development.

I think this is something of a milestone and I’m happy that the benefits of the integrative approach we’ve been pioneering are now officially recognised as directly relevant to anyone interested in coaching.

A thought leader in the field of both NLP and Coaching, Ian McDermott is a member of the Association for Coaching’s Global Advisory Panel and is currently pioneering the integration of NLP and neuroscience.