Joining a residential training course might seem a leap of faith, so here's why I've found it to be the best format for learning NLP.

After a few years in decline, the market for NLP training, certainly in the UK, seems to be picking up again. I don't know why that is, the coaching market seems to have matured, mindfulness seems to have been forgotten. Maybe's it's just the hype surrounding Bandler and Grinder running Practitioner courses again - separately of course.

On the other hand, the recent NLP conference in London could have been busier. We've got a variety of people saying that they were part of NLP's origins, and we should listen to them. And then we have a new generation of innovators who aren't bound by the legacy of NLP and who can incorporate the latest experimental, peer-reviewed research in fields such as psychology and neurology. That's where I sit.

I run Society of NLP certified training at Practitioner, Master Practitioner and Trainer levels in the UK, Spain and India several times a year. I used to run training only in the UK, in meeting rooms and the usual places. I've run long courses and short courses, weekends, evenings, contiguous, modular, every permutation over the 15 years or so that I've been training NLP.

I've found that the most popular format is short modules, because that fits around people's work schedules. However, I've found that the most powerful format in terms of the learning experience and the depth of learning and integration is the contiguous format, 8 days straight, and I've further found that a residential format amplifies the power of the experience amazingly.

In a day or module format, people can hold on to their frustrations and dislikes and go home at the end of each day, and take a break at the end of each module. They only have to share as much of themselves as they absolutely have to to get through the day.

In a residential format, the group very quickly gets to the stage where, if you take a dislike to another person, you have to realise that's not about them, because you don't know them. It's about you. And working through that will open up new possibilities for all of the relationships in your life.

I've found that there are two reasons why people come to NLP training. There's the reason they're happy to tell everyone, and there's the real reason. In a module format, I've seen the real reason come to the surface, allowing the person to get what they really want from the training, and from life, after 2 or 3 months. In the residential format, the participants have worked through that personal barrier and are getting what they want most of all after 1 or 2 days. Just think how much more valuable the rest of the training is after than point.

If you're learning Health and Safety or Time Management or Microsoft Office, there's no need to open up. People will introduce themselves and reveal as little as they can to this bunch of weird strangers. The lack of openness leads directly to a lack of engagement. Students will learn what they came to learn, and little more. If they don't take to another learner, it's the other person's fault. Lack of objectivity, accountability and engagement are all points on the same continuum.

As I said, if you're learning Microsoft Office, it doesn't matter. If you're learning tools and techniques that can change your life by changing your relationships with other, it matters a lot.

On the 'short module' courses, I have seen more people who were learning NLP to use it on others, without really wanting to get into their own characteristics and needs. On the longer courses, I have seen more people who genuinely wanted to explore change in their own lives first, people more willing to take responsibility for the things they do in life, and therefore people more able to benefit from making those changes. That didn't necessarily make the process easy!

From a marketing point of view, where would you rather learn NLP? In a dreary conference room in your local faceless hotel brand, or in a villa in the mountains of Spain, in the glorious sunshine, or in a peaceful spiritual retreat in India? I can tell you which I prefer training in!

What's different about my training? I'd say three things:

With 25 years experience of applying NLP in business and as the author of getting on for 20 books on the subject, I'd say that I've got more practical experience of innovating and using NLP in the workplace than anyone else training today - and I don't mean in HR or coaching, I mean in real, front line, customer facing, business critical roles

My training is constantly updated with the latest research from psychology and neuroscience, so you don't get the same old stuff that other trainers repeat, year after year - with me you get proven, workable and practical training

The learning environment that I create is supportive, relaxing, fun, (as you'll read in my reviews) and supports you to get absolutely the most possible from the experience

Take the opportunity to learn with one of the few true innovators in the field - you would literally be mad not to!

"I’ve attended a number of NLP trainings in the last 10 years. This was different on many levels, the main one being the amazing relevant content delivered by a great coach - Peter, but also the fact that it wasn’t in the stale environment of a hotel with no character. I’d never attended a training course in a villa in Spain before and I was a little curious as to how it would work out - what if I didn’t like people? Would there be space for me to do my own thing? Would there be enough food?

In reality, the environment was amazing. The villa was comfortable and had plenty of space for reflection and alone time, with areas where the group could hang out. Peter’s approach is supportive and caring and he ensured that our needs were looked after. Most of the time I spent time with the rest of the group, but often went for a run with another keen runner, or just relaxed by the pool. It was really informal and we got on great.

I definitely preferred the environment to a corporate hotel and it helped me to relax so the learning was much deeper. I wish more providers offered the opportunity to have an opportunity to have a ‘holiday’ whilst learning. Definitely recommend"

Tony Moorcroft, Coast Consulting

Overall, the 'best' format is the one that gives you what you need. If you're looking to get a certificate whilst holding yourself back from the change process, the short modules or theatre-style courses are fine. If you really want to make something happen in your life, I recommend the residential format.

That's why I've come to call it 'a holiday of a lifetime for your mind'.