The hidden costs of training

Training is an important investment in your personal happiness and success. Good training provides both knowledge and experience that you can put to practical use in your life to achieve your goals. Having been involved in the training industry for over 20 years we thought we’d put together some thoughts on the hidden costs that you may or may not be aware of for NLP training in the UK.

Doing the right course

No matter what the course cost, the first thing make sure of, is that it is the right training for you. The marketing materials for courses will, no doubt, be tempting – that’s what they are for. But how can you be sure that you will be getting the right course for your personal learning objectives? How will you know that the course will be delivered in the right way to give you knowledge and skills you can put in to use? How do you know the trainers care about you personally and are genuinely interested in you getting value?

The best way to tell is to talk to one of the trainers directly before you commit to training. Talk to them about what you hope to learn and check for their understanding of your learning objectives. See how well they listen to you and understand what you need. Trust your gut to know when a training organisation, and the trainers it uses, wants to get to know you as a person and are keen to ensure that you get value.

(For more on this read out blog article ‘Training Doesn’t Work’.)

For more about choosing an NLP course see our Free Guide to NLP Training.

Residential or Non-Residential?

We’re a big fan of residential training simply because it is so much more effective. Having run both forms of training we know there are significant benefits to residential training, including:

  • The ability to get away from other distractions and focus on your own learning.
  • Less time spent on commuting, parking, dealing with travel disruption etc., giving more time for actual learning.
  • More time reflecting on and sharing experiences with fellow delegates outside of formal training times
  • Because you spend more time with other people, who are interested in the same things you are, a residential course helps to promote support networks outside of the training course.
  • You will come away having learnt a great deal but at the same time feeling as if you have had some time away and had a bit of a break from the stresses and strains of everyday life.

From our experience, and as a rough guide, we’ve found residential training to be at least twice as effective as non-residential courses. What we mean by that is that people learn twice as much in the same given time but also they then have a better support network to put their learning in to practice.

Not only will you get significantly more out of a residential course but they will typically also save you money. Unless you live next door to a training venue then commuting time, cost of food, travel expenses and so on can quickly add up. If you are funding your own training then it’s worth adding these expenses up to get a true cost.

Location, Location, Location…

The venue can make or ruin a training event. Hopefully, as a minimum, a venue will just merge in to the background and not distract you from learning. Unfortunately many venues suffer from over-heating, poor lighting, noisy air-conditioning and poor to mediocre customer service. A lot of venues leave you dehydrated and starved of natural light whilst be surrounded by uninspiring decor that makes you want to run for nearest bit of green space.

Ideally, and unfortunately rarely, a venue will be entirely appropriate for the training you are on and provide you with an inspiring space to reflect and learn. The venue is often the last thing people consider (other than how far away it is) but can have a significant impact on your training investment.

Beware Marketing Gimmicks

In the NLP world, and the training market in general, there are a whole bunch of marketing gimmicks used to separate people from their money. These are often misleading and unethical but they work on many people so they still persist. They include:

  • Free Taster courses – As someone once said ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch’ Costs have to be covered and free tasters are designed to encourage people to sign up to courses that are often heavily over-priced. Why are they over-priced? Because typically only a small percentage of people sign-up and the cost of the ‘Free’ tasters has to be covered somehow.
  • ‘Accelerated Learning’ – Courses that boast the use of ‘accelerated learning techniques’ are usually simply using the phrase to justify shorter courses. It’s generally regarded as good practice that an NLP Practitioner course should be at least 120 hours (typically 16-21 days and ideally spread over several modules). A full-length course will give you the practical experience and confidence to use NLP in the situations and contexts where you need it. All reputable NLP trainers are aware of effective teaching methods and so a shorter course is just that, a shorter course, and you’ll learn less than on a full-length course. The bottom-line is that learning is most effectively done through experience and practice with plenty of time to reflect and shorter courses don’t give you enough time to learn NLP effectively. Shorter courses are often attractive because the training organisations can of course run them at less cost to themselves and therefore the headline price is often less than on a full-length course. As a good rule of thumb divide the cost of the course by the number of days to give you a better representation of the true cost. For a non-residential, high-quality course in a small group (no more than 30-40) then you shouldn’t need to pay more than £150-200 per day for a good reputable provider of NLP training.
  • ‘Unconscious Installation’ – Courses that say they use hypnosis or trance techniques to install learning in to the ‘unconscious’ are amongst the most dishonest and misleading of gimmicks. Learning things through the use of hypnosis seems like a nice idea. The reality is that learning is both a conscious and unconscious process and your unconscious mind is sifting for what is useful all the time. Hypnosis and trance language is actually part of everyday life and has its uses for learning but it shouldn’t be the primary learning medium and it’s certainly not a way of packing ‘more’ learning in to a course.
  • Special Offers on the day – Early-bird discounts weeks or months before a course are often a legitimate way to test interest and ensure a good attendance at courses. Special offers that you have to make a quick decision on are high-pressure selling and are usually accompanied by stiff cancellation fees (50% being common). This practice has fallen out of use in the timeshare industry but it is still used in some training organisations. The idea is to get focused on how much you are saving rather than how much you are spending. Invariably the apparently discounted price is still much more than you need to be paying and if you phone up a few days or weeks later you can still get the same price or better.
  • Licensed or Accredited courses – The NLP industry is unregulated. There is no one independent regulating body that sets standards that truly ensures the quality of training. This is partly as a result of NLP being a continually growing and developing field and so hard to pin down and regulate. There are many training organisations that claim to offer licensed or accredited courses and some even make you sign a license before you can attend their training (although don’t tell you before you pay your course fee). This is purely a marketing ploy to try and get you thinking that you are signing up to an accredited course and if you wish to continue your training it will have to be with that training organisation. If you dig a little you discover the truth about who owns the so called regulating body and how standards are checked. Usually it’s the training company itself that owns the accrediting body and there is little or no checking of standards.

Other hidden costs and considerations

  • Franchises – Many of the NLP training companies around are actually American franchises. This means that for everyone they have on a course they have to pay a fee to an American company for the use of their materials and certificates. Of course this fee is hidden within the price. Also because they are a franchise they will often be using often quite dated material prepared for an American audience and working largely to a script. Not the most authentic learning experience.
  • Large group training – There are a few companies out there that attract large groups for their training. Over a hundred people is not untypical. To overcome the fact that the trainer can’t get to know everyone, and deal with individual issues, a team of assistants are used. The assistants will have a wide range of experience but they are essentially there to learn and practice themselves. You simply can’t get the support that you might expect and is often vital for NLP training. Also with such large groups the trainer is essentially a performer rather than an educator. Their job is to entertain the crowd and make sure they come back for more rather than ensure every individual is getting what they need from the course.
  • Dependency – In many training events a trainer may wake you up to the possibility of more but then not deliver it. It’s a common marketing strategy of course to leave you ‘wanting more’ but it’s often used in open training events to build ‘dependency’ on the trainer. Instead look for a trainer who will get to know you, and help you to find resources within yourself, for long term value.

How we aim to offer the best value possible

As an independent, family-owned business, we care deeply about the value we offer to our customers. We aim to offer the best possible learning experience in a number of ways:

  • Our courses are fully-residential and inclusive of all training, materials, accommodation and food yet we are still cheaper than many training-only courses
  • For our NLP Practitioner and Master Practitioner programmes we offer full-length courses in a modular structure over 4-5 months. This ensures that you get the best possible learning experience and get to fully integrate what you learn in your everyday life.
  • We have small groups (no more than 32 with 2 trainers) where the lead trainers can get to know everyone individually
  • We don’t do ‘freebies’, taster days any other expensive marketing ploys that result in bloated course fees
  • We don’t license anyone else’s materials or pay franchise fees. In fact our materials are updated regularly to reflect new thinking and current research.
  • We use the highest quality venues in the inspiring Cotswolds. Our venues are primarily chosen because of the quality of the environment for learning. We look for lots of space (both inside and outside), plenty of natural light, excellent service and high-quality facilities that add to the learning experience.
  • We invite people back to retake training for free if they want to (all we ask is you pay the food and accommodation costs which we pass directly to you)
  • We really do care about making NLP practical and immediately useful. It can also make a profound difference to your life and we are there to support you beyond the course via phone, email, social networks and regular practice weekends.

For more information on how to choose an NLP Training course click here.

To get in touch with us please call 01865 600 725 or use our contact form.

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