Are You Using the Language of Success?

Using Presuppositional Language to Help Clients Succeed

One of the skill sets we taught physical therapists in Alaska involves using presuppositional language in a very specific way. The pattern that appealed to them most was one in which you presuppose an outcome. For example, if you’re working with someone to reach a specific goal, one way to help them achieve it is to ask questions like this…

“When you’re operating in a healthy way, what do you imagine you’ll be doing on a daily basis?”


“While operating in a healthy fashion, what do you imagine you’ll be doing on a daily basis?”

In the first case, the when presupposes what follows, and in the second, while serves as the word that presupposes what will follow.

It can be helpful to recognize that this pattern can be used to presuppose failure as well. It’s what you put the focus on, positive or negative, that determines the outcome. One of the things that can be helpful is to notice if your clients are already using this language pattern themselves. If so, are they using it to presuppose failure?

To adopt language for successful outcome, coaches could say…

“After practicing this pattern, what do you think will be different?”


“Once you’ve done this, what will be different?”

Both examples presuppose that the action will have happened. Notice that these questions orient people to the future, creating an already-accomplished experience because of the presupposed success.

Overall, I have found that presupposing success or achievement is very helpful to people.

P.S. Do you want to reprint this article? Please do, just be sure that it remains intact and includes the following bio.

About Terry: Terry Hickey, M.S., is a Certified NLP Professional Coach, Business Trainer and Consultant, a Certified Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and the co-owner of NLP Advantage Group. Originator of the Belief Breakthrough Method™, Terry specializes in teaching coaches and entrepreneurs how to rapidly resolve limiting beliefs about wealth and success. His tips and strategies can help you launch yourself into the future you want… NOW. http://www.terryhickey.com

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