When Should You Use Behavioral Techniques?

This month’s article was prompted by a question from a reader about how to best use behavioral change techniques. This is a good question for two reasons: First, we have access to many behavioral techniques, so we get to ask, “Which technique do you use for what problem—and when?” Second, we get to ask, “What actually makes behavioral techniques work in different contexts?”

Before you can choose what behavioral technique to use—or even if you will choose a behavioral technique, you need to know what your client wants. Make sure both of you agree on this outcome or goal, because otherwise you will be working at cross-purposes.

Next, explore in depth if anything would get in the way of doing the technique. Can he or she commit congruently? If so, proceed, paying close attention to what your client would have to believe or hold as true in order to get the desired outcome. If you discover that changing a belief is part of the equation, then you will need to use a belief change technique before you can use a behavioral change technique.

Ultimately, the skill you must develop is knowing when to explore belief change processes. This requires a long learning process, but it is crucial, because continuing to try behavioral change processes at the wrong time will only frustrate you and your client. Behavioral techniques should only be used after any necessary belief changes have been addressed.

As for what makes behavioral techniques work in different contexts, I will address that in January. In subsequent posts I will cover how to understand what skills are required to make determinations about what process to use and how to know when you are working on areas of belief processes.

I would love to hear how well this approach works for you. Share your feedback and comments below.

P.S. Do you want to share 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.


  1. Terry,

    This is so simple but so powerful.

    I realize my greatest client frustrations have come from trying to create either belief or behavior change without having confirmed that that was what the client wanted!

    My sense is that a lot of clients would say they want to change their results, and that opens up the conversation as to what they believe would change their results.

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