Using the NLP TOTE Model for Change Work

Using the NLP TOTE Model for Change Work


Everything that we do or undertake will involve a strategy of some type. Our unconscious mind creates processes, that we follow often without knowing we are following this process, to help us speed up thinking process.

You often find at work meetings or training, your colleagues will always choose the same seat to sit in. when you wake up in the morning you probably get ready in the same order, you will brush your teeth then shower or shower and then brush your teeth. You will do this without thinking.

The TOTE model can help you elicit how someone does X – NLP took the original TOTE model and expanded it by checking the person’s sub modalities, belief systems while eliciting their strategy.

Once you understand how to elicit someone’s model (the model is the internal process) you can then change that person’s process. As an example someone will have a strategy for confidence and a strategy for fear. If someone needs to feel more confident in a situation they generally are fearful in you can use TOTE to elicit one strategy and replace with a different strategy.


Vi (visual internal) – Vc (visual created) Vr (visual remembered)

Ve (visual external)

Ai (auditory Internal) – Aid (Auditory Internal Dialog) Ar (Auditory Remembered) Ac (Auditory Constructed)

Ae (auditory External)

Ki (Kinaesthetic Internal) – K+ (positive) K- (Negative)


TOTE, stands for :-   

Example: I want to get form A to B

T      test                      Are you at B? – NO
O     operate               How do you get from A to B
T      test                      using your last answer are you at B?
E     exit                      Yes

Eliciting a strategy:

Test: are you feeling X now – NO

  1. Can you recall a time when you were totally X?
  2. Can you recall a specific time? Go back to this time now relive it form the eyes of the you when you felt X
  3. Operate: What was the very first thing that caused you to be totally X?

Was it something you saw
Was it something you heard
Was it the touch of someone or something?
What was the very first thing that caused you to be totally X?

  1. TEST: Are you feeling X now? – NO
  2. Operate: After you (saw, heard, felt) that, what was the very next thing that happened to make you X’?

Did you picture something in your mind?
Say something to yourself, or
Have a certain feeling or emotion?
What was the very next thing that happened?

5. Test and Operate: Did the (answer) make you feel X? or did something else happen first? …was it something you saw, heard or felt?

(loop back from T-O until complete and then EXIT.)

Submodalities/beliefs etc

6. Go back to the client’s answers and asked questions around the persons submodalities and beliefs etc for each step/stage: “how big was the picture you created in your mind?” “Was the size of this image important?” “How would you feel if the picture was black and white instead of colour” ETC


Chris Delaney NLP Life Coach, Hypnotherapist and Career Advisor is available for booking for One to One Private Sessions, Group Training Sessions  and Public Speaking Events

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Chris Delaney NLP Life Coach, Hypnotherapist and Career Advisor is available for booking for One to One Private Sessions, Group Training Sessions  and Public Speaking Events

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