Once you have rapport with someone what can you do with it? Although Rapport in itself is a requirement of the effective use of NLP techniques the very fact that you have a close connection with someone opens up the possibility of affecting change just by “being the change”.
Pacing is simply an NLP jargon term that means that you are building rapport by copying or pacing someone else. Just as a pace runner keeps up with their partner, so an NLP practitioner Paces their client.
Once an NLP practitioner has built rapport through matching and mirroring they can go on to try the next step: Leading.
Have you ever been in a room where someone Yawns and then someone else picks up the yawn and before you know it everyone is yawning? This is unintentional Leading in action.
With NLP and the right level of Rapport you can begin to Lead your client. Once you have spent some time Pacing your client and feel that you have a level of rapport you can make a gesture, say touching your ear, your client will follow you and touch their ear. This is leading.
Simple levels of rapport (physical mirroring) will allow for simple forms of leading, the more complex and deeper areas of rapport can create a truly sympathetic reaction from your client. If you are working with someone who is depressed and you have created emotional rapport (you have taken on board their depression) you can begin to slowly lead them out as you move from one state to another.
Leading at a deep, emotional level requires a great deal of skill and confidence and can take many interactions to reach a complete connection.
Leading and Breaking Rapport
Using the Leading technique requires a light touch and if handled badly can lead to an immediate and irreversible breaking of rapport. If someone believes that they are being led they will often feel manipulated (which they are) and this will undermine the relationship to such an extent that trust is lost.