Our NLP Trainer, Jonathan Altfeld, at the Mastery InSight Institute
Jonathan's Academic and Corporate Background
Jonathan's undergraduate work at Cornell University and Eckered College focused on Architecture, Computer Science, English and Philosophy. His graduate work was in robotics and artificial intelligence (but halfway through his MS, he left for a "dream job" in AI, and never looked back at academia).
"I learned more about practical applications of artificial intelligence in 1 month of working at Inference Corporation than I think I had in years of academic work. It was a real trial by fire."
And Jonathan emerged from those trials victoriously... he rose to the top of the AI field, ultimately presenting some of his work at Equifax Payment Systems (while a consultant at Brightware Corporation) at an AI awards conference in 1996, along with selling and then delivering multi million dollar AI-based software projects.
The most relevant NLP aspect of this background is that Jonathan had already had a successful career doing cognitive modeling, before ever hearing of NLP Modeling.
Jonathan's NLP Background
In 1996 & 1997, Jonathan was looking for something to augment his AI interviewing skills, to help him more effectively unpack experts' intelligent strategies. He found that in NLP. What he also found was that he was an absolute natural at NLP; NLP rapidly became another calling.
Then he attended weekend trainings from a handful of trainers, to get a broad overview and experience with a range of different trainers. Jonathan counts this as one of the most important contributors to the strength of his NLP foundation.
He chose Rex Steven Sikes for his 14-day Practitioner certification training, and is immensely glad he did so. Rex offered an amazingly strong and balanced skills-driven foundation. Rex is following his major passion today, making independent films! You can find out more about Rex Sikes here.
Jonathan chose Richard Bandler & John La Valle for both his Master Practitioner & Trainer certifications. These were formative learning experiences and were the right step for Jonathan to take his skills further. Nothing equates to learning from one of the field's co-founders. Or both, if you can (i.e., Richard Bandler co-created NLP with John Grinder).
Jonathan continued to train both for and with multiple other trainers and exemplars over the years since 1997, including NLP exemplar Frank Farrelly, creator of Provocative Therapy. Jonathan has been an invited trainer for Andy Szekely in Romania, Michael Kold in Denmark, Jeff Goodwin in Scotland, Michael Beale & Nigel Heath and Andy Smith and others in the UK, Roger Deaner in Melbourne, and has had his evening events sponsored or promoted by MANY others, including Inspiritive in Sydney, Blue Skye Transformation in Brisbane, and the list goes on.
He has also contributed multiple offerings of immense and innovative value to the NLP world, not the least of which is his "Knowledge Engineering" method of modeling beliefs and belief systems (now part of the Belief Craft training with Doug O'Brien). Multiple other training organizations around the world have invited Jonathan in to teach the analytical modeling portion of their Master Practitioner courses - including Andy Smith in Manchester UK, and Roger Deaner of LeaderVision in Melbourne Australia. Melbourne-based trainer James Tsakalos has been including a light version of KE in his Master Practitioner trainings for several years now.
While Jonathan does train occasional Practitioner & Master Practitioner courses, his primary interests are to offer short, targeted courses on specific applications/uses of NLP. I.e., "How to get best results applying NLP to Public Speaking, or Humor, or Nonverbal Communication, or Sales, etc." He leaves long theory-driven courses to other trainers, and focuses on reaching actual, measurable, powerful results.
One of Jonathan's very good friends, James Tsakalos, an NLP trainer based in Melbourne Australia, wrote a beautiful exposé on NLP Certification. We agree with every word!
Certification in the NLP marketplace is a business concept. It isn't taken as licensure or any form of legal approval by any country or state board (exception: the Collingwoods in Sydney have created a nationally accredited Graduate cert program). It isn't recognized by any professional organizations outside of the field of NLP, such as in law, or medicine, or psychology, etc. It's a distinction within the field of NLP. Most certifying bodies are owned by single trainers. It's a business distinction. It was a way for disparate training organizations to exclude each other (some of which is a good thing, in today's market, with all the garbage NLP training there is out there).
Jonathan used to certify through the Society of NLP, and chose to stop doing so years ago. Some years ago, certifications in NLP ceased to mean much of anything. If you do the research, you'll find that what one training organization thinks is a "Practitioner" does not necessarily even remotely match what another organization thinks is a "Practitioner."
Our opinion: Certification is about money. Perhaps it used to be primarily about quality -- Jonathan likes to think it originally was. But when one organization can certify you as a practitioner after 3 weeks or more of training, another can certify you in a week, and now -- worse -- you can get certified by taking an online class -- the concept of certification having anything to do with your skill level is ridiculous.
We wish certification as a practitioner no matter where you go for training would mean you'd reached a certain level of knowledge and behavioral integration. Don't be fooled; as a generalization across the entire field, we think it doesn't. You are free to do the research yourself and come to your own conclusions.
Evidence of our commitment to high skill levels: With the Master Practitioner courses Jonathan runs with either Doug O'Brien (the weekend module format) or Rex Sikes (the intensive format), most "7-day or less Practitioner training graduates" would NOT be accepted/allowed into our courses. They'd be overwhelmed before day 1 was over. We start at a significantly higher level than most of today's Practitioner courses end.
More evidence: We commit to ensuring that our Practitioners will be amongst the best-prepared students for any other Master Practitioner courses. Our students have even found some other trainers' Master Practitioner courses fun, but disappointingly rudimentary.
What should you expect from an NLP Trainer?
Ideally speaking, anyone from whom you seek NLP Training should be an NLP Practitioner, an NLP Master Practitioner, and a Trainer of NLP, mostly trained by either (or perhaps both) of the two co-founders of NLP.
Your NLP trainer should be able, on the fly, to not only be able to explain NLP topics to you, but masterfully demonstrate them as well, without notes, without planning.
Your NLP trainer should encourage you to train with as many different trainers as possible, across multiple camps (even if just briefly - so you can get a sense of their training style, personally). This is congruent with the Basic NLP Tenet of Requisite Variety. Requisite Variety suggests that the more varied our experiences, the richer and more flexible we become.
And yes, Jonathan Altfeld matches all of the above criteria.
Warning Signs to AVOID from NLP Trainers
We've seen trainers in videos reading most or all of their examples from a cheat-sheet. This is exceedingly disappointing. It shows a lack of creativity and behavioral flexibility by the trainer.
Some trainers put on a major sales pitch for discounted "packages" of multiple certification trainings. This outright violates the NLP tenet of Requisite Variety! Behaviorally, it suggests they think their earnings are more important than the richness of your education and skill level. Choose a different trainer for every single certification training. You can thank us later.
Shockingly, some trainers certify online, or through a DVD or CD set! Disappointingly, some trainers certify with less than 7 long days of live training. In our opinion, 7 days is the minimum for even close to sufficient skill; even 7 days is excessively short in our opinion. We still do 10 full days of training.
Some trainers have NEVER trained with either of the co-founders, and became trainers certified by other trainers who aren't the founders. Consider this a behavioral equivalent of the kids game "Telephone," where the message gets distorted the further away one gets from the original founders of the field. Oh -- they'll deny it, vehemently. They may have a lot of good things to offer, but it's less like actual NLP, the further away a trainer gets from the founders. (As long as the co-founders are alive... there's really no excuse for this).
Our 15+ Years of Training History
Here is a complete history of the public courses Jonathan Altfeld has taught around the world:
|Seminar Title & Link||Location||Date||Host|
|Personal Enhancement||Tampa, FL||Sept. 1997|
|NLP Practitioner Training||Ft. Lauderdale, FL||January 1998|
|NLP Skills-Builders||Washington DC||Sept. 1998|
|NLP Practitioner Training||Tampa, FL||October 1998|
|Knowledge Engineering||London UK||Dec. 1998|
|Self-Empowerment||Los Angeles||Dec. 1998|
|NLP Skills-Builders||Boca Raton, FL||January 1999|
|NLP Skills-Builders||San Francisco CA||March 1999|
|NLP Skills-Builders||London UK||May 1999|
|NLP Skills-Builders||Sydney Australia||July 1999|
|Knowledge Engineering||Melbourne Austr.||July 1999|
|NLP Skills-Builders||Houston TX||October 1999|
|NLP Practitioner Training||Tampa FL||October 1999|
|Linguistic Wizardry||Boston MA||January 2000|
|NLP Skills-Builders||Cincinnati OH||May 2000|
|Linguistic Wizardry||Washington DC||May 2000|
|Linguistic Wizardry||London UK||June 2000|
|Linguistic Wizardry||Sydney Australia||July 2000|
|FLIRTOPIA||Orlando FL||Sept. 2000|
|Knowledge Engineering||London UK||Dec. 2000|
|Knowledge Engineering||Los Angeles CA||January 2001|
|Irresistible Voice||New York, NY||March 2001|
|Linguistic Wizardry||Boca Raton, FL||April 2001|
|Linguistic Wizardry||Dallas, TX||May 2001|
|Holographic Communication||Tampa, FL||August 2001|
|Practitioner Training (mod.3)||Milton Keynes, UK||October 2001||Michael Beale / PPI|
|Linguistic Wizardry||London UK||October 2001|
|Persuasion Summit||Tampa, FL||Nov. 2001|
|Linguistic Wizardry||Washington, DC||Dec. 2001|
|Holographic Communication||Tampa, FL||January 2002|
|Linguistic Wizardry||Cincinnati, OH||March 2002|
|Linguistic Wizardry||Miami, FL||April 2002|
|A Taste of Wizardry||Boston, NYC, Toronto||April 2002|
|Linguistic Wizardry||Boston, MA||August 2002|
|Linguistic Wizardry||Los Angeles, CA||October 2002|
|Linguistic Wizardry||London, UK||Nov. 2002|
|Beyond Linguistic Wizardry||London, UK||Dec. 2002|
|Linguistic Wizardry||New York, NY||April 2003|
|Linguistic Wizardry||Sydney, Australia||April 2003|
|Knowledge Engineering||Manchester, UK||May 2003||Coaching Leaders|
|Linguistic Wizardry||London, UK||May 2003|
|Holographic Communication||Tampa, FL||June 2003|
|Holographic Communication||Tampa, FL||October 2003|
|NLP Skills-Builders||Orlando, FL||October 2003|
|Linguistic Wizardry||Orlando, FL||October 2003|
|Knowledge Engineering||Orlando, FL||October 2003|
|Holographic Communication||Tampa, FL||Feb. 2004|
|Knowledge Engineering||Los Angeles, CA||March 2004|
|Linguistic Wizardry||San Francisco, CA||April 2004|
|Belief Craft (w/ O'Brien)||London, UK||June 2004|
|Knowledge Engineering||Melbourne Austr.||July 2004|
|Linguistic Wizardry||Toronto, Ontario||Sept. 2004|
|Holographic Communication||Tampa, FL||October 2004|
|Belief Craft (w/ O'Brien)||Orlando, FL||Nov. 2004|
|Linguistic Wizardry||London, UK||Dec. 2004|
|Holographic Communication||London, UK||Dec. 2004|
|Linguistic Wizardry||Dallas, TX||March 2005|
|Linguistic Wizardry||Tampa, FL||April 2005|
|Holographic Communication||San Francisco, CA||May 2005|
|UK Evening Event Tour||5 Cities in the UK||June 2005||Multiple hosts|
|Holographic Communication||Melbourne Austr.||July 2005|
|NLP & Selling||Bucharest, Romania||October 2005||Andy Szekely|
|Linguistic Wizardry||Amsterdam, NL||Nov. 2005|
|Linguistic Wizardry||Los Angeles, CA||March 2006|
|NLP & Selling (Twice)||Knoxville, TN||March 2006||Private corp. host|
|Knowledge Engineering||San Francisco, CA||April 2006|
|Knowledge Engineering||Melbourne Austr.||April 2006|
|Holographic Communication||Oxford, UK||May 2006||
(So.UK NLP Group)
|NLP & Selling||Tampa, FL||August 2006|
|Linguistic Wizardry||Toronto, Canada||Sept. 2006|
|NE USA Evening Events||Toronto, DC, NYC, Boston||Sept. 2006|
|Knowledge Engineering||Tampa, FL||October 2006|
|Linguistic Wizardry||Glasgow, Scotland||October 2006||NLP Scotland|
|Knowledge Engineering||Melbourne Austr.||Nov. 2006||LeaderVision|
|The FAST(R) Advantage||Melbourne Austr.||Nov. 2006|
|NLP & Selling||Tampa, FL||Dec. 2006|
|Holographic Communication||Tampa, FL||Feb. 2007|
|Linguistic Wizardry||New York City||March 2007||Doug O'Brien|
|Knowledge Engineering||Glasgow, Scotland||May 2007||NLP Scotland|
|Holographic Communication||Oxford, UK||May 2007||
(So.UK NLP Group)
|Linguistic Wizardry||Seattle, WA||July 2007|
|Linguistic Wizardry||Amsterdam, NL||Sept. 2007|
|Your Irresistible Voice||London, UK||Sept. 2007|
|Holographic Communication||Orlando, FL||October 2007|
|Your Irresistible Voice||New York City||October 2007|
|Knowledge Engineering||Atlanta, GA||Dec. 2007|
|Linguistic Wizardry||Los Angeles, CA||Jan. 2008|
|Holographic Communication||Copenhagen, Denmark||April 2008||NLP Europe|
|Your Irresistible Voice||Melbourne, Austr.||May 2008|
|Belief Craft||Tampa, FL||June 2008||Doug O'Brien|
|NLP Master Practitioner||Tampa, FL||June 2008||Doug O'Brien|
|Holographic Communication||New York City||October 2008|
|Your Irresistible Voice||San Francisco, CA||November 2008|
|Holographic Communication||Amsterdam, NL||Nov/Dec 2008|
|NLP & Selling||Dallas, TX||Jan. 2009|
|Holographic Communication||Toronto, Canada||Jan. 2009|
|Your Irresistible Voice||Denver, CO||April 2009|
|Silent Exchanges||New York City||July 2009|
|Silent Exchanges||New York City||July 2009|
|Linguistic Wizardry||Charlotte NC||Aug. 2009|
|Speaking Ingeniously||Melbourne Australia||Oct. 2009|
|Irresistible Voice||New York City||Nov. 2009|
|Speaking Ingeniously||New York City||Dec. 2009|
|FAST™ Training Design||Chambersburg||Jan. 2010|
|Outrageously Funny||Baltimore, MD||May 2010|
|NLP Sales Wizardry||New York City||Aug. 2010|
|Irresistible Voice||Baltimore, MD||Oct. 2010|
|Outrageously Funny||New York City||Nov. 2010|
|NLP Sales Wizardry||Charlotte, NC||Jan. 2011|
|Your Irresistible Voice||Los Angeles, CA||Feb. 2011|
|NLP Practitioner||Gaithersburg, MD||Feb-Apr '11|
|Speaking Ingeniously||Portland, OR||May 2011|
|Belief Craft||Burlington, VT||July 2011||Doug O'Brien|
|NLP Master Practitioner||Burlington, VT||July 2011||Doug O'Brien|
|NLP Sales Wizardry||Washington DC||September 2011|
|Outrageously Funny||Secaucus NJ||November 2011|
|NLP Sales Wizardry||Washington DC||December 2011|
|NLP Practioner Modules||Washington DC||Dec. 2011 - Feb. 2012|
|NLP Practitioner Intensive||Washington DC||February 2012|
|Speaking Ingeniously||Orlando, FL||May 2012|
|Belief Craft||Washington DC||July 2012|
|NLP Sales Wizardry||Washington DC||August 2012|
|NLP Practitioner Intensive||Orlando, FL||November 2012|
|Belief Craft||Washington DC||December 2012|
|Rex Sikes Evening Tour||L.A., NYC, DC||February 2013|
|NLP Sales Wizardry||Baltimore, MD||March, 2013|
|Speaking Ingeniously||Washington DC||April, 2013|
|Becoming Outrageously Funny||Washington DC||August, 2013|
|Belief Craft||New York City||September 2013|
|NLP Business Practitioner||Washington DC||Oct/Nov/Dec 2013|