We reported A4e's use of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) back in April, thanks to a tip from a reader. Now the Financial Times has taken this up in an article today. They describe the experience of an A4e client who was told to come in for a "course" and found himself, along with others, confronted by "a master practitioner" in NLP who was there "to change their mindsets". It didn't impress the client in question, who found it "stupendously stupid" and resented being forced onto it.
The FT is delicate about the worth of NLP. It links to an article on its own site from 2008 which is sceptical, but is reluctant to commit either way. Much more helpful is an article in the Skeptic's Dictionary. But what it comes down to is whether people should be forced onto something which they may well have a principled objection to. The FT article isn't clear about whether the NLP courses are obligatory. They are "part of a mutually agreed plan of activities", which suggests you can lose your income if you refuse. And that is completely unacceptable. The clients are apparently not told what the course is until they get there. But even if they know, the vast majority will not have the information to make a decision about its value.
"Motivational" courses are all the rage in business. They cost huge amounts of money and are very profitable for those who run them. NLP is different. No one should be obliged to undertake it.
If you find yourself in the position of having to sit through this stuff, first ascertain whether it's compulsory. Will you have your income stopped if you refuse? If yes, you may want to consider getting legal advice, but you won't be able to at the time. So if you are forced into it, detach yourself and approach it as an objective observer. Make copious notes as soon as possible.
The FT article goes on to discuss the whole place of motivational and other therapies in W2W. Their informant is in no doubt that it was bullying when what he needs is a job. And it's significant that he insists on a pseudonym because "he was concerned about how A4e would react".