Can you learn to hold space?

I was at a course recently learning a new change work modality and the trainer said “holding space is something that can’t be taught”.

I love the training and I have a lot of respect for the trainer but this statement was… well, straight up bollocks.

The ability to hold space actually can be taught and I teach it.

Holding space is a skill and just like every aspect of human experience from how to communicate effectively to successfully run a marathon, it has a map, a process sitting behind it, which if followed, can be reproduced. (which is the essence of NLP).

If it’s possible for one person in the world to hold space, it’s possible for anyone, it’s just a matter of learning and embodying the process.

Want some tips?

Your ability to hold space and the kinds of space you can hold is to do with a few of things…

* Your ability to convey good, safe, expert hands NON VERBALLY. It’s not so much about what you say (although the language you use is important), it’s about your presence in a space and what you’re embodying. To what extent does your way of being and non verbal behaviours  convey safe, good, expert hands. The way you stand, breathe, move and more… 

* Your capacity to be with whatever arises in you and them, no matter how uncomfortable, painful, shameful, without judgement, rejection or panic… just a welcoming of whatever is present

* Your ability to connect and synchronise with them at a deep nervous system level

You won’t learn how to hold space at most short form introductory NLP Practitioner courses.

At my courses, you will not only learn how to hold space but you will be required to demonstrate that you can hold space in order to be signed off to work 1:1 with people as an NLP Practitioner.

I believe it is irresponsible and un-ecological to sign people off to work 1:1 with people’s beliefs, values, emotions, hearts and lives without the ability to hold space or the ability to determine which spaces they presently have capacity to be holding.

Upholding high standards is not about being the best or being better than other providers. Standards are supposed to be there for important reasons, in this instance, duty of care and the greater good.

We can absolutely learn to hold space, and we can expand our capacity to hold different kinds of spaces over time. 

To hold space and expand our capacity to be with the full spectrum of human experience is a master skill and a beautiful gift to both yourself and the world.

Something to ponder…

Have you received feedback from others about the way you hold space?

What kind of spaces can you currently hold well? 

What kind of spaces do you avoid or feel uncomfortable or out of your depth with?

When do you assume you’re not holding space for others?

With warmth,


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I’m Amy Bell, NLP Trainer & Coach.

For close to a decade I have been exploring, learning and experimenting with NLP. I’ve trained extensively in both Australia and Europe with some of the worlds most acclaimed NLP Trainers.

I’m both intensely curious, and obsessive about my own ongoing development, the creation and delivery of my work and the results I get for my people. 

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