Theory Summary: ‘Logical levels’, proposed by Robert Dilts in his work on Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), refer to a hierarchy of levels of processes within an individual or group. "...The concept of logical levels of learning and change was initially formulated as a mechanism in the behavioral sciences by anthropologist Gregory Bateson, based on the work of Bertrand Russell in logic and mathematics."
"The function of each level is to synthesize, organize and direct the interactions on the level below it." A lower level may, but will not necessarily, change those above. Levels in the hierarchy:
- Beliefs and Values
- Capabilities, Skills, or Competence
From the SkillsYouNeed website: The Six Levels
Environment is about the external conditions in which behaviour takes place, and in which we operate. A person operating at this level will probably be explaining what happened, who was there and so on. In general, the ‘story’ will not be about the person telling it, and the energy will be in explaining how something happened. This may involve complaining.
Behaviour is actions and reactions by an individual within the environment. A person operating at this level will be describing what they thought and did, and what effect that had. It also includes what they might have done, and what effect that would have had.
Capability or Competence
Capability or competence might be considered the ‘how’ level. Competences drive behaviour through a personal strategy, involving skills and their development. A person operating at this level, is talking and thinking about ‘how’ to achieve something, including what skills they might need to develop to do so.
Belief might be thought of as the level of ‘why’, and is sometimes also described as ‘values’. It is about the reasons behind the behaviour, including any underlying values. Beliefs and values can either reinforce or undermine capabilities. For example, a belief that you are ‘no good at drawing’ could undermine any attempt to learn to draw well.
Identity is about ‘who’ you are, and could also be considered as the sense of self. Conversations on this level are often about personal self-actualisation, such as ‘What do I like?’, ‘What makes me tick?’, ‘What is my passion?’ A person suffering from stress and burnout often engages at this level.
Spirituality is not always included in the logical levels, and might be thought of as a step beyond the others. It is about ‘what else’, beyond the individual, and related to being part of a bigger system, whether that be family, community or beyond. Some people describe this as the ‘wisdom’ level, and others exclude it altogether, or link it to identity, as being part of how you see yourself."