Sitting in Steve Wichett’s office at Hampshire Workspace, with its comfy leather armchairs and view of Winchester Cathedral, seeing his twinkling smile, listening to his mellifluous voice, you feel relaxed. Steve is a leading management consultant and psychotherapist, and getting people to feel at ease is where his work begins.
“I think of myself as helping people change,” says Steve. “It’s one of the reasons I called my company NLP Changeworks.” NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming, the psychological set of skills that he learned twenty years ago under the tutelage of its creator Dr Richard Bandler.
“I’m not so much interested in telling people how they should be or helping them become how other people think they should be,” Steve continues, “I’m interested in how people are now, where they want to be and how we can get them there.”
He points to his logo, which incorporates the three words that sum up what he does. “The first is Restore- get people back to normal, whatever that is. The second is Develop- to help people add new skill sets or coping mechanisms whether it’s in their personal life or professional life. And the third is Inspire- so often I’ll work with people’s meaning for life and purpose, their higher qualities if you like.”
The business people who come to Steve may want to be better at public speaking, at working with groups of people, leadership skills, business strategies, or management and sales skills.
Like The Matrix
“With NLP,” explains Steve, “we’ve got a set of skills with which we can model excellent behaviour. So if someone’s really good at public speaking, somebody who’s really good at sales, somebody who’s really good at leadership, we can get into their strategies, their thoughts, their values, their feelings, their beliefs, and, almost like the film The Matrix, we can take a model and install it in someone else. I do the installation by example, by inspiration, by conversation- just very subtle references so that the mind goes, ‘Aha, so if I do it that way, I’ll get that result.”
Steve helps many businesspeople with strategic planning. “Most of my clients do strategic planning on the hoof. They change their strategy according to who comes through the door that day,” explains Steve. “It’s better to plan, do and then review rather than try and review on the spot.’
He quotes Michael Gerber who wrote The E-Myth Revisited, “Sit down and spend time working on your business rather than in your business.”
“I often recommend the book to small business people,” says Steve. “Gerber talks about a ‘turnkey’ business where every aspect of your business is so polished, you could write a manual and hand it over to someone else to step into your role.”
Steve often sees people who’ve had a change of circumstance and are now running their own business. ‘To do this, they’ve got to be the accountant, the marketer, the salesperson, the people manager, all the peripheral things as well as doing the thing they love doing whatever that might be. If they can’t do those, they need to learn or delegate.’
That applies to Steve himself, which is why he says he likes being based at Hampshire Workspace (apart from the one day a week he spends at his consulting room in Number One Harley Street). “I like it because I look at all the things you have to do to run a business and I look at all the things I’m not interested in doing like managing utility bills or employing staff or building maintenance, so I’m able to delegate those things through the serviced office approach,” Steve explains.
“It really works well,” he continues. “I don’t have to worry about anything, I can just turn up and do my job. If one of the staff is ill, of course I’m sorry but I don’t have to do anything about that, I can just do my stuff without being dragged into other areas.”
Typically people coming to Steve for personal change have anxieties, phobias, depression, confidence issues, relationship troubles or habits that they want to solve, that is to say, things they’re doing that they don’t want to do.
‘Close Your Eyes And Imagine This’
As well as being a master practitioner in NLP, Steve has diplomas in hypnotherapy and psychotherapy. This means he can draw on a wide range of skills to help his clients. Nevertheless what fascinates most is his use of hypnosis. He sees hypnosis as a tool to help people free their imagination. “A lot of the strategic planning stuff that I do involves visualisation – ‘Close your eyes and imagine this’ – which is a kind of hypnosis,” smiles Steve, “but I don’t labour the word ‘hypnosis’ because people in business are frightened of it.”
“So I talk about using imagination as many great inventors and leaders have done,” says Steve. This leads to “creative thinking strategies, solution generation”.
Of the many ways Steve helps people, there is one that stands out. “My top thing is helping people overcome fear of public speaking,” says Steve. ‘People usually come to see me who are terrified of even the prospect of it. I usually find within a few sessions, that people have to be dragged off the stage. I get feedback from relatives and colleagues saying ‘what the hell have you done to this person, they’re telling jokes and recounting things and they’re relaxed?’ And that’s such a joy.”
Visit the NLP Changeworks website