NLP….. Making an Impact in the Third Sector

Chris Bray Head of Marketing and Income Generation, Eden Valley Hospice and Jigsaw Cumbria’s Children’s Hospice & NLP Business Practitioner.

I was eager to benefit from NLP Business Practitioner course after seeing first-hand the transformational impact it had on a colleague, it was like having a different person come back to the office……………and wondering what was in it for me……….

My colleague had a more positive approach, a calmer outlook, was able to get tasks done in a more controlled and impactful way and ask for more clarification to make certain she knew what the expectations were around a specific task was and making sure she had the resources in place to deliver within schedule. It was then I realised I had to place greater value on NLP and the benefits it could have for me and my role at the hospice, which is very challenging.

For those not in the Carlisle area, Eden Valley Hospice has been part of the community for the past 25 years and is well known for supporting local people with palliative care needs.

In my role, there is high expectation to achieve budgetary targets, the hospice needs over £3million each year to support both the palliative care needs of adults and their families living in the north of the county, but also for Jigsaw, the children’s hospice providing support for children and young adults across the whole of Cumbria.

In the current fundraising climate, with austerity on the government agenda coupled with the uncertainties of Brexit, it has become increasingly difficult to raise funds, especially with competition from other local good causes locally and the power of the national brands with big budgets all chasing the same pot of finite money from the (local) community.

NLP Business Practitioner training provided lots of useful tools to manage my work load, relationships with colleagues and gave me much greater insight into the value of both giving and receiving feedback. It is part of my tool-kit that I regularly ask for feedback from colleagues on how I can improve, what support they need and am comfortable knowing there is no failure, only feedback. At first it felt strange, but over time it feels normal to do and my colleagues understand why it is important and how it helps.

I believe life truly is what we make it and by making some relatively small adjustments to my day to day activities, I began to notice a significant impact on my outcomes and achievements………..

A specific example where NLP has made a big difference in my role:

The Importance of Rapport
In the past when reporting to the board, where there are some powerful personalities, I have struggled to work effectively and at times could become frustrated by what I felt to be unhelpful contributions. On reflection, prior to the NLP training some of my responses didn’t bring out the best of me.

Using my learning it was clear I wasn’t in rapport with some board members and this impacted on the outcomes and my ability to successfully deliver my role. Having greater awareness of this, I was able to work towards achieving rapport and so improve communication and dialogue. The end result was leaving meetings feeling in a better place. When in rapport I was became comfortable asking lots more questions, actively listening and seeking clarification when I didn’t understand why a certain question was being asked or the reasons behind it. I also became less defensive and more open, in the knowledge everyone sees things differently….and it can be all to easy to jump to judgement !!

Whilst there are still challenges, my approach to board meetings is more positive, I am less anxious, which makes a difference to my contribution and confidence. I have also become adept at managing my state when in board meetings. I gave a recent presentation sharing the fundraising and marketing plans for the year ahead, normally I would have felt under pressure. But this time I did a lot of preparation, made sure I took my time and presented the key messages ……and the session went really well. I had pictured this would happen and how I would feel …… and it gave me the confidence I needed. It also meant I was relaxed during the meeting and happy to answer any questions as they arose.

What I love about NLP is knowing that I am always learning and the awareness of modelling behaviour that I see in others. It might be when I watch a TEDx talk or meet someone that inspires or motivates me, I look at how they are presenting themselves, what I can learn from them and how I can incorporate that into my work.

I have noticed I smile more and people comment on it. I am more relaxed and focussed. It also works in my home life, including my journey to work, which involves just under an hour drive along a busy road (which most days resembles a racing track). I used to get stressed with other drivers, if I was cut up at a junction or overtaken going around a bend I would get really annoyed. Now my reaction is different. I can choose to get frustrated and carry that frustration around for the rest of the day, or I can ignore it and make sure that it doesn’t have a negative impact. Knowing I have the choice and can control the way I react – and knowing I can do this makes a massive difference. I am so pleased I made the decision to take the time and have the training, I went with an open mind, learnt new skills, was prepared to try new ways of working including ‘Swish’ technique which looked and felt totally bizarre initially but found in certain circumstances it can be really useful. I would recommend anyone thinking about the course to give it a go and would be more than happy to have a chat either by phone or email if there are any questions somebody might have.

And now time for an advert… Eden Valley Hospice and Jigsaw Cumbria’s Children’s Hospice are hosting the biggest and best Colour Run on Sunday 14th May. If getting covered in powdered paint whilst enjoying a 5km run/walk/jog with family and friends is your thing, whilst raising money for the hospice, then please head to – it would be great to have you join us.