Alive and Thrive Wellbeing Limited (ATW) evolved from Approaches for Performance Excellence Limited (AFPE) that was established in 2010. Through working closely with many organisations on topics such as leadership and management, diversity and inclusion, and employee engagement, it became increasingly apparent that all organisations need to focus their energy more directly on the individual.
People, be they executives, senior managers, middle managers, or frontline staff each carry personal aspirations that can only be achieved in a way that is unique to that person. I became intrigued with developing the best way through which coaching support could help every person and this led me into the worlds of neuroscience and psychology. Despite many years of experience I decided to embrace the whole concept of neuroscience and psychology coaching and re-trained as a Neuchem™ coach that focuses on a more comprehensive experience for the client. I also changed the name of the company to Alive and Thrive Wellbeing Limited so that it more accurately reflected what I wanted to help people achieve.
Q - Tom, what inspired you to create your business?
A - My background is in policing London, which I left as a chief inspector. I think after 33 years I had come to the end of the road in what more I could offer the organisation and felt that it was right to add value elsewhere. I had been commended for my leadership on three occasions and had also specialised in leading the Metropolitan Police Service corporate diversity and inclusion teams, so I had much skill and experience to share. So I set up the business.
Q - How did you choose the business name?
A - Since 1998 I have worked closely with the British Quality Foundation using the European Foundation Quality Management Excellence Model (EFQM) through which I have been assessing a range of public, private and not-or-profit organisations, such as local authorities, GSK, TNT and other large entities. The EFQM Excellence Model is, in my view, one of the best holistic quality management model around and it focuses on an organisation's approaches to the processes that it uses to enable excellence. The original name of my company flowed from that ' Approaches for Performance Excellence'. it was a very exciting time. Of course, now that the company has moved into the more niche market of wellbeing and resilience I have changed its name to Alive and Thrive Wellbeing, which more aptly reflects what I want to help clients achieve.
Q - How did you get to the point of dealing with wellbeing and resilience?
A - Its quite a journey, but I'll try to keep it short. Like I said, I had been heavily involved in diversity and inclusion and when David Macleod and Nita Clark published their report to the Prime Minister on Employee Engagement, I immediately saw the connection. I used to think that diversity and inclusion was just about fairness, the Equality Act, and so on. In fact my training in organisations and lecturing in universities tended to only focus on this narrow field, but that changed.
I became intensely involved in the Employee Engagement movement through Engage for Success and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. I came to realise that people, all of us, are individuals with aspirations and a uniqueness about how we can achieve them. This may be obvious, but many do not see it that way. Our uniqueness begins at the point of conception, our country of birth, through our upbringing and environment, our education and personal experiences; nature and nurture, if you like.
Although I was lecturing leaders from multi-national companies on Executive MBA courses and International Human Resource Management about the skills and abilities of being effective, it became patently obvious that the thing that was holding individuals back from being really excellent was, well, themselves!
Q - What do you mean that the thing holding individuals back from being excellent was themselves?
A - You will be aware of the huge momentum driving neuroscience, which I find absolutely fascinating. I became a member of the Neuroleadership Institute, that was the front-runner in the neuroscience race. I was thirsty to know more and have now qualified as a Neuchem Coach through the Institute of Leadership and Management.
Neuchem coaching, a term coined by psychologist and biologist Maria Paviour, brings psychology and neuroscience into the world of coaching. We are each, if you like, living cocktails of chemicals. Chemicals within us are triggered by the ecology that we sense is around us, and they can naturally make us really scared or feel great. So, for example, I worked with one executive who would, for a variety of reasons, not engage with his staff. Neuchem coaching enabled that person to get into the driving seat of their brain and take control in a positive way with great benefits to his leading style and his employees.
Q - What does Neuchem coaching involve?
A - Neuchem is a specialist coaching programme that consists of six sessions spread over a number weeks, depending of the commitments of the client. I enable my clients to review the issues that are holding them back. Once these become visual, we can then start to unpack them, park them, and empower the client to achieve their intrinsic aspirations. Normal coaching models do not usually enable that. The results can be spectacular.
Q - What sort of size and organisations do you engage with?
A - Any organisation that needs coaching support. It might be because it is not achieving its priorities, or people are extensively absent, leaving, or just not happily engaged. The number of employees is not an issue because, if necessary, I can call on experienced Neuchem™ coaches who I work closely with to give support. So organisational size is not an issue.