Becky Wright started out as a teacher and went on to help people struggling with lack of confidence, substance misuse and behaviour problems. She trained as a counsellor, and later as a counsellor-coach, finding the forward thinking nature of coaching inspirational. Now she and her associates are developing a new framework for how businesses can see each other not as competitors, but as collaborators.
For Becky Wright, everything is connected – just as clients are part of their wider communities and environments, so are she and her associates. And just as they help clients grow and develop, clients have helped them do the same in their business, she believes.
Becky is the founder of New Leaf Life Design, a company she started in 1992, that has been working with businesses and private individuals to help them redesign and shape their lives through counselling, coaching – or both.
A major redesign and shaping has also been going on for New Leaf, a process Becky describes as innovative collaboration. It’s an approach the company believes in wholeheartedly and its recently developed - and in some ways still emerging - structure reflects this.
Fourteen counsellors and coaches are now joined as associates under the brand, in a way they have developed through evaluation and discussion with clients and each other. She calls it innovative collaboration, a way of working together that she believes could become a model for other businesses – with a clearly defined legal and financial structure also emerging, to address issues and practicalities.
All the associates have similarities in how they work, and support each other in many ways. Becky sees herself as continuing to coach a small client caseload but directing more and more, ensuring counsellors’ areas of expertise and ways of working are best matched with clients’ needs.
Collaboration is also a model that Becky, who would like to see New Leaf Life Design become a social enterprise company, plans to now develop more widely in the business community.
“I believe things are inter-connected. Our business had to look at how it was interconnected and that has shaped it. Our evaluation work with clients who felt we had helped them redesign their lives, led to a new shape for us - and it was a client who came up with the Life Design name. I like that this is client-led.
“Now, as well as our ongoing counselling and coaching work with companies and private individuals, we are taking this offering of a workable tool for collaboration to the wider business community.”
With some funding from Somerset County Council, New Leaf is now in the second year of working with a group of people involved in the creative industries, on how to develop a more sustainable and successful business model.
“There is a lot of fear around, so many companies work in such competitive ways, but we can think differently around that. People need to learn how to support each other - there will always be others doing the same work as them, particularly with many now going into self-employment.
“They need a sense of opportunity rather than fear, and that involves developing confidence – which is something we as a company are good at helping them do. It’s fascinating to see how people learn to engage with each other. There have been some amazing success stories, and the sense of what people can do collectively is so much more than they can do individually.
”I believe in win-win, that’s what drives me. I want to be the best for Somerset, not the best in Somerset.”