Hello! I am James Wright, Founder and Principal Coach at HiR

I was born and raised in London, UK, before moving to Manchester in the north of England to complete a degree in Politics. It was here that I first came out as bisexual and then very shortly afterwards as gay. I identify as a Queer Gay Man, and my pronouns are he/they.

After University, I worked for a training and development organisation in the north of England, focusing on designing and managing support programs for underprivileged young people aged 16-25. This challenging experience remains some of the most rewarding work I have ever done. Having grown up in the leafy suburbs of north London, where both university-educated parents had high-paying white-collar jobs and we had two foreign holidays a year, my eyes were well and truly opened to the diversity in this spectacular world.

Interested in ‘what motivates people to act or change their behaviour and what makes them happy’, I moved into advertising and marketing. I joined a firm of about 60 people. I was at the side of the CEO in a business development role as we prepared the business for a successful flotation on the Alternative Investment Market.

Then, having visited twice and fallen in love with the energy of the place, I moved to Sydney in 2007 and took a job with one of Australia’s .com heroes and highest-profile female entrepreneurs.

I spent my time here focusing on business development and strategy and became a speaker on the corporate circuit focusing on employee engagement. The business was one of Australia’s Best Places to Work from 2009 to 2013. It regularly featured in lists of the fastest-growing companies in Australia, with a highlight being $1,000,000+ in sales in a single day on Christmas Eve 2012.

During this experience, I started and closed an online business focusing on food; I learned a lot! I used my own money as well as a tiny seed funding round. In hindsight, I should have accepted an investment offer of $500,000, but I thought I was being lowballed at the time. We burnt through our cash and closed the business after 18 months.

I was also a Director of Sydney’s Mardi Gras during this time and mentored for Young Achievement Australia. I completed numerous personal development programs with the Landmark organisation, which was nothing less than a transformative experience and developed my coaching skills. In 2011, I qualified to act as a coach or mentor in the workplace and develop a coaching and mentoring program for organisations.

In 2014, I was diagnosed with HIV. Thanks to the fabulous health system in Australia, my medication is free, and I lead a positive-undetectable, healthy life. Undetectable means un-transmissible, and provided I take the daily medication, HIV is suppressed in my body to the point where blood tests can’t see it, and I cannot pass it on to others.

It took me another seven years to talk about my diagnosis or be in any way comfortable sharing it in public. In 2022, I started riding for the AIDS/Lifecycle in California and raising money to fight the disease.

Careerwise, my entrepreneurial itch needed to be scratched again, and in 2015, I left Sydney, moved to wine country in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, and opened an organic restaurant with my now ex-husband. Over three years, the business grew to include a retail range listed in a major supermarket and a private dining offering cooking in luxury homes across Australia.

When I sold the business in 2019, I declared bankruptcy, a humbling rollercoaster ride my Dad calls a very expensive ‘alternative MBA’.

Everyone's life is full of success and failure; I believe in sharing my experiences, and being up-front about them makes for a richer coaching experience for my clients; if all I had ever done was kick goals and win at things, how can I add really add value to your challenging situations?

In 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I started a remote job for a subsidiary of one of Australia’s most prominent digital success stories with a market capitalisation of almost ten billion dollars. At the opposite end of the spectrum to any of the businesses I had previously worked with in terms of size, this was educational and eye-opening but ultimately not where I belonged.

After setting up a virtual generalist recruitment business in 2021 with clients in Australia and the UK and a team spread across three more countries, I decided to pivot the model, scale it back to just me and focus on the LGBTIQ+ community in late 2023.

In May 2024, I became a Board member of the International Gay Coaches Alliance.

My career is no longer my number one priority, as it has been for over twenty years, living a balanced and happy life is now #1.

I have a history of depression and anxiety, which I manage with exercise, meditation, psychology and medication. I am learning how to leverage this to help others experiencing mental health challenges in my work.

The AIDS/Lifecycle reignited my passion for cycling from my youth. I also love to cook, paint, and write. The beach, the countryside, or an art gallery are my happy places.

As an Accredited Strengths Profile Practitioner, my work focuses on helping LGBTIQ+ professionals understand themselves better and achieve their goals; performance, happiness, and engagement, using an established model and my lived experience as a white queer man in our beautiful yet challenging world.

I support individuals directly, as well as LGBTIQ+ owned businesses and larger organisations acting on their commitment to a tailored, diverse workplace.

My work allows me a wonderful life, for which I am grateful. I spend much time travelling; in 2023, I visited Indonesia, the USA, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Japan, Cambodia, Thailand, and Malaysia. I live between Sydney and London.

Please book a 20-minute video call with me to establish whether we have a connection before committing to a program.

The Strengths Profile tool has its roots in positive psychology and is certainly not exclusive to the LGBTIQ+ community, but it’s the lenses we bring to the table that enhance the process and the results. You can read more about the tool here.

James Wright Performance CoachJames Wright Performance Coach

"I turn people ON Using the transformative power of positive psychology and strengths-based coaching"