John Haynes: ‘a mentor and a special friend’

Following the death of one of Liverpool’s best-known business characters, John Haynes, local entrepreneur Andrew Dwerryhouse pays his own special tribute. Tony McDonough reports

John Haynes
John Haynes, left, with Wild Thang founder Andrew Dwerryhouse


Liverpool entrepreneur Andrew Dwerryhouse has paid a heartfelt  tribute to John Haynes, one of  the best-known characters in Liverpool’s business community, who died last week.

John was the founder of the Liverpool Coaching Academy. He was a regular at business events in the city and helped to inspire a new wave of entrepreneurs. Wild Thang founder Andrew Dwerryhouse is one of them. He described John as a “master mentor” and his “special friend”.

After leaving school at 16, John worked at a furniture factory in Kirkby. He was made redundant following its closure and later began working as a salesman for Royal Insurance in Liverpool.

He worked his way up to regional director and was in charge of 1,500 people. He left the company in 1998 and used what he had learned about business and leadership and launched the Liverpool Coaching Academy. It was here he coined his personal catchphrase “fly with the eagles”.

The business went from strength to strength and John took his expertise overseas, operating as far afield as Australia and the Middle East. He also raised thousands of pounds for a town in Kenya which has been left devastated by a terrorist bomb.

Earlier this year John was diagnosed with motor neurone disease and, on Wednesday, December 9, his partner Linda announced his passing on his Facebook page, saying that “John had left us peacefully in his sleep.”

Andrew is also a real entrepreneur, launching Bootle-based Wild Thang, a brand marketing specialist, 20 years ago with a £1,500 grant from the Princes Trust. Earlier this year he oversaw a £2m expansion of the business. And, he credits John’s influence in helping to get the company to where it is today.

He told LBN: “John was a master mentor, but more importantly a special friend who believed in me and Wild Thang and helped us to realise our potential. More than a decade ago we were exhibiting at a business to business exhibition at the ACC arena, this was the first time I saw John deliver one of his inspirational motivation talks to an audience of 200-plus people.

“Over the years I had seen many coaches, speakers and mentors deliver motivational talks but John absolutely blew me away that day. His energy, his passion, his positivity, his storytelling was like nothing I had seen before. He had the audience, including me, in the palm of his hand and from that moment on I said to myself I have got to get to know John Haynes.

“I have always had a passion for my city and John’s passion for Liverpool was legendary, so many of our conservations over the next five years were all around how do we make our own companies become more successful and how do we help Liverpool realise its huge potential and ‘soar like an eagle’.

“We would have catch ups at many networking events and, without me really even knowing, I had well and truly started my own journey of self-improvement. By taking John’s advice of reading leadership and motivational books, his mentoring was already having an influence without me even knowing it.”

John Haynes
John Haynes was the founder of the International Coaching Academy


Since John’s passing was announced last week there have been numerous tributes paid by members of the Merseyside business community. Andrew added it was no surprise that John had “single-handedly inspired a generation of business leaders”.

“In 2015 I was speaking to John at another business to business expo  and he invited me to a taster session at the International Coaching Academy,” he said. “It again blew me away and from that moment I knew I wanted to fly with the eagles and not scratch with the turkeys.”

Later that year, Wild Thang’s senior managers and directors started the Masters Course with John at the International Coaching Academy and completed the course later in 2016. Andrew said: “It had been so inspiring we decided in March 2017 that we would get John to become part of our team and help all our staff to learn to fly with the eagles just as we had. We got feedback from every employee and the praise for John was incredible.

“John remained an incredibly important part of the Wild Thang family and it’s no surprise that his positive impact over those years was huge. Since he started mentoring at Wild Thang we have become the biggest company of our industry type in the Liverpool city region and are in the top 5% of companies in the UK.

“Johns legacy will continue to inspire the Wild Thang team to fly with the eagles, be the best we can be and truly realise our potential as individuals and also as a company.”

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