Tom Dougherty

Ahwatukee resident Tom Dougherty started in the financial industry but ultimately transitioned into helping businesses as a coach.

Ahwatukee resident Tom Dougherty recently was named Global Rookie Coach of the Year by ActionCOACH, the world’s leading business coaching franchise.

“With so many great coaches around the world and the tools ActionCOACH gives us to help our clients grow their businesses, it’s amazing to be singled out for this honor,” Dougherty said, attributing his success to strategies that “help our clients move their business forward.”

ActionCOACH was founded by Brad Sugars in Australia in 1993 and franchised in 1997. It has since expanded into a total of 70 countries worldwide and helped business coaching become a mainstream resource used by most successful companies.

Sugars said Dougherty reflected the culture his company has developed for helping clients – one that’s based on “defining goals, determining the meaning of success for their business and for them personally and providing both the carrot and the stick to help them achieve those goals.

“Tom stood out this year by taking clients in a wide range of industries, with diverse motivations and goals, and helping them reach those goals almost universally,” Sugars added. “It’s a rare coach who takes his clients to this level of success so early in their career with us, much less in their first year.”

Dougherty said he became a business coach “to help people achieve abundance in their lives.

“However they define it, my definition of success in coaching is to see my clients reaching their goals and being able to work on their business, not in their business,” he said.

ActionCOACH specializes in coaching small to medium-sized businesses as well as executives and their teams.

Dougherty grew up in California and parlayed his passion for skiing into a spot on a national championship ski team while at San Diego State University, where he studied economics.

He began working in the ski industry, as an instructor and as a sales rep for Rossignol. But during his senior year he left school to pursue his dream of becoming a stockbroker.

“I had a passion for the markets and the finance industry, and in my senior year I got an offer from Paine Webber in San Diego to become a stockbroker and financial advisor,” Dougherty said. “I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and felt like I had gotten everything I was going to get from school, so I jumped at the chance.”

He managed a portfolio that grew to $155 million in five years, but eventually quit Paine Webber and began working on a paintball gun called Racegun.

“In the early 2000’s paintball was absolutely blowing up,” he said. “We had a gun that everyone wanted – it fired up to 44 paintballs per second if you can imagine that – and I learned more about business in the four years running that company than at any other time in my career.  

“I hired, fired, managed people, did the books – everything a small-business owner goes through, I saw up close and personal during those four years. It was a fantastic educational experience for me and gave me a perspective on small business I’d never had before.”

He sold the company to National Paintball Supply in 2007 and was spending some time surfing and trying to decide what to do next when he got a call from his old boss in the ski business.

He got back into the industry as a sales representative and then went on to start his own sales agency call SportsGearWest. Over the next four years, the agency grew to represent more than 12 different brands, growing one, Canada Goose, where he grew sales in his region from $1 million to $30 million.

After marrying his wife Lorri in 2011, he eventually relocated here and began looking for other opportunities.

“At that point, I realized I wanted to do something that really helped people,” he said. “Sure, helping large businesses grow helped people, but I wanted to do it on a more personal level. And I wanted to help people create abundance in their lives, whether it was an abundance of money or time, whatever they wanted to have more of, that’s what I want to help them achieve.”

Dougherty is so confident in his “business re-education” strategies that he promises prospective business owners that if he can’t help them find $25,000 in additional revenue in 45 minutes, he’ll donate that sum to Wounded Warriors and Children’s Miracle Network.

Information: 480-616-0036,

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