“The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.”
In my ‘previous life’ I have been an accountant, business consultant, business turnaround specialist and business coach, and I have been self-employed in one form or another for over 25 years!
So, why would I want to make a dramatic shift and start something completely different such as coaching people or life coaching in my early fifties and effectively try to build a new business from scratch?
Well the truth is that it is not such a big shift in terms of the nature of the work, rather it is more of a shift in terms of the focus and marketing, but it is still a big challenge and risk. However, my work has always been about people and that is the aspect in each of my career phases that I always enjoyed – I just didn’t always realise it!
Since my late teenage years of watching the original ‘TV Troubleshooter’, Sir John Harvey-Jones, on the BBC, I always had a particular interest in seeing people in challenging business and life situations and how they dealt with those situations. Along the way I learned, just like the business owners in those early ‘Troubleshooter’ programmes, that it is one’s thinking and consequent actions which create all of the circumstances in one’s career, business and personal life, both good and bad.
However I only began this learning in my late thirties/early forties, around about the time that my marriage was ending, and I had the opportunity to work with a wonderful counsellor/therapist who in the course of our work together introduced me to concepts as wide and varied as boundaries, self-acceptance, passive aggressive behaviour, saying ‘no’ and the fact that being ‘selfish’ is a good thing, as well as many other concepts that I had never been exposed to before. My reaction was, and still is, ‘Why are people not taught this stuff in school along with other life skills?’
The other revelation for me was the visibility and understanding that I now had in dealing with everyone from clients, my kids, my family, my ex-wife, business colleagues, friends, and new relationships amongst others. It doesn’t mean that I was suddenly all seeing and all knowing and that my behaviour changed overnight, it didn’t, but I did start to make sense of a lot of things and over time I developed a greater sense of understanding and awareness with people. That was a huge positive and it played a huge part in improving my life.
As a result my consulting and coaching work began to change. I found myself having as many conversations with business clients about personal issues and challenges as business conversations. In fact, many of the challenges that people experienced in their businesses were a direct result of beliefs, decisions and behaviours that were also impacting on their personal lives.
It became clear to me that in the same way that I knew very little about life until my early forties, this was also the case for my business clients and when I began to share with them some of my experiences and learnings then they too began to understand many things about their own behaviours, thought patterns and the consequent impacts on their lives, their families and their careers/businesses.
As I delved more into coaching, psychology, energy work, health and wellbeing and spirituality I also learned how to recognise and challenge the unsupportive stuff in my life and that when I applied the learning, my circumstances changed for the better.
So, driven by a determination to find the ‘why’s’ of my own challenges, I crossed the paths of many great teachers, both in person and through their writings. I studied coaching with various teachers, devoured books both physical and on audio, took online courses, listened to podcasts and most importantly just did the work.
Today, I am still learning, still changing and still growing.
So, having stepped away from business coaching work, I now work with a range of clients in various fields and circumstances and in various locations around the world. Some are in business, many are not, but they all share a desire to improve their circumstances, take full responsibility for their situation and they are open to learning and using thinking as the catalyst for their change.
The process is not complex. We just start with the problem or issue in hand and from there we explore, challenge and create possibilities.
If you are seriously interested in working with me and in experiencing the impact of a thinking environment, and you have the commitment and focus to do so, please e-mail me at:
I think it is important to give people who don’t know you a sense of who you are. It is crucial for developing great relationships and after all that is what makes the world go around when we understand each other and share common interests.
So, I was born in Dublin in 1963 which makes me old but not very wise. I loved sport when I was growing up particularly Gaelic games, football and hurling and latterly soccer. I also played rugby in secondary (high) school and was also pretty handy at squash.
I never really had a fixed idea about what I wanted to do after school, I did have an interest in art but not very strong back then and I was leaning towards architecture but the economy at the time was pretty bad and it was a difficult course to get into. So, having had some experience of doing my dads ‘book’s for his business I decided to choose Commerce as my degree course in University but a series of events in that summer resulted in me getting an ‘apprenticed’ job in a small accounting office. I ended up not going to College and instead studied the professional accounting qualification at night and despite working and studying at the same time, managed to get through and qualify.
It is my one regret that I didn’t have the experience of a College Campus back then and I see it in my own kids as they navigated through it and still conclude that it would have been beneficial and life-enhancing.
I have three children, although they are not children now – Peter is 27 and is circumnavigating the globe as a travelling musician and booking agent, Niall is 24 and is studying graphic design and Ann-Marie is 21 and she is studying Business and Law.
In terms of interests, I am a big foodie fan along with the obligatory wine and I like cooking, however, I made a decision a couple of years ago, for health reasons, to switch to a plant-based diet and I have not looked back. My health, weight and general sense of wellbeing have dramatically improved and whilst I am not, I hope, a pain in the ass about it and trying to convert others, I do love a good conversation about the topic of our food, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and western medicine.
I love writing, photography, art, sketching, hand-writing but don’t do enough of any of it and like a lot of people I don’t print enough of my photos or pictures and get them framed. I also love making things and I am doing a woodworking class on a regular basis to have the satisfaction of actually following through on that interest. I love design and all things related to it whether it be buildings, interiors, products or graphics and the ‘Design Matters’ Podcast by Debbie Millman is one of my go-to listens every week. I also love music, all kinds and I must say that Spotify together with Sonos speakers have been an amazing enhancement to my life.
In sport, my main interests are in soccer and I have supported Liverpool FC since I was 8 years old (the 1971 FA Cup Final versus Arsenal and being beaten by that Charlie George wonder goal was my first experience of the rollercoaster of being an LFC fan over the past forty-something years). I also enjoy rugby and the fortunes of both Leinster and Ireland. I am renowned for getting jittery and making subconscious movements as if kicking or heading a ball that makes people very nervous around me! I also played quite a lot of golf but not so much in the past few years – I even managed to get my handicap down to 8!
My main passion has been personal growth and improvement ever since I started to develop some kind of personal awareness around the age of 40. Up until that point I realise now that I know very little about myself and life and other people. I had operated on the premise that if I worked hard and made good choices that everything would work out. A few things that happened in my work and personal life showed me that that was not a given and I struggled with that realisation along with the breaking down of my marriage.
Since then I have studied psychology, coaching, energy work, spirituality, eastern philosophy, personal growth and improvement and all things in between. I listen to audiobooks and podcasts whenever possible and there is always a book on the go. There is nothing that gives me greater pleasure than sharing some new insight or learning with friends and clients. I also have no qualms about sharing my experiences, good and not so good, with clients and workshop attendees in order that they might learn sooner than I did. However, I always need to bear in mind that people need to find their own way despite the information I share with them. I suppose that makes me a natural teacher.