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Gerdi with Grattan Donnelly on mindfulness in self-leadership

After finishing college, Grattan went to Australia for a year and returned home 12 years later. He lived and worked in Taiwan for 8 years, where he studied Chinese, taught English and eventually set up his own business. He also travelled extensively in South East Asia; often for months at a time.

Returning to Ireland in 1998 he bought a training franchise, specialising in leadership and management development. Qualifying as an Executive & Business Coach in 2006 was a natural progression. Coaching also re-ignited his passion for learning, which was all but extinguished by his 17 years in the formal education system.

In 2007 he attended his first coaching event, a talk by Sir John Whitmore, one of the founding fathers of coaching. Sir John articulated three ‘provocations’:

  • Consumerism (more and more) is not compatible with sustainability (less
  • Quantitative technical advance is way ahead of Qualitative wisdom (our technical capability is way beyond our wisdom in how to use that technology
  • Hierarchy is in decay and must be replaced by self-responsibility

Hearing these provocations articulated with such clarity, lit a spark in Grattan which still burns to this day.

In 2010 after suffering burnout, mindfulness found him. Recognising how beneficial mindfulness was for him personally, he joined Potential Project. With these global leaders in corporate mindfulness, over 6 years he trained mindfulness to thousands of people in organisations.

Grattan believes we all know there are better ways we could be living and working. Better for our wellbeing. For our loved ones. Our organisations. Our communities. Our planet. If only we weren’t too busy to explore them.

He invites his clients to step back from the ‘busyness’ of their lives and identify what is truly important.

He is most interested to work with people who want to be the best for the world. People who want to step into their power, and work with the biggest challenges facing humanity – the climate, biodiversity and environmental crises. People who want to contribute to a better world; not just for humanity but also for the more-than-human world.

As a Regenerative Leadership Coach, he supports clients to do their own inner transformational work first. When they do, they are best equipped for the challenges of working with these existential threats.

He facilitates mission-driven teams and purpose-led organisations. He helps them develop and grow their collective wisdom, and work in ways that contribute to the healing of the planet. 

He has pioneered Walk-and-Talk coaching sessions in nature for more than 10 years and virtual Walk-and-Talk sessions since the pandemic began.

Integrating neuroscience, mindfulness and nature practices with indigenous wisdom, opens people up to different ways of sensing, feeling, thinking, doing, AND Being. People are then supported to reimagine a better future and a more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.

He is an Honorary Life Fellow and a Founding Council Member of the Association for Coaching, Ireland (2007-2015) and was Chair from 2013-2015.

He is as Associate Faculty Member with the Irish Management Institute, teaching on their Diploma in Executive Coaching.

He has been training the Diploma in Coaching for Performance in Dublin Business School since 2013.

He was a Board Member of Mindful Nation Ireland from 2018 to 2021.

He is a member of the Climate Coaching Alliance and has protested with his daughter in many of the Fridays for Future Schools Climate Strikes.

For more from ‘Daring Self-Leadership …’

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Grattan's Favourites Celebrating Nature




Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer



Though Grattan didn’t mention a particular Nature documentary, he did talk about how awestruck he was when he viewed lions while on safari in South Africa. I thought it fitting to put up a documentary on these big cats filmed in Kruger National Park.

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