Infusing Your Coaching with the Arts with Owen Ó Súilleabháin

Today, I’m interviewing my friend Owen Ó Súilleabháin who is a coach, performer, and a whole lot more. We’re discussing how he uses his experiences as a performer and his understanding of the arts and psychology, and philosophy, and bringing them together into his private coaching practice. How he uses his gifts with high-level CEOs, folks who have achieved incredible success and are looking at bringing their organization to the next level. They team up with Owen as their coach to ask questions that really provoke creativity and self-understanding and create new possibilities. Enjoy.

Owen shares with us his insights:

  • That’s where it comes from. It comes from this like real curiosity that I have. I want to talk to people who are leaders in their field. And, fascinating is every single person in the world is an expert in something. Every single person is an expert in their own life. And so, actually, I have a question for every single person I’d be. Obviously, there’s some people who are world leaders in their fields and luckily, I’ve come across these people, so I can go hang on. I’ve got some questions for you, and I want some answers. And that type of framing, I think is the beginning of what can be described as leadership coaching -curiosity, openness, and the openness to a sense of truth, telling…
  • And in talking, as we all know, you overhear yourself saying, sometimes very profound things in conversation with another person. You can’t do the same thing talking to yourself. But another person is in the room, this heightened sense of interactive infinite complexity, the spectral reality occurs. This third thing happens that cannot be accessed on your own. It just doesn’t exist. So you need another person to be in conversation – active, energetic, listening, responsive, intelligent, sacred, safe conversation. And when you have that and when you throw kind of, you know, metaphor on the table, like a Kaleidoscope is a metaphor, even the shockers are actually a metaphor, you know. And when you throw the metaphor on the table, the art, it becomes symbolic it becomes this third thing. When you talk about this third thing, you’re actually talking about yourself. You’re not talking about the shockers at all. You’re not talking about a Kaleidoscope. You’re not talking about joining the dots. You’re talking about yourself. So art is really just a metaphor. It’s a way to access the inner theater, the inner drama that’s occurred in your life, which is quite difficult to speak of directly.

  • And also it’s impossible to speak of something in its entirety because the reality of life is complexity that’s why you can interpret a piece of art in as many ways as you want. And it’s the same is true in life. Life can be interpreted at different times and from different perspectives in different ways. So it’s really just about like dynamic real fun conversation. And what happens then is after our chat, after our talk, I actually take notes as well, while I speak with my clients, I take; I’m a fast hyper and I enjoy taking notes and listening to the words that people use. Afterwards, then I will send you the notes from the call you know, for you to reflect on person. And you’ll see words that you didn’t realize, you were using. You probably didn’t realize you use the word Kaleidoscope and I’ll show you and I’ll say you check out this word. And just by having these conversations you stand up slightly in a different posture.


  • Your bearing your connection with the world is just ever so slightly shifted like having going to the gym, you know. You work out on a certain muscle and you don’t notice it instantly growing. But over a period of time, you’re bearing your position, the way you hold yourself in the world starts to shift. And when you do that, the world comes to meet you in a new way and that’s a very simple thing. If you’re grimacing and sort of hunched in your body, people are not, people are going to leave you alone. If you’re sort of more receptive and open in your body, the world is going to come to meet you in a certain way. So that’s what happens in this coaching work, working with the arts. Your body shifts and you embody your world yourself in a different way. And the world comes to meet you in a different way.

Owen Ó Súilleabháin is a singer, composer, facilitator and executive leadership coach. He believes in the power of art to awaken our most dynamic and creative forms into being. He has had the honor of working with some of the great leaders in the world of the arts such as director Steven Spielberg, actor Russell Crowe, violinist Nigel Kennedy, and poet David Whyte. 

He draws on his experience in the performing arts and on his academic background in philosophy, Greek and Roman civilizations, and Peace Studies as well as the wisdom of Celtic culture to liberate creativity in individuals and organizations. He holds a first-class honors Master’s degree in Peace and Development Studies from the University of Limerick, specializing in the analysis of national and local responses to migrants fleeing from violence and seeking asylum in Ireland.

In 2018, Owen co-founded The Studio, an organization that inspires leadership, innovation and culture-change through the experience and the inspiration of artistry. 

In 2020, he established Dámh Imeall – the (h)Edge School, an online community of enquiry and experience for those seeking new purpose in their lives through the power of Celtic spirituality and the arts. Owen provides these virtual workshops with his mother Nóirín Ní Riain and his brother Mícheál Moley Ó Súilleabháin.  

Owen comes from a family of leaders in the arts, education and spirituality. His late father Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin was a national composer, a pioneer in Irish traditional music and founder of the internationally acclaimed Irish World Academy of Music and Dance. His mother Rev. Nóirín Ní Riain Ph.D. is one of Ireland’s renowned singers, a groundbreaking theologian and author, and a widely sought-after spiritual director. 

Owen provides leadership coaching to a select group of people. This work centers on the power of the arts and creativity to inform, inspire and sustain the extraordinary energy and sacrifice that is required of a leader, both on the personal and organizational level.

Learn more about him:







The Course – The 360 Within © – Applying the Arts to your Coaching Practice:


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