About Breakthrough


John is the founder/ Director of Breakthrough Consultancy since 1995. He is a certified mediator, conflict coach, facilitator and trainer. He specializes in conflict management coaching, mediation, leadership and organisational development.   

Formerly, he was Director of the Human Potential Research Project at Surrey University, U.K., He is a key associate of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education in the UK where he designed and led their Future Leaders programme for 10 years. 

He is a member of the Board at Dublin Community Mediation and a Council Member of the Mediation Institute of Ireland with responsibility for community sector liaison.  He is a Fellow of the Irish Institute for Training and Development.

Working with contention and conflict has been a constant learning experience throughout John's personal and working life. Having overcome bullying as a young boy at school he went on to work with "emotionally disturbed" children in residential settings. He then trained as a teacher and worked in a residential school with teenagers committed by the courts.  His own and fellow staffs' challenges in dealing with recurring conflict in a humane way motivated him to train as a counselor and facilitator while attaining a Masters in Humanistic Psychology in the UK.

While employed as a lecturer and facilitator at Surrey University from 1981-1995, he was able to research, apply and teach a wide range of personal effectiveness, communication and relationship skills to many front-line staff including teachers, doctors, police, nurses, youth workers and managers.  His books "The Personal Management Handbook and "Empowerment through Experiential Learning" reflect some of this pioneering work.  He established their  groundbreaking MSc. in Change Agent Skills and Strategy to equip consultants with the people and consulting skills needed to facilitate change with its attendant threats, opportunities, tensions and conflicting interests.

His personal experience of marriage break-up and his involvement with the peace process in Ireland, with Glencree Peace and Reconciliation Centre and EU Peace Programmes, led him to further conflict related study and becoming a certified mediator and conflict coach. He also studied in the U.S. at the Processwork Institute of Portland gaining a Masters in Conflict Facilitation and Organisational Change which now underpins his practice as well as his everyday communication and relating styles.  

John is particularly interested in working with contention and conflict where improving communication and relationship is a priority as well as creating solutions to resolve differences and disputes.  He enjoys working with families in Ireland, with individuals and teams in the workplace and continues to work with communities in Ireland and internationally to address issues of concern.  

John is a regular presenter at conferences.  These include  Worldwork Porto Heli, Greece April 2017 http://worldwork.org/ , IODA Flourish Capetown South Africa Sept. 2017http://www.iodaflourish.org.za/ , MII Annual Conference, Athlone Oct. 2017http://www.themii.ie/mii-annual-conference-2017 , Ireland, IAPOP Conference May 2018 DunLaoghaire, Irelandhttp://processworkireland.org/iapop-research-conference-2018/