Ancora Imparo: Get yourself in for a Full Service!

'This is how I could perform'

Don’t you just love the efficiency of the NCT? You are informed of the dates by post. You then book an appointment on line/by phone with the local centre. They give you an exact time to attend. Generally, you are in an out on schedule. What’s not to like here?

First NCT: I had to bring my car for an NCT – compulsory after 5 years. I drove myself and an almost new car to the backend of Ballymun. It must have been easier to locate Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan than find the NCT centre in Ballymun. Anyway, we got there eventually and the car came through with flying colours. Clean bill of health, completely off the hook for the next 2 years.

This was all achieved before that-infamous Frontline programme. I had no idea that €100 could have fixed the NCT problem at any time (‘dropsy’ is a much nicer term than bribe; corruption can be such a coarse subject).

Personal Service: Most people accept the need to take their car in for a service every 10,000 miles or for an NCT every 2 years. We also assume that the airplanes we fly have similarly been serviced. But do we apply that same mechanical logic to ourselves? How often do we complete a medical or physical overhaul? And, let’s push the possibilities one step further. How often (if ever) do we undergo an emotional tune up?

The Psychiatrist M.Scott Peck (‘The Road Less Travelled’) suggested that everyone should consider undergoing what he termed a ‘psychological makeover’. My initial reaction to this (15 years ago) was why? At that time I had the Irish cultural disdain for counseling – seeing it almost as a tacit recognition of mental illness. That was then. It’s a proud boast that I’ve completed a 180 degree u-turn on this, because of the huge benefits that this can bring to clients.

Inner Tapes: Bob Fulmer, former Professor of Organization Behavior at Columbia University was one of the smartest people I’ve ever worked with. He often used the Igor Ansoff line: ‘Plan or be planned for’ and had a fundamental belief in the idea that you are in charge of your own life – what psychologists call having a strong ‘Locus of Control’. Fulmer argued that people who are very successful and those who are unsuccessful (however you define success) – are both self-made but that only successful people acknowledge this.

A huge part of being successful and happy is being tuned into those inner-tapes, sometimes recorded in childhood, which steer the direction we think (and therefore, take). The good news is that those inner tapes can be reprogrammed. This is what M.Scott Peck was referring to in the suggestion that we all need a periodic ‘overhaul’ just to keep ourselves on a positive track.

Successful Entrepreneur: I have recently been working with a very successful entrepreneur. On almost every indices of success, this guy ‘ticks the boxes’. But he wanted to undertake a rigorous coaching process – the full Monty. Why? Because he believes that the route to happiness is to continue learning and improving yourself. While there are some things I don’t like about the USA – it’s difficult not to admire their positive attitude to self development. The US saying: ‘When you’re green you’re growing. When you’re ripe, you rot’ captures this. I know it’s a bit twee, but the underpinning sentiment is solid.

In his 87th year, the great Italian renaisssnce artist Michelangelo was quoted as saying ‘Ancora Imparo’ (I am still learning). Get yourself in for a service. Try it and if it doesn’t work, think of all the really interesting new conversation pieces that you’ll have. But my guess is that you will be talking up the concept, rather than dismissing it.

Paul Mooney

PS If you want to progress this idea, have a look at the Coaching Roadmap on the Tandem Consulting website There are lots of good coaches around as this area has become more professional in recent years.

PPS If your car is giving trouble getting through the NCT, I know a guy who…


About Tandem Consulting

Paul Mooney holds a Ph.D. and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Industrial Sociology from Trinity College, along with a National Diploma in Industrial Relations (NCI). He has a post-Graduate Diploma and a Masters in Coaching from UCD. Paul, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, is widely recognised as an expert on organisation and individual change. He began his working life as a butcher in Dublin before moving into production management. He subsequently held a number of human resource positions in Ireland and Asia - with General Electric and Sterling Drug. Between 2007 and 2010, Paul held the position of President, National College of Ireland. Paul is currently Managing Partner of Tandem Consulting, a team of senior OD and change specialists. He has run consulting assignments in 20+ countries and is the author of 12 books. Areas of expertise include: • Organisational Development/Change & conflict resolution • Leadership Development/Executive Coaching • Human Resource Management/employee engagement
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