meet the core team

Meet Michael


Michael Ryan

Michael Ryan

Growing up in a small town in Oregon in the 1950s, then attending university during the cultural upheaval of the '60s, I came of age in a time that was both exhilarating and bewildering. Not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, but certain that I wouldn't know until I saw more of the world, I dropped out of college and left the familiarity of home to spend a year travelling in Europe and North Africa, pursuing a different kind of education.

In many ways, it was the most important year of my life. From sleeping on the tiny living room floor of a gracious Irish family met by chance in a Dublin pub, to trekking with Berber tribesmen in the mountains of northern Morocco, I began to appreciate the breathtaking diversity of human cultures. How remarkably different and, at the same time, how much alike we all are! As I hoped would happen, I began to become aware of an inner direction, a growing curiosity about what it takes for people–especially those from diverse backgrounds and beliefs–to live, work and thrive together.

After earning a Masters degree and conducting original research in the sociology of emotions, I went on to receive additional training in mediation, family therapy and numerous types of individual and team coaching as I continued to follow my curiosity about people's collective potential for achievement and success. Looking back now over my 30 years of experience—from directing community mediation programs and counseling families in crisis to coaching executives and their organizations—I believe more than ever that people's ability to be productive and fulfilled depends as much on the quality of their relationships with each other as on their own individual capabilities. As I tell my clients, success is a team sport.

Because the COS empowers people to create high-functioning relationships that support everyone within the system to do their best work, it is the most elegant and practical means I know for helping people in an organization or community thrive together. I'm delighted to be a part of this highly collaborative team, which is itself a thriving example of what we teach.

In addition to training individuals and groups in the COS, I am also a purpose coach and organizational purpose consultant and principal of the True Purpose Institute, helping leaders and their companies find and fulfill their highest purpose in order to make their biggest impact in the world. I live with my wife in Boise, Idaho.

Contact Michael at 208-331-3753 or

WHAT Rachel SAYS about Michael:

Michael is incredibly wise, articulate, warm, and comfortable in his own skin. Frankly I don't know what I'd do if he weren't one of my colleagues. He brings an ease and depth to every group he works with. Michael is authentic; he's the real deal.

WHAT Mark SAYS about Michael:

Michael is a master of bringing himself fully to the moment and the work at hand. He embodies what it means to "be present" and inspires us all to do the same. His warm, jovial nature makes collaboration not only more productive, but also more joyful. And his professional experience helping organizations find their purpose serves to keep us attuned to what matters most.

WHAT Liz SAYS about Michael:

Michael brings a beautiful blend of charisma, heart and wisdom to our team. His ability to dance effortlessly between relating, teaching, empathizing and honoring our work is a blessing and breath of fresh air as we work to bring the COS to the masses.