“I am writing to thank you, Martha, for the excellent coaching sessions. In my business career, one of my past responsibilities was to select and organize team building sessions and speakers with the goal to provide motivation and insight for professional group or individual growth. I want to congratulate you as your program stands out.
It was creative and innovative to take your background and create a unique opportunity that brought forth leadership, communication skills and training. That said, I have personally witnessed others who have sought to bring their education, expertise, and/or experience into the corporate environment. Many fall flat as they are unable to customize to the business culture and needs of their audience. You succeeded. In particular:
– You continually aligned an activity to a business situation or opportunity. With each, you clearly explained and drew the parallels beyond the improvisation so that the participant could not only gain person direct insight but valuable team interactive skills.
-You were able to make your training universal so that it would resonate in a highly stressed, work situation that addressed the individual needs of those present. Your communication skills rose above the “bubble” of the theater allowed your audience to bring their business situations to light.
-By offering a variety of exercises that varied in scope and end goals, there were many opportunities to engage and learn. In addition, your openness to ask questions and listen to your clients was clearly evident. Your articulate responses transcended and allowed for numerous take-aways.
Ultimately, I find your approach valuable for many companies (no matter what their core focus may be) and for many professionals seeking individual coaching.
Thank you again and congratulations on your outstanding program!”
“There are loads of people who can teach you the mechanics of presentation skills. Martha extends well beyond mechanics to help you – in your own authentic voice – connect with your audiences in ways you never imagined.
She is a caring collaborator who invests deeply in the success of her clients. Her non-cookie cutter approach helps each person connect with their inner self to help them connect in more impactful ways. ” Senior Leader – Global Asset Management
“It was a pleasure working with you. Thank you very much for your energetic and insightful sessions.
In particular, the physical & presence aspects were something I haven’t heard much outside your course. It reminded me of a famous Japanese writer and educator, Takashi Saito, who also put a focus on honing a sense of the body.
I am confident that I can use what I learned to grow in my role as a leader.” Professional Services Firm Partner, Japanese Leadership Academy
“I am in a new C-Level role and there is nothing that you and I have done over the years we’ve worked together that I’ve ever done before. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t rely on the skills you taught me to be successful in this role.” CFO – Pharma Business
“Thank you so much for your coaching session over a year. It was a great pleasure to work with you. I strongly feel that your sessions are very effective and useful for my future career. In addition, most importantly, it was fun!” Professional Services Firm Partner, Japanese Leadership Academy
“My new role is challenging and demanding. Some of it is fun. Some drudgery. My company is in the throes of change at a time when I am adjusting to a new role. I reference some aspect of your course at least weekly, if not more frequently. I have told countless people about it and happy to pass along your information.”
“Martha, Thanks so much for the workshop. I truly believe it was one of the best learning experiences I have ever had. You kept us engaged completely with your timing and ability to quickly change things up.
I look forward to seeing you next year.” (Pitch to Win participant)
“You have the gift – the talent – of identifying the essence of the person you work with.”
“I retained Martha to coach a senior executive. Martha took the time to understand the deeper issues of what it would take to turbocharge our business. She was quite helpful in opening the executive to the obstacles that were in the way of success and get the executive to seek ways of overcoming them. In addition to working with the executive, she gave me the space to learn, to take on and to integrate the essential leadership communication skills. The ease in which I was able to take on these new behaviors and the shift they caused was tectonic. This result helped to create significant growth in the last quarter.” – Founder & Owner, Technology Company
“It was clear Martha understood our business imperatives and each individual’s challenges and goals. The work was customized to our express needs. I took away tools to apply in my business to get the results I needed right away.
Martha brings her expertise and energy that makes this program unsurpassed. She knows what you need and how to get you there. Working with her has changed the way I communicate and build relationships…it has changed the way I do business.
The work took me and my practices way beyond what other programs have offered. This caliber of training is rare”. – Sr. Director, Global Pharmaceutical Company
“I just completed my third training with Martha Gelnaw and each session builds on one another. The classes are motivational, fun and highly educational and seem to get better each time! Martha is an experienced professional that has help me both professionally and personally. I am a big fan of the Improvisation session because I believe that every sales call is an improvisation. “Feeling my Feet” and “Being in the Moment” are two skills learned in the training that could be implemented immediately.” – Director, Global Pharma Company
“Martha has an amazing ability to work with presenters’ talents and even shortcomings to allow them to shine! She helped turn dry mathematical and financial bankers into exciting and engaging facilitators and educators. With over 20 different presenters, Martha coached each presenter by identifying strengths and weaknesses and by giving tailored advice to each – sometimes drama and acting advice helped, or voice and tone coaching, or even helping choreograph movements to release nervous energy. The feedback from the participants was excellent; and as importantly, each presenter felt confident in their speeches!” – Executive Director, Sales & Trading, Global Investment Bank
“Working in the male-dominated trading floor environment made it hard for me [a woman] to feel recognized. Martha’s use of role-playing situations made it easier for me to introduce myself, assert my ideas in meetings, and gain credit for my work which allowed me to advance in my career.” – Director, Sales & Trading, Global Investment Bank
“I contracted Martha to work with my senior team who was preparing to present at a high stakes internal conference with an audience of 800 during a critical juncture for our practice. She worked carefully with each person to bring out their best, most engaging style and persuasive message. This was no easy task as these were people who are highly technical and not used to exhibiting a compelling stage presence. The results were very good and each person was happy with the outcome from the meeting.” – Senior Project Manager, Big Four Professional Services Firm
“Martha helped me become confident, relaxed, clear and organized – and to come across as an expert willing to help the audience while presenting trade ideas to greater than a hundred clients who had various levels of expertise”. – Director, Sales and Trading, Investment Bank
“I attended a program that Martha facilitated early in my career … [her] coaching has made me more self-aware of my communication style … I attribute the outstanding results to Martha’s deep experience in advising executives at all levels, acting training and sincere interest in seeing everyone succeed. Martha has really made a difference!” – Finance Director, Pharma firm
Letters to a manager from his staff regarding a program I facilitated:
I thought the session was very helpful. We used role-play where we were able to demonstrate how we communicate with clients. By analyzing the different styles of communicators there are, we were able to improve how we communicate to better improve our relationship and get what we need from them. She was excellent.
The Strengthening Client Relationships was very relevant to diversity. We learned how to observe and be aware four types of communication styles that our clients possess. She showed us how to be part of the solution, rather than continue to restate the problem.
I learned how to make recommendations and persuade the audience by using appropriate vocal tone and physical expression. We demonstrated these concepts by performing several business role-play scenarios. The fact that she provided feedback after we completed our role-play was most helpful to understand our areas of improvement.
Gaining this experience makes me more confident that we can use these techniques in every aspect of our personal and professional lives in developing a solution-based philosophy and become more effective problem solvers.
She was very personable, intelligent, knowledgeable, and empathetic toward our situations. I saw that if we use this approach we should be more easily be able to convince our clients to stay within compliance and follow the company or government regulated policies and procedures to avoid any added, unnecessary expenses reducing the firm’s profits. Even though she focused a lot on diversity and most of her experience was with major financial services firms, i.e. the banking industry; she was able to relate her examples to our industry and our department, so that we could see how those experiences could benefit us.
She was very knowledgeable in the field of diversity issues. She knew about our philosophy and initiative around “one team, one goal, no surprises” – and tried to initiate the “we” attitude in her speaking throughout our agenda and her topics of discussion. Another positive feedback is that she was willing to be flexible about amending &/or changing her pre-set agenda to meet the needs of the group. She taught us to always be cognizant of whom the audience is and to tailor our approach to them, so we can get them to see things with a different perspective. She had the knack of making us feel comfortable and encouraged us to bring to the table any difficult scenarios we may currently be facing in our roles so we could get some resolution to them. This was one of the most important things, because if we cannot apply what we have learned then the company has spent money for a worthless cause that did not serve the purpose it intended. – an Asset Management Internal Audit Group
By the nature of this work with the high level and visibility of clients, coaching is kept in strictest confidence. Many rely on me to keep their request for anonymity. Therefore, I publish examples of engagements in case studies, client success stories or comments without the mention of the name of an individual.