I have been delivering coaching, training and consultancy to professionals in a variety of industries and roles for 14 years, from self-employed professionals, to managers to CEO’s of multinational organisations going through transitions and radical professional change.
Some clients are happy to share their experience to help others see what is possible. At the same time they have requested to keep their privacy, either because they don’t like to be exposed or because their testimonials contains ‘sensitive’ information. We respect your privacy and are grateful for your willingness to share with others. This is why you will see some hidden photos or initials next to some testimonials or case studies.
It’s a fantastic feeling when you think you’ve done a good job for your clients. It’s even better when they tell you so.
Here are few comments from clients who have:
I consider myself a seasoned professional, skilled and competent in many areas, but when it came to public speaking I used to feel very uncomfortable, and did my best to avoid it.
For my own development I knew it was important to overcome this challenge, so I decided to get professional help. A friend recommended Maite, who turned out to be the perfect coach. She is professional and non- judgemental, and she made me feel at ease straight away.
She created a specific coaching plan for me, with clear objectives and measurable steps, and we worked intensively together over five sessions. As a result, I have become a better public speaker and a much better communicator generally. As I started to believe more and more in the value I was delivering, my overall confidence increased too. It was an exciting journey of self-discovery, and I feel much happier in my own skin.
Colleagues started noticing the difference in me after just one coaching session with Maite. I’m sure that being more confident made others see me in a more positive light, which improved my relationships with them and probably also helped me get a pay rise.
Today I feel better equipped than ever to deal not just with the day-to-day challenges, but with whatever comes my way. I’ve learned new tools and strategies that I can use at any time, for the rest of my life, and discovered how to master my thinking so that I look at the world and those around me from a new, more positive perspective. I’d recommend any ambitious professional who wants to raise their game to work with Maite. I know they will be glad they did.
If you want to know how others have swapped corporate life for a better future, these stories will inspire you. Like you, all of them were doing things they didn't like doing and so were paying the price both in terms of time and a wasted life. But they did something about it and you can too.
With a degree in International Relations, Political Science and Government, and a Diploma in International Marketing from UC Berkeley, 37 year-old Matteo Bianchi, originally from Venice, is corporate material through and through.
Fast-tracked through IKEA’s graduate programme, in 2005 he turned down a marketing position at its Swedish HQ for the lure of London, hub of the marketing and advertising world.
Arriving armed with laptop, coffee machine and pressure cooker, “the secret of cooking for singles”, Matteo first joined ad agency DDB, and later JWT, working on global accounts for Esso and Reckitt-Benckiser.
As a child I was always drawing, so I knew I wanted to do something creative, which is why I went into advertising and marketing. But then I found that increasingly unfulfilling, because I needed to bring my own ideas to life, not someone else’s.
So, even though no one in my family worked for themselves, at heart I knew I should be a designer and an entrepreneur, I was just trapped for the moment in a corporate job because that was expected of me.
At first, I didn’t know what direction to take, which led me to randomly explore lots of options, from reflexology to shiatsu. It was only when I took a weekend interior design course that I suddenly knew that this was what I wanted to do. From then on, I began planning my corporate escape.
I was 29 and I wanted to be ready to make my move when I turned 30. So I took out a £20,000 bank loan and went back to college as a full-time student, studying for a Diploma in Interior Design at Chelsea College of Arts and Design.”
That was in 2005.
In 2006, Matteo set up Daruma Design, an interior design practice creating not just luxurious interiors with an Italian flavour, but also to sell products like his range of seating, the ‘Muffin Pouffe’.
Seven years later, his interior design consultancy, Matteo Bianchi Studios, with its Original design for inspiring living’ approach is well established. Matteo himself has a growing reputation, with his work already featured in Vogue Interiors, Cosmopolitan and Elite. He can also list residential and commercial projects in the UK, mainland Europe, the Middle East, Nigeria and Australia among his successes, including retail space in Harrods and a restaurant in the heart of Venice.
Moving to the next level
But how did Matteo bridge the gap between novice start-up and international success story? Hard work? Recommendations from happy clients and personal contacts? Talent? All of these undoubtedly. But they weren’t enough on their own … he also needed a little outside help, and that came in the shape of Maite Barón and her company The Corporate Escape.
“When I met Maite I’d already been in business for six years. Her background working for major fashion houses meant we connected immediately. It was also obvious from her experience as an executive coach that she was an expert who actually knew what she was talking about.
However, it wasn’t until after speaking with her that I realised my business was stuck. I was doing OK, but not as well as I would have liked and in large part that was because I didn’t have a clear vision of what I wanted.
I was still thinking like an employee, not an entrepreneur, and that was holding me back. I was drifting when I should have been focusing on personal branding and marketing. I needed someone to push me beyond my limits and I quickly recognised that Maite was the person to do it. I felt that she was someone I could trust.
Hiring Maite for her three-month intensive ‘Grow Your Business’ coaching programme was a big investment for me, but by lunchtime on the first day, I was able to say to her, ‘You would have saved me lots of pain, money, energy and mistakes if I’d met you three years ago.’
Now that investment has repaid itself many times over. Because the coaching was one-to-one and tailor-made for me, we were able to make progress very quickly.
She was different from the other coaches I’d met. Very challenging, but understanding of what I needed and with a systematic approach to achieving results. It’s a rare combination of a business mind and creativity that’s I why I guess she helped me see my potential in 3D and images, which is how I think.
Maite showed me how I could use the strengths that I had, like public speaking, to best advantage, while identifying other areas that were stopping the business from developing. For instance, I was not good at delegating, I had particular attitudes towards money and I was lacking clarity about the business niche I should be in. All aspects that were counter-productive commercially.
The process we went through wasn’t always comfortable and often very demanding but it was bloody useful and exactly what I needed. Somehow Maite knew how far she could push me and I trusted her.
She helped me to dream bigger and to shift the way I looked at my business so I could achieve more. Now my vision of what the future could be like is so real that I feel as though I can touch it in my mind.”
A little over a year on from his coaching, consulting and mentoring, Matteo has certainly overcome his delegation issues, with two full-time employees and a part-time now on the books, as well as an intern and several freelancers providing much-needed help for his expanding business.
The marketing plan he developed with Maite, which revolves around his natural strengths and a comprehensive social media strategy, has turned into what Matteo calls “his unstoppable monster”.
His ‘Muffin Pouffe’has also featured in international publications like Vogue Italia and Zurich Deluxe, and been exhibited in Milan at the Salone del Mobile 2013. In August, Matteo was selected as ‘Designer of the Month’ at the iconic art gallery, Spazio Anna Breda in Padua.
All this has has enabled him to attract more clients and develop markets for new products like ‘Unexpected Elegance’, the collection he will be launching by the end of 2013. He’s also just been appointed to design a prestigious furniture collection by Milan’s Salone 2014.
He is now also using his public speaking skills to great effect and has become a keynote speaker at interior design shows and conferences around the world, like INDEX 2013,the world’s trade show for architecture and design. With media appearances in The Sleeper,Dezeen magazine,Metro and DesignMENA, Matteo seems to have made a very successful corporate escape.
The Story of Matteo Bianchi – A Heart for Design