From Warren Bennis:
Mark is an articulate intuitive and when is on his game, he has a clarity that is illuminating, revelatory and even painful.
Like any classic, a Picasso or Beethoven’s “last” quartet, every time you see or hear them, you learn something new and deepen your understanding of their work and, oh yes, yourself. Mark is a classic, even more so because he doesn’t know it yet.
Enough of my personal views on Mark. What about his professional skills and abilities? Deep listening, a quick study followed by incisively prescriptive interventions are qualities that an effective executive coach should have. They are qualities that Mark has in spades. From my first meeting with him as a guest at President Steve Sample and my USC course, “The Art and Adventure of Leadership” where he asked questions that greatly helped the quality of the classroom discussion to my subsequent meetings with him as a mentor on his leadership work I am continually impressed with his capacity to identify, articulate and address the elephant in the room. Mark once pointed out to me that one of my most helpful traits was that people could quickly “trust me to not hurt them,” something that was very dear to many of those I work with who are constantly under fire. It was and remains one of the most complimentary things anyone has ever said about me and as I have come to know Mark, I think I can say the same about him. Mark also has a quality of having strong opinions without being either opinionated or coming across as judgmental which I believe enables him to be quite direct and even blunt without offending those he works with. It’s a marvelous trait and stands him in good staid when working with executives who are coachable and appreciate direct and constructive input. Another reason people accept his directness without being offended is because it is laced with love.
- Warren Bennis (1925-2014)
Founding chairman of The Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California and Former Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School
Not only was this the highest attendance program (during a full day of hostage negotiation training), it also had the highest sustained attendance of any program. This speaks volumes about the high regard in which you are held and the quality of your presentation — I believe it is accurate to say that the information you imparted will save lives in the future.
- Timothy P. McNally
Assistant Director in Charge
U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
From Adaptive Business Leaders:
Dr. Mark has addressed all nine of our CEO Round Tables. In fact, the reason we invited him back after he spoke to the first group in Southern California, was because of his outstanding ratings by our Healthcare CEO Members. And after speaking to all six of our Healthcare Groups – throughout the State – with equally enthusiastic responses, we invited him to address our three Technology CEO Tables. These guys (practically all of our Tech Members are men) are a much tougher audience, and Mark continued to get near perfect ratings (4.87 on a 5-point scale, as I recall). In addition to having great stories and warm sense of humor, best of all, Mark gets people (even the macho techies) to ‘open up,’ which enriches the entire experience. Plus, from a meeting planner’s perspective, Mark is a dream to work with. Needless to say, I HIGHLY recommend him!
- Mimi Grant, President, Adaptive Business Leaders
From Renaissance Executive Forums:
Many speakers have a great message they want to deliver to an audience and as a result people may hear something new. Some speakers have a story that they want to share to connect with an audience and as a result some people may gain a new insight.
A very few speakers really work to understand the story of the audience so that the message they share allows the audience members to reach a new understanding about themselves and others with a bias toward taking new actions as a result of these insights. Mark Goulston fits this last category.
Mark has a rare quality of being able to go broad and also deep. He captivates the audience with stories through which others can relate and then provides tools that are effective to implement. I wholeheartedly recommend Mark Goulston to any group looking to go to the next level of understanding, trust and alignment.
- Jim Canfield, CEO
Renaissance Executive Forums
From Fortune Growth Summit 2013:
This is THE best listening course we’ve ever hosted – and it is the key skill entrepreneurs (and all of us) need. Mark, a top hostage negotiator trainer, has written the most important book in the field.
- Verne Harnish, CEO, Gazelles and Founder of EO (Entrepreneur’s Organization) and Venture Columnist for Fortune Magazine
From Eben Pagan:
Mark is one of those rare beings who will reach into your heart, and make deep contact with his teaching and presentations. He is probably one of the most empathic people who has ever lived, as evidence by how you feel talking to him for even a few minutes. Mark has spoken at our live events, and I’m always moved when I have the privilege of hearing him speak.
- Eben Pagan, MetaMind Mastermind Conferences, Founder, GetAltitude Programs
I just wanted to let you know that was hands-down the BEST webinar I’ve ever seen. I’ve managed close to 250 webinars, and that was simply stellar!
And the final (incredibly impressive) stats from the live event:
Total registrations: 7985
Total attendees: 2934
Attendance rate: 37%
- Caroline Bell-Luehrs, Marketing, Citrix
This was one of our best webinar events ever. What an honor and a treat to host an event featuring Mark. From the very beginning he had everyone enthralled with his powerful stories and thoughtful advice. Mark has an uncanny ability to connect with everyone with graceful magnetism. And get this: 96% said they would leave the event with something actionable they could do immediately to make a meaningful difference in their work and life. Bravo!
- Shawn Hunter, V.P. and Executive Producer, Skillsoft
From Jason Calacanis:
One of the most insightful people I’ve ever spent time with. Every time I speak with Mark my mind spins for a couple of hours.
- Jason Calacanis, American Internet Entrepreneur, Creator of the LAUNCH Conferences
From G5 Leadership:
100% of G5 members, thought you were engaging and insightful. 100% thought there were meaningful, relevant takeaways and tools they can use. 100% want more topics like this.
- Stephanie Carter, Producer, G5 Leadership, following “Just Listen” webcast and webinar
From Peter Guber
By the time Mark finished his opening session talk to a large group of executives and leaders, he not only fulfilled his promise that they would forever change the way they thought, he just plain and simple won everyone in the audience over. How did he do that? Through compelling and inspiring stories, Mark talks with an audience instead of at them. And if you haven’t noticed, being talked with is something the world is starving for right now while it is still reeling from having been talked at and then run over.
- Peter Guber, CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, author of Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story
From Keith Ferrazzi:
What would you rather reach, a “stretch” goal or an “impossible” goal? That is what Mark challenged himself to do with the 200+ executives and leaders from around the world in his opening session presentation at our Big Task Weekend. His challenge? “In 8 minutes you will permanently change the way you think about something very important to you.” And as I watched, that is exactly what he did (check it out for yourself at: Dr. Mark’s talk at Big Task Weekend). Mark is remarkable. If he could do that in 8 minutes, think of what he could for you in a full keynote, workshop or through his executive coaching.
- Keith Ferrazzi, author of NY Times best selling books, Never Eat Alone and Who’s Got Your Back?
Dr. Goulston was a breath of fresh air in our tech-heavy environment. He is not only an inspiring and incredibly knowledgeable practitioner, but also a true steward to people. I was amazed by the simplicity of his teachings and his gracious mission to empower others.
In a world where “networking” means trading business cards and offering a solid handshake, Dr. Goulston reminded us that it really begins with our own personal responsibility to nurture relationships through generosity and commitment. Dr. Goulston has a gift for understanding the human spirit clearly shaped by his own personal life journey, which makes his teaching all the more genuine. His grace and humility in sharing his own story was inspiring and engaging.
Dr. Goulston takes a simple and empowering approach to relationship building and translates it into actionable, pragmatic plans for personal and professional growth. Our group loved how his concepts were so universal, making the training completely personalized for each individual’s goals. Looking around the room, it was clear that he was connecting to each person in a different way and we all emerged with a fresh sense of excitement about our own potential. We were visibly transformed after our session with him–almost as if we collectively “exhaled,” stepped back, and regrouped. What a tremendous gift!
- Theresa M. Morelli
CIO Account and Release Management
Accenture – Chicago
Given the high praise I received from the person who referred you to me, I had high expectations of you. You not only exceeded my expectations, you completely exceeded my group’s expectations. My people are not the easiest to win over. They can be skeptical and don’t suffer fools or foolishness gladly or lightly. You did more than win them over. You motivated us and you inspired us. Several people commented that you were the best speaker they had heard at Xerox in the past 10 years. I agree.
More importantly, you were one of the best ways for me to show my people that Xerox cares about them. For that I can’t thank you enough. I look forward to finding opportunities for you to assist Xerox in sales and management to have the effect on our people and customers that you had on us to help us go from a “copy” company to the market leader we deserve to be.
- Dawn Sutherland
Southern California/Las Vegas Operations
Your talk, “How Bias Can Impair Your Success and How You Can Eliminate It! Getting Along with Others Who Are Not Like You,” has received more comments than any of our Online CLE seminars as well as the highest average rating of 4 out of a possible 5 stars. It is due to programs like yours that our program has enjoyed such success in serving the legal community. Please accept our sincere gratitude and thanks.
- The State Bar of California
Dr. Goulston has an uncanny ability to discern the most important issues that are at the heart of a conflict and to very quickly and effectively evolve the process towards resolution. Moreover, what makes his interventions especially powerful is that he doesn’t stop there. He actually uses what was once the basis for conflict as a springboard to create synergy and collaboration among individuals. Dr. Goulston is not about change, he is about transformation. It’s an amazing thing to see and to experience!
- Omar Noorzad,Ph.D
Executive Director, Tri-Counties Regional Center
At the beginning of your recent talk, “Family Matters,” you challenged our preferred clients, other trusted advisors that we work with, some of my other partners and me whether we believed that your talk would be one that would fundamentally change the way we think and possibly how we handle our important relationships. When nobody raised their hands, I thought to myself, “Who the heck had I brought in to speak to people, whose respect and trust is very important to me?”
But when at the end of your presentation you repeated your challenge and nearly everybody spontaneously raised their hands and then subsequently told me how much they took from and appreciated your presentation, I realized how much you had exceeded my and everyone’s expectations.
That is something that happens rarely for most people (again including me). I want you to know how much I appreciate your having accomplished that with the group of people who were fortunate enough to hear you speak at our firm (again including me).
- Alin Wall, CPA
From GERBER + CO CPAs
(An Independent BDO Seidman Alliance Firm) Century City
Mark has literally transformed the culture in our firm.We had issues of team building, transition and communication as we have grown and absorbed a couple of smaller firms. . We have appointed a new Managing Partner, In total he spent around 15 hours with us in both private and group sessions – and we could hardly be more pleased with the outcome. His approach is straight forward and he tends to function as a snow plough, clearing the way.
~ Selwyn Gerber CPA
From Merrill Lynch:
Our preferred clients look to us for guidance and reassurance during both difficult and up times. Your presentation to special clients shortly after 9/11 on staying calm during turbulent times enabled them to feel that we are not merely there for them, but with them. Your words overflowed with insight, wisdom and comfort and were just what they — and frankly my colleague Glen and I — needed to hear. Even now several months later, clients who attended continue to thank us for having you speak to them — Please be assured that our increased client cooperation and satisfaction was due significantly to your efforts.
- David V. Hunt, CFM
Assistant Vice President
Private Client Group
From State Farm
Dr. Goulston’s presentation and involvement with my field leadership team had a significant and much longer lasting impact than might have been experienced from a more typical “sales leadership” agenda item. As successful leaders, we’re often too quick to provide field tested answers to the business challenge of the day. The presentation to my group reminded us that effective coaching is more about our ability to ask questions than provide answers, more about our empathy and genuine understanding than a demonstration of our personal expertise. Best of all, your advice was practical. Those who feared a “touch-feely” presentation were pleasantly surprised at the day-to-day applicability of Dr. Goulston’s teachings. Thanks, Mark!
- Don Franco
Vice President – Agency
From State Farm
Working with Mark to prepare a custom workshop for a group of our State Farm field leadership team members was an educational experience by itself.
Every company has specialized needs that outside speakers need to understand and address to provide training to workshop participants that will endure after an offsite retreat has ended. Too often outside speakers promise a customized program than actually deliver it. As a result the value of their presentations also too often dissipates within hours to days after participants return to their home offices. The most effective outside speakers ask lots of questions and demonstrate a sincere interest in delivering a workshop that will have lasting impact. Mark’s questions and insights in the preparation phase, established a solid foundation for a highly valuable training session.
Mark’s customized program included two trainings during our two day retreat to ensure the lasting effects of the retreat. His final presentation to close our conference, “Follow Through Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry,” was a unique program in which he facilitated a high-spirited, interactive session. In this program Mark elicited from the participants the many blockades that they would run into during the first two days back at their home locations that could cause them to not implement what they had learned at the retreat. He followed that by leading us in a lively brainstorming session on the best way to overcome these common obstacles.
Mark has the ability to take sophisticated psychological concepts and apply them to real world situations using very understandable terminology and powerful illustrations. Using compelling stories Mark was able to very effectively demonstrate the concepts we had agreed on as the core or our workshop. He engaged the group energetically and creatively and went well beyond my expectations by both designing and delivering a truly customized workshop that was absolutely on target.
As a final note, one of the most successful and skeptical members of our leadership team who doesn’t suffer fools gladly and who is widely viewed as a thought leader became one of Mark’s biggest fans during and after the conference.
Agency Development Executive
From the Marketing Executives Networking Group
It was a pleasure hosting Dr Mark Goulston as the featured speaker for the January 2006 meeting of the Marketing Executives Networking Group.
As a group of senior level executives, Dr. Goulston’s presentation not only challenged assumptions, but also pointed out the inadequacies in management styles today. In today’s “35 second” society, the art of listening has been lost, as has conversation. The entire group benefited from the meeting, walking away with reminders, helpful tips, and better managerial skills, especially when negotiating.
Any relationship, professional or personal requires one to listen and to compromise. This basic premise needs more reinforcement in both the workplace and home and an hour with Mark certainly made us all much more aware of our surroundings and actions during the day.
- Paul Siman
Co-Chair, Los Angeles Chapter
Marketing Executive Networking Group
From Houlihan, Lokey, Howard & Zukin:
I had meant to write to you some time ago, but frankly our Business Forums have grown in locations, numbers and enthusiasm in no small part due to you as one of the valuable offerings we have provided our members.
As you know we are very selective in our membership of financial, legal, and accounting service professionals. They are amongst the most successful and best in their respective professions in the locations around the country where they practice.
In turn they are a discerning group of individuals who don’t don’t take kindly to having their time wasted. This makes all the more remarkable the uniformly enthusiastic responses you received on your presentation, “EFFECTIVE PERSUASION: A Hostage Negotiator’s Approach,” to our Business Forums in San Francisco, San Diego, Newport Beach, Los Angeles, Dallas and Houston.
Rarely do members remember a presentation from one meeting to the next, yet six months after you gave your series of talks, I still hear from attendees about the valuable tips and insights they took from what you said and how it has helped them in their professional growth and effectiveness.
On a personal note, I was very satisfied to learn something new and immediately applicable to my professional and personal life at each of the meetings I attended even though you spoke on the same subject each time. I was also pleased with how cooperative and easy you were to work with. It was a real pleasure.
- Tracy Albert
Houlihan, Lokey, Howard & Zukin
Please accept this long overdue letter of appreciation for your participation as a guest lecturer in the UCLA upper division undergraduate course on “Death, Trauma and Suicide” offered jointly by the Departments of Psychology and Sociology. Your participation has been critical to maintaining the outstanding success of this. This Course has been a favorite of UCLA students for more than twenty five years. It has been good fortune to have you as a guest lecturer for the past ten years.
I especially want to compliment you on the extraordinary way in which you are able to engage a large audience of 225 students in a meaningful empathic and highly informative exchange over the distress and preoccupations of suicidal patients. More than any other person I know you have the ability to communicate the most serious levels of personal distress and disillusionment and the skill, patience and understanding required by a mental health professional. Your lecture has consistently been at or close to the top in student ratings of lectures given in this course. Importantly, you serve as a wonderful role model of a compassionate, accessible and concerned psychiatrist. From my discussions with students, I know that your openness and professional manner has profoundly influenced many of them to consider pursuing careers in mental health.
- Robert S. Pynoos, M.D., M.P.H.
Director, Trauma Psychiatry Service
Professor, UCLA Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
UCLA School of Medicine
Dr. Goulston doesn’t just speak to his listeners……….he engages them.
And he does it in a way that touches their hearts and minds. His
presentation will strengthen the communication skills of business people at
every level of an organization.
- Richard R. Sill
Vice President of Sales, Consumer
Pharos Science & Applications
From Southern California Mediation Association
Mark and I have worked together on presentations to a variety of different audiences — law students, lawyers and professional mediators. Mark’s magic comes from two skills. First, he studies each group to which he speaks, understands their needs, and tailors his talks especially for them. There is no “canned presentation” where Mark Goulston is concerned. Second, he weaves aspects of his own life experience into every talk, to show that our common human experiences are at the root of all wisdom, and we can all apply our own experiences to solve our problems. Mark’s presentations have consistently received the highest reviews from the audiences he has addressed. I recommend him as highly as possible.
- Jeff Kichaven, President
Southern California Mediation Association
Among other gifts, Dr. Goulston is an excellent teacher. For several years he had been a regular guest lecturer in my UCLA “Death and Suicide” course (which I taught for 25 years). What is noteworthy is that, year after year, he has been rated as the best of the invited speakers. The nuances of his interactions with students (during and after class) mark him as a born teacher, with a special gift for communicating and stimulating thoughts in others.
I believe that it is as a clinician that he shines the most. Dr. Goulston is a humane and compassionate and intellectually active talk-doctor in the best tradition of doctors of the mind.
Somehow, he finds the time to take the time. Without any ostentation, he is top notch in his concern for patients. He has a special clinical breadth and depth in helping dysphoric and suicidal patients. I am especially sensitive to his gift in this area because it is a field which is my own specialty.
He is one of a handful of local psychiatrists to whom I have consistently referred patients — and that is the single best criterion of my evaluation of him as a clinician.
- Edwin S. Shneidman, Ph.D.
Professor of Thanatology Emeritus
From Former “Pain in the Rear” SVP in Financial Services Company:
What started out as a remedial program to deal with my difficult (putting it mildly) personality turned into an opportunity to become happier more successful and a better person than I thought was possible.