What Our Clients Say

I have been working with MJ over the last 18 months and he has become a trusted advisor.  In the corporate world today, it is truly “lonely at the top” and in my role as CEO, I have been dealing with an enormous amount of change.  Last year we began trading as a public company on the NYSE and the pressures and stress were enormous.  MJ really helped me stay grounded and focus on a few key things; eliminating the ‘noise’ that can distract and understanding who I am and what is important to me.  Those concepts seem so basic but in the tumult of running a public company as well as being a parent and citizen, they can become more difficult to address.

He was also very useful in helping me assess and recruit part of my leadership team.

MJ is very approachable and he uses humor to give clarity to particular situations.  These traits meld very well with my personality.  He is flexible and creative about helping me become a better leader and a better person"
— John Kett, President and CEO
“MJ and I have been working together for 5 years. MJ has been my executive coach over that time and has partnered with me to maximize the engagement of the teams I represent. MJ is a remarkable business partner all around. He is pragmatic, as well as having strong analytical and listening skills. He proposes great innovative ideas, that are right for the moment and the culture, to help drive a teams’ performance as well as my own. MJ is always available and has a style which allows him to build trust and connect at all levels in the organization to drive positive change. Just amazing”"
— Olivier Leonetti, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President
Johnson Controls
I have been working with MJ for the last 18 months in several different capacities. 1) Together we have been focused on aligning my organizations values and goals. We built a framework that defines who we are and how we should show up in our day jobs. 2) Workshops with key leadership talent that provided tools and frameworks for us all to better communicate and collaborate with. 3) Individual coaching with key leadership folks. 4) Exec level 1-1 coaching with myself. The culmination of all this work has led to a transformative turnaround across the business.   The advertising industry and marketing clients are challenged right now and MJ is helping us stay focused and execute our game plan. In a time of such complexity being grounded in simplicity and staying smart is what is setting us apart from our competition. On top of all this, MJ and I have grown into true friends…which makes all the hard work we do together all that more fun.  I highly recommend working with MJ and ICS.  "
— Richard McDonald, CEO
Shafer Condon Carter
MJ has begun working with the Joffrey Ballet during the most critical period in its existence since it moved to the city of Chicago 25 years ago. The stresses on the senior staff were palpable and survival rested on their shoulders. In just 2 months’ time, MJ worked with me to create a strategy for Senior staff which has reset the organization gracefully and rapidly by developing new skills for listening, communicating and functioning at higher and more effective levels. He has quickly gained the trust of everyone with whom he worked as well as the entire Board of Directors when he led them in a Full Board Zoom meeting.  He has a great depth of experience and wisdom which he uses to effectively gain the trust and respect of the participants. He is straightforward and possessed a great sense of humor and an outsized ability to connect with people. As Board Chair of this great organization, he provided me with the help and assurances I needed.   He is a joy to work with. I recommend him highly. "
— Anne Kaplan, Board Chair
The Joffrey Ballet
I have known and worked with MJ for over 11 years through three leadership roles. He has been a valued partner to me and an integral part the organizations I have led. MJ has served as a coach, mentor & thought partner to me. He has been an active part of my efforts to launch enterprise wide initiatives to develop, codify & launch values, beliefs & leadership practices across my organization.

In addition to coaching me, he coaches my senior team as well as my mid-career high potential leaders. His contributions have been significant and have played an important role in allowing me to grow my businesses. He has also helped drive meaningful cultural change at Transcendia.

During the last six months he has also taken on the role of helping my organization work through the stresses and challenges of COVID-19. 

He has my trust and has gained the trust of my organization during our off-site retreats and coaching sessions."
— John Bagnuolo, CEO
I first met M.J. Jiaras when he was recommended and hired to be an Executive Coach for one of my senior leaders. As I witnessed the success he created, I chose to expand our relationship.  I brought in M.J. to coach me personally as a CEO of 26 years and 44 years in our family business in total.  We worked on a number of areas: 
- Aligning Goals and Values for the Company and the Family
- Focusing on Strategy to Position the Company for Success
- Succession Planning and Personnel Development, including Gap Analysis and closing those gaps
      - This covered both Executives and Family Members
- Personal traits that can enable success, or inhibit success
      - We worked on both
M.J. has a unique ability to connect with many different types of people in a collaborative way.  He can assess a complex situation, articulate a vision of the real goals and issues, and create a sustainable path to achieve agreed upon objectives.  Part of his success is he does NOT give you the answer to the test, he facilitates the individual or the company to arrive at a solution or strategy for success.  Another area of positive uniqueness is he achieves these advancements within the framework of the culture of the company.  His involvement enhances the good parts of a successful culture to grow, and helps identify areas for introspection, improvement, and change.  M.J. style is absolutely collaborative and fun.   I look forward to our time spent together.  I always learn something of value.
On a personal note, M.J has truly added value to my life as a CEO, husband, father, grandfather and friend.  I have focused on a number of areas for improvement for me as a CEO, and those lessons learned have been equally valuable in my personal life.  He challenges me to be a better leader and person.  I highly recommend M.J. and ICS to anybody who is looking for self-improvement or to develop others for future success."
— Ed Holland, CEO
M. Holland Company
The coaching provided by ICS and MJ have been very valuable for me as a leader and employee, but also as a person!  MJ has opened my eyes to a different way of thinking about myself and how I ‘show up’ both at home and at work – by considering the impact I have on other people.  The ‘Mindset’ approach and the ‘Intention & Impact’ framework have been really useful tools that have given me confidence and direction, and energized my team. Thanks to MJ’s guidance we are focused on the process, not just on the end result.
MJ is very easy to work with, communicates effectively, is engaging with team members from all levels within my team and finds the right balance between brevity, professionalism and intellectual focus.  I have worked with mentors in the past that are either too casual or too philosophically serious to really be impactful and engaging – MJ gets the balance right.
For me as a Leader and for my Team – our performance has improved and the results are better, thanks to MJ’s guidance."
— Chris Reynolds, Senior Vice President, Sales
I originally started working with Integrated Coaching Solutions and M.J. Jiaras when I was heading a large federal policy department for a major health insurance organization during enactment and implementation of significant new federal healthcare legislation.  He gave me insights and strategies so that I could best determine how to navigate a politically charged environment. His ability to help me cut through the noise and build a highly collaborative, creative and savvy team was tremendous -so much so, that I went back to M.J a few years later when I took over the entire division.  This happened to coincide with another politically turbulent time in healthcare.  M.J. helped me find the confidence, clarity and purpose I needed to rise from a peer to a leader, successfully navigate a tough political environment and build an even stronger team that is ready to rise to every challenge sent our way.  M.J is a straight shooter that tells you what you need to hear and then helps you find the path to success.  "
— Justine Handelman, Senior Vice President, Office of Policy and Representation
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
I started working with Integrated Coaching Solutions and M.J. Jiaras at a critical point in my career and leadership trajectory. Having newly taken the reins of a large, complex organization and succeeding a 35-year leader, I needed to marshal a different set of leadership skills and view myself and my role differently. M.J.’s greatest value to me during my first two years was to help me achieve clarity about the biggest challenges I was facing and see the best ways forward. As I grew into the role, he adapted to meet me where I was. A straight shooter, M.J. can cut through mountains of information and noise to help executives see the core issues requiring their attention and action. He is easy to be with and has a special ability to connect with people. I could always count on him to be simultaneously in my corner, yet totally uncompromising in challenging me to take my leadership to the next level."
— Evelyn Diaz, President
Heartland Alliance
As a first-time CEO, I experienced quickly how lonely it can be at the top. M.J. not only provided me with a sounding board, but his coaching enabled me to more confidently navigate this new role.  M.J. has a magical talent for getting to the essence of complex challenges, recognizing team dynamics that work and those that don’t work, and identifying strengths for maximum value.  Moreover, he helped me architect the type of leader that I wanted to be – and then put it into practice. M.J.’s truly unique talent to seamlessly weave developmental themes and opportunities with real-time business was invaluable.  "
— Caralynn Nowinski Collen, CEO
Dimension Inx
M.J. is a tremendous coach who engages with each client in an unassuming personal journey that helps you find your better self.  He doesn't bring any of the "preachy" framework laden coaching approaches.  Instead M.J. is patient and takes the time to get to know you and then guides and frames how you can drive personal improvement.  His approach leads to an exploration and reflection of who you are that exposes things you might not have realized.  Through the years working with M.J. I always walk out of every conversation with a better understanding of who I am and how I can be a better leader.  I have thoroughly enjoyed working with M.J. and view him not just as a coach but a friend.  "
— Kelly Mark, Executive Vice President, Software & Services
Motorola Solutions
Integrated Coaching Solutions offers a uniquely philosophical, almost spiritual, approach that provides guidance and insights not included in other executive coaching programs. M.J.’s personal commitment and ability to connect with people creates trust and allows executives to open up and share their thoughts and feelings. Some benefits are better work planning and a more balanced approach between work and their personal life. "
— Frank Clark, Board of Directors
Waste Management
I can highly recommend M.J. as a facilitator for group discussions, whether in the boardroom or with a senior team.   He employs his own unique set of skills in helping people to listen to one another, to hear different perspectives, and to recognize their own biases.  He brings a positive attitude that assists a group in recognizing a common purpose and a shared commitment to improve their workplace and their organization."
— Pam Strobel, Board of Directors
University of Illinois
I had been promoted quickly within the organization. Despite a wide variety of roles, I found there were common challenges. I realized I would benefit by putting more tools in my tool bag. MJ identified talents that had not become strengths because I had never intentionally practiced their use. Maybe it's because he played in a band, but he reads people and situations very well and quickly. He uses wide variety of tools. The best thing is the fun it's been working with MJ! I got much more out of this than I had hoped. I highly recommend working with him."
— Robert Sahadavan, VP Consumer Marketing & Data Analytics
Being an Ostrich

Sometimes it is that one observation that puts everything into perspective.  

M.J. Jiaras is an outstanding coach with preternatural intuition and keen intelligence that he uses to guide you through the process of transformational self-development.  I requested to work with M.J. six months ago to help me hone in on a somewhat vague feeling that was stopping me from realizing my potential.  My results were good and there was nothing specific, but I knew I could be doing better.  M.J. helped ferret out the issue with a process I can only describe as a deliberate meandering of questioning and listening that yields profound observations and insights.  For me, he pointed out that I was behaving like an “ostrich”, which was a huge surprise for someone who considers herself a vocal, direct and passionate leader who likes a challenge.  But, M.J. showed me how I wasn’t fully embracing my potential and in fact pretending it would disappear if I ignored it.  That one comment, the culmination of several months of coaching, changed my life.

M.J. is insightful, articulate, warm and very personable.  He does not tolerate personal self-deceptions, but rather encourages honesty and possibility.  I found working with him to be a transformational experience and I cannot recommend him highly enough."
— Shayna Schulz, VP, Customer Contact Center Operations