See also Reflecting on a year of freelance facilitation online, and looking ahead, September 2021.
What do my clients, colleagues and group members say about my work? I am grateful to all those who have recommended me for my facilitation, training and other work over the years, not least those listed below with links to further information.
Please click on the larger images below for case studies and blog posts, on the profile images to view those making recommendations and on the icons for PDF downloads.
Recommendations are listed in chronological order by when they were given. Job roles listed were current when recommendations were copied from LinkedIn, or otherwise when recommendations were given.
“Martin supported Amnesty UK with a facilitation project working to deliver a series of events on poverty and human rights in the UK. From a pre-covid brief to host one weekend of in-person activity, the brief morphed into 12 months of virtual planning and delivery with a group of activist and NGO staff. He did a great job throughout and was a real pleasure to work with.”
Ann Burroughs, Chair of the 2021 Global Assembly and Preparatory Committee, Amnesty International – Sep 16, 2021
“Martin and his team provided outstanding support during Amnesty International’s 2021 Global Assembly which for the first time was held entirely online. They were integral in the planning of the model which helped to ensure broad participation and access for delegates of almost 70 member entities. Their experience and familiarity with facilitating online spaces were game changing and were critical in helping to build trust in the process and in a new model of digital governance.”
“Martin has been an asset to Amnesty International. He was a consistent and compassionate presence through multicultural regional meetings and strategy sessions. Throughout 16 sessions of the online 2021 Global Assembly of Amnesty International, he demonstrated a high technical proficiency on the complexity of organisational procedures, terminology, and processes. He demonstrates that he truly hears and sees everyone and increased the quality of our participation.”
“Some training to recommend from Martin Gilbraith! I attended his Introduction to Facilitation Online course. Whatever your experience level, you should find something in this training which can make your online sessions just that bit better and more enjoyable”
“Together with other folks at the Kumquat team Martin helped us to organize the ILGA-Europe Gathering Online 2020. Organizing a large event online for the first time came with many questions and challenges. Martin particularly helped us with providing training and assistance to put together the flow of the programme and to ensure that we were ready to facilitate the many spaces that our event was made up with. It was a pleasure working with Martin!”
Anne Mills, Bury Unitarian Church – Feb 24, 2021
“Introduction to Facilitation Online was full of sensible, practical ideas and suggestions. What I learned during the course has stood me in good stead ever since, and has given me the confidence to extend my knowledge of the usages of Zoom. The after-course materials are an excellent resource in themselves”
“In November 2020, Martin provided invaluable support to Oxfam Ireland in the build-up to a series of multi-stakeholder online workshops. He provided tailored ‘coaching sessions’ to our team, which helped us to prepare and deliver several engaging virtual sessions. These sessions directly catered to our needs, building our ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ virtual facilitation skills and knowledge. Furthermore, he also co-facilitated an in-house “Introduction to Facilitation Online” workshop with colleagues across Southern and Eastern Africa. This excellent workshop was well received by all participants. Thanks, Martin!”
“Martin was my mentor under the IAF Mentoring Programme in 2020. Thanks to Martin, I grew from being not confident at all to quite confident about the facilitation skills I have been developing. Having had the opportunity to discuss with Martin, ask questions and seek his views and guidance once a month between May-December 2020, I have felt a tangible impact on me. I now believe that a professional facilitator is a real and incredibly impactful profession through which I can make contributions in areas I deeply care. Thank you, Martin, for drawing my attention to valuable resources, information and opportunities that I would not have otherwise known existed.”
“Thanks for facilitating our online Strategy Labs – cross-regional, multiple languages. You supported us in focusing on the main issues. Very much appreciated.”
“I can only warmly recommmend @martingilbraith for improving your online meetings. They are here to stay.”
“Can fully recommend this excellent value course [Introduction to Facilitation Online] from Martin and Orla for anyone struggling to transfer their #facilitation skills online, to give you confidence you are doing the right thing or simply to get some good ideas.”
“We would like to thank and congratulate Martin for the work done to facilitate the Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE) online Strategic Development Session. The preparation went very well and the integration of new digital tools into the session was very helpful in allowing for the valuable contribution from our members. The excellent facilitation provided by Martin and his colleague Orla allowed participants to articulate strategic thinking while sticking to the aims of the workshop.”
“Highly recommend this short course on online facilitation – to facilitators, yes, but also to those wanting to reflect on their experience of online groups and meetings, and especially to managers who are commissioning online facilitated sessions — there is so much that needs to be carefully thought through in this environment”
“I attended Martin’s ORID class online “Group Facilitation Methods Online“. I wanted to look in to more deeply since Diana Larsen told me their retrospective framework was somewhat inspired by it. The online class was divided with practical homework and exercises which I find a great way to learn. Martin and Jo were great hosts able get in to deeper conversations when the group desired that still respecting the course agenda.”
“Highly recommended [Introduction to Facilitation Online] Our new world of work learning how to facilitate groups and teams effectively online. Keeping engagement enhances learning. I learned a lot today #facilitation”
“I attended two courses given by Martin ‘in the flesh’ (Meetings That Work and Group Facilitation Methods) and he prepared a tailor-made course in online facilitation for my colleagues at the EMCDDA (an EU agency) in June 2020.
His training style is empathetic, engaging and crammed with useful tips and tricks. I appreciate the fact that you ‘learn by doing’ during his training. He is calm and guides you through the process you are engaged in with sensitivity and style. Feedback from colleagues who took part in the online course has been positive and enthusiastic. Preparing a course with Martin is easy as he is very well organised and communication is clear. Behind this lies a lot of preparation, years of experience and collaboration with other equally-skilled colleagues (in our case Orla Cronin).
I plan to contact Martin again in the future, in order to continue this collaboration and I thoroughly recommend his services to anybody keen to learn more about organising events, facilitation and mediation.”
“I attended an online facilitation training delivered by Martin about ToP methodology & current challenges when facilitating online and it was excellent! Great integration of the various tools being used currently & insights into Focused Conversations & ORID principle. You have definitely sparkled my interest into putting it all into practice and you made technology sound so easy!”
“I had the pleasure to work with Martin on several occasions. At Social Platform, he facilitated a meeting that helped us to define the strategic plan of the organisation and offered us several trainings in facilitation and consensus building skills. More recently, at AEIDL he facilitated a meeting with my team, our experts and some stakeholders to prepare the offer for an important tender. In only two days, he helped us to build our vision for the project and to articulate it in work plans. This meeting was particularly challenging, as it was a hybrid meeting, involving around 25 participants in Brussels and another 5 online. He is very well organised, efficient and extremely skilled in building consensus”
“I worked with Martin on a number of occasions, he facilitated some complex and challenging work shops for Oxfam and managed to pull together very diverse groups. The Rights in Crisis Africa workshop delivered a RIC Africa strategy which we have developed into a campaign.“
“I had the pleasure of working with Martin while co-organising the European Regional Forum of Amnesty International. Thanks to the excellent preparation (although within an incredible tight time frame due to the covid19 crisis) and facilitation of Martin we managed to have an excellent online meeting with 100+ Amnesty-delegates from across the region, bringing us together in a spirit of solidarity, shared purpose and common determination. Inclusive, efficient, fruitful and meaningful were only some of the words used by participants to evaluate the meeting. We achieved this result thanks to our partnership with Martin. Can’t wait to embark on another challenging facilitation adventure with him :-)”
“Martin conducted a strategy workshop with our secretariat team and the association’ Board members here in Brussels to develop a long-term strategy for our association. The strategy meeting has proven to be extremely helpful to evaluate our position and to develop a straight forward plan for the associations’ future”
“Martin is a highly experienced and professional facilitator whom I’ve worked and collaborated with over several years in two of the charities I have led. Martin has facilitated a number of strategy retreats for our teams. He helped us think through how to successfully design and document a 3-year strategy as a collective resulting also with a clear 12-month KPI to execute for the executive/operational team. A real star.”
“Martin is a highly experienced, skillful facilitator who retains his curiosity about what will happen next, even after so many years in the profession. He has worked with international non-profits as a supportive third-party facilitator and as an insider – chairing boards and being CEO. He has a huge commitment to training others to understand how to have more effective conversations and to helping people collaborate to understand situations and plan for a better future. It has been a pleasure to work with him as part of IAF’s leadership team in England and Wales.”
“I attended a meeting facilitated by Martin and was so impressed that I had him do the same for my directorate’s annual retreat. He has a singular ability to get people talking and dreaming freely, but to then to pull it together for a focused action-oriented conclusion. The meeting he held for us yielded a bonded team and a new comms strategy, a legacy that will live on for a long time to come.”
“Martin supported the design and development and also facilitated Amnesty International’s four day Global Activism Hackathon, held at the International Secretariat in October 2017 and attended by 60 participants and resource people. His participatory approaches, methodologies and tools enabled the fullest participation of multi-lingual delegates from diverse backgrounds from across the globe. His facilitation was excellent and greatly appreciated by the participants. He worked well with the organising team and the steering group. His professional and flexible approach was very impressive and helped to achieve the intended outcomes of the Activism Hackathon.”
“The ‘Meetings That Work’ training ticked all the boxes. It was very interesting to hear the theory and useful to have to put it in practice during the many exercises. The proof of that is that I use the templates and ideas from this course on a weekly basis. It improves planning and preparing for one of our 20 meetings (annually). Feedback on the improved meeting format is excellent.”
“Martin facilitated our board away day. He ensured the day was engaging and productive and followed up with a thorough report. I would recommend him as a facilitator.”
“Martin facilitated our Caux Reference Group meeting in June 2016 held in Caux/Switzerland. The Caux Reference Group is an international advisory group to the CAUX-Initiatives of Change (IofC) Foundation, composed of about 50 persons from the International IofC network. Martin facilitated the meeting with the necessary calm and used various facilitation tools to engage the group actively. While there were some rather emotional moments, Martin managed that the participants delivered the key elements for a variety of changes that needed to be reviewed by the foundation. Martin was appreciated by the audience but also by the Foundation management.”
“Great that we had structure, but also great that we could think on our feet to adjust the planning according to what we were hearing from members. All in all we got a huge amount of raw material for development of the strategic plan. The methodology clearly helped.”
“I worked together with Martin when I was a member of the IAF European board. From what I’ve experienced there, I would recommend Martin as a facilitator whenever you need more calm, clarity and structure in a group. In my perception, he also manages the fragile balance between being neutral in a non-judgmental way and still gives a group the necessary sense of direction. In our situation, luckily it was not necessary to facilitate major conflict – but I would definitely think about him as a very good choice even for critical situations.”
Fabrizio Biondi Morra, Program Manager at Oxfam in OPTI – 14 August 2017
“Following the workshop delivered by Martin with Oxfam in OPTI, the country team had a roadmap that laid out all the next steps sectorial working groups had to carry out. Also, through the consensus building process staff from across sectors and offices could come together and strengthen their relationships. These to elements together enabled us as team to renew our professional and personal bonds and work effectively.”
“I thought it was great, thank you for your help and for your agility in responding to the group’s needs. Most importantly we achieved consensus on a focus for our work for the next two years, which is to enhance the strategic communication capabilities of our members.”
“Your facilitation training really was excellent – it put the ‘science’ into something that can be quite hard to navigate and subject sometimes to the whims of who attends!”
“Martin recently facilitated a strategy retreat for our team. It was a 20-person retreat that was part of a much longer, complicated strategy process. Martin was a partner in helping us think through how to successfully design the retreat to really get what the team needed, which isn’t an easy task when dropping into the middle of an existing process. And the team was impressed – after the retreat I emailed him to say ‘Thanks so much for your incredibly skillful facilitation – we have worked with a lot of different facilitators and many of our staff commented that you were the best ever!'”
“Martin is a facilitator for those who have despaired of facilitators. He inspires confidence, is engaging without being overbearing and brings the best out of those he artfully conducts. He will help you structure a meeting and think carefully about what you want from it. Then he will get it for you.”
Nadine Bell (USA) & Frieda Linn (Taiwan), ICA International CTF Assessors – 18 September 2016
“Congratulations on earning your CTF! [Certified ToP Facilitator] Your proposals are comprehensive, clear and compelling. Your documentation is outstanding and serves your clients well. The breadth of your initiatives; number of participants; positive results, favourable feedback and evaluations attest to the significant impact of your facilitated engagements on the organizations with which you have worked. You are a collaborative professional and you have held leadership roles in both the Institute of Cultural Affairs and the International Association of Facilitators. Between the work you do; the training in group facilitation methods and mentoring you deliver; your webinars, blogs, podcasts and conference presentations: and the leadership roles you have held with distinction, the field of facilitation is better because you are in it.”
“Martin joined the organizing team for the conference Addressing Europe’s Unfinished Business (AEUB) which is held annually in Caux, Switzerland, under my coordination; as suggested by another Process Design Facilitator colleague of mine, to support the design of the event in 2015, after a last-minute cancellation in the programme.
Though he was new to all the members, as well as to the organization, he managed to understand the urgent needs to shape the event and provided key advice for the effective delivery of the aims.
I was quite impressed that in spite of the time constrains to exchange about the previous programme development, he still managed to grasp the whole and thoroughly supported us in the run by proposing creative ideas to make the event a lasting experience for participants.
Thanks to his extraordinary facilitation skills, he proved to be a really good advisor on how to better proceed with the challenging situations that arouse during the three days activity.
Although the very short time that we worked together, I am proud of having had him on my team as I largely enjoyed his contribution to AEUB. It will be a pleasure for me to collaborate together again in any future opportunity.”
“New mission of ICUU being read in a myriad of global languages – short and simple but inspired”
“I joined Martin for Group Facilitation Methods training in Brussels, 2 days packed with tips, tricks and hands-on exercises. It was great experience and, though I work as a facilitator with my clients, it gave me a boost to do more, using the ToP methods. I would really recommend anyone who has done facilitation, but need a refresher or inspiration, to join one of Martin’s sessions. He is inspiring, he checks with attendees that they are OK, and he follows up afterwards.”
“I was at this particular meeting [of the Oxfam Lebanon ‘One Country Strategy’ process] and it really was a phenomenal experience. It developed a clear vision, and was inclusive of many diverse voices. I loved Martin’s approach.”
“Martin trained the Chairs of the CENTR Working Groups on facilitation. The training was tailored to the needs of the trainees and was an excellent opportunity for our Chairs to explore the role of a facilitator and their own role(s) as Chairs. It provided them with valuable tools and techniques to make agenda-setting more efficient and meeting facilitation more effective – some have already been able to successfully implement what they learned. It was a pleasure to observe Martin lead the Chairs through a lot of content in a very light and involving way. I would recommend Martin to anyone who is looking for an engaged trainer and thorough listener.”
“Meetings are a key part of what we do. As a diverse, transnational, multilingual membership network, successful meetings are key to our internal and external successes. Many of our staff mentioned Martin’s training as a highlight in their end of year reviews – several said it was the most useful training they had ever attended, and there was a clear consensus that we should work with him again.”
“Martin is a very inspiring trainer, he is very skilled and knows how to facilitate facilitators in a structured and insightful way. I have been able to succesfully use his personal advice and facilitation techniques straight away!”
“Martin is a continuous source of inspiration for me. As a facilitator I really like the way he leads the group, and his ability to foster participation, sustain group discussion and achieve useful outcomes. As a consultant and trainer I’m always curious to see how he market his courses and services, how he designs his training and how he uses social media. As a colleague I appreciate a lot the work he does for the facilitators community, and his ability to create opportunities of peer learning and best practice sharing among facilitators.”
“Martin patiently facilitated an effective and helpful strategic planning session in Beirut, Lebanon using both a friendly and direct manner of facilitation – it was refreshing to see how he helped a group of unique individuals align their thinking from an series of inchoate ideas into a final set of strategic steps for the agency. I fully recommend Martin in strategic facilitation skills.”
“Martin is a highly experienced and professional facilitator who I’ve worked and collaborated with over several years (and earlier been trained by). He is friendly, engaging, open and reliably delivers great engagement and participation in any circumstance and for any company/group/community. His approach is highly collaborative and empathic. I can highly recommend him.”
“The IAF Facilitation Impact Awards are the most prestigious international awards honouring excellence in facilitation and its positive, measurable impact on organizations around the world… The European Training Foundation (ETF) [Italy] celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2014 with a combination of events, videos, and a special publication…
The facilitators Martin Gilbraith and Michael Ambjorn were asked to “creatively engage a diverse, international group of around 120, both face-to-face and online, to reflect, learn and bond together in celebrating 20 years of collective achievement”. Key results achieved include: Staff understanding of the ETF vision increased; Employee engagement enhanced; Internal communication improved.”
“Earlier this year I had the pleasure to meet and be coached by Martin in a Group Facilitation [Methods] workshop he provides through ICA:UK. Thanks to Martin’s exceptional facilitation and coaching skills, this highly effective workshop has provided me with a range of techniques that I can use in my professional and voluntary roles. But without doubt, it was Martin’s Leadership style that helped me most of all. Not only did I develop facilitation skills, but as a direct result of attending this workshop I have been able to unblock several ideas for developing an experiential leadership programme. An exceptional course, run by an exceptional facilitator.”
“I went on a Group Facilitation Methods course run by Martin and found it really helpful. Martin established a really good group learning process and displayed mastery of his subject. I am very glad I went on it and very glad he ran it!”
“The International Association of Facilitators is pleased to announce the induction of these people into the International Facilitators’ Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who: have contributed to our field of practice; have made ‘significant contributions’ to the field of facilitation through publication, promotion, etc.; and who have shown a high level of dedication and service to the international professional association. The individuals named have been nominated and received unanimous agreement from the IAF Board of Directors as being worthy of this, our Association’s, highest distinction.”
“At the beginning of the day my idea of a good facilitator was to do with confidence or social skills, in this course I found that was not actually the case. Facilitation requires professional skills to support a group on a common journey. In Group Facilitation Methods we learnt about distinguishing between reactions, emotions, thoughts, and then how to lead on to actions in yourself and in others. We worked on techniques that I have found useful in my work to do with getting from the idea stage to collectively putting together our propositions. I would recommend the course to others as something that can easily be used in practise for leaders, facilitators and participants of group meetings”.
“As the [ETF] Head of Communication, I had the pleasure of working with Martin on a major internal staff event celebrating the 20th anniversary of our organisation. Martin invested a lot of work and energy in preparing for his task of engaging 120 staff representing all areas of the organisation, more than 25 different nationalities as well as different age groups.
During the day he brought us all through an active, dynamic and entertaining programme that was far away from our daily business, and he did so with an exceptional level of professionalism and enthusiasm, so even the most sceptical were happy to participate in the activities. With his inclusive and authentic style he brought out the best of all staff, and ensured a memorable day. We all enjoyed working with Martin and I would recommend him for any event near you”
“Martin came to IDMC to facilitate our annual strategic planning session. While historically these weeks have always been faced with a fair degree of trepidation, Martin’s steady hand, unflappable temperament and ability to inspire trust and confidence with his calm and patient manner, meant that IDMC was able to really ‘unlock’. As an organisation Martin helped us to work as one team, did not shy away from the ‘tough stuff’ and we were amazed with what we managed to achieve by the end of the week. Everyone sings his praises here, and I would unreservedly recommend him.”
“We had the pleasure to work with Martin Gilbraith for our internal strategic planning week. From beginning to the end, including the preparatory work, it was obvious that Martin had a very clear methodology, he challenged our narrative of our organization through the questions he put forward and in that way we started our preparations months ahead the actual planning. We agreed on tasks and process prior to the week, determined by our definition of what we needed and supported by the good questions and how those processes would fit into the planning week. The planning week itself was a learning experience, very inclusive of all participants.
Underway, Martin was able to adjust his approach to how the team was achieving and putting forward. Every morning we were showed a summary of our work until that day, and a week after conclusion an extensive documentation of all phases and conclusions of each day was delivered. This document has been essential for our work plan and we are very happy to have had Martin Gilbraith’s assistance. We will warmly recommend him to other institutions. Notice though that it requires that you really commit to work in advance with preparations, and that you allocate the time needed for the planning itself.”
“We found the day with you extremely helpful, and it gave us a solid foundation for our action planning the following day, so we came out of it feeling much clearer about our direction and priorities”
“As Chair and on the Board of the IAF, the global professional organization of facilitators, Martin brought a thoughtful, facilitative, and visionary style to the Board. Working with a global team of strong personalities, he helped strengthen the structure and focus of the organization while emphasizing its core values and principles, moving it far down the road in its journey of maturity. He left a legacy of collaboration and respect in the organization’s governance processes.”
“Martin facilitated a trustee and staff ‘away day’ for Cecily’s Fund in February 2013. I was really impressed by the care he took to prepare the day, and his clear and thoughtful way of facilitating. He made sure that everyone got the chance to participate and it was a well structured and productive day. I would highly recommend Martin for facilitation work.”
“I attended a facilitation skills course run by Martin. What made it so useful for me was the opportunity to practice the techniques in a supportive environment and the practical tools we took away from the course. This gave me the confidence to try out the techniques in the ‘real world’. I have been using techniques I learnt during the course to prepare for meetings and it has really helped me focus my thoughts. In addition, since the course I have facilitated a session for one of our partners using the Consensus Workshop approach. Not only did everyone actively participate, we reached consensus and I received very positive feedback from the participants!”
“Martin always produced top-quality charity reports and accounts at ICA:UK, and he understands charity financial management extremely well.”
“Martin was excellent at quickly understanding our requirements and worked with us to develop an effective session. We had a well run event that achieved our outcomes. Martin’s project management skills ensured we achieved our challenging deadlines on budget.”
“Martin and ICA did a great job of facilitating 2 meetings for us. They were both meetings of the SLRC – a DFID funded research programme consortium. They were both complex two day meetings with participants from all over the world and diverse backgrounds, difficult agendas and a huge amount of ground to cover. Martin was hugely helpful in getting us to think through and revise the agenda before the event based on strategic thinking around our core objectives. He did a great job of facilitating the event itself – helping to keep discussions timely, positive and practical. Martin also did an extremely helpful job of capturing key learning and providing a workshop report.”
‘”Undertakings for the Publick Good’, in the words of our founder, is our [the RSA’s] goal – and we wouldn’t be able to meet it without the work Martin Gilbraith has done with us. He is a master facilitator and has continually delivered in a variety of complex and demanding settings.”
“Martin facilitated a 2 day event attended by approximately 60 people. He met with us beforehand to discuss our requirements, suggest facilitation techniques and agree an agenda. He then acted as the sole facilitator for the event itself. I was impressed with Martin’s work and his knowledge of the area. He was able to suggest a range of techniques and styles which ensured that the event was varied and productive. I would recommend him to others”
“The process was very engaging, particularly given that the participants ranged from service users to senior managers from different organisations. The process enabled for people to work together collaboratively to identify issues and agree priorities. A report was produced in a very timely manner which helped us identify the priorities for the project. I would absolutely recommend Martin to others for facilitating similar events”
“Martin is an excellent facilitator who has led really detailed and useful sessions for us on many occasions, leading to results that have enabled us to move forward in our business planning.”
“Martin was very responsive to our needs and diligent in preparing for our meeting.”
“Very good facilitator, excellent attention to detail.”
“I’ve worked with Martin and ICA:UK several times and have never been disappointed. The facilitation approach that Martin uses has benefited me personally, and the organisations I work with, immeasurably. Martin is excellent at distilling the needs of an organisation and adapting ICA’s approach to meet them. I never hesitate to recommend him.”
“Martin’s vision and dedication has been pivotal to ICA:UK for many years. I value the way he involves everyone, keeps people informed and works with seemingly tireless enthusiasm in a role that he clearly enjoys. When I contact Martin, I always do so with trust and confidence.”
“One of our aims in undertaking the project was to build capacity which we could use in the future and this has already been a proven positive outcome: the facilitation skills and techniques learnt and developed during the project have already been used in a number of other areas in the organisation. For example a workshop was held to identify and prioritise the support needs of our tenants to inform the future direction of this service using the trained facilitators and the process learnt which yielded really useful and comprehensive results.”
“ICA UK’s training sessions for our [Sage Gateshead] team have had a significant positive impact on our organisatoin and we are glad to continue working with Martin and his colleagues”
“Martin is a great and skillful facilitator, with a deep experience about Group Facilitation Methods and Multicultural participation. He is also a leader in the ToP Associates network dealing also with biz partnerships, events, trainers trainings and action planning roadmaps. I appreciate his high Integrity and detailed knowledge.”
“Since I joined ICA:UK as a Trustee, I have always been impressed by the quality of Martin’s work. His integrity, attention to the detail and enthusiasm make him an enviable CEO.”
“I have worked with Martin on several different occasions, and he has delivered great work for my employing organisations. He is an expert facilitator, who can handle a range of situations, from internal organisational workshops to public meetings. He is both creative and honest in dealing with clients, and good at handling sensitive political situations.”
“As a trainer Martin created good atmosphere in an international group. His presentations were crispy clear, illustrated by carefully chosen, practical examples from his rich facilitator experience. Numerous tips and explanation were very valuable. Graphical support (sticky wall rolls!) was very helpful in understanding structures and processes. Martin’s skills of time and flow control in the complicated Participatory Strategic Planning training as well as his co-operation with the co-trainer were impressive. Concentrated on participants’ needs, Martin helped me to make in my head a big picture of Strategic Planning session facilitator work and to understand countless details of preparation and running a successful PSP session for various customers.”
“I hired Martin to lead to facilitate a challenging workshop to develop a new strategic vision for two recently merged national charities (One Parent Families and Gingerbread). The purpose of the session was two-fold: 1) to help inform the strategic direction of the new charity 2) to help the staff of both organisations to work together effectively and develop a sense of joint purpose. Martin devised a two-day participatory workshop bringing together all the staff from both organisations. The days were fun, interactive, ensured everyone participated and developed key areas of strategic consensus – ie they were a success!
Inspired by the success of the workshops, I have also attending training, led by Martin to learn for myself the techniques of Participatory Strategic Planning. The two days of training I received from Martin last year were probably the most useful and enjoyable of my career to-date. As a result of this training I have led internal participatory strategic planning workshops which have had great success in developing a consensus around new strategies for my department and the wider organisation.
I would have no hesitation in engaging Martin again to facilitate complex participatory strategic planning workshops and would highly recommend his training courses to anyone who wants to work collaboratively with their colleagues and stakeholders to achieve a consensus on a course of action”.
“I have worked with Martin in a number of capacities connected with ICA:UK. In my time as Trustee, Martin demonstrated diligence and capability in his role as Chief Executive. Martin clearly works hard for the organisation and is passionate about it’s success. ICA:UK is in a very safe pair of hands.”
“Martin is a highly capable and driven Chief Executive. He has been a steady hand during financially rocky times. His organisational vision, together with strong grasp on finance has provided progressive leadership for ICA:UK. Martin has been most impressive in managing the Board.”
“I first came into contact with Martin and ICA:UK through undertaking the Technology of Participation training in 2003, which I still regard as the best single training course I have ever been involved in. I arranged a refresher course through Martin in 2009, and he and his colleagues were a pleasure to work with – efficient, helpful, personable and creative. Highly recommended.”
“Martin has facilitated the identification of the key messages of our Business Plan twice now. He is very thorough in his thinking and preparation. However, he is also well able to adapt his plans on the hoof in response to what happens on the day. We all had a very enjoyable day this year and were delighted with the results.”
“Martin expertly facilitated a number of events around staff engagement and clinical nurse leadership which enabled the organisation to action a number of key areas and provided a platform for longer term activity. I found Martin’s style to be professional and transparent whilst keeping to his brief”.
“I worked with Martin for a couple of years ( 2007-2009) when I was a Trustee of ICA-UK . I found Martin to be very well organised , well able to see the strategic picture yet also having a good grasp of detail . He is always able to convert Board requirements into solid actions. Martin is very well respected and regarded by all trustees and is an excellent team player . Before becoming a Trustee of ICA I attended a training course which was delivered by Martin and it was very apparent that he has strong training and facilitation qualities. He’s a nice guy too!”
“Martin brings a rigour to the teaching of facilitation which means that participants leave the workshop fully ready to go and put it into practice the very next day.”
“I’ve known Martin for several years in his capacity heading up ICA:UK. We’ve also worked together for a number of clients – which has always been a great experience – for me and the clients. Martin is extremely well organised, unfazeable, empowering, he has a huge toolbox to draw from, and is always well in tune with his community. I’ve always found Martin extremely supportive in my own personal growth as a consultant and would not hesitate to recommend him in his several roles as network coordinator, facilitator, consultant, trainer of trainers.”
“Have you ever been in the situation where the group you are working with just don`t seem interested? Well, Martin has some tried and tested participative methods to grab your participant`s attention that will generate new options and focus their energy. The Technology of Participation (ToP) is a fantastic suite of methods used by Martin and ICA:UK with absolutely brilliant results for yourself and your clients.”
“I have known Martin for many years and would have no hesitation in recommending him as an extremely effective and experienced facilitator who uses tried and tested methods which encourage a high level of participation and bring about lasting results.”
“When I think of a facilitative leader, someone who can convene a group and engage them to create and be accountable for something larger than themselves, I think of Martin. I had the opportunity to meet him when he was in the role of IAF Chair Elect. One of his primary motivations appeared to be to bring individuals together to create a team. Following, when he assumed the duty of IAF Chair, one of his first actions was to bring together the global Board members for two days which resulted in a strategic plan for the organization. Shortly after, he shared the plan and his thoughts with all members of the organization. Under his leadership, I am optimistic that the organization will grow and all members will benefit.”
“Martin delivered an excellent course, with back up materials to support this and also spent time understanding our specific requirements to ensure that the delivery was relevant.”
“Martin was the Treasurer and Board member for ICA International [1998-2006]. He provided disciplined service and a clear perspective in a time of great changes for the organization. He has always been a great facilitator of dialogue while making clear his own position. I enjoy a continued relationship to him trough our work in facilitation and ToP training as well as your fantastic illustration of leadership as the IAF President”.
“With only one day’s preparation, Martin grasped exactly what was needed by our government client and then lead the twenty five employees in developing a consensus and action plan. I look forward to the next opportunity to hire hire Martin.”
“My association with Martin over a number of years in different volunteer organisational capacities shows that he is someone you can count on to make things happen. Martin’s attention to details in the midst of holding the big picture serves him well as the current chair of the International Association of Facilitators. Martin is both an effective team leader as well as an accomplished group facilitator.”
“As a Trustee and a trainee I have found Martin to be dedicated, competent, extremely hard working and with the highest integrity. I can thoroughly recommend his training and consultancy on a personal, and corporate basis as part of ICA. As one external evaluator commented it’s amazing how ICA attracts and keeps such excellent staff who work for such modest financial rewards. Well done Martin, keep delivering the best!”
“Some great ideas as facilitator. Friendly, flexible and highly recommended.”
“Martin was immensely helpful as a member of the Quaker Congo Partnership, not least in agreeing to visit our Quaker friends in the eastern part of Congo. He also was instrumental in drawing up the partnership agreement for us. I have no hesitation in recommending him.”
“Martin and I spent a number of years on the board of FOCUS Charity together and I learned a lot from Martin’s extensive third sector experience and passions. When Martin’s other commitments required him to step down after many years, it was real loss to the organisation.”
“An effective team will always need to invest in “time out” in order to continue functioning well. The organisation had gone through significant change, and inevitably we needed to re-group and re-establish the frameworks that make the organisation such a formidable force to be reckoned with. [Martin] facilitated an excellent day which helped to enable us to go from strength to strength.”
“Martin successfully facilitated the Aberdeen International Youth Festival Consultation Day on May 13, 2008. The process included a pre-event visit to Aberdeen where meetings with key stakeholders were held and site visits undertaken…
The day itself required the very careful facilitation of a disparate group of people who all had a stake in the organisation and clearly saw its development from different angles. Martin and his colleague handled the day very well, drawing a good deal of positive discussion and ideas to assist developing further areas of discussion and supporting the way forward in the future. I found him very easy and thorough to deal with and he created a good environment for the day.”
“I used Martin Gilbraith to plan, facilitate and evaluate the Wigan Borough Housing Partnership event on July 8, 2008. The event was a huge success, which was largely down to Martin’s input. I found him to be totally professional in all my dealings with him. Indeed I have recommended his services to several colleagues who are planning similar events.”
“The facilitation you carried out for us in 2006 & 2007 has enabled the subject of the Manchester Compact to be explored in a way that has actively engaged all the participants. From the feedback provided this has proved to be very useful to the development of this policy work.”
“I commissioned Martin to work with Creative Partnerships Sheffield between April & September 2006. The task was to facilitate and support the process of clarifying and prioritising objectives and targets within our draft Delivery Plan, including a timeline for implementation…
Martin fulfilled the brief in every respect. During the process Martin managed with great tact the difficult task of negotiating his relationships with both the commissioner (myself) and the commissioner’s seniors. He proved himself both tenacious about meeting the requirements and flexible in responding to the ideas and opinions of a highly experienced and challenging Partnership Board.
He also gave my team support in how to use the plan to inform quarterlyt reviews of our progress on the objectives specified. This has proven our bedrock. It has given us consistency and momentum even during two years of rapid change and high staff turnover.”
“Martin facilitated the PCT Interpretation Service away day on January 16, 2008. I was extremely impressed with Martin’s input, and his approach to planning and delivering the event. The away day was a huge success, which generated very positive feedback from my staff. I would have no hesitation in employing Martin’s services in the future.”
“Martin facilitated Connect in the North’s Big Planning Day on August 24, 2007. This is our annual meeting to involve people with learning difficulties in writing the business plan for the organisation.
We have been involving people with learning difficulties in planning our work for many years but this was the most successful event. It was a very enjoyable day. The level of participation and contribution from everyone was very high. We were delighted and grateful for the effort put into planning and preparation and the skills with which you facilitated the day.”
“Thank you again for your contribution to the Strategic Planning sessions attended by all our staff on October 23 & 24, 2007. Your experience of the process was an essential element in making it a positive experience for the organisation – an outcome that was by no means assured from the outset.”
“The participative methods adopted throughout this work encouraged clinicians, managers and senior stakeholders to engage with the process. Evaluation and feedback indicated that this inclusive and transparent approach was valued by participants, and that clinicians welcomed the opportunity to systematically identify learning messages for the new organisation.”
“Although not in post to be part of the initial work, I attended the follow up workshop in March. The style of engagement adopted ensured a participative approach and effective, valuable feedback that will inform future leadership development within the organisation.”
“[Martin] took a concept that was ill-defined by the client, and translated it into a series of questions and exercises which enabled a group of community volunteers and public sector employees to enter into a constructive dialogue about the preferred characteristics for the future LINK organisation. Of equal value was their training in the use of the Consensus Workshop and Focused Conversation methods, which, albeit brief, gave confidence and enthusiasm to the participants for them to roll it out with their own organisations as they themselves sought a cross-section of views on how the LINK should operate.
I am happy to recommend [Martin] – not only for this piece of work, but also for other consultation exercises they have done with the Council, which have been equally productive”.
“Our first excursion as a group was a resounding success. All in all we came away feeling more positive, more organised, with a better idea of where we are heading, and with realistic targets that can be achieved. Oh, and it was a good laugh as well! Thanks to all those who helped out, including Martin from ICA – lets hope we can keep the momentum up, and see a cleaner brighter future around the corner”