Melanie Polk – MBA, ICF PCC

Change-agent. Thought starter. Bridge-builder. Executive Coach. Marketing Strategist.

Melanie Polk brings her experiences as a corporate business leader, executive coach, market researcher, and instructor/facilitator to provide thought-provoking insights to her clients and audiences. Working with leaders in global Fortune 500 organizations – including Disney, PepsiCo, Macy’s, Apple, Cisco, Sephora, Abbott Labs – Melanie’s ‘secret sauce’ is helping others make transformative shifts. She is especially proud of the recent work she has done in partnership with Rice University’s Doerr Institute for New Leaders to develop students into leaders using a ground-breaking approach.

Melanie is known as a highly effective communicator, with a style described as creative, thought-provoking, and engaging. She weaves her experience as a corporate leader, executive coach, and instructor/facilitator to discuss the critical need to develop the leaders of today and tomorrow, so they are prepared to address significant opportunities and challenges that lay ahead.

Featured Topics:

“Leader as Coach: Utilizing Coaching Behaviors to Be a Powerful Leader”

Rapid, constant, and disruptive change is now the norm, and what succeeded in the past no longer guides what will succeed tomorrow. 21st Century leaders simply don’t (and can’t!) have all the right answers. To cope with this new reality, organizations are moving away from traditional command-and-control practices and toward something very different: a model in which leaders (mostly) support, guide, and coach rather than teach, direct, and tell. With a coaching approach, employees are empowered to learn how to adapt to constantly changing environments in ways that unleash fresh energy, innovation, and commitment.

The role of a leader and manager, in short, is becoming that of a coach.

In this talk, Melanie outlines a powerful framework for leaders that utilizes coaching skills as they look to retain, motivate, and engage their employees. The research bears out Melanie’s main theme, that “an engaged workforce is a productive workforce.” By shifting from a ‘command and control’ mindset to one of ‘collaboration and empowerment’ – all while ensuring employees are accountable for their work – leaders will walk away understanding the following:

  • The what, why, how of specific coaching skills and behaviors to use, and when they are most effective
  • Delivering effective feedback
  • What powerful questions really sound like
  • Developing leadership agility

Create a Coaching Culture

In an era where information is ‘democratized’ and organizations are less hierarchical, the role of today’s leaders has evolved from ‘telling’ to ‘empowering.’ Research shows that the millennial and Gen Z workforce value what they call a ‘coaching approach’ to their workplace culture. Add to this the seismic shifts ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent challenges brought on by ‘the Great Resignation,’ leaders are having to fundamentally alter their approach and the resulting cultural shifts needed in their organizations.

In this talk, Melanie will outline why organizations would be well-served to develop a strong coaching culture, which positively correlates to positive business results and increased employee engagement. Those organizations who leverage employees across the spectrum to utilize coaching skills can positively impact a wide breadth of employees.

Key Takeaways:

  • Enhance employees’ ability to lead their teams more effectively
  • Empower employees to positively impact their organization’s culture and performance
  • Understand what a ‘coaching culture’ means and why it matters
  • Learn a few tools to get started to begin the shift to a coaching culture

*ICF (International Coaching Federation) and HCI (Human Capital Institute) Study– Building a Coaching Culture with Millennial Leaders”

You CAN Have It All – just not at the same time.

Live your best life, one chapter at a time.

Women in industrialized cultures have made significant strides across all sectors of our lives over the last half-century. There has never been a time when women are more empowered to speak up for themselves and their needs. And access to opportunities with work, service, personal pursuits, and leadership is at an all-time high.

Yet despite this, why does the pressure remain for so many women to ‘have it all?’ Many women still struggle to juggle a myriad of priorities that leave them tired, burned-out, and dissatisfied.

In this talk, Melanie weaves her own story and those of women she has coached to distill the myths of ‘having it all’ and offer an alternative way of approaching our lives. She will look at the research and trends showing where women stand on the elusive ‘work-life balance’ charade that Melanie contends adds pressure to women to get it ‘just right.’

  • Challenging the ‘work-life balance’ myth
  • Looking at our lives as chapters
  • Spending the time to clear on personal values and needs
  • Sharing thought-provoking questions and insights

What people are saying…

— SVP/GM, Global Retail Brand

“It has been an amazing year of learning and growth under Melanie’s coaching. I would HIGHLY recommend Melanie to support any executive or team and give her my highest 5-star rating!”

-SVP, The Walt Disney Company

“Melanie is a fantastic presenter. She is succinct, prepared, entertaining, and informative.”

-Kristin Patrick, CMO PepsiCo Global Beverage Brands

“Melanie is a leadership and marketing purist who is a great asset for any organization looking to learn and grow. Her judgment, insight, and perspective are simply top-notch

-Brigadier General Tom Kolditz, Doerr Institute for New Leaders/Rice University

“Expect nothing but the best from Melanie Polk – her mastery of both leader development and marketing strategy is a winning combination.”


“In leadership, IQ gets you in the door, but EQ is what makes you soar.”

“Your life’s path is uniquely yours. While seeking perspective and advice from those you trust and admire is wise, ultimately your way forward should follow your mind’s logic and your heart’s desire.”

“You can have it all – just not at the same time.”

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Polk's Expertise

Leader Development - 100%
Emotional Intelligence - 100%
Strategic Thinking - 100%
Team Building - 100%
Conflict Management - 100%

“It has been an amazing year of learning and growth under Melanie’s coaching. I would HIGHLY recommend Melanie to support any executive or team and give her my highest 5-star rating!”

— SVP/GMGlobal Retail Brand


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