Within an elegant workspace in London's financial district, Square Mile has the pleasure of meeting with Catherine Maitrier, the founder of Powerup School, a leading corporate training agency that specialises in negotiation and leadership.

With a notable client base including the likes of PwC, the Boston Consulting Group and IPG Mediabrands, Maitrier travels abroad regularly to train business leaders in the art and science of negotiation.

Her journey spans the complexities of M&A law and the dynamic realm of entrepreneurship – and she is a sought-after Negotiation Teacher at Sciences Po, France’s leading university in social sciences known for educating the country’s political and business leaders including Emmanuel Macron.

In our conversation, she shares insights into what makes a good negotiator and tells us about how Powerup School helps professionals reach their full potential.

Catherine, what draws your interest to the field of negotiation?

Coming from a family of entrepreneurs and having lived on three continents at a young age, I have, deep within me, a drive to overcome differences and bring people together.

Negotiation, to me, is the ability to build bridges between people. It's the skill that propels us towards agreement whether in business, politics or our personal lives.

It is an integral part of our lives from deciding on the choice of restaurant with our partner, taking on a new client, resolving a dispute, merging two companies, all the way to forging a peace treaty between nations.

It’s also a captivating field of study built on more than four decades of research and analysis aimed at understanding the most effective strategies for reaching agreement.

Catherine Maitrier, the founder of Powerup School

How does your negotiation program impact professionals? What notable effects have you observed on their negotiation abilities?

Our programs have a transformative impact. New leaders gain indispensable skills, while experienced professionals refine their craft, identifying blind spots and reinforcing their strengths.

Generally, they all develop a problem-solving mindset and approach negotiations better prepared. They listen more carefully, come up with creative solutions, transmit more credibility on issues of significance and handle difficult conversations more swiftly – all of which allows them to reach mutually beneficial outcomes.

Ethics is also a core component of our programs. We challenge leaders not only to build a reputation of trust but also to consider how their decisions will ultimately shape their legacy.

“We challenge leaders not only to build a reputation of trust but also to consider how their decisions will ultimately shape their legacy.”

Who are your clients, and who do you believe would benefit most from participating in your training programs?

Our clients are business leaders and mid to senior management working within industries ranging from consulting, marketing, law, finance to tech.

The common thread between our program participants is that they are regularly involved in high-stakes negotiations.

Powerup School
Powerup School

What sets Powerup School apart from other training programs in the field of negotiation and leadership? What unique elements define your approach?

Three key points sets us apart. Firstly, Powerup School stands at the juncture of domain expertise and teaching excellence. Our trainers are not only experts, they are world-class teachers. We place a central emphasis on the teaching approach and have developed a four-step interactive methodology to ensure our training programs have a lasting impact on learners.

Secondly, the content of our training programs is highly impactful. We deliver proven tool sets for professionals to perform better at work. Moreover, we bring these teachings to life with our proprietary content which includes videos, captivating role plays and insightful case studies.

Thirdly, we are an innovative school and make use of the latest digital tools to create exciting learning experiences.

Can you give an example of an interesting case study used in your negotiation program, and what participants have learned from it?

One particularly compelling case study revolves around an investment firm's endeavour to hire an executive for a portfolio company; participants delve into assessing leverage, which leads to a vivid discussion on power dynamics.

One key insight is the recognition that power in negotiations is not always immediately apparent. I, then, introduce a powerful framework for analysing leverage in a simple yet systematic way which can be used in any situation.

Leadership is another vertical that Powerup focuses on. Could you tell us more about your leadership programs?

Our leadership programs are designed to help business leaders drive exceptional team performance. We have a range of leadership programs tailored to different audience.

The ‘Lawyers as Leaders’ program, for example, facilitated by the outstanding Executive Coach Ben Depraz-Brenninkmeijer, offers newly elected Partners and Counsels within law firms a pivotal course at an important juncture in their careers when management and commercial skills become central.

The curriculum covers a range of modules, including self-awareness as a leader, techniques for fostering alignment within a group and strategies for coaching team members.

For more information, visit powerupschool.com