About Mike Gellman

My Story

I started working when I was 8 years old in my father’s drugstore, on the gritty west side of Cleveland. As a stockboy starting out at 50 cents an hour, I loved working in that store with a cast of colorful characters as well as the diverse customers who came into the store each day. It was in my father’s drugstore that I first learned the value of a solid work ethic, connecting with others, and the importance of cultivating strong relationships.

As I got older, I felt some internal pressure to follow in my father’s footsteps. However, one of the gifts my parents gave to me was the Gift of Choice. They never pressured me to take over the business. When it was time for me to go to college, I chose to major in psychology and minor in business with the goal to impact people’s lives in a positive way.

My sophomore year of college was a low point for me. I was in a Philosophy 101 class in a huge lecture hall filled with 200 students. I came home from class one day incredibly frustrated because I hadn’t been able to hear the professor very well. My notes were filled with holes of missing information.

You see, I was born with a significant hearing loss growing up (40% in each ear). I had a hearing aid yet rarely wore it because I didn’t want to look different and stand out. I wanted to fit in with everyone. In an effort to convince me of the merits of wearing hearing aids, I remember my audiologist telling me that wearing hearing aids would actually help me fit in more because I’d be able to better hear and fully participate in conversations around me. However, I resisted and wouldn’t listen to him.

Meanwhile, I knew that I wanted to teach others someday. The day I came home from that Philosophy 101 class was a turning point in my life. I realized that I had chosen to struggle and suffer all those years by not wearing hearing aids. I had also volunteered to be a victim! Ironically, I had resources available to improve my quality of life all along, yet I dismissed them. At this point, the pain and frustration of not being able to hear well overwhelmed my well-entrenched sense of vanity and fear of standing out. I mustered up some courage and the $4000 I needed to purchase a couple of hearing aids. I committed to wearing them each day…no matter what. It was the BEST decision I made in my life. No longer did I needlessly need to suffer and be a victim of my own limiting beliefs.

I’d be lying if I told you things were easy for me from that point on. There were many ups and downs over the ensuing years. When I was offered an assistant teaching opportunity during graduate school, I was plagued by fear and self-doubt. What if I couldn’t hear questions students were asking me in class? What if I couldn’t hear their answers to my questions? In the end, I took charge and identified different strategies to overcome the challenges I encountered along the way.

Today, I have succeeded well beyond the wildest dreams I had envisioned for my future while growing up. I’ve become a coach, trainer, teacher, speaker, author, and a proud Dad!

What I have in common with the clients I see is that we all have blind spots and limiting beliefs that hold us back from realizing our true potential. We can be our own worst enemies when we look to others to bail us out or blame for our misfortunes.

I endeavor to help you achieve your career dreams and goals. My aim is to offer you a solid system of support that you can count on and continually explore options for moving forward as your best self. At the end of the day, my individual and organizational clients walk away with increased clarity about themselves, confidence about their direction, and feel empowered to more effectively manage their careers and effect positive change within organizations.

I look forward to connecting with you!


Mike Gellman,
CEO & Founder
High Five Career Coaching



What Makes Me Different?

I have:

  • A fifteen-year track record within Fortune 500 and nonprofit organizations.
  • Successfully advised and coached employees, leaders, and teams at all levels to enhance their potential, achieve goals, and realize dreams they never thought possible.
  • Coached over 100 clients including individuals and groups.
  • Strong foundation of experience with 750+ total dedicated coaching hours.
  • Invested in nearly 200 ICF-approved Coach Training hours through Coach U
  • Commitment to excellence with investment in 150+ Continuing Coach Education (CCE) hours in past three years
  • Voluntary host of global community of global community of 600 career coaches that convenes thought leaders each month to stay current on best practices and trends in the field.
  • Trained and become certified to use an array of assessment tools and interpersonal skills training which helps clients expand self-awareness.
  • ACC certified coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF), the world’s premier professional coaching association (in process of obtaining PCC-level certification).
  • Member in good standing with the Association of Talent Development (ATD), a premier global association for organizational learning professionals.
  • Regularly give back to local community-based organizations with pro-bono coaching, training, and funding to support the growth and development of underserved youth and adult populations.
  • Mentor for undergraduate San Diego State University students and UC Irvine Executive MBA graduate students.
  • Served as judge for ICF PRISM Award which identifies and recognizes organizations around the world with the best coaching cultures.
  • Member in good standing with Professionals in Human Resources Association (PIHRA), California’s premier association for the HR profession.
  • Earned a Master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.
  • Committed 100% to my own ongoing development as a coach, entrepreneur, father, friend, and to put it simply - being the best person I can possibly be.

What People are Saying About Mike

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mike as a client. He has a wealth of tools for different situations, but, more importantly, has the intuition and sensitivity to adjust his approach as he dives deeper into the engagement.

He has a passion for helping clients and is an intense and empathetic listener. If you’re not looking for a “cookie cutter” or “canned” solution, Mike is the resource that can help.”
– Chris Chen

"Mike is an energetic, professional, and informative presenter. He engages with the audience with an infectious authenticity. His work in career development is inspiring and practical."

- Judy Issokson

“Mike is a highly talented organization development advisor. He helped my group in several areas including goal setting and prioritization, team collaboration, leadership development, etc.

He comes well prepared to the meetings and always follows-up on action items. He has pretty impressive knowledge about various human resource, leadership, and organization development issues.”
– Sandeep Mor

"Mike’s breadth and depth of knowledge are invaluable. He is a great listener and draws upon his breadth and depth of knowledge to design customized coaching and training sessions."

- Norma Castro

“Mike is a great listener and he really understands how to support one in a subtle, guiding, but never intrusive way. He is flexible and was very accommodating in supporting my scheduling needs.

He is very attentive and gives supplemental notes that go above and beyond expectations. His coaching is flexible to your needs, even if they change during the time you work with him. Mike is one of the best Career Coaches in Orange County, CA.”

– David G.

"What impressed me about Mike was how he was able to cut through my rambling to help me determine the steps I could take to narrow my focus, gain self-confidence, and achieve career satisfaction."

-Britt W.