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Shelly Berlin
Strategist. Confidante. Plate Spinner.
Shelly Berlin is a founding and managing partner of Berlineaton. You can often find her balancing dinnerware in the air while typing with her free hand.She enjoys the fast pace and nature of management consulting, along with applying the skills she gained at Disney, Andersen Consulting, and Price Waterhouse.
Successful Executive Coaching Engagements in Six Steps
In earlier blog posts, I’ve written about the characteristics(Seven Characteristics of Effective Executive Coach), skills(How Competent Does Your Executive Coach Need to Be?), and core principles (Six Principles of Effective Coaching) that executive coaches should have to enhance coaching engagements for the benefit of clients and organizations.  

Once you have explored these areas as part of determining who to engage as your executive coach, it is important to ask some questions about the executive coaching engagement process itself.

Berlineaton coaching engagements follow this six-step process:

Relate Meet and get to know one another, and determine if there is a good, trusting 'fit' between the three parties: the coach, the leader, and the organization.

Determining ‘fit’ is as much an art as a science. It is an intuitive sense, gained from the chemistry that is created when people get to know one another. It includes the skills and competencies the coach brings to the table, the needs, expectations and history of the leader, and the expectations of the organization. Coaching is an intimate professional relationship; personality matters, and if the ‘fit’ doesn't feel right, find a coach where it does.

Agree  Establish a formal Coaching Agreement that specifies the terms of the relationship and the engagement, including broad goals, guiding principles, and confidentiality.

This written agreement helps set boundaries and expectations, and positions the engagement for success.

Assess – Assessment tools, either done previously, or done as part of the engagement help establish baselines and are key in creating a Developmental Plan.

Tools we use include: Narrative or Online 360 Degree Assessments, Myers Briggs T.I., Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI), Lumina Spark, Hogan Leadership Assessment, Cevey Leadership Assessment, and others.

Aim  Refine the goals of the coaching engagement, including how to measure progress.

The Leader’s Development Plan is developed as part of the first few sessions and is also informed by the assessment tool results and other baseline information. The Plan’s goals are specific, and include measurable indicators, timelines, and milestones. 

Advance Progress towards goals is made through action-focused coaching sessions that strengthen the leader's current and future leadership capacity.

Coaching sessions are guided by the Leader’s Development Plan, issues that have arisen, and continued work on medium and longer-term competency development. 

Sustain  Co-develop a 'next steps' plan that is a catalyst for the leader's long-term growth and development. 

Executive coaching takes place in the context of the leader’s overall development plan. When the coaching agreement is concluding, the leader and the executive coach develop a 'next steps' plan that is handed off to the leader’s supervisor who agrees to monitor future progress in partnership with the leader.

For more information on executive coaching, please visit contact me at

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