Skip Navigation

Executive & Team Coaching

NIH Training Center Coaching Services

The National Institutes of Health Training Center offers individual coaching engagements for executives, senior managers, middle managers, professional staff, and other key contributors. Executive coaching offers today's busy leaders the opportunity to pursue professional development in a confidential and collaborative one-on-one environment. Executive coaching is a learning process that is tailored to an individual's needs.

The NIH Training Center offers an extensive network of experienced, certified coaches who have been thoroughly evaluated to ensure maximum benefit to the NIH community. Executive Coaches listen, conduct in-depth interviews, ask questions, provide support and feedback, and challenge individuals. Our coaches work with both individuals and teams to enhance skills. The long-term benefits to NIH include having a more productive, efficient and engaged workforce. The high-impact results achieved from coaching can be observed and measured.

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.



What are common areas of focus for coaching engagements?

  • Supporting individual career growth
  • Solving complex problems
  • Improving delegation skills
  • Increasing individual and/or staff performance and productivity
  • Improving communication, assertiveness and conflict resolution skills
  • Assistance with professional creativity and innovation
  • Strengthening of organizational and time management skills
  • Improving work/life balance
  • Enhancing networking skills
  • Developing "leadership" presence

How is a Coach different from a Mentor?

A Coach is:

  • Always striving for full objectivity
  • Focused on the Client's success
  • An Advisor
  • Curious
  • Able to tap into the Client's mind for the experiences and wisdom that has been built over time, thereby boosting the confidence of the Client
  • Adept in having the Client reveal the best answers for him/herself
  • Skilled in guiding the Client through the thinking process, allowing the client to identify barriers and solutions that will fit his/her style, needs, talents, etc.

    Key words that describe a coach: objective, curious and questioner

A Mentor is:

  • Typically within the mentee’s organization
  • Valuable in offering advice and counsel
  • Adept in providing the "inside view" of the intricacies and politics of the organization.
  • Often able to use his/her influence to help position the mentee better, gain access to opportunities (details, promotions, etc.) and, sometimes, remove barriers.

    Key words that describe a mentor: insider, influencer and advisor.

What are the benefits to having a coach?

  • A coach can make a significant difference in the long-term success of both the individual and the organization. A coach is hands-on with their coaching. A coach wants the same thing the executives they are coaching want: to achieve their target goals. A coach works with the executives and managers they coach to capitalize on the organization’s strengths to help them achieve the very best results it can.

What are the characteristics of a good coach?

  • The capacity to create relationships in which the client finds the courage to question the basic presuppositions from which they have been working.

    Given that most actions come from some set of presuppositions, it is important to be able to identify them and to develop the courage to challenge them.

  • The capacity to listen for what matters to the client.

    One of the most common losses in corporate life is engagement or passion. Very often this loss shows up as lack of innovation and creativity. Bringing the client back in touch with what they care about and connecting it back to the organization’s mission, vision, and strategy is a skill of a great executive coach.

  • The ability to break the conversational patterns in which the client is trapped.

    Sometimes we fall into conversational patterns that become completely ineffective. “If you keep repeating what you always do, don’t ask for different results.” Translated for coaching, we could say, “If you remain involved in the same conversations, don’t expect new interpretations or different outcomes.” A great executive coach has the ability to elicit fresh conversations from the client.

  • The capacity to recognize the environmental and systemic dynamics within which the client works.

    Our ability to improve or to radically alter our actions is greatly dependent on the emotional dynamics and environmental systems in which we find ourselves. Recognizing these dynamics and understanding these systems creates new territories for learning. Helping clients increase their emotional intelligence and understanding of how both emotions and systems predispose us to act in certain ways and not in others permits them to learn and design new environments to allow for new actions.

  • The capacity to recognize the environmental and systemic dynamics within which the client works.

    Our ability to improve or to radically alter our actions is greatly dependent on the emotional dynamics and environmental systems in which we find ourselves. Recognizing these dynamics and understanding these systems creates new territories for learning. Helping clients increase their emotional intelligence and understanding of how both emotions and systems predispose us to act in certain ways and not in others permits them to learn and design new environments to allow for new actions.

  • The capacity to build trust.

    The client must assess the coach as sincere, competent, and reliable. Mutual trust is cultivated throughout the coaching relationship and builds over time. The absence of trust at any point disables the relationship. Once trust is present, it must not be taken for granted and needs to be regenerated constantly during the coaching relationship.

  • The ability to create a mood of lightness.

    Neither the mood of gravity nor the mood of triviality belong in coaching. Lightness is the capacity to look (and laugh) at oneself without being trapped by ego or pretense. Lightness brings to the coaching relationship the sincere desire to move into a new realm of interpretations out of which effective action can take place.

  • The capacity to maintain confidentiality.

    The client must be certain that any disclosure in the coaching relationship will remain confidential for as long as they want to keep it that way. This is an essential element in the creation of a trusting relationship between coach and client.

  • The ability to support the client into new actions.

    New insights and awareness is needed, but so are new behaviors and actions. A great coach works with the client to support them in developing a strategy, plan, and tactics for taking new actions consistent with their declared objectives and goals.

Coaching Services

External Executive Coaching

  • Target Audience: Available to GS 14 through SES and equivalent leaders.

    Description: Coaching services are offered through partnerships with an extensive network of highly experienced, vetted and certified professional coaches who have contracted with NIH to work with multiple executives over the years. Executive coaching offers busy leaders the opportunity to pursue leadership development in a confidential and collaborative one-on-one environment.

    Costs: 6 hours/3 months: $2,660 | 12 hours/6 months:; $4,600 | 24 hours/12 months: $8,495.

    If you have questions, or want to secure a coach, please contact Keisha Berkley at 301-496-6211 or

    Executive Coaching Testimonials

    How Coaching Has Impacted Performance

    • I am providing more frequent communication regarding my office to leadership on a consistent basis. I am also sending achievements of our team to leadership so as to keep them apprised of their good work.
    • My coach helped me translate change management tools into real results during an organizational change and personnel assignments. I used new insights in establishing regular meetings with office staff, and communications were improved on standard operating procedures and on interpersonal perspectives.
    • The beauty of coaching is that it is immediately applied to real-life situations. My coach helped me identify practical approaches and solutions and is an outstanding coach who is very knowledgeable and insightful. She has a wealth of experience with a range of people and organizations. She helps a client look at the whole picture in developing into the best leader he/she can be while recognizing and maintaining a healthy balance in all aspects of life.
    • My coach helped me look at problems and challenges in a new way and come up with new solutions; she helped me identify my pitfalls and ways to avoid or address them.
    • Coaching certainly increases my personal and professional self-awareness and assists in validating perceptions and/or provide additional angles of issues.

    General Comments about the Coaching Experience

    • I really appreciate the opportunity to participate in this program. I hope I will be able to continue to have the services of a coach in the future.
    • I'm very grateful to have been afforded the opportunity for coaching, and am truly reaping the rewards of that opportunity every day.
    • I wish I had been allowed to have double the very generous # of hours I received!
    • My coach is outstanding. She is great at time management, knows her field, and understands NIH
    • Real-time learning of practical leadership skills through coaching with immediate application to real-life situations is invaluable and unmatched by any other approach. It is an essential complement to theoretical learning.

    Would You Recommend Coaching to Others in Your Organization

    • I believe everyone can benefit from the services provided by a coach.
    • Yes, I have already recommended this to others.
    • I think every new person in a leadership position should be given access to some coaching and all **program staff to have at least a few hours of the same

Internal Leadership Coaching

  • Target Audience: Available to team leads, supervisors and managers at the GS 13-14 level and equivalents.

    Description: Coaching is provided by an internal, certified NIH coach. This new, individualized coaching package is designed to enhance management behaviors and offers a more cost-effective approach for targeted supervisor coaching than premium, external executive coaching. NIH coaches approach coaching from an NIH perspective, and focus on behavioral changes that can contribute to personal, team, and organizational success. Confidentiality is assured.

    NOTE: We have an existing waitlist due to significant demand and have concluded our request list for using FY17 funds for this service. Please visit us back in FY18. For more information, please contact the NIH Training Center at 301-496-6211 or

Individual Development Plan (IDP) Consulting

360 Degree Leadership Assessments

  • 360 Leadership Assessments Icon

    Target Audience: Available to GS 14 through SES supervisors and equivalent leaders.

    Description: What is 360? 360 degree feedback is a method of systematically collecting opinions about an individual’s performance from a wide range of people to uncover leadership strengths and areas of improvement. This includes feedback from supervisors, direct reports, peers, and potentially external customers and stakeholders. This broad range of perspectives helps individuals become more self-aware. Results of a 360 assessment belong only to the individual. Information will not be shared with management or anyone in the Office of Human Resources.

    Cost: $1,230

    Package Includes:

    • 1:1 360 orientation | 30 minute overview of the assessment tool and process by phone.
    • Dissemination of the 360 assessment | Electronic data collection process from raters.
    • 1:1 360 assessment debrief | 1.5 hours with a certified executive coach (in person, or by phone) to discuss rater feedback report and establish an action plan.

    Want to arrange a 360 for yourself or your team?

    Contact Keisha Berkley at

This page was last reviewed on February 7, 2018