Executive Coach: Francine Crystal

Category: Career Resources

Francine CrystalFrancine Crystal

President – Crystal Clear Consulting

I had the good fortune in high school to be introduced to the field of group dynamics and to receive initial training as a facilitator, thus launching my career. A B.A. in Social Psychology and an M.B.A in Organizational Studies each provided formal training and invaluable experience working with and learning from esteemed mentors. While initially working in government agencies and social benefit organizations, the opportunity to begin work at MIT in the late 90s led to a specialization in higher education. Since 2003, I have provided leadership coaching, team development, and strategic facilitation to dozens of higher education and social benefit organizations. I am grateful to be making a small contribution towards the success of individuals and institutions striving to have a positive impact on the world.

Most satisfying work
I work with senior leaders in academic institutions who are looking to define or refine their leadership approach. These leaders need to respond creatively and strategically to significant tensions embedded in higher education, such as between honoring the institution’s past and creating its future, or between addressing the needs of particular constituencies and leading the entire institution. And they need to be mission-, vision- and value- driven in the face of competing political and economic forces, to balance institutional integrity with individual needs, to demonstrate calming confidence while inviting rich collaboration, and to be true to their own sense of self. That is a daunting charge. I’m honored to work with those faced with these challenges. I am fascinated to learn about a new client and institution, eager to find their unique leadership path, and humbled by the ripple effects our work can have.

Frequently used theories and tools
I bring two particular approaches to my work: developmental and systems. The developmental approach recognizes that the perspectives, practices and skills that have made someone successful in the past may not be sufficient for the present and the future. The systems approach recognizes that we are each influenced by and, in turn, have the opportunity to influence, our context. With these frameworks, clients increase their ability to reflect on and assess their current situation, use alternative strategies and tools for developing and implementing a vision, and increase the leadership capacity throughout their organization. A client recently said, at the end of our coaching relationship, “It is now less tiring being me.”

Certifications and degrees
My BA and MBA are augmented by certifications in Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Emotional Intelligence and Diversity, the Center for Creative Leadership’s Benchmarks, and The Hay Group’s Emotional Competence Inventory. I am an alumna of Higher Education Resources Services (HERS) program, 2003, and have presented various times at CUPA-HR (College and University Professional Association for Human Resources), Massachusetts ACE Women’s Network, and the UMass Lowell Women’s Leadership Conference.

Contact Francine Crystal by email or phone.

Ellen Heffernan

President - Spelman Johnson

Ellen Heffernan graduated from Smith College with a B.A. in economics and government. She joined Spelman Johnson in 1996, after a ten-year career in higher education that included positions at Smith College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also a national speaker and writer on topics related to recruiting and professional development in higher education and serves as faculty for several national higher education association professional development programs. Ellen also currently serves on the executive board of the National Association of Executive Recruiters.