For over two decades, Sheri Riley has built relationships with A-list entertainers and C-suite executives and helped them close deals. The founder and chief partnership strategist of GLUE, Inc., Riley has quietly expanded the brand’s portfolio to include coaching, mentoring, life strategy, spiritual and personal advice for high achievers.

Early in her career having worked with multiplatinum artists of the ’90s including Toni Braxton, TLC, Outkast and Usher and brands like NIKE, T-Mobile, CVS, WNBA and TNT, to name a few, Riley has a new feather in her fedora. She’s a certified professional development coach and life strategist. Here, “America’s P.O.W.E.R. Broker” talks the benefits of coaching. There are some things your parents and girlfriends just can’t help you with. –yvette caslin

Why should one hire a professional coach?
There are different focuses for coaches: executive, leadership, relationships. My forté is leading celebrities and high achievers from career  success to life success. High achievers know how to achieve success.

Their challenge is to live with their success. I champion champions on how to stop spending 100% of their time on 10% of who they are. Most times, it’s affecting 100% of their fulfillment.

At what point in their career, should one seek a career coach?
The absolute moment you realize you need it. There are some people who I coach or work with in my mastermind groups that are fresh out of college, starting their careers and then I have those who are in their mid-40s and they’ve achieved CEO or CFO status. I am a John Maxwell Certified Coach. And, when you look at John Maxwell, he is coaching CEOs of Fortune 10 companies, and even the college student who realizes, “I need to get a life, professional or an executive coach.”

Some of the top leaders in this world have coaches. They have a commitment to themselves. Really, it is an investment in yourself and I just happen to be the one who you’ve agreed to walk with through the process.

For example, if one is a teacher who wishes to transition to a new career or entrepreneurship, would you work with him or her?
Transition … you hit my sweet spot – personal development coaching, life management, transition [and] life balance. There’s career transition and some CEOs are transitioning into philanthropic endeavors or simply trying to balance their time.

How should one prepare for their first meeting with you?
The only preparation I want is the commitment to show up on time and to pay for the session. I don’t want any additional preparation; the misconception is that’s professional coaching is like sports coaching, where a coach is there to advise you and give you the game plan.

Professional coaching is really the opposite. A mentor is someone who helps direct you. An advocate is someone who opens doors for you. An advisor is someone who gives you a strategy and plan. A true coach is someone who’s present in the moment with you, is helping you and directing you with the right questions to your truth … clarity.

That’s where you are vested in the outcome. I want you to arrive with expectation of change with no parameters [set] to get there.

Can one have an exploratory meeting before committing?
I offer a 30-minute complimentary session to give you a feel for the coaching. I want to make sure we have the right rapport; the coaching process is meant to be transformational and positive.

Where are the sessions held?
Most of my coaching sessions are done over the phone because of the frequency and to accommodate the schedules of the high achievers who I work with. I do offer in-person coaching.

On average, how many sessions are needed?
For my practice, six months to a year is the minimum time commitment.

That’s pretty common with most coaches because it is really a process, an evolution. You are building upon each session and life’s experiences. You either have to tear down some things or build some things. You need clarity in certain areas and to let go in some areas.

To be honest, after a year, some people may stop. Others have lifelong coaches that they work with from six months to a year, and then take some time off. Once you’ve been working with your coach for a while, you can choose to do a few months because it’s an ongoing process.

Are there any common myths or anxieties about coaching?
From the coaching side, the myths in the profession is that we are advisors, so they do more lecturing, teaching, advising, mentoring [and] advocating. For the individuals, there’s the apprehension, “Do I really need it? I really believe everything is OK.”

I dive into: What about the other 90% of who you are? Your success has filtered your life into 10% of who you really are. Especially with celebrities, they have managers, agents, publicists, nutritionists, trainers, vocal coaches, acting coaches to help them invest in their skills and their talents except what represents the core of who they are and that is their personal development. When you invest in the other 90% of who you are, that’s when you move your career success into life success.  I have worked with celebrities for the last 20 years. There’s uniqueness here because I understand the challenges that they have living with their success.

What are the benefits of coaching?
Positive direction and transition, ownership into your own truth, balance, the tools and resources for crisis management and personal development, and clarity, being able to really cut through [distractions] and get back to the core of yourself. Clarity is a consistent benefit.

Any last words …
One of the other services I offer is mastermind groups, a group of like-minded individuals who come together with one focused agenda. The commonalities that they share make the engagement more beneficial than if they were trying to seek the answers themselves. It’s a great place for people to get a feel of the coaching process without committing. I have a current mastermind group called “Put Your Dream to the Test.” I am starting another one in August. I am also getting ready to launch, “Everyone Communicates. Few Connect.”

For more information, visit and; follow her on Twitter: @SheriRiley, @GLUEIncorporatd, @ExponentialLife; find her on Facebook:,, and connect with her on LinkedIn at

Yvette Caslin

I'm a writer, image architect & significance marketer. Love photojournalism, creative expression & originality.