Reno resident dedicates his life to business coaching
When International Game Technology performed massive layoffs from its Reno headquarters in 2008, Kevin Ciccotti was among those that were given their pink slip.
But as he headed out the door for the last time, he did so with a slight smile on his face.
Ciccotti had spent 25 years at IGT, including more than a decade and a half serving in various leadership roles in the company’s development department. While he cherished his time working at IGT, Ciccotti already had contemplated the next chapter in his life and had something else in mind.
The career path that intrigued him the most was professional coaching. He had already been examining the nuances of the industry from afar for some time. Years earlier, he stumbled across Tony Robbins, the renowned human performance expert and celebrity, and Ciccotti looked upon him as a role model.
“Towards the end of my career (at IGT), I became restless and knew there was something else I was supposed to be doing,” Ciccotti said. “Being somebody that studied personal growth and development for many, many years, one of the skills I realized I had was the ability to sit down with a person and being able to recognize their innate talents to create success in their own lives.”
He did extensive research trying to grasp every aspect of professional coaching, even studying at the Robbins-Madanes Center for Strategic Intervention, founded by Robbins himself and psychotherapist Cloe Madanes. He eventually was certified by The International Coaching Foundation after passing written and oral exams.
Ciccotti also contacted several professional coaches in the northern Nevada region to talk about the business and more than anything try to see how they market themselves.
“I wanted to know the biggest challenges they faced. Not how did you overcome those challenges, but how hard was it to get your name out? How do you build a substantial clientele?” he said.
At first, Ciccotti admitted it was difficult to find his own niche in the saturated coaching market. He wondered if he would be a life coach, much like Robbins, before eventually finding he was better suited to work with companies and organizations.
Ciccotti, who initially called his practice “Cutting Edge Coaching and Consulting,” admits business was dismal and looked for a different approach. One of the business programs he developed was called “The Human Factor in Project Management,” which was directed at project managers to build better relationships with their teams. So he changed the name to Human Factor Formula, Inc.
Aside from the name change, he also found out through some of his early consultations he wasn’t meant to work with just anybody.
“What I realized was some of the people I was coaching weren’t interested in (being coached),” Ciccotti said. “It was being dictated to them and it was not desired. The directive was ‘Fix them or they’re gone,’ but that’s not what I do, and not how the best coaches work. But the other thing I found out is the vast majority of the time, the organizations were ready to let these people go anyway, and I was part of their severance package.”
It was a hard lesson for Ciccotti, but it helped him formulate a simple procedure to determine whether a potential client is a perfect match.
“What I look at is fit. What is it they need? Am I capable of serving that need and is the person or team invested in what I’m selling? If all three answers are ‘Yes’ than I can work with them,” he said.
He willingly works with any company or industry domestically or abroad. He has served companies such as Newmont Mining and EP Minerals, financial institutions and government entities. He even worked with IGT.
Ciccotti also markets his craft in other areas such as to professional trade organizations. He conducts trainings or meetings with the Project Management Institute around the country and abroad. He also speaks at PMI events nationwide.
He hired a public relations firm, Zabava Consulting, to help with marketing and he writes blogs and pieces for several publications.
Since starting up in 2008, he has consulted hundreds of clients and with individual training, that number reaches the thousands.
Ciccotti runs his business out of an office in his South Reno home, although he never hosts clients there. He conducts client meetings in private settings on site or by phone and by Skype. He has found it to be an efficient way to do business.
When Ciccotti consults with clients, he meets with individuals on a one-on-one basis, particularly with a team leader in some capacity. He does address other team members in the same fashion, and analyzes the data before making recommendations to a human resources or executive at the end.
He also allows clients the option for continued consultations or to monitor progress.
“My goal is to give them tools so they can grow,” Ciccotti said. “I never tell them what to do, but I give them a different perspective or a better approach that may or may not work for them.”
A key area Ciccotti focuses on is what he calls “Emotional Intelligence” to determine a workplace’s positive or negative culture.
“Emotional Intelligence in a nutshell is finding ways to assess and manage our own emotions while having a positive impact on the emotions of others,” Ciccotti said. I work with leaders and help them learn how to use them in a positive way.”
He doesn’t look at his fellow peers in the coaching profession as competition, but resources for his own benefit and vice versa.
“One thing I’ve learned over these last eight years is that there is far more work than I’m capable of delivering,” he said. “Everyone has a little bit different approach and little niche, little different style, so I’m not meant to work with everybody.”
Ciccotti says he tries to stay grounded in his profession, but is proud of the success he’s built as a coach.
“I’ve worked hard to build this business, and have experienced many ups and downs along the way. I say this humbly, but I’m proud that I’ve become a nationally known, well-respected coach.”
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.