Coach spotlight

Federica D’Armento

Federica D'Armento is the enthusiastic partner, the trusted advisor to work with when it comes to digital marketing and people development. As a Digital Consultant she has developed a valuable business acumen over nearly 15 years going from traditional to digital advertising, and she joined the client-side of the business after spending almost 5 years with Google, at their EMEA HQ in Dublin. From Italy to the UK, from Ireland to Switzerland she gained a solid business knowledge, with an international twist, working with a diverse range of clients' portfolios in different industries - fashion-luxury, automotive, retail, non-profit.

Over the years, her genuine interest in people development led her to take on challenges as a mentor and people manager. The interest has been evolving into a greater passion which translated into certification as an ACC (Associate Certified Coach) by ICF (International Coaching Federation). She strongly believes in the power of digital, and - above all - that people have the power and are the real asset of every business. She currently is a qualified coach for Innovators Serendipity Academy in Switzerland, she collaborates with Scuola di fallimento in Italy, and she is giving back to the community by volunteering as Mentor and Board Member for PWN Zug & Zurich.

When she is not busy working, you can find her somewhere exploring the world, or breathing underwater with scuba dive, or celebrating a superb glass of wine and excellent food; she also enjoys the sound of silence while reading, meditating or giving life to some pieces of paper with origami art.

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Federica's thoughts on

What trends do you see in the world of work?

Three main workplace trends I’m seeing are companies adopting new technology, an increasing need for soft skills, and a new desire to put people first. Because of the disruption caused by the pandemic, employers had to quickly digitalize their working processes. As a result, many adopted new technologies to keep their workers connected and productive as they worked from home. I think this technology adoption will transform tasks, jobs, and skills in the coming years.

I also think that the skill gap is still present. I see skills like critical thinking, active listening, learning, stress management, flexibility, and more on the rise. Soft skills are just as critical to business success as hard ones, but they are harder to identify and assess in the interview or performance process. In the future, I could see businesses formalizing their approach to soft skills assessments. To start, they will have to identify what kinds of skills they need, then, they’ll need to adopt artificial intelligence and data analysis tools to assess the extent to which candidates and employees have these skills.

This lends itself to the last trend I’m seeing which is the need to put people at the very center of an organization. Remote work added question marks to productivity and wellbeing. Employers need to take steps to create culture, inclusion, and belonging among employees. Part of that challenge lies in finding the right digital tools that can help them develop employees as both people and professionals.

How did you get your start in coaching? 

In school, I remember my teachers saying I was an excellent listener and a great classmate because I was always willing to help others find their way to shine. But, it wasn’t until I worked at Google that I discovered my profound interest in people and people development.

I was in sales at Google, but I started taking on a few extra projects and responsibilities related to people development because that area was just so intriguing to me. I became a Personal Development Plan Champion for my team and then I joined the EMEA mentorship program first as a mentor and then as the EMEA mentor lead. I did that all on top of my regular job in the sales organization. What started as a profound interest quickly evolved into a hungry curiosity and passion. I wanted to push myself so I decided that my next job or work challenge, I would be a people manager to test myself.

When I left Google, I become EMEA Head of eCommerce for a watchmaker brand here in Switzerland. I had a team reporting directly to me, during that experience I realized that the people management aspect of my job was the most challenging and fulfilling to me.

I decided to go back to school and invest both my money and free time in my education. I wanted to become a coach and at the end of 2019, I started attending ICF-certified training on the weekends. I now have more than 150 hours of coaching clients and I just passed my exam to become an ICF Associate Certified Coach! This all started when I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and fully dedicate myself to coaching people and teams. They say that magic happens outside of your comfort zone, so I’m excited to see something magical happen!

Why are you passionate about leadership development? 

I define leaders as people who make things happen and who have a positive impact on other people’s lives. It’s a simple definition, but it allows you to better see the leaders in your own life. For example, a leader could be a classmate who helps his or her working group to deliver a project successfully, a teacher who is able to engage their class even as they learn remotely, or a coworker who is able to improve morale to motivate their team members.

We all know that in the most common sense, leaders are the ones who have the greatest responsibilities in a business. Leaders have a huge impact on business performance and on our work lives. In my career, I have witnessed the impact that great leaders and ineffective leaders have had on performance, engagement, mental well-being, workplace relationships. It is such a shame to see people who are leaders only by title, or who have leadership potential but haven’t been prepared for a role or taught the skills they need to succeed. That’s why this is so important to me. Leaders play a critical role in the lives of others and everyone must be prepared to take on such a huge responsibility.

What is one actionable takeaway you want your students to leave your class with? 

Actionable things. As a coach, I think that no matter how transformative or wonderful a coaching session is, it cannot reach its true potential until it’s brought down to earth. People need effective action steps that incorporate any new learnings discovered in a coaching session.

I’m not saying I want my students to walk away with a complete plan of action, but I want them to leave with at least 2-3 clear, focused steps they can take immediately to follow through on their ideas and findings to get results and develop effective habits. This makes sure that the entire class is kept accountable and reminds learners that they all have control over their own development.

What’s your favorite part of working at Hone? 

As a coach and facilitator, I don’t want to measure my success based on my client’s titles. I don’t think helping an executive will fill me with more pride than helping someone managing for the first time. Whenever I can help my clients or my students reach the goals they have set out for themselves, that’s when I am successful.

My favorite part of working at Hone is that it gives you the opportunity to connect with executives, senior or mid-level managers, new managers, and people who are ready to grow and have an impact in their workplaces regardless of their job title. Those people come from all different professional, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, but Hone brings these diverse perspectives together and allows individuals to learn from one another.

What is the best lesson you’ve ever been taught? 

The ability to bloom through the concrete. If you find yourself in a situation where other people are not doing their best, instead of expecting others to change, learn to change yourself. It might be painful or difficult in the moment, but instead of giving up on the things you can’t control, focus on the things you can actually control. I think it’s extremely difficult to implement this lesson, but you need to embrace and accept that every chapter of your life connects to the next. Every situation builds on who you are and who you will become, so learn to bloom where you are planted – even if you are planted in concrete at the moment. Look for the crack in the concrete and find your way out.

Who is someone who inspires you? 

My siblings inspire me. My sister and my brother are exceptionally courageous, fair, and humble. My sister is the personification of the concept of vocation. She became a chief magistrate at the age of 30 and she has always had a strong sense of justice. My bother, he graduated with a degree in chemistry, but he chose to follow his true passion of cooking. He chose to combine food with chemistry, and now focuses on molecular gastronomy. I have always been impressed at how he has listened to his inner self to reinvent a story that seemed somehow already written and to start over with dedication and passion.

What do you like to do outside of work? 

Being Italian, it’s a bit of a cliche, but I love great food and excellent wine. But, I don’t just love eating food, I also love cooking it.

I also love to give life to paper by doing origami. It’s a super relaxing activity and super satisfying because you can see the transformation from a flat piece of paper to something different, like a bunny, tulip, or rose! It helps me detach and isolate myself from the outside noise. I love writing, spending time in nature, traveling and scuba diving.

What’s something your learners and colleagues probably don’t know about you? 

I won’t reveal some special secret talents or unbelievable experiences, but just a fun fact: I don’t know how to ride a bike. I tried once at the Aaran Islands in Ireland, but I don’t know how to do it. I don’t have any sense of balance and I’m terrified of biking in cities.