Executive & Leadership Coaching Tailored to You
I coach the leader beneath the problem,
leading to the awareness and perspective needed
for sustainable growth and change
Coaching Below the Surface Helps Transform:
Authentic leadership presence
Novel options and approaches
What can I expect from a session?Sessions are relaxed and supportive, meeting you where you are and taking the approach that will benefit you the most. Some tips that may enhance your coaching experience include: Come with an idea of what you'd like help with. You always set the agenda, as coaching is your time and in support of your needs. Know that our sessions are confidential; I have found that a willingness to be open and vulnerable greatly enhances a client's experience and outcomes. Know that change takes time. Most executives are driven, goal-oriented, and used to seeking rapid results. I've been there and it's served us well in our executive accomplishments. But change takes time and introspection, and coaching might mean slowing down and looking deep into yourself and long out onto the horizon. The best coaching experiences come when a client feels ready and motivated to commit to making real changes. Most coaching is done over Zoom and can be done with clients in any part of the world, so long as we can align on schedules. If you prefer in-person coaching, please ask about it in our initial discovery session.
When contemplating a transition, what's the difference between executive and career coaching?When you’re contemplating a major change, coaching can provide the right blend of support and challenge you need to question your assumptions, identity, values, and desired direction. Every coach has their own unique approach to working with clients. My take on the difference between career coaching (which is not my specialty) and executive coaching (which is) is that career coaching focuses more on concrete structure and tangible strategy, whereas executive coaching focuses more on human development, introspective insights, and personal transformation to help clients align their career aspirations with who they value being. Personal fit and intuition matter. Look for a coach who gets you and your style, and who you feel resonant with. In addition, it’s best to have an open discussion with any coach you’re interviewing to glean insights on their approach and style. Hiring a career coach when you wanted an executive coaching approach (or vice versa) will lead to a disappointing experience and outcomes for both parties. For more information on my philosophy on the difference between executive and career coaching, please feel free to visit my blog post, When You're Ready but Struggling with Change, Who Should You Work with and How Can They Help? or view the figure below.
How can I best prepare for a coaching session?You'll experience the most benefits from coaching when you come to it with an open mind and the timing feels right. Other than that, just be yourself and show up! Knowing that many like to have a better understanding of what to expect from something new, more detail is available in the "what can I expect from a session?" FAQ.
When would a coach refer a client to therapy?Everyone deserves to have the care they need. As a coach, I am not qualified to treat behavioral health issues or provide psychotherapy. As such, it is my ethical responsibility to not provide care outside my scope or expertise. If a client's reasons for seeking coaching are out of my scope, I will gladly refer them to therapy. Some examples of when I might refer include: Issue is outside of my competency and experience level Issue interferes with a client's daily functioning Issue is a barrier to making progress in coaching Issue is deeply psychological in nature Issue presents a threat to a client's physical health or safety (Adapted from source: ICF)
What are some examples of executive coaching themes, and how does the work differ from other forms of coaching, consulting, and mentoring?Executive Coaching is not: Therapy Consulting Mentoring Training (Source: ICF) In addition, executive coaching differs from other forms of coaching, such as career or life coaching. Instead of working on structural skills development and training (e.g., resume building, parenting skills), I coach the leader beneath the executive challenge, helping them personally develop and transform. We work on complex challenges typical of executive-level positions. These could include themes like: clarifying leadership approach in the face of complex change and uncertainty improved executive presence heightened self-awareness improved conflict management cultivating high performing and cohesive teams enhanced vision expanded sensemaking leading authentic multi-stakeholder communication and situational leadership values-based leadership and inclusivity in interpersonal dynamics shifting perspective and approach related to power dynamics and ethical negotiation and influence reducing burnout of self and teams embracing a coaching approach to leadership increased creation of psychological safety for 360 degree partners and stakeholders improving safe and supportive developmental feedback experimentation with new and flexible approaches If you think we might be a good fit but are unsure about the difference in types of coaching, feel free to reach out.
What is a coach's role with me as client?The coach's role is to: Discover, clarify and align with what the client wants to achieve Encourage client self-discovery Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies Facilitate and support client accountability Serve as a confidant and sounding board (Adapted from source: ICF)
Is it important for coaches and clients to have the same industry background?Knowing the industry's language and culture upfront can be helpful, but clients typically feel that coaching themes are universal enough that deep industry knowledge is not important--and the pieces that are can be shared in our discussions. The direct "languages" I speak from my professional background include those of healthcare (especially in the context of academic medical centers), biomedical research and development, higher education, nonprofit academic research institutes and hospitals, and government settings. I have coached leaders in many other industries and contexts, ranging from manufacturing to tech, and many others. I also have significant experience coaching and advising entrepreneurs. As a former CEO, I oversaw and directly managed HR, Finance, IT, Science/Research, Operations, Compliance, and Programs. I deeply understand these verticals and how to partner with the heads of their functions. If my approach resonates with you, industry differences are unlikely to be an obstacle to coaching.
How is coaching different than therapy?Coaching can serve as an executive-specific alternative to therapy. Working with an executive and leadership coach offers the benefit of training and experience that is specifically honed to the issues you are facing as a leader. In short, executive and leadership coaches are experts in working with executives and leaders. Therapists have specific degrees, licensure, and training to help clients cope more effectively with life problems. Therapy can help clients deal with difficult thoughts, strong feelings, negative thinking, and behaviors that can affect daily functioning. Coaches and therapists sometimes draw on the same evidence-based client approaches, but the provider's training, expertise, and scope--along with the client's reasons for seeking therapy or coaching--typically differ. In addition, coaches don't make clinical diagnoses, but can offer management and leadership assessments. (Adapted from sources: APA and ICF)
What is coaching?Coaching is about partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. It is confidential, client-driven, and focuses on understanding one's own internal barriers, identifying and considering potential changes in approach, establishing and testing strategies to achieve these objectives, and managing personal change. (Adapted from source: ICF)
What are Amy's background and qualifications?Bio Amy is a seasoned Executive Coach and former Boston-based biomedical research CEO and COO. She has been coaching leaders for 15 years, in addition to leading numerous programs and serving as speaker at national and global conferences on topics including leadership development, business process improvement, and cultivating high performing teams. She has also been a guest on high-profile podcasts, blog posts, and panels sharing her personal transformation story and embracing her authentic leadership and coaching signature. During her CEO tenure, she led an institutional turnaround to rebuild a culture of excellence, high performance, and people-centered service. This included a major institutional process improvement initiative built on a coaching approach to leadership and driven in partnership with her heads of HR, Finance, IT, Operations, Research/Science, and Compliance (all of whom were direct reports and strategic partners). Clients Amy works with global leaders including the C-suite, VPs, and complex Director level roles across industries and sectors. Having been in their shoes, she understands the importance of an unconflicted sounding board and trusted partner who can help leaders in positions that feel “lonely at the top” with their developmental goals and more deeply aligning with the leader (and person) they want to be. She is known for her deep reflective listening and supportive challenging of clients to help them move closer to their aspirations. With a custom approach tailored to each client, she specializes in helping clients increase psychological flexibility in service of greater self-awareness, executive presence, conflict management, sensemaking, and experimentation with new and inclusive approaches. Education/Trainings/Certifications Amy completed her Executive MBA at MIT Sloan School of Management and Leadership Coaching certificate at Georgetown University’s Institute of Transformational Leadership. She is certified to administer an MIT Sloan and INSEAD-developed psychometrically validated leadership 360 assessment (the x360). She holds a Lecturer appointment at MIT Sloan, serving as coach and mentor to Executive MBA teams pursuing an entrepreneurship module that aims to prepare start-ups for successful launch. Trained in evidence-based therapeutic modalities including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Motivational Interviewing (MI), she integrates a broad array of techniques into her coaching practice to help clients introspect on what matters below the surface of their coaching goals; identify and connect with values; and make transformational choices that support deeper alignment with the leader they want to be. To deepen her skills and practice, she maintains active professional memberships with the International Coaching Federation (ICF), Institute of Coaching, and Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS). To further enhance her skills and keep her practice relevant, she participates in many continuing education opportunities as well as study groups and peer consultation groups. Other ongoing business activities include board and committee service, start-up and competitive strategy advising, and presenting and facilitating at national and regional conferences. This sounds like a lot, but it’s all been about following my interests and passion—I’m driven and a lifelong learner, like many of my clients. Being interested in a lot of things has given me skills to help a diverse group of professionals. Whether you see yourself in my formal credentials or not, please don’t hesitate to reach out if my coaching philosophy and approach resonate with you.
What is Amy's approach to coaching?I tailor my approach to each client, adjusting my modality to what feels most beneficial to you. In general, I use a combination of: Building awareness and introspection through mindfulness and values-based approaches Supportive inquiry and reflection to help increase understanding of what's behind a given challenge, what it may be bringing up in you, or what's going on beneath the surface Advising in support of client-coach co-creation of ideas, strategies, or new approaches to challenges Coaching differs from consulting in that I am not providing direct "solutions" or work products. Instead of "fixing," we are working together to help increase core understanding and options relating to a client's unique set of experiences. Similar to the "teach a person to fish" philosophy, the aim is to empower executives with new insights, awareness, and approaches that they can draw on forever. It can be an adjustment for executives to slow down and go deeper on an issue, but I have found that working on this systemic level can help build meaningful insights and values-aligned approaches that are sustainable and invite real change. We will work together to determine the best investment that will help lead to deeper, more meaningful return. Because introspection and change take time, I do not typically coach clients for less than six months. Some stay on for many years and some work through a particular challenge and take a break or move on. The focus is on what's most beneficial to you, and we will work collaboratively to determine the frequency and duration that supports your particular goals.
What kind of clients does Amy see?I work with clients from any industry, age, culture, race, and gender identity across global businesses via Zoom. I typically work with CEOs and other leaders in positions that feel "lonely at the top" and have a systems-based leadership perspective and reach, which includes other members of the C-suite, VPs, and complex Director-level roles. If you're uncertain whether I work with your position, please don't hesitate to reach out and we can discuss whether my expertise could be helpful. As my approach to coaching relies on client introspection, motivation, and change, I typically do not work with clients whose employers have recommended coaching as a remedial or corrective strategy.
Why I Coach
As a former executive, manager, and longtime coach to professionals across industries, I started coaching because I observed the dissatisfying effect so many managers and leaders had on individuals' career satisfaction and human experience. Individuals began approaching me in 2009 for professional development support, and I took up coaching as a side passion. To me, it was a calling to help people and systems find and realize greater fulfillment and joy in what they do. In seeing the impact coaching had on people, I fell in love with the work and expanded it greatly over the coming years.
My approach is to provide a non-judgmental space where leaders can be vulnerable in identifying and exploring their present and desired future state. I am a deep listener and empathetic guide who will help you envision and experiment with the growth and change you desire. Through my executive background, thought-provoking questions, reflections, and evidence-based modalities, my goal is to help you discover and lift your own barriers in service of greater professional satisfaction, happiness, and success.
I believe that creating the space and support for people to transform can help transform systems and whole cultures, making the activity we spend most of our lives doing more pleasurable and fulfilling for ourselves, our peers, and future generations.
Amy H. Kimball (she/her)
In 2022, I quit my job as an executive leader to follow my calling as an Executive Coach. I had been coaching part-time on the side since 2009, and throughout my years of personal and professional change, it has been a constant source of deep fulfillment and purpose.
I had previously been an academic biomedical research CEO. In my CEO tenure, I led an institutional turnaround that was all about transforming our culture as the backbone for improved processes, high performing teams, and organizational excellence. The turnaround was fueled by a coaching approach to leadership; engaging my team, our external partners, and myself in collective transformational change.
Complimenting this work was my applied organizational "action learning" while completing my Executive MBA at MIT Sloan School of Management. Through coursework and executive coaching offered by the program, I continued to deepen my coaching perspective and application.
After completing the turnaround in 2021 and co-building an incredibly gratifying high-functioning organization that people wanted to be a part of, I turned my organization over to my successor and took a leadership job in a new industry in Portland, Maine.
In 2022, finding the new job to just not be the right fit, I began contemplating a bold shift. In considering what brings me the most professional fulfillment and joy, expanding my executive coaching to full time was the obvious answer. I quit my job, filed for my LLC, and publicly launched a few months later.
To continue expanding and deepening my executive coaching practice, I then completed Georgetown's Leadership Coaching certificate program, where I deepened my passion for adult development theory, Immunity to Change, navigating polarities, culture and identity, anti-racism, and turning around systemic oppression and power dynamics.
I am active in several continuing professional development activities in ICF coaching, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)/Coaching (ACC), and Motivational Interviewing. I participate in several peer consultation and study groups each month, as well as coach development and supervision.
I look forward to seeing you soon!
Relevant Education, Training, and Professional Memberships
The MIT Executive MBA is a rigorous 20-month executive-schedule MBA program designed for mid-career executives poised at pivotal junctures in their careers. Through advanced management practices and applied learning projects, students emerge with a broader perspective and the tools needed to increase their impact.
The Leadership Coaching Program in the Institute for Transformational Leadership at Georgetown prepares coaches with the mindset, presence, and skills to challenge and support leaders. Students grow by focusing on both the being and doing of leadership coaching. This deeply transformative program goes beyond teaching coaching skills and challenges students to grow as human beings in order to help them grow as coaches.
Developed within a coherent theoretical and philosophical framework, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a unique empirically based psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies, together with commitment and behavior change strategies, to increase flexibility.
The x360 is a psychometrically-validated, fully online survey developed to provide feedback to global leaders. It provides a composite index of the traits that enable you to shift and adapt to an exponentially changing world; what you do as a leader; and the impact you have. These measures build on the work of Deborah Ancona, Wanda Orlikowski, Tom Malone, and Peter Senge at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Henrik Bresman at INSEAD, as well as many other scholars doing research on leadership effectiveness.
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the leading global organization for coaches and coaching. ICF is dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high standards, providing independent certification and building a worldwide network of trained coaching professionals.
The Institute of Coaching at McLean, Harvard Medical School Affiliate, is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring scientific integrity in the field of coaching. Its mission is to disseminate the best coaching science and empower coaches to catalyze positive change in themselves, their community, and the world around them.
ACBS is dedicated to the alleviation of human suffering and the advancement of human well-being through research and practice grounded in contextual behavioral science.