November 21, 2019 by
Photography by Sarah Lemke

Why wouldn’t you go start the business you want?” Nicole Bianchi said.

She credits that question, posed by her husband nearly seven years ago, as a life-changing moment. She earned a degree in human resources from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; an internship, then a job with Conagra Brands; and five years experience working in human resources at Markel Insurance. She had achieved her desired professional success. The one thing left on her bucket list was starting a business.

Bianchi decided to pursue a business as a formal leadership coach. “I asked myself, ‘Am I ready?’” Bianchi recalled. “And then I asked, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’”

Four months later, Bravium Human Development was born. During those four months, Bianchi designed a business model, created programs for leaders, and identified strategies for coaching leaders.

The future leadership coach also hired a leadership coach for herself.

“I wanted a coach who could help me navigate starting up my own business, my coach was able to dive in and understand my business objectives, the pressures I was under starting my own business, my personal and professional realities,” Bianchi said. “My coach was able to help me think through what I should be saying yes to, what I needed to say no to, and how to begin to market my products and services. A great executive coach takes a fully integrated, holistic approach to all dimensions because that’s the only way to be sure you’re successful and feel meaning in your life and work. They see things you may not be seeing.”

It was a brave move, but Bianchi believes bravery is an essential element to leadership; her business’ name was inspired by the idea of adding ‘bravery’ as an element on the periodic table. “Leaders who are being bold—those are the leaders that shine.”

Working remotely out of her own home, she landed her first client contract with Fortune 500 company General Electric.

Seven years later, GE is still a top client of Bravium, which has grown to be a four-member team that also works with clients such as NCAA and Macy’s. The company now offers services ranging from leadership and strategy workshops to one-on-one and team coaching.

Bravium’s job, Bianchi explained, involves working with every member of a team from the CEO down. While every case is different, there are three main tenets she looks for in each client: understanding the challenges the company is facing, identifying the outcomes they want, and assessing the readiness for change within a team.

She is also working on a book, What’s the Bravest Thing You Can Do Right Now?, slated to be published in 2020. The book explores bravery in leadership and the habits of successful leaders.

Part of that successful leadership is a willingness to be vulnerable and a continuous development of the self. In the business of leadership coaching, Bianchi advised, “Find a coach who has done the work, and is properly trained and certified.” With hundreds of hours in training, hands-on coaching, and formal certification, Bianchi takes her craft seriously.

Her hard work and self-development is rewarded by “aha!” moments.

“Those moments are my favorite, where you can see transformation beginning, see the results,” she said. “Small flutters of change inspire those transformations to happen.”

Bianchi’s work entails collecting powerful stories from different kinds of businesses, and she’s noticed a slightly different set of challenges for women in leadership positions. Some of these challenges she’s encountered in her line of work include how to differentiate themselves in the workplace and how to juggle all aspects of their lives without shortchanging themselves in the process.

Each of Bravium’s clients is unique and requires a unique approach, but some fundamental tenets of professional coaching remain consistent, such as a focus on mindsets, behaviors, and habits. Whether working one-on-one with local leaders or traveling to Germany to help guide a fortune 500 company, Bianchi is always looking to build a positive and lasting relationship with her clients.


For more information on Bravium Human Development, visit braviumhd.com.

This article was printed in the December 2019/January 2020 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.