Podcast

Episode: 493 |
Joana Domingues:
Senior Executive and Team Coach:
Episode
493

HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL

Joana Domingues

Senior Executive and Team Coach

Show Notes

Joana Domingues was an executive coach at McKinsey for 22 years. She is an experienced leadership and organizational consultant, and C-level coach. In this episode, she talks about her services, and her career path. You can connect with Joana through Linkedin or learn more about her work at Outsight.pt.

 

Key points include:

  • 04:29: Favorite open-ended coaching questions
  • 27:16: A breakdown of a typical session
  • 39:33: A case study of coaching a multinational organization

One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:

 

  1. Joana Dominguez

SPEAKERS

Joana Dominguez, Will Bachman

 

00:00

Can you hear me well, though?

 

Will Bachman  00:03

Hello, and welcome to Unleashed the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional. I’m your host will Bachman and I’m here today with Joana Dominguez, who is sitting in Portugal today. Joanna, welcome to the show.

 

Joana Dominguez  00:18

Thank you. Well, very happy to be here with you.

 

Will Bachman  00:20

So Joanna, I know you were, you’ve been at McKinsey as an external coach for 22 years, coaching consultants there. And you also have your own practice as an executive coach. What I was hoping to cover today was really focusing on just one part of your practice, which is building alignment around top teams with the focus on how to run a really effective top team off site session. But before we get into that, just give us an overview of your of your coaching practice.

 

Joana Dominguez  00:58

So I started coaching about 15 years ago, when I actually left McKinsey, I started exploring it while I was still there, I started as a as a generalist, consultant, and then I, I was getting good, some frustration around what what some of the projects that didn’t move, I started getting very curious about what really got people to believe what they were doing and to get really engaged. And that got me to explore other sides of consulting, that were more connected to how you bring people together, and not just about having very smart content. So I’ve been, that’s when I discovered coaching. And when I trained as an executive coach, and I’ve been coaching individuals, now more and more C level and C level teams around their biggest challenges.

 

Will Bachman  01:53

What are some of the things that you learned in the coaching training? And in your development as a coach, that consultants smart consultants don’t know? So what are some of the kind of the tools of the trade of an executive coach? That may be hidden knowledge from management consultants?

 

Joana Dominguez  02:16

Not a great question. So I think the first one that I realized was the power of questions in getting people to really engage. So I as an McKinsey consultant, you give a lot of advice. So there’s a lot of telling. And of course, you use questions to diagnose but but it’s really to give the client the answer. And one of the things about coaching is that you trust the client will find an answer. So what you’re really helping him do is really identify what are the inner strengths and the resources they already have, and what’s really getting in the way for them to to get moving to get what’s important to them. And that’s, that’s best done with with questions, then, of course, we use also, you know, feedback and see showing what we see, but, but there’s a lot of having questions, open questions that get them reflecting that created the pre engagement, that only giving, giving advice, that’s that’s a big one. The second one was on the emotional realm. So I, I realized I spent a lot of my McKinsey life and before using the logic and my mathematical strength and the political strength. And that’s great for solving problems that we often leave out what people are going through emotionally, when they have really complex problems to solve, or when they get stuck on things that from outside looks really simple. And so exploring what’s really going on for people internally and how emotions play a role in that and being comfortable in with them has been a big, big learning about what’s also needed for things to move and be engaging. Maybe those two I would highlight

 

Will Bachman  04:18

I love questions, what are five or 10 of your favorite open ended coaching questions, some of your go to questions.

 

Joana Dominguez  04:29

So one that’s immediate is what would success look like? So, we often start with the problem and people are looking for tools, but getting them out of the mode of solving to first defining what success is and and sometimes you realize we putting a lot of efforts on solving something that maybe is not the biggest thing if you consider what what really successes, but what what What would success look like? And then we’ve we’ve challenges, right? So when people bring in an obstacle, so we don’t have the time or we don’t have the money or is asking, so what what if you would have all the time in the world? What would that change? And often answers come with that, that we have exclusive, right? Because we are assuming the obstacle is an insurmountable? And then if when you stop just to assume the obstacle, isn’t there, more options come? So what? what success would look like? What if you didn’t have that, that that obstacle that you’re considering? What’s really important for you about that? Is that taps into the deeper motivations of why are we really doing this? Why is it worthwhile and brings more energy into what we’re doing? What have you not tried yet? That maybe will take you there, and you haven’t been bold enough to go there? And what I really like is, what would you do if you could only do what you feel like? Totally owns all the variables, and you could decide everything and just do what you like? What could you do? Yeah.

 

Will Bachman  06:27

One question my coach asked me at each session, and I got an executive coach about a year ago, is, what are you avoiding right now? painful question. Because there’s always something right, that you’re avoiding. They’re like, Okay, well, then, why aren’t you doing that? Why are you avoiding it? Let’s talk about let’s talk about top teams. And, you know, I know that you work on all sorts of problems, or all sorts of issues. But let’s talk a particular situation around CEO comes to you and says, Hey, my top team doesn’t feel aligned. So you’re gonna work on helping to generate alignment around the top team. And one of the things that you’ve decided to do is to have some kind of off site session, I’m very much interested in best practices around how to prepare for a session like that, to conduct the session, what do you actually do there? What are the exercises? What are the, what’s it look like? And then how do you follow up on that. So that’s what I hope we could spend a lot of the rest of our time today talking about. So maybe tee up a situation for us, it could be a sanitized example of a client you’ve worked with, or a hypothetical example, and walk us through maybe how you might start preparing for some kind of off site strategy off site or top team alignment off site.

 

Joana Dominguez  07:49

Sure. So I’m thinking of this CEO who called us a few months ago, and they’ve, they’ve had a huge restructuring of the company. And he made some changes to the top team. And now they have this really ambitious plan to have, but he’s noticing tension among some of the new members that he brought to the management board and some of those that have been there for a very long time. And then he starts to fear that those tensions are really getting in the way and notice that they’re actually getting in the way of conversations to be productive for them to collaborate on the day to day and, and that’s a big concern. Because those two areas are really important that they go along, they get along and do things together. And so we started from that request, and and we interviewed the CEO more deeply on, you know, what he sees what success would look like all the things we’ve been exploring, and, and then we, we interview the, the other members of the team, so what are they experiencing? So we don’t have a one sided perspective of the CEO, but actually, the diverse perspectives of the team, what is working well, what do they miss? How is that affecting their their own role and the performance of the organization? So why is this all relevant? Anyhow? And once we get some alignment, or some common ground there, we set up a joint meeting to to actually play back but we heard about why this is important for them to work on their collaboration. And, and we believe that truly, the success of the top team is not just defined by what they define as success, but really what their main stakeholders perceive and explain how much their expectations are fulfilled. So, so then we ask them to choose who are their main stakeholders as a collective? And we we ask their stakeholders? So what are really the main value that these top team should create together? That they cannot create on their own as individual board members? How, where are they already delivering on those expectations? And where are they short of the expectations of each stakeholder group. And then we, we bring that back to the team. And that’s the first phase is truly holding the mirror for them as how their stakeholders are perceiving them, what they expect, and where they see strengthen opportunities for development. And and that includes themselves, right how they themselves perceive themselves. So that’s the preparation, right? And from there, we, we define what feels like the most important topics to address with them in in, in the first off site, which should be really to digest this feedback to get them to absorb it, have all the questions answered. Realize what they don’t understand fully yet, and that they want to go and clarify with their own stakeholders. And where they really want to work because they receive a lot of feedback that they need to choose what what’s important for them to work on. So to be a first first off site, and then from there, we decide together a few next steps that they can already start moving on to move on the on the goals, they decided for themselves between that off site and the coming of site. So this isn’t normally a process that is about one year with the top team. And so then for the next upside, we go again, listening to each of them, asking what progress has been has been made so far. How close are they’re moving into the goals they stated, and what’s now most important to deal with and face, not avoid, as you were saying, well, so which each offside includes hearing each member and really creating an agenda that integrates different perspectives and needs. Alright,

 

Will Bachman  12:22

so let’s, let’s go a bit finer jump dive into just the preparation phase. So like, do you have kind of a template of questions that you would be asking each executive prior to that event? Or the board members? Potentially that they report to? or the or the, or their direct reports or report in them? Is there like a standard template? Or what would your what would your preparation phase include?

 

Joana Dominguez  12:55

And yes, there is. So we we we follow an approach to call systemic team coaching, we did not invent it, it was developed the wrong the work of Peter Hawkins. And the the approach assumes that there’s five areas where a top team or any team, in any case needs to excel to be excellent over time. And that that’s how they how clearly they they negotiate expectations for their own performance with their key stakeholders. So we’re engaging in negotiating what we call their commission. The second one is how do they translate that internally into their own focus and, and tasks that they have together as a team and processes to manage those tasks? So that’s typical alignment of the team. And then we have the relationships, boats, how they, how they relate with each other, these are these relationships, uplifting that they create development for the team members and does the way they relate in meetings and outside of meetings really contribute to what they need to accomplish, and we’re not what are some of the patterns of relationships that are getting in the way and how they relate to their stakeholders. That’s the fourth discipline. So how are they engaging regularly with weather stakeholders to manage changing expectations, delivery, lack of delivery, what’s possible, what’s not so how they keep managing and nurturing those relationships with their key stakeholders. And the fifth one is, how what are the processes they have any to read? flags on how they do what they do and how they relate with each other and stakeholders to keep learning. So what are the processes for continuous learning and development that they have? The what we call the core learning. So, so the questions are, more broadly what I said before, you know, what, what is the expectation of this group of things that they the value they should create, that they can do by them individually? Where are they delivering, and we’re not. And then around these five areas, some more specific questions that help you understand how they’re doing on each of those, what we call disciplines of managing their stakeholders and managing themselves and keeping learning as they go.

 

Will Bachman  15:46

So, talk to me about what you often find on these diagnostics across these five areas. So are there different maybe categories of where top team would land? So you know, some typical patterns, for example, like is that they can be good on for these but but really lacking on one? Or is it companies that just, you know, they’re kind of low across the board? Or, or they’re, you know, some companies would be good on number one, but bad or number two, or some companies are good on two, but that on three and four, or some companies just lack five altogether? Like, tell me a little bit about what you what you might find on the deliverable. And you’re presenting go back to the board? Hey, here’s our findings. What are some things that you might be saying?

 

Joana Dominguez  16:36

Hmm, so some that so there are different patterns? I’d say there are some that are common and some that are more diverse, I find it’s what’s most common is that these top teams don’t really have a structured process to understand their stakeholders expectations in a regular and structured way. So that that’s, that seems very uncommon, that exists so that that’s transversal. And, and when they see the value that comes out from doing that in a structured way, they the immediate next question is how are we going to keep doing this in a way that is useful and practical as we go over time, because there’s so much that we learned just from having a structure of feedback process from from our key stakeholders, then the, I’ve also orphans, then there’s a variety of things that are more different among team. So some I’ve seen teams that are really have, they say they really have great relationships, great relationships, and they really seem to get along. And there’s, and the issue there is that they’re not talking about the difficult things, is that there’s so much emphasis on harmony, that the big elephants are not coming to be addressed. And so there’s a big emphasis on the quality of the relationship. But there’s really an underlying current of things that we don’t talk about, and therefore limit how bold we can be, and how we address the problems that are really tough for us. There’s the opposite pattern of teams that are so in your face with a challenge that they get stuck in, in, in war in wars. There, you just gonna see very unproductive conversations that really are not going anywhere. So it’s not that the elephants are not in the room is that they are but it’s just in a way that it feels very unproductive and get stuck. What I also find is many of these themes, and that’s that’s a common one again, together with the feedback have limited the processes to really stop and learn. So often they did do offsides, but they you know, invite speakers and do things that are fun and so great. But they don’t really often stop to to think about themselves as a team. So what is really working and what is not, and what do we need to learn to do better together that will take us to the next next level. So I guess I was thinking out loud as I heard you. There’s this there’s two common ones, missing structured feedback and structured reflection. Reflection is like most of these themes seem to be on a high pressure to deliver and so they they do less of this stepping back then would be useful for them. And then in terms of relationship. There’s really different patterns of harmony seekers and conflict seekers but either way that feels sometimes normal. To be productive. So the balance between those two is really the magic. Yeah. How do you nurture relationships while bringing up the things that are hard? The valuing the differences between the different people in the team, their needs, their perspectives, because that’s where the big value really comes from.

 

Will Bachman  20:20

Fantastic. Okay, that’s, that’s very helpful. So let’s take the example of a top team that does not have this structured reflection process in place to capture expectations of stakeholders. And let’s say that you have agreed with the top team that okay, we’re going to do an off site retreat to work on this issue. Talk to me a bit about, like, the planning and the agenda for that off site. And you could start even with what physical kind of environment do you think would be, you know, would you be looking for to, for that off site? Is it just like, What have you found works best just a hotel room somewhere, or getting out physically in nature? Or, like, what sort of environment would work well? And what would your agenda be like? Are we doing this on a Saturday is it during the week, we just really kind of walk me through make me feel like I’m physically there, give me a sense of what your gender is going to be and how you’re going to run it.

 

Joana Dominguez  21:29

Okay, so that the physical place we look for is normally a place that instills reflection. And that is relaxed. So we often we surely recommend not being in your normal office, because you keep getting the same impulses, right, but being on the ranch, and then dealing with every day. So the place that instills more. So that’s normally, we’ve closed by nature of some kind, and where we can have a lot of natural light and spend easily spend time outside and inside, effortlessly, we have a lot of flexibility so that in the middle of the day we decide to it would be good to go on a walk around a big question that just arrived. And it’s easy to do that. So we’d like to combine not being sitting all the time in the same room with actually creating a mix of times where you can be sitting or you can be laughing, or you can be quietly reflecting where you can be with a pair or in the big group. So we have a combination of different styles of reflection and conversation to get more variety of inputs. So that’s that’s what we normally look for on a place the way we would prepare for conversation around having this what the topic you, you asked about, well, how we create structure the reflect inputs from from our stakeholders, we would start again with the individual interview. So we would get deeper in the interviews and say, you know, which stakeholders are you currently having a structured feedback from, or not structure, but some kind of what’s working well, what’s not what are really the difficult conversations that the team is not having around this topic, and that are really key for you to move on. And we that we get a variety, we paint the picture, we paint the picture of where some people were, there are commonalities, so maybe some of the themes Part A big part of the themes is strength in one place and development opportunities in in a different place. And, and, and what’s different, where they seem to have different views of what is important to solve. And we so we build that list. And then we create an agenda with that. And that could start with, you know, playing back what we heard of common themes and big questions to address where there seems to be conflicting views. And then we would have pieces of the day that we choose with them to decide where we go first. So it’s quite a flexible agenda in the sense that there’s these big topics that are occurring. But then we have a few ways of managing those conversations often, you know, starting with an individual reflection or the birth conversation with the person who has the most different view from yours, and gradually bring it to the group in a more digested way. Sometimes we bring them down back in smaller groups to propose the next steps for the team. So we’re not doing that altogether, which is quite time consuming and often not so productive. To strike from scratch with a whole group, so, but it comes back to listening to each other listening to different perspectives, understanding them, and then together deciding how we move on. That’s, that’s, that’s the big scheme of we often also help the team ask more questions to each other, because often we have very strong views. So we often have a process that is very structured in terms of you know, you listen to a proposal, there’s no response to that you just, you can only do clarifying questions for a while to really understand why the proposal was worded the way it was. And then there’s maybe some challenge to what you’ve heard or things you want to add to make proposals stronger. And then we move on. So there’s, there’s from sharing how, depending on what we observe of the patterns of the team, we often propose a structure for the conversation itself, that’s gonna address what feels less constructive about the way they normally talk to each other. Yeah. So that’s the right answer.

 

Will Bachman  26:09

Yeah. Let’s see, we have the, the off site location, you know, it’s nice kind of, in nature, we have places for people to pair off individually or to get together in a group or to sit, you know, silently and reflect. So we’ve got our location, let’s say we have from 8am to 5pm. On a, we’ve done it on a Saturday so that people aren’t, you know, so busy with work that day, people arrive, I imagine, there’s probably miss based on things I’ve seen, you know, there’s probably a people come into the room, there’s probably some coffee or something for people to help themselves and what walk us through, like, what would the actual an hour by hour agenda look like? For a day? You know, so, you know, people arrive at eight o’clock, 830, you kick off? And do you have a, you know, a icebreaker kind of exercise or something? Or does the CEO talk? Or do you talk and then give us sort of almost an hour by hour, you know, agenda for that day of what what would the sessions look like?

 

Joana Dominguez  27:16

So if it was to be one of these first one of diagnostic, we would pursue that the playing macro diagnostic, we would start certainly with the CEO, welcoming everyone and explaining why he thought it was important to do this work now that we’re together again, and what’s important for him or her, and then that typically at check in, so a place where everyone can have a voice. And that might includes that might be like enough an hour just hearing each other. Where it’s not really conversation, it’s just really hearing each other where we are. And that might include you know, how I’m feeling as I arrive. So again, integrating emotions. What am I expecting? What do I fear what to be successful me in this offside. So they start having a bigger understanding about what’s inside each other’s minds and hearts. Right? So we start from there, then we will typically bring the agenda. So we this is kind of things we heard from the interviews to very high level. So this is what you asked us to focus on. So here’s the agenda that we’re going to have. So we shared the big blocks of teaching. And then we will normally have a warm up that is connected with the theme that we see. So let’s say if there’s a theme of listening to each other, we might have an exercise where you need to wait where there’s a lot of laughter but that we can, they need to listen to each other in a way or or make each other very difficult to hear. So, so that we start making, addressing some of the things we’ve seen, but in a way that it’s fun. And we start to bring more just a more relaxed environment. We typically also do agreements. So this might be very uncomfortable given you know, we when we ask for feedback, there’s always the risk that some things we hear feel painful. So what do you need to really make the best of this and from each other and from yourself to really be present with what’s coming and deal with potential frustrations and what might happen for you. So there’s a set of agreements we start typically with confidentiality, that whatever they are gonna speak there, stays with them until they decide something else. So they have this psychologically safe space to just say what’s on there. mind without worrying that it’s going to be brought back to some other team without being agreed to. So that, that we’re going to be really present there, that we’re going to be honest that we’re going to, you know, if you feel uncomfortable, we’re going to say it. So the agreements they need, and some of them, we bring ourselves as a suggestion to really make that work. And engagement also is a big part of that. So they have a word to say on how we’re gonna work together. And then we’ll start going through the themes

 

Joana Dominguez  30:32

of the diagnostic we covered and that there, we might have, you know, big posters on the wall. So there’s we, we tend to avoid PowerPoints, as much as we can in terms of projecting having a projector, because we feel that just brings an energy of being a spectator. And so we would normally have posters on the walls and some other printed copies. So you can look more in detail if you like. And we would invite them to go in pairs and visit the big themes and comment with each other and what, what they’re seeing what’s surprising, what’s shaking them. And that could take an hour, an hour and a half, because there’s normally a lot of material. And maybe we go for lunch, then we when we come back, there’s there’s playing back. But what we’ve what we felt, again, not just what we think, but also how are we are experiencing this feedback? And also, what are the big themes? What are the themes of strength, that sound important that we want to keep? What are topics that I’m hearing about our development, that sound important to me? And we start creating some alignment on what is really what do we perceive together, and that might be already in the B group. There’s the big, big five things we really need to do together as a team that no one else can do for us. And so there starts to be alignment on what’s what’s our common mission relief, we hear ourselves and our stakeholders. And then often after that, there’s their start. So if we start a common mission, we’ll have a conversation about what we’re doing well, yes already, and that we want to keep and not spoil, that might be in small groups. And you’ll come back with the big things and practices that you want to keep. And then what are the big priorities for making change. And again, you might have small groups that bring what they perceive the priorities, and we have to present it to each other. And we have an alignment on what would be the priorities. And then next steps. So what we go back to the big plan of the program, right? So when when’s the next going to have a few of sites where we can dig deeper in some of those priorities that you define? What’s the first one where you go feel it’s important to focus on you might have a voting and the discussion of the voting, some of the immediate next steps they can take. And normally, that’s it that will be already quite a full day.

 

Will Bachman  33:14

That would be a full day. And then how would you work with the team? Following up from an event like this? What do you so

 

Joana Dominguez  33:23

what we said the difference between a one time off site and a team coaching process is that we have we have defined that this is the development part of the team, of course started with the feedback that’s already creating development, but that there’s a follow up to be done. And that’s where that’s why we say You know, that’s three or four of sites over the year, that that’s us. There’s also a monthly our monthly presence in one of their regular meetings where we can observe what’s going on play back what we see, and how it’s connected with the diagnostic. We saw some of the things that are going on in those conversations, regular meetings, and then do a short follow up. How are they doing on what they said they will do? What’s moving? Is there one thing they need to change is to make things go faster, or go better since the last time we saw each other. So there’s these big deep dives that happened in in over the year. But there’s also this monthly timing, that we have this dual role of observing what they actually doing in their normal meetings, giving them feedback, helping them reflect and following up on what they agreed.

 

Will Bachman  34:48

And would that be how do you manage the issue? If you’re just coaching one person, then you can be kind of that person As advisor, and so forth, how do you manage the situation, if you’re coaching an entire team, then, you know, one person on the team might say, hey, you know, I don’t really get along that well with Person B, because they do all this like annoying stuff, right? And then you’re coaching, also coaching person be like, do you have to meet, you keep that in confidence. So you have all these confidences to track? Or I mean, you don’t want to go to person B, hey, you know, person A really can’t stand you because you’re, you know, you’re doing all these things. And all I can’t stand that person either. I mean, so how do you kind of keep the different confidences likes from Strang and not be perceived as Oh, you’re just sort of the CEOs person, but but get viewed as is independent, neutral, you know, help person who’s trying to really help the whole company? And kind of how do you kind of navigate that? That whole? Challenge?

 

Joana Dominguez  35:58

Great question. So one of the things we do to not just be the CEO person is really to have meetings with every one of the team to prepare each of sides. So they can gradually, as they, as they see that what they tell us is kept confident, and that we only bring patterns without, you know, telling anyone who said what, but then they building on that they can speak up and that trust is built gradually, right? Because they they see consistently, that whatever they told us, we use to in a way that can come to the group that that is not. Yeah, exposing anything, you don’t want to be exposed, right? So So respecting the speed at which each person wants to speak up. That’s when we also do individual coaching, because we often do both at the same time, we go to the whole team, and we coach, it’s their members, what we ask is that can are there existing conflicts between some people in the team that you already know of, and we ask that to the seal, that because those people should not have the same coach. So what we normally do is, I work in a team of coaches, two of us are coaching the team as a whole. And then we distribute the members among us, but to make to try to avoid that people who have at least known conflict are not coached by the same person. With everything is still confidential. That’s that’s the agreement of coaching. And it’s really important, but But more than just being respecting that there’s this sense of looking like, you’re really not speaking to other people that so so there’s this space of knowing you can have your own coach, and it doesn’t have to be exactly the same of that other person that you don’t really like, yeah, now, we don’t want that’s one of the things we contracted from, we don’t inter mediate conflict. So very clear, saying, you know, whenever Person A talks about Person B, you can be sure we’re not going to bring it to person B, what we’re gonna do is challenged person A, to ask if have they brought that to person B? What do they need to bring it in a constructive way and help them prepare to bring it to the team. And sometimes it’s just with that other person. Sometimes it’s a topic that is about the whole team, but they have not felt confident or comfortable in bringing up. And so we helping that person understand what what’s getting in the way, what are the conditions to bring that in, in a way that feel safe. And if they know that they also take responsibility for that, that they’re not ready yet, and that they accept the consequences of not being able.

 

Will Bachman  39:05

Tell me about a success that you’ve had as a coach that you’re particularly proud of that, you know, you obviously keep it sanitized, but share something that you felt like, wow, I really had an impact on that company on the individual. I really helped them out. And I knew that the change was partly due to my efforts, you know, that something was really satisfying to tell us a story about that.

 

Joana Dominguez  39:33

So one of the things that I was most proud of where this German CEO that came to, to Portugal to manage the country, let’s say business of a multinational organization, and he was feeling really puzzled with the team he was expect Think them to really confront him and, and tell him what, what was in their mind. And then, and what was happening is that they were quiet in meetings, and then they would come and question the decision after the meeting. And he was really puzzled with that and getting very frustrated. And so we we came to help and and what happened over time as we as we is that we help them realize how they even culturally, they have very different expectations about direct versus indirect communication about what you say in public to your boss, that is going to be like humiliating to your boss. And so in the culture like Portugal, you wouldn’t say it? Well, in Germany, you would expect to be straight, and you don’t see any humiliation on that. So we started helping them by interviewing, again, all parties to to understand how they perceive each other, the different expectations they have of each other, and to gradually be able to speak about them in a way that feels constructive. And it’s not about an attack, but more about understanding how we different and how can we make that work. And so we saw gradually, as we were in meet in this offsites with them, that gradually, more and more hard topics came to the table. And that they could find solutions for problems that had been there for years. So in Portugal, they have this traditional assumption that it’s really hard to fire people. And this German CEO really saw her have a lot of complaints from the team about people who didn’t perform. And he brought that challenge is insane. So how are you? How are you evaluating these people? Because if they get good evaluations all the time, then then you know, of course, we can fire them, but you still not happy with them. And and it was this huge new project that emerged from that, that was together. Really clarifying among them, what who was performing and who is not? How are they going to be more transparent with that. And in two, three months, they really managed to negotiate several people to leave the company that collectively they had been unhappy with for many, many years. And so the end, they were really happy with that, that allow them to then hire people who hadn’t, that would deliver more of what they wanted. And, and that, that just the fact that they have different styles and expectations became really valuable for the organization. But also the Germans, you also gain more sensitivity to some of the things he did that actually created fear in the team of speaking up in a context like Portugal. And so we saw the both the conversations becoming more and more honest, and problems coming more into the table, but also some of the important problems that they were dealing with being handled because they could speak about them more. So that was great, then that’s your move to another country to Benelux. And we ended up working with him with his Benelux team, so that the Belgium, Luxembourg and Netherlands that was another culture pot that we came in, and help him with, but really exciting to see that progress happen.

 

Will Bachman  43:38

So in that situation, did the German CEO become more Portuguese and kind of learned to be more sensitive to nuance? Or did the Portuguese team learn to just be direct and tell the CEO here’s how it here’s how it is overcome their own culture? Or, or did they kind of meet in the middle somewhere and, you know, become more sensitive and the team gets more comfortable? like, Wait, how did that play out? That?

 

44:05

I think both.

 

Joana Dominguez  44:06

I think it’s like as they understood each other better, right? So and they trusted that when he was really direct. They could count on his directness, that he was not going to ever do something that he wouldn’t tell them directly. They learn to trust him more for that, actually. And so and to know that they could speak directly to him that he would not hold it against them, really. And that gave them the space to speak up in ways that they hadn’t done with their previous boss.

 

44:40

But also, I think he realized

 

Joana Dominguez  44:41

that, you know, he was a very tall man, he had been in the military so he could be scary when he was being serious. And he also learned about, you know, how, what were some of the ways he spoke that created fear for people here. And so he also adapted it more to that. So, for me, the beauty is truly understanding each other, it’s not becoming the other person, but understanding what the other person needs and stands for. And that creates more trust and a better space to just to use each other’s strengths, because they are different. Yeah.

 

Will Bachman  45:24

You said you’d work in a team, just you know, in the few minutes we have left, just tell us a little bit about that. Is this a firm? Or is it more of a loose set of teammates that you collaborate with? Or that you collaborate with? But everyone’s independent? Or tell us about the other folks that you work with? Yes,

 

Joana Dominguez  45:45

so based in Portugal, we it’s four of us. And we don’t really have a firm because when we met, we already have firms of our own, that we have, we have a brand that we created to tie all the projects we did together. And, and when working with organizations, we do all the projects we work together when we do something separately. So I teach in the business school, two of us also do that. But we do that independently, right, we don’t do it together in the business school, I do some projects with McKinsey that’s connected with my previous relationship with McKinsey abroad. And that’s something that I do some some individual coaching, we do have people that approaches we do separately. So we have this very strong core of projects we did together and things we decide to learn together like a practice, what we call the voice dialogue. So something that we find really exciting about way of coaching that we all train together in it. So we have a common language and a common approach. We help each other. We own the certificate, the continuous certification of coaching, we listen to each other’s recordings, we support each other, we give each other feedback, just really to strengthen each other. So we have this, this alliance that’s most for corporate clients, but also to keep helping each other grow and develop. And that feels like a very warm and cozy home to go back to, but also gives us freedom to do some things on our own. Good luck.

 

Will Bachman  47:31

I just love that so much. That idea of having this, you know, group of collaborators that are helping each other out supporting one another, it’s just such a wonderful model. Joanna, if folks wanted to find out more about your practice, you know, what would you point them online? Where would you Where would you point them online either to a website or URL or if they want to get in touch with you to

 

47:55

follow up. So we have

 

Joana Dominguez  47:58

a website. With that brand we have to get it’s called outta sight. So seeing from from outside, outside, that PT proporciona. And in there you can find our contacts and some examples of the work we do. And it’s easy to reach out to us if you want to know more and beyond that.

 

Will Bachman  48:20

Fantastic. Well, Joanna, thank you so much for joining today. This was a great learning experience for me. I really loved the idea and learned got a lot of tips on how to think about running a off site for these sorts of things. And really enjoyed the discussion. Thank you. It

 

Joana Dominguez  48:38

was a pleasure to reflect on my own practice with your question. So a lot of great coaching questions that you asked to.

 

48:47

Wonderful. Thank you

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