Dr Órla NicDomhnaill, Chief Executive Officer, Thrive Advisory

Dr Órla NicDomhnaill shares her insights about Wellness and how she facilitates awareness, insights and actions with her clients – at individual, team and organisational levels.  And how the GLWS helps her to do so.

Dr Órla NicDomhnaill has an impressive background working with directors, CEOs, and senior management teams to enhance culture, performance and growth.  Prior to founding Thrive Advisory, Órla was a Senior Partner at Pivot Leadership – a Korn Ferry Company, where she was the Asia-Pacific Business Head and the regional lead of Leadership Development Solutions and the Technology and Professional Services for the Leadership Advisory business.

With a first-class honours in Psychology from University College Dublin and a Masters of Art, Masters of Philosophy and PhD in Organisational Psychology from Columbia University, she is a passionate and true expert  in creating  leadership development, coaching, diversity & inclusion and executive wellness experiences. An avid user of the GLWS, we asked her to share some of her insights about how she facilitates awareness, insights and actions with her clients – at individual, team and organisational levels – and how the GLWS helps her to do so.

Dr Órla NicDomhnaill has an impressive background working with directors, CEOs, and senior management teams to enhance culture, performance and growth.  Prior to founding Thrive Advisory, Órla was a Senior Partner at Pivot Leadership – a Korn Ferry Company, where she was the Asia-Pacific Business Head and the regional lead of Leadership Development Solutions and the Technology and Professional Services for the Leadership Advisory business.

With a first-class honours in Psychology from University College Dublin and a Masters of Art, Masters of Philosophy and PhD in Organisational Psychology from Columbia University, she is a passionate and true expert  in creating  leadership development, coaching, diversity & inclusion and executive wellness experiences.  An avid user of the GLWS, we asked her to share some of her insights about how she facilitates awareness, insights and actions with her clients – at individual, team and organisational levels – and how the GLWS helps her to do so.

“We are witnessing a huge increase in the need and demand for executive wellness. More and more my clients and I are discussing how they spend their time and energy and the difficulties they are experiencing with balancing personal, family and work commitments. The GLWS is invaluable.”

Dr Órla NicDomhnaill, CEO Thrive Advisory

How important has executive wellbeing become in your leadership development/coaching work?

“My colleagues and I have known for a long time that personal wellbeing and resilience are critical for our clients to thrive, yet this is becoming more and more critical in the last 5 years or so. We are witnessing a huge increase in the need and demand for executive wellness with our individual clients and those wanting to support teams or the organisation as a whole. The boundaries between work and life are becoming increasingly porous. More and more my clients and I are discussing how they spend their time and energy and the difficulties they are experiencing with integrating personal, family and work commitments.

When did you start using the GLWS® in your consulting work?

“I was fortunate enough to connect with Audrey and Karen almost 3 years ago and have been using GLWS personally and with my clients ever since. I’m a huge fan of both the tool and the process – it has proven invaluable personally and professionally to facilitate awareness, insights and actions in work and life spheres.”

Have you completed the GLWS® yourself?

“Taking the tool myself for the first time was a powerful intervention. As there are no trick questions or counter-intuitive concepts, it was eye-opening to note the clear categories where I was thriving and gaining energy from work and in life.  Of course, the flip-side was even more eye-opening.  There were several things I cognitively knew were critical to my well-being, but were falling by the wayside – not grabbing the attention they required.  It was a potent reminder for me that I was allowing everyone else’s “urgent” take precedence over what was important for me personally.  I don’t claim to have all the answers or everything figured out (at all!), but that is part of the beauty of the GLWS.  The framework is a constant reminder that wellness and balance are never won and done – but a constant, delicate balance of where you devote focus, energy, time and commitment.”

How do you use the GLWS® in a coaching context with your individual clients?

I have used the GLWS successfully with individual leaders as part of executive coaching engagements, with teams and with cohorts of high-potential leaders as part of Leadership Development programs.

Each of the leaders I have worked with have benefited from the process and outcomes – namely self-awareness about what was really impacting their sense of well-being and commitment/support with action. Everyone has at least 1-2 themes that jump out as things to maintain and others to focus more attention on. My coaching clients and I keep a separate wellness action plan that nobody else sees. We use this to think through wellness activities or “homework” between sessions and as a standing discussion topic in each coaching session.

I often use GLWS hand-in-glove with a diary analysis, where leaders prioritise the critical areas they should be spending their time and energy on – and a realistic view of how that matched (or didn’t) what they actually spent their time on the previous 3 months. Together they are powerful “mirrors” into wellbeing and a way to unearth what we say versus what we do.

GLWS has also been very helpful in a positive sense with regard to culture and organisational role fit.

For those leaders at a critical career juncture and about to embark of a search for a new role, the exercise has highlighted things that are missing with the person’s manager, colleagues or their organisation. It has helped several of my clients identify why things are going awry and pin-points what they will need to look for in their next role or organization.”

What about at a broader level and looking at wellbeing across teams?

“With my leadership development programs, I have combined an individual and cohort approach. Each leader completes the GLWS online, which is then followed by a confidential debrief and coaching session as part of the executive coaching component of the program. When each leader has been debriefed, we analyse the group report to draw out the most common wellbeing enhancers and detractors. From this, we have a customised “Wellness Module” as part of the program.  This covers the framework in depth and the common detractors and enhancers, followed by the key themes that emerged for the group and customised resources and exercises, based on these themes.

Our clients have responded very well to the blend of the personal and group focus – it is clear they all belong in the same system and have several themes in common as a group. For example the culture of meeting overload and a lack of breaks are very common. They have received great benefit from the customised cohort materials and personal and group/peer coaching modules and exercises. We typically recommend spending at least a half-day on wellness as part of these programs. In an ideal world in a 6-12 month program, you could do the GLWS twice – once early in the program, followed by a cohort wellness module, then a 6 month gap where they can apply their learnings and the practical tips – and a re-measure to see where things have evolved for the individuals, the cohort and draw out the implications for the organisation.”

Dr. Órla NicDomhnaill
Chief Executive Officer | Thrive Advisory