The Executive Kingmaker: A Q&A With Vasco Patrício

A Q&A with Vasco Patrício: Executive Performance Coach for C-Level Executives and Alternative Investment Managers.

How did your working life begin?

I actually started as a tech entrepreneur. I co-founded two different startups, backed by the MIT-Portugal IEI Startup Accelerator, and ended up becoming part of the leadership team for the accelerator itself. Despite mentoring and assisting young founders,

I found that I got client requests from seasoned executives at the time, so I slowly started assisting these executives and consolidating my coaching in that crowd. 

Within the executive coaching itself, I started connecting with a few Hedge Fund managers in Switzerland and Germany, and started to slowly specialize in financial services, not just Hedge Funds but also partners of Venture Capital and Private Equity firms, among others.

I started specializing in helping with hiring and assessing people in these markets, helping establish the values and mission of the company, promoting team collaboration and resolving conflicts, as well as doing assessments of personalities, motivators and drivers for people to optimize their performance.

What are some common mistakes you find yourself helping to correct in your clients?

Mainly people issues. At the end of the day, it’s all about people. It might be a leader that can’t effectively lead his team or a person that can’t get the best result in a negotiation, or can’t sell his financial product to a client, but at the end of the day it’s all about you being able to connect with other people. It’s all about being able to influence, to impact, to connect with someone else. I many times brand myself as an “influence and persuasion” coach because, at the end of the day, that’s the backbone connecting all of the different issues. Influence in understanding and leading your team. Influence in a negotiation. Influence in being able to empathize and connect with a possible client, partner, other. At the end of the day, 90% of clients’ issues are about needing to influence someone they can’t with their current skill set or emotional state. It’s always about the people.

What is trading psychology and how much can it affect the business world – which is often perceived as clinical and data-driven?

In the specific world of active asset management, when traders make a specific trade, regardless of the volume, sector, etc, emotions can and always do come up.

Whether it is because you’re making a $2M trade when you usually make $400k ones, because you had a nasty argument with your SO the night before, or any other factor, you can become angry, needy, sad, or just choke when the time comes to pull the trigger.

What is perceived as a logical process in Wall Street is heavily emotional – in most cases, in fact.

In this specific niche, my coaching is all about helping the trader change their thoughts, emotions and ultimately behavior when triggered. 

I started by monitoring the baseline energy and emotional levels of the trader/PM, and then optimize these, to make sure the foundation is the right one.

If the foundation is well-placed, then individual events such as fear or greed won’t affect you so much when you are triggered. But they still might. And for those cases I use a Cognitive-Behavioral approach, helping clients unearth what thoughts and emotions come up in these specific situations and crises, and then slowly leading them to better alternatives.

If you unlearn a bad habit and replace it with a good one, you can slowly and consistently rewire your brain’s default neural pathways, and come up with much better alternative behaviors.

Can you think of one piece of advice you might give to our readers? 

For family offices looking to invest, vetting of prospective managers is key. I teach fund managers how to articulate their process and their expertise.

A prospective allocator must do the opposite

– vet the process and expertise of the manager the best they can. 

If a manager has the expertise, education and skill set, that’s necessary but not sufficient.

Does the investment strategy fit with your specific goals? Are you aligned on returns, reporting strategy and redemption periods? Does this person have specific experience in the same sector and methodology of their current fund? Can they show performance numbers from previous years? Are they open to just showing a redacted sample of the data or are they available to sharing all the data and letting you do your own analysis? 

At the end of the day, transparency and openness are key. Don’t be fooled by smokescreens and vet everything. You cannot guarantee you will find a manager that will get amazing returns – nobody can – but you can at least guarantee you will eliminate the ones that will lose you money for sure. 

For start-ups looking to raise capital from family offices, same principles as for fund managers and other investment opportunities.

You have to be able to articulate what your value proposition is, and you have to make sure it’s aligned with the allocator’s investment strategy. Why are you a good choice? Why are you going to provide ROI in the face of other opportunities? Know your investor, know your value, and pitch hard when they both fit.

When they don’t, don’t force the issue, but instead seek for intros for people that are a fit.

For more information or to contact Vasco, visit his website at