Our careers are shaped by thousands of actions over time, just as the shape of a shoreline is created by the constant pressure of a thousand waves. But unlike a shoreline, we can have far more control over the shape and outcome of our business lives.
Lawyers are expected to become experts in a broad range of areas, well beyond legal knowledge. It is unreasonable to think we can be great in all of those areas, or that we can learn how to be great in all areas on our own. For this reason, I offer coaching for lawyers.
Coaching is a personalized, structured method of helping individuals to set business goals, identify and overcome roadblocks, and commit to an implementation plan. Individuals who seek out coaching have a desire to improve themselves in some way: they just don’t know how to get there. As a coach my role is not to tell you how to live your life. My focus is on helping you to articulate assertive goals for yourself (in life or business), and pursue them as effectively as possible. Good coaching brings out the best in individuals, faster than if they had tried to work out their issues on their own.
Over the years I’ve worked with lawyers (and law firm managers) on a wide range of issues including (but not limited to):
Business develop planning and training
Improved productivity generally
Practice and file management issues
Preparation for partnership or retirement
Return from leave (such as mat leave)
Improve work-life balance
Lateral hire integration
Improved work skills (such as delegation, time management, prioritization, administration, etc.)
Feel free to contact me to explain what you would like to work on and we can determine together if this is a coachable issue for you.
Coaching Structure and Cost
Coaching is available in blocks of four one-hour sessions over a two-month period with unlimited quick calls and e-mails as needed. Alternatively, for those who need coaching as an ongoing support tool throughout a more challenging time period (such as the starting of a new business, a change of career or business strategy, or through a more extended personal growth period), I also provide a six-month fixed fee coaching retainer option.
The cost of coaching is similar to that of going to a counselor, lawyer or other professional. Many of my clients submit their coaching costs to their accountant as evidence of a professional development expense.
Why Work with Me?
Selection of a coach is a personal decision, because all coaches are different. We have different personalities, we have different training, we focus on different types of individuals and different situations.
I am a certified through the International Coaching Federation and have over 20 years of experience in coaching lawyers and law firm management.
Coaches usually come from another discipline – often HR. I come from the marketing profession. This means that in addition to coaching, I can provide marketing advice that leads to pragmatic, action-oriented solutions that can make all of the difference in achieving business goals.
Questions & Answers
Can Coaching Help Me? Q&A on what coaching is, what it looks like, how it can help, and how to prepare for a coaching session.
Have you ever found that the same types of events were holding you back from accomplishing what you want to accomplish? Are you confused as to the best way to proceed on a plan or with an objective? Are you having a problem making a major decision? Is there a trait or skill that you want to learn but don’t know how to go about learning it? Are you dissatisfied with an element of your work or business life that you would like to fix? Are you concerned about work-life balance and want to bring greater stability to your life? All of these types of issues (and more) can be addressed with coaching.
Coaching is very different from counselling. In fact, in coaching a detailed description of events or situations doesn’t tend to assist in resolution. Rather, it tends to enable the client to focus on the past and stay tethered to old behaviours and responses that might be at the root of the issue being explored. Coaching is about finding solutions for the future, rather than spending time examining the past or present. As your coach, I don’t need to know all the details of your situation in order to help you. In fact, allowing clients to spend significant amounts of their precious coaching session describing their past situations in detail would be a waste of their valuable time. For this reason, I try to limit “information sharing” to an absolute minimum and instead, focus on the actual coaching process. That said, I understand that part of dealing with an issue is often simply talking it through. I encourage my clients to use close friends or counsellors for this purpose, or to practice journaling. My intent is not to diminish this part of a healing or development process. It is simply to ensure that time spent with me in maximized.
Coaching sessions are one hour – often by phone – and are conducted in blocks of four sessions spanning a two month time period. Clients are requested to arrive at the coaching session with a specific objective in mind. During the remainder of the session, we will work on developing a solution to that issue or need. It is rare that an issue is alone; generally sessions reveal that there are multiple, related issues that must be addressed in order to clear a pathway to success. For this reason, coaching sessions are batched in four session segments. It is suggested that at least a week occur between sessions, to enable the client to think through, collect information, or take action or practice in between sessions in order to prepare for the next coaching session. During this in-between period it is possible that questions may arise, or that the client may wish to report on accomplishment of activities as a method of accountability. For this reason, I accept unlimited emails during the course of a coaching process. However I do not provide extensive coaching advice by email. If a significant issue is revealed during email communications, I will request that we work on the issue in a more fulsome way during a proper session.
Clients arrive at the coaching session with a particular issue they wish to work on. It may be that they arrive with a general sense of what they want to achieve, and together with the coach are able to better article specifically what they wish to work on. What follows is a structured series of questions aimed at helping the client to explore the issue and develop realistic strategies for dealing with it.
Session blocks include an introductory phone call, four one-hour coaching sessions and unlimited emails throughout the process for a total of $1,200. This is equivalent to or less than the typical cost of counselling or other professional services. It also ensures that clients are committed to growth and the coaching process.
If you feel that you have many things going on your life, but nothing is getting your proper attention, then a work-life balance (WLB) plan might be just what you need. This is also helpful for individuals who sense that their home life is suffering because of their commitment to work, or vice versa. Some clients may be strongly encouraged to create a WLB plan before proceeding with a personal business plan. That’s because in the of a WLB plan, any business plan they build might become unsustainable if they have not first sought to build a strong foundation in the rest of the lives in order to support their career aspirations. A WLB plan helps to ensure that whatever business plan is subsequently developed is not conducted at the sacrifice of the other elements of your life that are important to your health and happiness. Once a WLB plan has been completed, the client has a methodology for determining priorities, assessing their degree of follow through on those priorities, developing a plan for improving work-life balance, and tracking their success in doing so. This process can then be repeated whenever needed by the client on their own. On average it takes three sessions to development a fulsome WLB plan, placing it in the same cost range as a four-session coaching block.
In this second segment of a two-part article, I focus on succession planning for practice groups and individual lawyers. In Part One (published here in October), I explained why proper succession planning is so important. [...]
Lawyers know when something isn’t working; and they can usually find a way to get business back on track. But everyone has weaknesses or blind spots. When things aren’t going the way you feel they [...]