The shift from practitioner to leader can undoubtedly be unsettling and difficult to negotiate.
Even experienced leaders constantly face novel and unfamiliar challenges in an increasingly complex, uncertain and demanding market place.
Part of the problem is that many of the characteristics that make you a great lawyer – task-focus, self-reliance, single-mindedness, independence, even a degree of combativeness – can work against you as a leader unless these are part of a much broader, softer skill set.
Deborah Rhode, professor of law at Stanford University and leading scholar in the area of leadership in the law, identifies that the characteristics relevant to these softer skills cluster in five categories:
- values (such as integrity, honesty, trust, an ethic of service);
- personal skills (such as self-awareness, self-control, self-direction);
- interpersonal skills (social awareness, empathy, persuasion, conflict management);
- vision (forward looking, inspirational);
- technical competence (knowledge, preparation, judgment)
In a similar vein, research by Gallup involving tens of thousands of in-depth interviews with leaders and followers, identified the core leadership strengths as influencing, relationship building, strategic thinking and executing.
The research shows also shows that:
- most good leaders are not necessarily effective in all the core strengths, but the teams they build are;
- good leaders focus on the strengths of their people, thereby maximising staff engagement; and
- followers need trust, compassion, stability and hope from their leaders – and good leaders know this.
Leadership coaching for lawyers
Leadership coaching with Lexecoach takes a strengths-based approach, working with you to identify where your strengths (and weaknesses) lie and helping you to harness this knowledge optimally to meet the challenges you face in areas such as:
- Developing and shaping strategy
- Leading and managing staff and resources
- Business/practice development
- Client management and client retention
- Succession and business planning
- Managing your own well-being within the demands of your role.
On a more granular level, coaching can help you develop the critical skills needed for effective leadership so that you can more effectively:
- Build trust and increase your ability to influence others
- Learn to communicate as a leader
- Increase your self–awareness
- Delegate more effectively
- Improve team performance
- Handle the added pressure that comes with a leadership position
- Improve your ability to mentor and develop others
- Improve your effectiveness at providing feedback to others
- Increase your confidence as a leader of lawyers
- Manage your time effectively
- Balance your work and home lives.
D. L. Rhode (2010). Lawyers and Leadership. Prof. Law., 20, 1-1.
Contact me about coaching on leadership for lawyers
I’m currently based in Australia but since coaching works effectively by telephone or video call, as well as face to face, I can work with clients from most places.
Email: enquiries @ lexecoach.com
Or, send me a message via the form below: