As a lawyer, you are paid to solve problems, get clients out of trouble and provide advice on vital business or personal decisions.
In doing so, you’ll be called upon to predict what might happen in the future, in the face of any number of variables, and to do the whole thing profitably, efficiently and in a way that attracts more business.
You are also expected to get everything you do one hundred per-cent right.
And, remarkably, you probably do get it right nearly every time.
It is no wonder then that lawyers often develop a deep sense of self-reliance and a conviction that whatever challenges they face in their legal careers, it is up to them to solve them – usually on their own.
But self-sufficiency is not always sufficient.
Why coaching works for lawyers
When you act for a client you are able to bring a detachment and objectivity to the situation that allows you to exercise sound judgment and provide the right advice.
In contrast, when you are trying to bring about change or make tough decisions affecting your own life and career, you don’t have the benefit of that objective point of view. It’s a bit like the idea that the lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.
One of the great advantages of being coached is that the coach brings no agenda to the encounter. Anybody else you might consult about a change you are looking to make is likely to have some interest of their own tied up in the outcome.
Think for a moment about a dilemma you’re facing and ask yourself whether any of the following would have absolutely no agenda of their own that could be brought into the mix if you were to talk over the dilemma with them: a peer-group colleague, a partner, a head of practice group or head of chambers, your spouse, parent or sibling.
In contrast, the coach can be absolutely objective and provide you with a neutral venue in which you can learn, grow and work towards the change or performance improvement you seek.
Looking back on my own career in the law, I can identify at least four turning points where I would have benefited from the help that an experienced lawyer-coach could have given me. I suspect that the course of my career may have been quite different had I had the foresight to seek coaching at those times.
What is more, there is now some impressive empirical evidence that demonstrates exactly how effective coaching is in enhancing work performance, well-being and career satisfaction (amongst other things).
So, to sum up, lawyers need coaching because, contrary to what we often believe, it is not always best for us to solve every problem we face on our own.
And if you are going to be coached, it makes sense to work with a coach who also has experience in legal practice, who can readily understand the kinds of issues you face and recognise the various scenarios you describe.
Read more about how my coaching can help you:
Contact me about coaching
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
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