Coaching – You can’t read the label from inside the jar

Image of people talking

Coaching has seen a rapid growth in the last decade as a business essential but it can be difficult to explain or quantify, as it can be so many things to different people. You could even say it is in the ‘eye of the beholder‘. This is because coaching is a ‘purposeful guided conversation’ to support a lawyer in achieving their goals – personal or business.

How could coaching help you?

Let’s use the example of how GPS works, to give you an idea of what to expect when you use coaching to fast track your success.

A GPS knows your starting point, and once programmed knows where you need to go. At all times, the GPS is tracking where you are. It’s focused on your current situation and traffic that’s building up or easing around you or any other obstacles in your way.

A good coach can review the original map (your plan) to provide guidance to get you to the next junction. They may spot issues or blind spots that they can highlight or reflect back. (That is why all sportspeople have coaches.) At the same time, when things in front change, they can offer strategies to ensure you stay on track or raise the enjoyment of the ride itself.

Making changes on your own is always challenging. We can only ever influence what we can notice in our awareness (hence the title of the blog!). I find that my clients (especially those with a strong need to be perfect) is that they tend to focus only on what is not working and miss out on what is. Therefore an external viewpoint to expand awareness can also help you to develop the success habit too.

Why not take advice from family and friends? Whist this can be really supportive, they are biased to what they think you want to hear or their view of what is good for you. An objective, supportive and constructive perspective (like the GPS) keeps you on track or enables you to make the small changes to achieve your goals more effectively and often more effortlessly. Thus putting you in the driving seat even if the plan needs revision for overcoming obstacles on the journey.

Finding a great coach for you.

Apart from being clairvoyant – is there any way to know in advance how good (or bad) a coach will be?

Yes!

Assess your needs as you would with any business service. Do your due diligence both on the Coach and what you want the Coach to help you with?

Here are some questions to get you started in evaluating your requirements to take your skills to the next level – do you want:

  1. Help in setting and achieving your goals?
  2. Access to knowledge of your profession?
  3. Assistance with business skills – if so what part?
  4. To discuss options for dealing with any current leadership or management challenge(s) you are facing?
  5. A reality check as to where you are now and the gap to where you want to be?

When you have set out your challenges, this will provide you with an understanding of what you need from a coach. Do you want to access to an experienced coach in the legal profession or will a totally non-legal coach needs meet your identified needs?

Review their testimonials to research what others have experienced and does this match the results you are seeking*.

The next step is to approach your identified coaches to discuss your requirements. Talk and/or meet with them personally to ensure that there is good rapport between you both – this is normally done in a coffee meeting.

Tell them about your ‘end point/outcome’ or what success looks like for you for your changing role. How do they respond? Are they inspiring and enthusiastic to work with you? An effective coach with your best interests in mind, won’t sound desperate or try to push you into making a decision but will offer you options and ideas.

Another practicality to consider is do you want to engage your coach on a one2one basis or join an online group coaching course if they have one. Which would suit you better given the busy unpredictable demands on your time? Clearly there is a difference in price and to get real value you need to know whether you require the flexibility of one2one or can commit and stick to a group online coaching session.

My preference, for myself, is a one2one approach so that I can fast track my business thinking or action around a industry frustration I am currently experiencing. It is similar in my personal life where I choose a Personal Trainer over an exercise class every time as it is easy to get lost in the crowd and develop bad habits or not make as much progress as you like.

Don’t forget to talk about the money!! Do you want engage your coach on a flexible basis paying for each session as it arises or to take advantage of a packaged approach of 6 or 12 sessions? Some coaches only offer specific packages. If the latter ensure that you can bail out and have a refund if things don’t work out as coaching fees are normally paid up front.

Act! If anything in this blog has sparked your interest and you want to discuss coaching possibilities that will help you call me, a qualified coach and Top 100 lawyer with a strong background in leadership and management, on 07921540039 to discuss demystifying the outside of the jar.

“What I got out of it, most of all, was a goal-setting mentality. I commend Ann to you” ~ Andrew Gray, Truth Legal

“[Ann] has great business and coaching knowledge. She was very systematic in her approach, gave enormous encouragement and kept me realistic as well as focussed. Without her input, I would not have achieved my goal so quickly.” ~  Lubna Shah, formerly of Ramsdens now a Business Analyst

“You have a fantastic ability to recognise and explain the complexities of relationships within the legal profession and you have also helped to change my thinking and my actions. During our sessions, you did not hesitate to tactfully, but directly point out the areas that I needed to consider in a different way. With your help I was able to recognise where I could improve myself and I can now see myself more objectively.” ~ Helen Hill, Managing Partner, StyleCounsel