What is Coaching for Lawyers?
Coaching is a relatively new profession that follows the athletic coaching model. Coaches, generally:
- Help their clients set better goals and then reach those goals.
- Ask their clients to do more than they would do on their own.
- Focus their clients better to more quickly produce results.
- Provide the tools, support, and structure to accomplish more.
As a Professional Lawyer Coach, I focus on issues especially relevant to attorneys. Most of the time the coaching revolves around career-related matters such as marketing and law practice development, legal career advancement, career change, goal setting, and achievement and stress reduction. In addition, we can work on personal issues such as health and fitness and balancing professional and family life.
What kind of attorneys have you worked with?
I have coached a wide variety of attorneys on a number of different matters. Here are some examples:
- Big Firm Partners and Associates
- Mid and Small Firm Partners and Associates
- Solo Attorneys
- In House Attorneys
- Newly licensed Attorneys looking for their first legal job
- Partners with portable business looking to change law firms
- Attorneys wanting to change their practice area
- Lawyers who want to change careers
- Associates who want to make partner
- Law firm attorneys who want to develop a solo practice
- Attorneys interested in developing new legal business
- Lawyers who want to increase productivity
- United States attorneys from many different states and jurisdictions
- Attorneys in foreign countries
Are you credentialed?
I was awarded the Professional Certified Coach designation in June 1999. This is a designation awarded by the International Coach Federation, the governing body of the coaching profession, to evidence that a coach has achieved certain educational, experience and competency standards. Coaching is, at this time, an unregulated profession and anyone can call themselves a coach. The certification process ensures a standard of quality for coaches.
What coaching education and experience do you have? What experience do you have as a lawyer?
I am a graduate of Coach University, one of the premier coach training facilities in the United States. I began coaching attorneys in 1997 and have coached attorneys across the United States and internationally.
I have been a solo practitioner, associate and partner and I have worked with solo practitioners, associates, partners and managing partners. I have coached attorney clients on a number of issues including practice development and marketing, time management, stress reduction, setting and achieving strategic goals, career and job change issues, professional relationships and many more. I also work with all of my clients to improve the quality of their personal lives.
Prior to becoming a coach, I practiced law in Houston for over 25 years. I have a broad background of legal experience, which has proved invaluable in understanding and relating to my clients' issues.
How are the coaching sessions conducted?
Most usually, as my clients are located throughout the United States and the world, we conduct our coaching sessions over the telephone. Experience has shown that this method is extremely effective as well as being time efficient. I also offer coaching sessions through internet video such as Zoom. The cost is the same, either way.
What does Coaching cost?
The monthly coaching retainer is negotiated. The amount depends generally on how much one-on-one time we spend together. All in-between-sessions support is included. The monthly retainer may be modified up or down depending on the changing needs of the client.
How are Coaching fees paid?
Payment may be made via debit or credit card through my PayPal portal. On the Resources page of this website, there is a link to the portal.
Can my law firm hire you to coach me?
Yes, law firms often pay for coaching for their associates and partners and find it a good investment. It is not uncommon for a firm to hire me to boost the marketing skills of a senior associate and potential partner. However, just as in any legal representation, I owe loyalty and confidentiality to my coaching client, regardless of who pays my fee.
Can you coach more than one person at a law firm?
It depends. As long as there are no conflicts of interest between the clients or other ethical issues involved, I could coach more than one attorney in the firm. Understanding the dynamics of a firm's practice and the lawyers could make coaching multiple attorneys at one firm more efficient. Of course, all communications with my clients are entirely confidential.
Can you help me get a job?
I am not a legal recruiter. That being said, I have helped attorneys analyze potential practice areas and worked with them clarify the type of law practice they want. I have also helped attorneys plan, organize and stay on track with their job search.
Can you help me change from the law to a new career?
Yes. Being a lawyer, or rather doing legal work, is not for everyone. Often law school is something to do because one doesn't know what they really want. When attorneys graduate and start their careers it often becomes clear that the law is not a good fit. Smart people can do a number of things well, so many stick it out for the money, status, whatever. But a surprising (or maybe not so surprising) number of attorneys understand that it is better to do work that you really care about, work that you enjoy than spend your career in an ill-fitting profession. Sometimes it isn't the law so much as the firm or area of law that is the problem – and that can be changed. But if a career change is in order, you need a plan and a guide to help you through the transition. I have helped a number of attorneys transition to careers that better suit their interests, talents, and abilities.
For how long must I commit?
I request that you mentally commit yourself to the lawyer coaching process for a period of three months. The results of coaching take a while to show up and I want you to experience coaching for a long enough period to reap the benefits. I will work hard to help you accomplish your goals within that time. Your agreement with me is to be open to the coaching process and do the work we agree to between the coaching sessions. The coaching contract provides for a period of three months, however, either the client or the coach can terminate the contract at any time, with or without reason and any unearned coaching fee will be refunded pro-rata. At the end of the three-month period, if we want to continue, we will discuss what arrangement will work best moving forward.
I believe I just want coaching for a short period; how is that handled?
Sometimes a shorter period of coaching is all that is necessary to help the client achieve his goals. I offer a shorter one-month program for those situations with the same terms as the three-month agreement. including in-between session support.
As an alternative to coaching, I also offer consulting services on an hourly basis. Consulting could be helpful for the client who requires information, such as an analysis of the profitability of the law practice or recommendations for a career change, rather than ongoing support in achieving specific goals.
Do you work with attorneys in other countries?
Yes, I have worked with US attorneys stationed in foreign countries and a number of attorneys licensed and practicing in foreign countries. While the legal systems may vary, the basic principles of practicing law generally remain the same. Being in different time zones has not presented a problem. My international clients and I have always been able to schedule coaching sessions at times that work for both of us.
I have an important career decision to make, can you help me?
Yes. I often help attorneys work through important career or life decisions. Decision-making is a special interest of mine. I have studied decision-making for years and know the techniques and procedures to clarify issues, develop options and evaluate alternatives. I also taught a college-level Critical Thinking course for several years. I can apply decision-making techniques, critical thinking principles, and my coaching skills to help you make the best possible decision. We attorneys make important decisions every day in the practice of law, but it is difficult to make a major decision when it's personal; it's hard to be objective. Having an experienced coach work with you through the decision-making process is a worthwhile investment in your career.