How Coaching Can Motivate
You in Your Practice

Presented by Irene Leonard, Lawyer Coach,
Solo/Small Firm Section Meeting

"The person who makes a success of living is the one who see his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly." Cecil B. DeMille

1.     What is coaching?

Coaching is a professional development tool that acts as a catalyst to encourage action based on increased self-awareness. It is a style of conversation and listening that encourages increased responsibility and growth in people. Through ongoing conversation using appropriate coaching skills, synergy is created so that the person being coached reaches an exponentially greater number of solutions than working on their own. Coaching focuses on future actions.

"Coaches are trained to listen, to observe and to customize their approach to individual client needs. They seek to elicit solutions and strategies from the client; they believe the client is naturally creative and resourceful. The coach's job is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that the client already has."1

The advantage of a coaching relationship is having someone that listens without judgment on a regular, consistent basis to investigate, probe and identify actions that help you achieve your goals.

2.     Philosophy of Coaching

The coaching philosophy is based on the key premise that the person being coached has the answers. This means the person being coached rather than the coach is responsible for their motivation to change their performance or actions. The coach's role is to work with the client to find their own solution to their problem, rather than telling them what to do about the issue they were hired to help with. Taking responsibility to determine one's own solutions is very motivating.

3.     How can coaching motivate you?

" Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing." Abraham Lincoln

In truth, motivation comes from within the individual. No one can motivate another person. You motivate yourself. Others may inspire you to get motivated to achieve what you desire. Working with a coach, if you are coachable, is a way to achieve what you are working on easier, faster and with more energy and enthusiasm. Coaches are trained to help you learn what motivates you and help you stay focused on your goals.

4.     Values are motivational

In order to be motivated it is important to know and understand your values. If you don't know your values, (and my experience is that many people including myself, until I hired my first coach, do not know their values) identify them. By identifying your values you lay the foundation for motivating yourself to reach your goals with increased clarity and less stress.

Values help people assess the "rightness" of their decisions. Knowing when two important values are in conflict is the basis of realizing why a particular decision is so hard to make. For example, the values love and honesty might be in conflict when you have to tell someone you love something you think will hurt them. If the actions you take are in alignment with your values, then that can help lead you more easily to success.

5.     Motivators

"A successful individual typically sets his next goal somewhat but not too much above his last achievement. In this way he steadily raises his level of aspiration." Kurt Lewin

How many of the following motivate you? Rank the top ten.

Checkbox Acting in alignment with your values
Checkbox Having purpose/ a clear mission/a meaningful motive
Checkbox Accountability
Checkbox Having clear, realistic goals
Checkbox Knowing your desires
Checkbox Having a clear vision of what is possible
Checkbox Acknowledgment
Checkbox Recognition
Checkbox Appreciation
Checkbox Self awareness - what are your strengths and weaknesses?
Checkbox Knowledge/Clarity
Checkbox Hope
Checkbox Being inspired
Checkbox Contribution/Service
Checkbox Achievement
Checkbox A strong belief in self
Checkbox Necessity - You do something because you must
Checkbox Accomplishment/Seeing progress
Checkbox Feeling in control
Checkbox Power
Checkbox Fear
Checkbox Faith/Trust
Checkbox Receiving rewards
Checkbox Making money
Checkbox Feeling successful
Checkbox __________________

6     Traits of the motivated

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." Thomas A. Edison

Once motivated, these qualities are necessary to achieve changes in behavior: CheckmarkDiscipline
CheckmarkA positive attitude
CheckmarkFocus - the more you are focused on your goals the more likely you to accomplish them.
CheckmarkA plan - the plan is necessary to make it happen.

Coaching helps a person accentuate the above qualities.

     Legal Skills to Improve

People come to coaching for many reasons, but the bottom line is they want to change or improve something. The following is a short list of areas that attorneys may choose to work with a coach. What would motivate you to make changes in any of these areas?

  • Improve business development or marketing skills.
  • Identify values.
  • Improve delegating skills.
  • Make more money.
  • Become aware of strengths and weaknesses.
  • Improve time management skills.
  • Improve relationships.
  • Improve client satisfaction with your services.
  • Become a better manager.
  • Work with more rewarding clients.
  • Defeat procrastination.
  • Improve negotiating skills.
  • Develop leadership skills.
  • To implement strategic goals.
  • Improve tracking billable hours.
  • Improve environment.

1The International Coach Federation website