What is coaching?
According to the International Coach Federation (ICF), coaching is “an ongoing partnership designed to help clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives. Coaches help people improve performance and enhance the quality of their lives. 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.” A coach provides the necessary support to enhance the client’s inherent skills, resources, and creativity.
How does coaching take place?
Sometimes coaches meet with their clients in person at the coach’s or the client’s office. More often, however, coaching is done by telephone. Many clients find it convenient to be able to have a coaching session without leaving their office or home. Coaches are trained to listen for non-verbal cues by phone and employ specific skills to bridge the distance gap.
How can a coach help a lawyer?
Lawyers work with coaches on various aspects of their personal and professional lives. Coaching topics might include topics such as rainmaking and client relations, time management, living an integrated life, leadership, delegation, and/or career management. Coaching is designed for those who are operating well already and who want to move from good to great in one or more aspects of their lives. Coaching is proactive, not remedial.
Should a lawyer look for a coach who is a JD and /or who has experience working in a law firm?
Many lawyers find that working with a coach who has practiced law and/or worked in the law firm environment makes them feel more comfortable. While a trained coach can coach anyone in any field, often a coach with a JD or experience working in a similar environment can more quickly understand the culture in which the lawyer works and can provide some consultative insights based upon experience.
Do coaches for lawyers specialize?
Some coaches specialize in working with lawyers on specific areas such as leadership, marketing or career. However, regardless of the main agenda of the coaching engagement, a well-trained coach will take a holistic approach and help the client look at all aspects of his or her life.
How are coaches trained?
A number of organizations offer coach training programs that have been accredited by the ICF. When looking for a coach, you should consider hiring a coach who has been trained and/or certified through an ICF accredited institution such as The Coaches Training Institute (CTI).
What other credentials can coaches earn?
Coaches can also be credentialed through the ICF based upon their training, the number of hours of coaching they have conducted and recommendations from more experienced coaches. These credentials (ACC, PCC, and MCC) show that the coach has reached a high level of both competence and experience in the field.
How much does coaching cost?
Certified coaches base their fees upon their experience level, the length of each coaching session, the number of sessions per month, and other factors.
How long does a coaching engagement last?
Coaching engagements can last anywhere from several months to several years. Most coaches have a minimum commitment they want new clients to make at the outset of the coaching relationship and these vary from three to six months. From there, it is up to the coach and client together to determine whether or not to continue the coaching relationship and for how long.
Where do I find a coach?
There are many different ways to find a coach. The ICF website (www.coachfederation.org) has a listing of credentialed coaches, and many of the coach training schools, like CTI (www.thecoaches.com), list certified coaches on their websites. In addition, in certain states, like Georgia, there are local coaching organizations such as the Georgia Coach Association (www.gacoaches.com) that include a directory of member coaches online. Law firm professional development partners/directors can also serve as a clearinghouse for coaching contacts, as can colleagues who have used coaches successfully.
What is the difference between coaching and consulting?
While coaches are experts at the art and science of coaching, they do not need to be subject matter experts. They draw out the innate wisdom of their clients by asking targeted questions and facilitating directed thinking. Coaches help clients achieve change and results by serving as confidential, neutral partners who are objective and non-judgmental. Coaches have specialized training to learn specific competencies including becoming experts at listening contextually for what is said and done and what is NOT being said and done. Consultants have experience and expertise in a specific area. They are hired to analyze and address a particular issue and to give advice about what needs to be done to remedy a problem or change a situation. They may use coaching skills in their work but only as a tool to complement their other professional skills.
What is the difference between coaching and counseling?
Coaching differs from counseling or therapy in a number of ways. Generally, the therapist-client relationship is based upon the medical model which assumes that the client needs to be diagnosed, treated and/or cured. Coaching operates from the premise that each client is whole and may desire guidance but does not need to be fixed. Therapy also tends to address the current issue by reviewing past factors. Coaching begins with the present and helps the client move forward toward a more fulfilling life consistent with his or her values and vision. The coaching relationship closely resembles that of a client and personal trainer. In each case, the client wants to receive guidance and accountability to move toward particular, identified goals.
Debby Stone, JD, CPCC, PCC, co-founded Corner Office Coaching in 2002 and serves as CEO. Debby holds both undergraduate and law degrees from Duke University. She practiced law for 16 years, first in a large Atlanta law firm and later in her own firm. Debby received her coach training and certification from The Coaches Training Institute, has completed Organization and Relationship Systems coach training through The Center for Right Relationship, and is accredited as a Professional Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation. Debby also serves as a senior editor and contributing writer for The Complete Lawyer. Debby works with Corner Office Coaching as a coach, consultant and facilitator. In addition, she runs the day-to-day operations of the company and oversees the work of the firm’s Affiliate Coaches.