What a Coach Could Do for Your Firm

This article was provided by Gary Mitchell, a lawyer coach since 2005, taking a unique approach with his clients by focusing on the psychological aspect of the way they work. Having coached lawyers from coast to coast spanning numerous practice areas and at all stages in their careers, Gary continues to expand and hone his knowledge of the legal industry with every new client engagement. 

First, before I share some extraordinary stories, let me first dispel a common myth held by lawyers that asking for help is a weakness. It’s NOT! It’s a sign of STRENGTH! Do you think Olympic athletes are weak? How about Grammy-award-winning singers, musicians, writers, and performers? 

What follows are just three examples of what coaching has done for three lawyers in three very different situations.

Profile #1: Equity Partner at Boutique Firm

Situation: Just before the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, she had decided to leave her very comfortable Equity Partner position with a boutique firm where she never had to worry about business coming in. She was moving to a Non-Equity Partner role at a national firm where she would be responsible for not only growing her own practice, but also growing the Practice Group. 

The Mandate: To help her transition to her new firm, build new relationships, and successfully engage in business development—all of which needed to be done from home while taking care of her two young girls. 

Results: Fast forward just under 3 years and she has not only grown her own practice and the regional practice group, but she is also now the National Practice Group Leader. 

Profile #2: Small Law Firm Owner 

Situation: Although he had already done well after five years, he wanted some HR, management, and systems help to aid with expansion and to take his firm to the next level.

The Mandate: Over the course of a year and a half, I worked with this owner on various marketing initiatives, business development, and HR, including compensation and bonus structures. I also coached some of his lawyers. 

Results: Within two years, this firm was named Toronto’s fastest-growing law firm in the Globe and Mail’s top 400 Fastest Growing Canadian companies. The owner attributes some of the work we did together in achieving this growth. 

Profile #3: Senior Partner at National Firm

Situation: This lawyer had just returned from medical leave for mental health and needed to re-boot his practice. He was starting back below 0 on a scale of 1-10. 

The Mandate: To help him get back on his feet with his practice. We worked on time and practice management, client management, mindset, self-care, and leadership and HR strategies. 

Results: By the end of the year mandate, this lawyer was not only back to where he was before his leave, but he also went well beyond, learning to delegate more, building his practice group, mentoring juniors, and generally having much greater fulfillment with his practice and his career. He has become a partner that associates flock to. 

There is just a small sample of what working with a coach can do for you. But working with a coach will only work once you first admit, with no shame, that you could use help. The next step is finding the right coach for you. 

And then, you must remain open and coachable to receive their wisdom and guidance. Finally, you have to “lift the weights.” In other words, you have to do the work. It’s like working with a Fitness Trainer, if they lift the weights for you, what is the point?

Let me close with this. Every day you have your clients’ back. You have your employees’ back. Then there is your family. Who has your back?

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