Dan McCormack, founder and CEO of Dan McCormack & Associates LLC, has been named one of the top coaches in Boston by Influence Digest. An Accredited Certified Coach (ACC), Dan holds multiple accreditations including certification in the Smart Collaboration Accelerator (SCA) and the Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner (ELI-MP). Dan is a graduate of the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching, which is accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF). Dan’s clients give him rave reviews for his expertise and insight, which have helped them advance their careers, expand their businesses and make positive long-term changes.
Dan McCormack, founder and CEO of Dan McCormack & Associates LLC, has been named #1 for Executive Coaching, Management Consulting and Project Management by the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly 2021 “Reader Ranking Awards.”
A seasoned and accredited coach, Dan taps into his client’s positive energy and works with them as they learn to knock down the physical and emotional barriers that have held them back. In addition to executive coaching, Dan provides leadership and transition oriented coaching and works with clients seeking personal and professional development.
On the consulting side, Dan helps individuals and businesses deal with transitions, encouraging them to embrace change which maximizes their abilities to achieve their goals. His experience includes business planning, training and professional development, collaboration and team building, project management, assisting clients with the development and implementation of strategic plans and succession planning.
An Accredited Certified Coach (ACC), Dan holds multiple accreditations including certification in the Smart Collaboration Accelerator (SCA) and the Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner (ELI-MP). Dan is a graduate of the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching, which is accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
An executive coach can help you navigate challenging situations and improve your problem-solving skills. He or she will work with you to identify abilities that can be strengthened, talents that may be untapped and skills that are lacking (read the first article in this series “Three Benefits an Executive Coach Can Provide for You and Your Business to learn more).
While the opportunity to work with a coach can transform your legal career, it requires an investment of time and money; therefore, it is important to hire the right coach. So, what should you look for when vetting a coach and how will he/she work with you to enhance your professional career?
Ask the Coach About Their Process
Your executive coach should help you identify your major challenges, determine where you are now and where you want to be, and provide validation as you develop your plan to get you there. To do this well a coach should have a consistent process they use, even though the skills and challenges they work on will vary because each coaching engagement will be tailored to the individual and their personal situation.
Find out how often the coach will work with you, the length of each session and the overall length of the engagement. Most coaches find that a three to six month engagement consisting of one-hour weekly sessions provide ample time to identify and find solutions to career-related obstacles.
Ask potential coaches about their approach – how will they help you learn new skills, change behaviors and implement your new abilities at your firm? Does your coach have experience in gathering “360 feedback” from your peers and superiors so that both you and your coach know how you are viewed by your colleagues? What metrics will your coach use to determine your progress?
How does the coach work with their clients to unveil hidden talents? Are assessment tools used or is the focus geared toward tapping into the client’s positive energy and working with them as they learn to identify and knock down the physical and emotional barriers that have held them back? The goal for all engagements should be a positive outcome; however, you should assess the coach’s responses to determine if he/she demonstrates the ability to navigate the complexities of the sessions to achieve a physical or emotional outcome.
Ask the Coach About Their Experience
Ask each coach about their training and accreditations. Coaching is not a regulated industry and skills levels vary – it is important that the coach you hire has been educated and trained in appropriate coaching techniques. Ask potential candidates if they are an Accredited Certified Coach (ACC). This designation indicates they have completed formal training that has been further validated by the International Coach Federation (ICF); one of the most respected coaching organizations in the world.
Inquire about a potential coach’s professional background. Have they held executive or leadership positions? Has he/she successfully coached other lawyers and executives? Working with a coach with a wealth of experience in law firm management will provide a more effective coaching experience because the coach will have a solid grasp of law firm processes, training, the emphasis placed on professional development, and the environment in which you operate.
Ask each coach about their client successes. How many clients have they worked with? Without disclosing confidential information, ask them to provide examples of individuals they have worked with and the result of the coaching engagements.
What Can an Executive Coach Do for You and Your Law Firm?
A study on executive coaching found that coaching produced a 529 percent return on investment (ROI) and significant intangible benefits. When financial benefits from employee retention were included, it boosted the ROI to 788 percent. Other studies provided by the International Coach Federation have shown that coaching usually generates an ROI of $4 to $8 for every dollar invested.
Lawyers and firms that hire executive coaches can realize many benefits, including increased revenue, reduced absenteeism, expanded market share, improved client service and enhanced innovation. Whether you are a partner and looking to develop a vision for your career and a plan to achieve it, or a leader looking to initiate strategic and operational change at your firm, the right coach can help you execute and achieve your goals. Additional benefits from executive coaching can be found at Dan McCormack & Associates.
Expanding your sphere of influence takes time and commitment, but it is well worth the effort to develop a powerful presence at your firm. The skills you’ll acquire during the process will make you a more effective leader and position you as someone people look to for advice and guidance. Gaining influence will also provide more opportunities, whether it is being asked to join the Executive Committee or being selected to lead a practice group. And the benefits don’t stop there. As an influencer you will have leverage to advance initiatives that are important to you and your clients – and the ability to gain your colleagues’ support for these initiatives.
Here are five strategies you can employ to expand your sphere of influence at your firm:
Cultivate personal connections.
Developing a strong network is critical. Get to know people throughout the firm – from partners and associates to the staff in your IT and marketing departments. Connect with people who are different from you in terms of work style, position, gender, culture or beliefs. It’s important to cultivate relationships across the board. Take the time to do some research and be strategic in your outreach. Which attorneys and staff members should you connect with first before widening your circle? Use information that is readily available, such as attorney bios and staff member LinkedIn profiles, to get background information and look for common connections. You will likely find information that will help you foster relationships with your colleagues on a personal level.
Hone your expertise.
Develop a depth of knowledge in your area(s) of practice and your clients’ industries. Attend conferences, read relevant publications, and take on a role in a legal or industry organization. Continually look for opportunities to fine-tune your skills. Not only will you become more educated on various topics, you will also begin to build a profile within your practice area(s) and your clients’ industries. Let your marketing team know about your initiatives so they can include pertinent information in your bio and promote it in the firm’s internal newsletter. Ask if there are opportunities to take what you’ve learned and write articles for the firm’s blog. You can also take the content you’ve developed and publish it on LinkedIn. All of these steps will help you establish yourself as a thought leader in your particular area of expertise.
Listen and seek opinions.
Whether you are cultivating a new connection within your firm or working on a matter with someone you already know, take the time to seek out their opinions and listen to what they have to say. People like to be heard. They want to know they have a voice in what happens at work and that someone will listen to what they have to say. Rather than rattling off your ideas and opinions, make time to listen and let your colleagues know you value their thoughts and input. Taking the time to do this will help you build rapport with your co-workers.
Ask questions and provide solutions.
Every day, every meeting and every phone call are opportunities for you to determine what needs improvement, how things can be done differently or better, what problems exist and how they can be fixed, who you should connect with and how, and how you can inspire and motivate colleagues. Keeping these questions top of mind and being proactive about providing solutions will establish you as someone who is innovative, takes initiative and gets things done. When issues arise, colleagues will turn to you for solutions.
Develop internal champions.
When there is an initiative that is important to you or your clients, outline how your solution will benefit you and others within the firm. Develop talking points so you can easily explain your idea and its benefits. Think about your internal connections and determine who will support your proposal. These individuals can champion your cause to others within the firm who you don’t know. Equally important, determine who won’t support you and develop a strategy to win them over by going back to your talking points and highlighting what is in it for them, how it will benefit their clients and how it will benefit the firm.
If you are looking to improve your skills and broaden your sphere of influence, contact Dan McCormack & Associates and learn how executive coaching can help you become a powerful presence at your firm.
Understanding how to empower your staff can be a challenging task, one that has been made even more difficult during the past 14 months with many employees working remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic. Learning how to inspire and energize your team, while equipping them with the tools and knowledge needed to take on more responsibilities, will allow you to spend more time on matters that need your personal attention while empowering your team to take on new challenges.
Employees who feel empowered are more engaged at work. Forbes looked at data from more than 7,000 employees and found that those who felt they had a low level of empowerment rated their engagement at work in the 24th percentile while those who felt they had a high level of empowerment rated their engagement in the 79th percentile. Employee empowerment is associated with better job performance, increased commitment and higher job satisfaction. These employees are also more likely to generate new ideas, look for innovative ways to resolve issues, collaborate with colleagues and develop loyalty to their employer.
Here are five ways to enhance your leadership style so you can develop and empower your employees:
Be Available and an Active Listener
It is difficult to have an open door policy when your staff is working remotely, however, share with them that you are available when and if they need you. When you are tied up with urgent matters, let them know you will reach out to them as soon as the matter is resolved. Provide the ways you prefer to be contacted – by phone, email, text or messaging – and let them know whether they can contact you anytime or on certain days/times each week. When a staff member reaches out – whether they are looking for guidance, voicing a concern or sharing an idea – give them your undivided attention and be an active listener, paraphrasing what is said to make sure you understand it, being engaged and withholding judgment. If you are connecting through Zoom or another video app, be sure to observe any nonverbal cues. Being available to your staff will make them feel understood and valued.
Establish Trust and Delegate
Micromanaging tasks creates a culture of distrust. Instead, provide your team with the appropriate training and knowledge to make good decisions, develop viable solutions and resolve issues while challenging them to think for themselves. It’s important for each staff member to be confident in their decision making and know that you trust them to act independently. Delegating tasks will also help employees strengthen their existing skills while taking ownership of their work.
Making decisions, voicing opinions and suggesting new ideas can be intimidating for employees. Create a supportive atmosphere that fosters and inspires creativity. Make sure your team knows you value their input and are willing to make changes or run with one of their ideas. It’s also important to let them know you “have their back” and will support the decisions they make.
Recognize Contributions and Identify Strengths
A job well done deserves recognition. Providing periodic praise to staff members shows appreciation for their efforts and will encourage them to continue performing at a high level. It also provides an opportunity for you to identify and leverage each employee’s individual strengths. Developing a better understanding of what each employee is good at will allow you to lead your team more effectively.
Provide Opportunities for Growth and Advancement
Supporting professional growth and development will motivate and energize your team. Learning new skills and feeling challenged at work are critical components of job satisfaction. Provide opportunities for continuous learning and development as well as opportunities to attend a specific class, workshop or seminar. Have employees develop monthly or yearly goals and look for advancement opportunities for your team members.
These leadership traits demonstrate to your employees that you view their contributions as important and contributes toward their recognition that they are valued and empowered to take action, which ultimately leads to a higher level of engagement.
The benefits of empowering your staff are innumerable and include higher retention, positive morale and increased job satisfaction. Empowered employees are also more accountable, more likely to embrace change, and more likely to provide enhanced client service. Contact Dan McCormack & Associates to learn more about executive coaching services that focus on leadership and development skills.