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.