Michael Ford (post until Oct. 31/19)
Health, The Profession

Gaining confidence as a lawyer a three-step cycle: Dewhirst

One of the most valuable attributes a lawyer can have is confidence — but most do not know how to build or protect it, Toronto health lawyer and coach Kate Dewhirst, tells AdvocateDaily.com.

“We often forget that our confidence is an essential aspect of our business. Being able to convey confidence, feeling confident, and demonstrating confidence to our clients so that they can trust in us, is one of the most important skills and attributes that we have as lawyers,” says Dewhirst, founder and principal of Kate Dewhirst Health Law and Law2Life Coaching.

Dewhirst says she notices when she's coaching lawyers that when they feel stuck and lack confidence, it grinds them down and they lose momentum in their work. “So I like to remind people that confidence is something you can build, and something you can protect.”

She has found that most lawyers believe they should start out having confidence in order to undertake any kind of new activity. However, the opposite is true, she says.

“It’s a concept I learned from one of my favourite thought leaders, Dan Sullivan, a business coach to entrepreneurs in all different sectors. He says confidence is actually an outcome of undertaking three steps,” Dewhirst says.

The first step is making a commitment.

“No matter what kind of lawyer you are and where you want to go, if you make a commitment you are setting a goal, and you start the process of gaining confidence,” Dewhirst says.

The second step is what Sullivan calls a courage phase. “That’s when we go ‘Whoa, I can’t believe I committed to it, this is going to take a whole lot of my resources.’ You go through this phase of 'I don’t know how I’m going to do this,’” she says.

Step three is to build up your capabilities by connecting with other people and gaining new skills, Dewhirst says.

“The result of those three parts of the cycle is confidence because you’ve made a commitment, you’ve gone through the uncertainty phase, and you’ve built up your capability, whether it’s personal or connected.”

Dewhirst uses the confidence cycle concept in her coaching work with lawyers and in educational events such as the one she delivered on Dec. 5 for the Law Society of Ontario.

The program, titled Define Success for 2019, dealt with how lawyers can use a coach, adviser or mentor to build their momentum in order to attain their goals and dreams for the next year.

“This is a really good time of year for pausing, taking stock and thinking about what we want to achieve in the coming year,” she says.

It’s also important for lawyers to understand how to protect the confidence they have gained.

Dewhirst recently ran a program with colleague Sharon Duffy in which they coached 10 lawyers in one firm on how to protect confidence through building healthy habits.

Maintaining a strong level of physical energy through exercise, good eating habits and getting enough sleep plays a crucial part, she says, but so do other habits such as continuing to learn, grow and invest in your own personal and professional growth.

“If we have habits that support our confidence we’re able to move forward in our practices. No lawyer has a particularly easy or a stress-free life," Dewhirst says.

"Our goal isn’t to reduce all stress, our goal is to create momentum and protect our confidence so that we can move forward with intentionality into this life that we’ve chosen.”

Dewhirst says three books have inspired her in her own practice and coaching work this year:

The 4 C’s Formula by Sullivan sets out the confidence cycle she describes above.

The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron is all about unlocking creative potential.

“I’ve found that book revolutionary for myself, just thinking about how to live a complete life,” Dewhirst says.

And Willpower Doesn’t Work: Discover the Hidden Keys to Success by Benjamin Hardy which deals with creating habits and environments that support confidence.

To Read More Kate Dewhirst Posts Click Here
Lawyer Directory
NearZeroToronto Lawyers Association (post to 6.30.19)MKD International (post until Sept. 30/19)Feldstein Family Law (post until May 31/20)Legal Print & Copy Inc.Conron Law Benson Percival Brown - Flat Box Ad Unit - 300x125Leanne Townsend