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Big returns from executive coaching investments

By AdvocateDaily.com Staff

It’s not easy to navigate the various challenges lawyers face today, but working with a coach provides many personal and professional advantages, says Toronto lawyer and executive coach Michael Bury.

“It’s no different than a professional athlete. Most, if not all, successful athletes rely on coaches to take them to the next level to stay ahead of the competition,” Bury tells AdvocateDaily.com.

“Lawyers shouldn’t be any different if they want to stay ahead of the curve because a coach may be the only person in their lives who is solely devoted to accelerating and supporting their business success.”

Bury, principal of Blue Pond Coaching, says lawyers face modern challenges like law firms that offer flat-rate billing and operate out of grocery store chains and more paralegals appearing in the courts.

Given the rapid changes taking place, those who want to succeed often need external supports, specifically a coach to help plan and implement new strategies, he says.

“While coaching has been a long-standing component of any professional athlete’s training regimen, the legal profession has only recently started to embrace its benefits,” Bury says.

A recent study shows the positive return on the investment of having a coach to help achieve success, Forbes.com reports.

The study notes that coaching can improve productivity by 70 per cent, self-confidence by 80 per cent and it has an overall return on investment of 86 per cent.

“People get swamped with other demands on their time and they lose momentum. If you have a coach to check in with and be accountable to, the results are significant,” Bury says.

Potential coaching clients want to be able to see the return on their investment, both in terms of time and money, he says.

“It’s not an unreasonable position to take," Bury says. "My approach provides a clear-cut road map to success.”

At Blue Pond Coaching, the program has specific strategies with measurable outcomes, he says.

“It is critical to identify early on how a client will measure achievement against the coaching outcomes we identify. Clients, with the guidance of a coach, need to state what will be different after coaching,” Bury says.

For example, a client may want to increase billings by 20 per cent or implement an internet-based marketing plan to generate 15 new clients a month.

“I help them quantify what success will mean in whatever ways seem most relevant to them.”

Another component of the Blue Pond Coaching approach is regular progress reviews and feedback, he says.

“Coaching needs to be highly focused, and sometimes it’s an intense process. We are trying to get rid of bad habits and implement new ways of doing things,” Bury explains.

“When I have a client eliminate negative self-talk, which holds them back from success, they know they’re getting a return on their investment.”

He says realizing bad habits and getting out of your own way is hard to do without a coach.

Returning to the professional athlete comparison, Bury says lawyers need a coach to offer an external perspective and another set of eyes to determine what is working and what isn’t.

At the end of a coaching engagement, Bury asks the client to assess their level of success against the coaching outcomes.

“They identify how well they have done against the measures they agreed to. It’s here that we have the opportunity to review what worked and how to improve on the coaching plan they take with them.”

The value of having a coach extends beyond any initial successes because those accomplishments have a ripple effect and go beyond immediate goals, he says.

“Using a coach is the difference between thinking about doing something and making it actually happen.”

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