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Jan Copley
Certified Practice Advisor
Atticus, Inc.

530 South Lake Avenue, Suite 250
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 696-3145
(626) 421-6747 (fax)

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Sometimes You Can’t Make it on Your Own

October 26, 2011

Filed under: Coaching — @ 8:51 am

Most attorneys practice in solo or small firms (or small departments within larger firms). We rely on our personal, individual intelligence and our personal, individual energy to run and grow our businesses. We are rugged individualists!

Sometimes that’s not enough. Our law school curriculum didn’t include classes on how to manage our time or cash flow. We may know the applicable labor laws, but we don’t necessarily have the skills to hire and keep stellar team members. We’re not sure how to market ourselves. And, we get so busy that we never make and/or find the time to figure out what we really want our businesses — and our lives — to be like.

As much as we loath to admit it, we may need help. With apologies to U2’s Bono, “sometimes you can’t make it on your own.”

If you are stuck in your practice, you might consider coaching to move you forward.
Working with a coach is similar to having a personal trainer. You know how that works: if you don’t have someone to report to, it’s not as likely you will make it to the gym. If someone isn’t pushing you, you probably won’t have as intense a workout. It’s easier to quit on your health program if no one is around to hold you accountable. Somehow, just having the coach provides you with the motivation to push yourself and accomplish more. Of course, if you actually do what your trainer says to do, you will be healthier and happier for it!

Good business coaching will do the same thing. Having someone hold you accountable means it’s more likely you will finally write up that business plan. Then, your coach will push you to actually implement it! You may not know where to start to move your business forward; your coach will have some suggestions. If you have lots of ideas, your coach will help you evaluate and prioritize them.

Coaching is not a gimmick and not a panacea. Working with a coach, as with working with a personal trainer, requires hard work and a willingness to change things. But, if you commit to the coaching process, coaching will give you the clarity and the boost you need to grow your practice and improve your life.

There are a number of coaching organizations out there. There are business coaches and life coaches. We at Atticus provide coaching for lawyers, and only for lawyers.

I don’t know a successful attorney who has not had some kind of coaching during his/her career. Is being successful part of your business plan? Do you want a life you love? If so, help is out there!

Please let me know how this helps you!

A Doctor Considers Coaching

September 28, 2011

Filed under: Coaching — @ 7:42 pm

My good friend, Mark Merenda, recently forwarded an article in the October 3 edition of The New Yorker, “Personal Best” by Atul Gawande, about coaching. In the article, Gawande, a physician, talks about how we regard coaching as essential as sports, but that in other professional disciplines — teaching, music, medicine — we do not. He explores the concept that “with [just] a diploma, few will achieve sustained mastery; with a good coach, many could.”

I think everything Gawande says applies to lawyers. To excel, he states, “[y]ou have to work at what you’re not good at…. But most people don’t know where to start or how to proceed.” Your coach can help you get to a place of “unconscious competence.”

From nearly thirty years of practicing, I’ve learned that the law expects perfection. Yet, once you’re out of school and on our own, how are you supposed to get there? That’s where a good coach comes into the picture. A coach can help you overcome a sense of isolation; point out your blind spots; be a sounding board for ideas and problems; and serve as a tool to improve your practice.

Please let me know how this helps you!