Hurdles to leap before the finish line


Edward Poll
Dolan Media Newswires
Dolan Media Newswires

Lawyers are a self-sufficient lot, which is why they are generally averse to asking for help. However, that is a mistake that can affect their ultimate success.

Coaches are a great way for lawyers to maximize their success; however, it is difficult for many lawyers to decide to engage a coach. The reasons for this are many and varied. Below are some of the most common hurdles that people must overcome before accepting the idea of coaching.


Many shy away from coaching because of the perceived expense. But when you look at the issue through the eyes of expense, you're lost before you begin. You should, instead, look at coaching through the eyes of investment-you are making an investment in yourself. You want to ask yourself, "How much can I earn (or how much can I reduce my level of stress) as a result of working with this coach?"


Before pursuing coaching, here's another question to ask yourself: "Am I prepared to make the commitment for success?" Many people can't succeed because they are not willing to invest (that nasty word again) the time, versus the money, in themselves. There is, in the minds of many, the issue of "life balance." Yet sometimes success has a price-the time required to do the things necessary to build your skills and education, to be known to the community that you want to serve, and to run your practice as a successful business. If you're not prepared to spend time to do these things, don't waste your money on a coach.


A good coach is not a buddy or a mentor or an assistant. A coach can only guide you, not do the work for you. A really great coach will be a member of your team, someone with whom you work with closely and someone who will compel you to be better. I recently read a musing by someone who, after years of exercise on his own, decided to begin working out under a firm but skilled coach-and soon, despite the toughness of the sessions, felt better than ever. He still hated the work involved, but the payoff was great.


Some people feel that they have to establish a personal relationship with a coach in order to take the coach's direction. Meeting the coach face-to-face is nice but not necessary. Actually, communicating by telephone and e-mail can provide greater convenience and faster feedback time and, of course, bridge geographic distances. My clients contact and interview me by phone, and we conduct our coaching sessions by phone. And these are the very same folks whose revenues have increased by five and six figures as a result of the coaching process.


If not everything suggested by the coach or committed to by the lawyer is achieved, it still does not denigrate the value of the coaching process. The fact is that without the coaching (and accountability to yourself through the accountability to the coach), less would be accomplished. Thus, more is better than less, and it is on this basis that you should evaluate how the process benefits you. You may not reach your "optimum" level, but you can be much better at something you want to be good at. That's what happens when coaching works. So, jump over those hurdles that are preventing you from entering the realm of lawyers with coaches, and reach the finish line as a winner.


Edward Poll is the principal of LawBiz Management. He coaches lawyers and is the creator of "Life After Law," a program that helps attorneys plan for profitable exits. He can be contacted at

Published: Mon, Dec 21, 2015