New York
Hong Kong

Is the coaching approach able to transform people and teams?

March 2022

In recent times there has been an increased focus amongst lawyers on giving and receiving feedback. Perhaps the epitome of this has been the rise in popularity of the 360-degree feedback survey. The resulting challenge is how to successfully land the messages that are gleaned from these processes. Somewhat surprisingly there is a significant number of lawyers that struggle to provide positive feedback to their colleagues but the overwhelming challenge for the rest of us is how to give negative messages or, to use the more acceptable phrase beloved of HR staff, constructive feedback. Lawyers are constantly searching for the “magic bullet” of how to deliver such messages during their busy schedules without demotivating colleagues. This is especially true in the current climate when there is a paucity of lawyers to do the work and attrition has been trending up in many businesses. Can the coaching approach tick these boxes?

What is coaching? Perhaps the easiest way to approach the topic is by saying that it is not mentoring, training, or consulting. Those disciplines seek to put in whereas coaching seeks to pull out or, put another way, coaching is uploading not downloading. Coaching is the fundamental belief that individuals have within them untapped potential that can be accessed themselves by working with a skilled coach. It motivates team members and helps them better achieve their potential.

Why does it work? Primarily it allows a pause and gives busy people time to focus, reflect and invest in themselves. They can clear their head, allowing the person being coached to hit the reset button and order their thoughts. It also allows an avenue for people to get things off their chest in a safe and trusting environment. Rarely do lawyers block out time to just think and reflect and this is what coaching allows. It adds a trusted support structure for those who may not have one in their busy lives. Finally, lawyers may be avoiding the truth about their developmental journey and coaching can help them accept it.

Most of all, people find that coaching works. It fundamentally saves time and stress, and it feels like a better way of working. People are much more likely to implement things that they have deduced themselves as opposed to what they have been told by others. Learning in an enjoyable and supportive environment leads to development and growth. Research from neuroscience also shows that new neural pathways can be forged at any age allowing old ones to die back: you can “teach an old dog new tricks.” It is never too late to develop new habits and to grow. People need support as the challenges faced in the modern business world continue to grow exponentially, for example taking on more responsibility with little training or preparation, working long hours, fragmented support structures in people’s personal lives and ever-increasing pressure on all fronts.

How can LTN & Partners help? We have a stable of experienced coaches that have worked extensively in the legal sector so are knowledgeable about the challenges faced by busy lawyers. We can provide one to one executive coaching to help individuals, or we can assist in embedding the coaching approach to your teams.

For more information or to discuss coaching please contact Adam Freeman –

BBC News