CLP has interviewed these legal coaches in very different positions about what motivated them and how coaching has significantly influenced their professional careers.
Dr. Schunder-Hartung, may we ask you to briefly introduce yourself?
Our company aHa Strategic Business Development has developed from the market of commercial law firms - with all its inherent structure and solidity. I myself am a lawyer by nature and have been working in various positions in the business world since my university examination more than 30 years ago. Originally, I wanted to become a university teacher, but then I had my second child when I took my second exams. That is why I decided to pursue a career as an editor (in the legal NJW group, later as editor-in-chief at Nomos, today, among other things, as concept editor of the JuraCon yearbook) and a long-term teaching position in public procurement law. When the youngest one graduated from high school, I was finally able to start my own business with an office where we offer consulting and coaching, mediation and sparring, training and moderation and very extensive networking formats. My younger son and stepson have followed in our footsteps and have now also passed their exams. The big one will be a neurologist. My hobbies? I like to travel, I like to read, I roam with our dog through the Frankfurt city forest, on the edge of which we live. And I've always been a political person who reacts quite angrily to social injustice. That's why I'm also involved as the local association chairperson of a large political party.
#1 When did you first become involved in coaching and why? Did you get to know coaching as a client?
When I started my own business as a business developer, I had already had many years of experience as an editor. Here and there it is very important to "recognize the games behind the games" - and I am now approaching this process from a different angle. In fact, I think you can only accompany other people on their path in a meaningful way if you really understand what they do and what drives them. Sometimes even clever people don't know this, because they are also very cleverly deceiving themselves. I have not experienced coaching myself as a coachee. However, I do regularly exchange ideas with colleagues and allow myself to be questioned.
#2 What was it that particularly fascinated you? What do you see as the added value of coaching for lawyers in particular?
Coaching is a craft with its own standards, procedures and method sets. The basic principle is the confidential one-on-one conversation, which helps the other person to better recognize and overcome stumbling blocks. In this respect it is not at all dissimilar to legal advice in terms of structure. And since lawyers are structural people, they are really receptive to the orderly approach within the framework of serious coaching, including its transfer aids.
#3 How do you use coaching today in your professional and/or private situation? In your experience, how and to what extent is coaching used by lawyers today?
With us, this depends on the initial situation of our clients, who sometimes simply get stuck at a certain point in their business development, and then we switch specifically from consulting to coaching. Other clients ask specifically for coaching measures, especially in situations of professional change. These are often people who want to start their own business from a law firm or a company. Finally, it also happens that I simply use coaching instruments "under the table", for example pacing and leading or reframing. I know from my supervision sessions that other coaches do the same - without the other person noticing.
#4 your very personal tip for success:
Why don't you download Joe Jackson's album Body and Soul to your smartphone? Not only does it wake you up, it also contains the track with the ingenious title: You Can't Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want). If you make it clear to yourself from time to time what really matters to you, many things are easier.
Thank you very much.