CLP has interviewed these legal coaches in very different positions about what motivated them and how coaching has significantly influenced their professional careers.
Ms. Müller, may we ask you to briefly introduce yourself?
I first worked as a lawyer and in-house lawyer for six years before I switched to personnel consulting and in this context also started working as a business coach:
After studying law in Trier and completing my legal clerkship in Frankfurt am Main, I started my professional career in 2010 at White & Case, where I worked for several years in the area of banking litigation and advised clients in particular on issues of incorrect investment advice and prospectus liability.
After three years of practice, I continued my professional career in 2014 in the legal department of Deutsche Bank AG in Frankfurt am Main. Here I was a member of the Litigation/Regulatory Enforcement Team and, in addition to accompanying internal and external investigations, I was involved in advising on all issues relating to commercial criminal law.
In 2017 I changed to the personnel consultancy. Since then I have been filling both in-house and law firm vacancies at all seniority levels. While working I completed a distance learning course to become a business coach, which I completed in November last year. Since January 2020 I have been working as a consultant at clients&candidates, a highly specialized personnel consultancy for the legal and tax market, and at the same time as a business coach for lawyers.
I have been living in Frankfurt am Main for over ten years. I find the balance to my profession especially in my work as a yoga teacher and when traveling.
#1 When did you first become involved in coaching and why? Did you get to know coaching as a client?
I first became personally involved with coaching in 2017, when I decided to focus my professional life on personnel consulting. In this context, I took advantage of career coaching myself, which was groundbreaking for my further career. This experience gave me so much input that I subsequently decided to train as a coach myself.
#2 What was it that particularly fascinated you? What do you see as the added value of coaching for lawyers in particular?
Right from the start, I was fascinated by the solution-oriented, future-oriented approach to coaching. In addition, as a coach I merely accompany the process - the client finds the answers himself; he is encouraged to self-reflect, so to speak.
As lawyers, we are used to approach things rationally - but often lose access to our actual goals, wishes and needs.
Many lawyers are academically and professionally outstanding, but have never asked themselves what is actually important to them as individuals and how this can be reconciled with their legal career. This is where coaching can offer enormous added value. Even in an ongoing job, it is enormously helpful to critically examine oneself and one's own work with the help of a coach from time to time, to take stock and to see together whether one is still heading in the right direction.
Finally, legal coaching also offers lawyers the opportunity to deal with very different topics such as leadership, corporate design/structuring, personnel development, team building, etc. in greater depth. These topics are not part of the legal training, but are crucial for later success. The application of legal expertise is one side of the coin, the preparation of a personal business plan on the way to partnership, for example, is quite another. This is where a legal coach can provide useful support.
In our ever faster spinning world, in which the demands on the individual are constantly increasing, the topic of stress management is finally becoming more and more important; here too, coaching works wonderfully to strengthen one's own resilience.
#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?
Through my work as a personnel consultant in a unit specializing in lawyers, which has specialised in headhunting, I have the opportunity to integrate coaching perfectly into my daily work.
As consultants at clients&candidates we see ourselves basically as sparring partners for clients and candidates. The complementary coaching offer is the icing on the cake, so to speak. Often even small thought-provoking impulses are enough to show colleagues new possibilities and thus lay the foundation for a successful career.
The same applies to our clients in executive search projects when it comes to discussing candidate profiles. Here, in addition to professional aptitude, "personal fit" is also a decisive factor, whereby coaching elements also provide support.
In addition to these integrated coaching approaches, I also offer - if desired - extensive coaching sessions. The topics are manifold: sometimes it is about the right self-portrayal in the CV and the presentation in the job interview or also about the optimization of communication or negotiation strategies. Many lawyers also wish for comprehensive personal support in the context of an upcoming career change or reorientation or when taking the next career step.
Being a professional yourself offers the decisive added value: taking advantage of advice in the form of coaching always means leaving your own comfort zone. In my experience, colleagues approach a coaching offer in a completely different way if the contact person is on the same level and knows what he is talking about, because he himself has followed the legal education and career path.
#4 Your very personal tip for success:
Use the opportunity to pick yourself up again and again with the question: Am I exactly where I want to be or what needs to be changed? When in doubt, it always pays off to listen to your own gut feeling.
Thank you very much.