The coaching industry has been steadily growing over the past few decades, and hiring a coach is considered a critical success factor in business, especially for entrepreneurs. This growth has led to a rise in coaches for lawyers as well, who help law firm owners with everything from business goals, including finding new clients, marketing their practice, and hiring staff to personal goals, including setting boundaries, managing stress, building leadership skills, and more. Working with a coach has a lot of potential benefits.
At the same time, you may be skeptical about whether coaching works or wonder if hiring a coach is worth the financial and time investment you need to put in. There are a number of factors to consider when it comes to finding a coach, so in this article, we will look into the benefits that hiring a coach could have for you as an immigration lawyer and some essential things to keep in mind when you’re hiring one.
According to the International Coaching Federation, coaches work towards "inspiring a person to maximize their personal and professional potential" by unlocking "previously untapped sources of imagination, productivity, and leadership." Coaching is a journey whereby you and your coach work together over an extended period of time: your coach helps you identify goals and strategies, and you execute with the coach’s support along the way.
With a general understanding of coaching and its goal, let’s look into some of the more common benefits lawyers find in hiring and working with a coach.
As a lawyer, you probably have goals such as growing your firm, helping people and becoming known as an expert. Your goals need to be specific, with action items for the short and long term. A coach can help you create and monitor those over time by holding you accountable in your action plan and brainstorming how to adjust when setbacks occur. One popular and effective model to follow when you’re creating goals is the SMART model: your goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Setting clear goals will help you keep them at the forefront of your mind. Having someone supporting you along the way can help you address challenges from a different perspective, stay motivated, and combat your self-limiting beliefs if you have them.
Your brand, in simple terms, is what you want to be known for. Your coach can work with you on establishing a personal brand that can help you maintain cohesiveness and consistency in your marketing strategy: it’s much harder to come across as an expert if you talk about too many things and have no focus. When you share relevant information and insights about a specific area of immigration law consistently and over time, that can help you become a go-to person both in your network and in the minds of your ideal clients when they find you online. Your coach can work with you on finding your brand, coming up with a branding strategy, and staying consistent and accountable.
A coach can also help you be more productive. For example, if you know that you struggle with time management, a coach can help you prioritize your tasks and organize your time to address those tasks efficiently, stay organized, and feel more in control of your work. Importantly, working with a coach will keep you accountable as you work to become more focused and productive, which is important because truly growing in this area takes consistency over a long period of time.
Management includes everything from understanding and practicing effective time management, knowing when to delegate, supporting others, providing and receiving constructive feedback, and more. Working with a coach can help you work on your management skills if you already have employees working for you and want to be a better leader, or if you’re planning to hire staff and want to learn how to be a leader. Even if you want to remain a solo practitioner for the rest of your career, you may still work with others at some point, either as part of a referral or because you started outsourcing certain tasks. Thus, working on management skills with a coach can help you in a variety of circumstances.
Burnout and mental health struggles are common amongst lawyers, including immigration lawyers. Managing your stress and mental as well as physical well-being, and finding time during the day to engage in something that gives you a sense of joy and calm, is key. Many attorneys work with coaches to help them manage and cope with the stress, anxiety and other challenges that come with the job that, ultimately, impact their well-being. A coach can help you not only address and deal with these and other aspects of your well-being, almost like a therapist or psychologist. Making your well-being a priority will reinforce the importance of showing up for yourself and making self-care part of your everyday life.
An ideal coach for you will have an interest in your field and ideally, have relevant experience working with other professionals similar to you. Most importantly, you should be able to have open discussions with your coach about your goals and your challenges and how to consistently reorient your actions to keep them focused on your goals.
Before hiring a coach, you should first try to figure out what you want help with. Do you want to be more productive? Do you want to be a better manager? Are you feeling burnt out? Something else? Figuring this out will help you have a clear conversation with potential coaches and allow you to check potential coaches’ track records and whether others who worked with them in the past reached their goals or at least valued the experience.
A lot of the value that you get out of working with a coach comes out of the commitment you both have to work together towards your goals: on their end, providing intentional strategies and ongoing support and accountability, and on your end, being open to suggestions and staying consistent with the work you’re doing.
Working with a coach is only part of the equation. As your firm continues to grow, you’ll need a case management system that continues to save you time, keeps you organized, and supports your continued growth.
With our CRM’s full library of immigration forms, easy-to-use client questionnaires, and industry-leading API integrations, Docketwise helps you stay up to date on all your immigration cases, communicate easily with your clients, and otherwise build and manage your immigration law firm.