In 2024, Affinity and Lawyerist restructured our employee-first approach. In a concerted effort to improve at the individual level, Robin Carberry, Paco Roman, and Natasha Evans joined the team as professional development coaches for all employees. “This program was introduced to help folks enjoy a meaningful place to work. To help them find more joy in what they do and remove blocks in the way of that,” said Robin.

Coaches Provide Crucial Guidance Throughout the Company

Affinity and Lawyerist offer a coach for every employee. In biweekly one-on-one sessions, coaches work through the goals and issues of each team, focusing on the perspective of each member. Coaches function as members of their team to ensure they can understand problems unique to that domain. Coaches contribute to meetings and conversations, allowing them to provide better insights and advice later.

What are you trying to achieve? How could your team help you? Coaching questions are naturally aimed at the individual, giving them a platform to freely share their thoughts about their team’s progress. In turn, coaches advise them on their next steps, guiding the whole team in a more productive direction.

Practicing What We Preach

The vision for internally directed coaching wasn’t clear at the start. It began as a plan to replace managers, who were also subject matter experts, throughout the company. Robin led the first experiment, coaching Affinity’s practice management team. During that process, she discovered that while a coach cannot fully support a team through their technical challenges, she still saw potential. The direction of the experiment changed, and coaches were added to every team as additional members, transforming the program into its current form.

Our internal coaching initiative reflects Lawyerist’s mission to guide healthier small firms. Lawyerist Lab, a coaching service for legal professionals, enlists a team of experts who can help law firms develop a solid foundation for growth.

While Robin understands the purposes and benefits of each coaching program, internal and external, she sees an important distinction. The difference lies in the clientele. While in a coaching session, Robin focuses on asking the right questions to build self-awareness and understanding. “It’s about partnering with somebody to bring out the answers that they already have inside themselves,” she said. Lab coaches do a lot of mentoring too. “But they’re also teaching people. They’re also giving them information. They’re providing them with resources.”

Overcoming Bias with Hands-On Experience

Many people are reluctant to be coached, many times due to misunderstanding of what coaching offers. People have preconceptions of coaching from sports and therapy contexts, but the reality of business coaching is much different.

Robin’s strategy for hesitant clients is simple: build a strong relationship with trust. In her sessions, she has an unwavering commitment to privacy. “It takes time to build a relationship with people. And confidentiality is a hugely important part of that relationship. The conversation that happens in our coaching container is not shared with anybody outside that container,” said Robin.

If you want to give coaching a try and start building a healthier, client-centered, tech savvy law firm, apply to Lawyerist Lab. On top of Lawyerist’s team of expert business coaches, you will get access to resources tailored to small law firms and a like-minded Lab community.

Share Article

Last updated May 23rd, 2024