Coaching is a powerful tool for change

Posted: 06/12/2019

From left: Josie Di Vincenzo, Ian Tod, Kerry Boniface, Michael Bury and Antonio Urdaneta

By Jennifer Quito

On May 27, 2019, the Law Society’s Coach and Advisor Network (CAN) hosted a webinar titled “Curious About Coaching?” which examined why coaching is such a powerful tool for change. The panel featured CAN coaches Ian Tod, Michael Bury and Antonio Urdaneta, as well as educator and professional certified coach, Josie Di Vincenzo. The panel was moderated by Kerry Boniface, Director of the Law Society’s Practice Supports and Resources department.

The speakers reviewed the coaching model adopted by the Law Society and explored why it is particularly well suited for legal professionals. As Mr. Tod described, coaching puts lawyers and paralegals in charge of their own development, which aligns with their characteristic independence. Furthermore, Mr. Bury offered that coaching is about asking incisive questions and listening — a practice that is very familiar to lawyers and paralegals — which makes peer-to-peer coaching effective.

Mr. Urdaneta explained that his experience as both a CAN coach and a participant enabled him to accelerate his own growth as a lawyer, and acted as a catalyst in his decision to open up his own law firm. He described the numerous benefits that he received from coaching, including the ability to distill future goals into concrete action items and meaningful change.

All panelists agreed that the coaching model is a great complement to the well-established legal mentorship model, and explored the similarities and differences between the two. While both relationships support professional development, coaching is driven by the participant and is structured to create an opportunity for experimentation, reflection and accountability. Ms. Di Vincenzo explained that participants set their own coaching goals with the benefit of being able to check in regularly with an individual who is invested in their growth, over a structured period of time. Ms. Boniface expanded on this notion further by describing the supports available through CAN as akin to being able to walk down the hall of your office and chat with a colleague. For lawyers and paralegals in sole, small or virtual office practice settings, CAN offers a new way to connect within the professions.

As an example of the coaching methodology, attendees at the event were asked to contemplate: “What is one thing that you want to change in your practice in the next 30 days?” Perhaps you’d like to start exploring the resources available to you as a licensee? If so, a great start would be to watch the “Curious About Coaching?” webinar here.

Interested in joining CAN’s roster of volunteers? Sign up today.

Jennifer Quito is Counsel and Team Manager in the Law Society’s Practice Supports and Resources department. She is responsible for the oversight of the CAN program. Jennifer looks forward to connecting with CAN volunteers and creating new opportunities to engage with the professions.