10 steps for lawyers to achieve a great career
What are your goals in life?
Reduce stress Join a gym
Run a marathon Eat healthily
Stop smoking Save money
ENJOY MY CAREER
Is ‘enjoy my career’ on your list of goals? If so, for how many years has it been there?
Through my work as a career coach, many lawyers approach me saying they do not want to waste any more time. They have been unsatisfied with their career for years and as a consequence feel unfulfilled and stressed, desperately trying to picture a life with a rewarding job. When ‘enjoy my career’ had featured on their list of goals, they had struggled to achieve it.
If this rings a bell with you, you are not alone. In fact, many of us fail to keep our goals. We either make too many, we don’t take control or we focus on the negatives and lose motivation, leaving us feeling even more discouraged. However, you can succeed and to assist I have set out in 10 easy steps how the coaching technique of goal setting can help you keep your goals.
The 10 steps to achieving your goals
Step 1: Decide what you want and make it positive
In the first meeting with your client, the client explains their problem, you provide advice and ultimately the client will tell you what they want to achieve to enable you to run their case. The focus of the case is not on the client’s problem but on what they want instead. Treat your goal in the same way. If you are struggling in your current role, think about what you want from your next role instead. Positive goals will provide you with the motivation to succeed.
Step 2: Make your goal specific
Now be even more specific about what you want, the time scale in which you want to achieve it and the evidence which will confirm your success. The more you can picture, hear and feel the outcome, the more motivated you will be to achieve it. Just as winning your court case will be evidenced by a judgment, becoming more confident at work may be evidenced by giving a work presentation.
Step 3: Consequences
When advising your client on whether to pursue their case, you advise on cost and time implications and how it may impact their life. Now that you have a specific goal, have a think about what you will sacrifice and gain in achieving it and how it will affect those around you.
Step 3: Take control and be proactive
Congratulations, you have now been instructed by your client! Your name is on the file which means you have ultimate control and have to take the best actions to reach its conclusion. You may transfer the file to another fee earner but whilst it is in your name, the case is your responsibility. Your goal is also in your name; the only difference is that the goal cannot be transferred to someone else. It is your responsibility and you must be proactive in the actions you take to achieve it. If you are not totally responsible for achieving your goal, pick the part that you can take responsibility for.
Step 4: Action Plan
In taking on your client’s case, you decide how you are going to run it and the steps you are going to take. Imagine how hard it would be to work towards a final hearing without preliminary hearings. Break your goal down into manageable steps so that you can sustain the momentum and motivation required to achieve all the steps in your plan.
Step 5: Tell your friends or family
Your supervisor at work reviews your progress to ensure you keep you on target. Tell your family and friends about your goal so that they can support you and keep you on track. They will keep quizzing you and you will want to show them you can do it!
Step 6: Use your resources
Whilst running your case, you need to have time, knowledge and skill to put the best case forward. To assist, you may use financial advisers, reference books, online resources as well as your colleagues. In using all the available resources, you increase your chances of getting the best result for your client. Think of all the resources you can draw on from around you and within you to achieve your goal. Keep thinking!
Step 7: Review your progress
For the duration of the case, you also need to continually review new evidence and adapt your strategy. You do not want to miss crucial evidence and decrease your chance of success. Think of your goal in the same way. You need to continually monitor your progress and adapt your action plan to take into account new information and give yourself the best chance of achieving your goal.
Step 8: Reward
Fantastic news, you won your case and received a thank you note from your client! You feel confident, happy and motivated. Remember to build in reward for achieving each step of your action plan and celebrate the final moment of success.
Step 9: Start building momentum now!
Your client would not be impressed if you delayed the start of their case. Do one thing today towards achieving your goal. Impress yourself and your support team!
Coaching is about goal setting, overcoming challenges along the way and motivating you to make the changes you have chosen to make. It may be that coaching can help identify satisfying career options which are best suited to your personality or help you deal with the challenges you face at work and progress more quickly in your current role.
Ultimately, coaching techniques can help you to take control of your working life and achieve an enjoyable career.
Use these techniques now to give you the best chance of success!