leaving law
Career Coaching

A word from leavinglaw

What is career coaching?

Career coaching is all about helping others succeed. It is about enabling individuals to discover solutions to the challenges they face, achieve results and ultimately pursue great careers. As a lawyer you already have a desire to achieve good results, you could help others do the same!

Individuals seek the assistance of a career coach for many reasons such as career changes, career progression, job hunting or returning to work. Organisations also instruct career coaches to improve the performance, development, recruitment and retention of employees as well as to provide outplacement support. Career coaches can therefore specialise in many different areas including:

• Executive and Leadership Coaching - coaching for senior managers and executives
• Corporate and Business Coaching – working with employees to improve performance
• Personal Career Coaching – helping individuals make decisions about their career
• Development and Performance Coaching - through either corporate or career coaching
• Youth Coaching – working with young people

Within these niche areas of coaching, the fundamental process is the same; career goals are established, a plan of action is developed, and the individual commits to these actions.

To facilitate the process, the coach supports, motivates and challenges the individual by creating a conversation using a combination of skills such as observation, questioning and feedback. Ultimately, the coach helps individuals to build their self-awareness and explore career and development opportunities.

How do I train as a career coach?

To train as a career coach, it is a good idea to initially train in general coaching. There are many general coaching certificate and diploma programmes which offer a mix of distance and residential learning and are usually completed within twelve months, depending on the course and the time you commit. The training usually consists of practising coaching skills and completing assignments, a thesis and a number of coaching hours.

Whilst you are taking part in this training, you can start setting up your coaching practice and, thereafter, take part in specialist training courses which provide additional coaching tools and methods such as Neuro-Linguistic Programming or personality profiling. It is important to dedicate time to professional development to ensure you are always providing the best service for your clients, just as you do as a lawyer.

Is becoming a career coach for me?

As a lawyer, you have developed many fundamental skills required to be a coach. You have good questioning and listening skills and are able to build rapport. You also have the ability to be impartial. The main difference in your work as a coach is that you will be using these skills to enable clients to come up with their own solutions, taking a break from problem solving!

If you are considering becoming a professional career coach, take a moment to imagine what it will be like. Are you naturally supportive of others? If you are considering becoming self employed, is this for you? Take time to consider what existing skills and interests you have and what roles and environments suit you. Developing excellent self-awareness skills is essential for becoming a good coach.

The next step is to carry out some research to investigate courses that are best suited to you and will make you feel equipped to coach other people. Coaching is currently an unregulated profession and so it is important for you to take time to consider your options and to get some qualifications. It is also important to find a mentor who will provide you with guidance and support. The more time you spend talking to the right people and gaining the right skills, the more successful you will be.

Also see "Life Coaching".

Made the move

Matt Oliver

Matt profile

Initially, I left the legal profession to set up my own property business and to pursue my interest in coaching by working as a performance coach. I spent a lot of time mulling over when and how to make the career change. As well as much personal soul searching, I worked with a coach who helped me on a range of things from mindset to more practical things such as a transition plan and financial planning. I had worked in the legal profession for 10 years and was asking myself whether I wa .....


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I chose not to leave law entirely. I still work part-time in the legal profession but now also coach others who face challenges in their lives. I assessed where I was in my life and where I wanted to be. A full time career in law was not for me although I did not want to leave the profession entirely. I reduced my working hours and spent time studying my chosen field. The coaching profession is unregulated - unlike the legal profession. I wanted to ensure that once I started coaching, .....


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Whilst every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of this information at the time of posting, the information is intended as guidance only. It should not be considered as professional or legal advice.

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