I recently received a phone call from a law firm asking me about my coaching program. During the call I was asked:

Cordell, how do you motivate the lawyers you coach?

That was a great question. I told her I cannot motivate lawyers who are not motivated. But, I have the secret to help motivated lawyers become more successful. In this short blog, I will share my secret with you and give you some material from professionals supporting my premise.

When I am coaching lawyers, I ask lawyers to grade themselves, not on their successes, but rather on their efforts.

Why do I approach it that way? I learned long ago how the feeling of making progress motivates us to do more and stick with it.

Recently I read a Fast Company article that supported this thought: 3 MOTIVATIONAL MIND TRICKS DESIGNED TO POWER PROGRESS. I urge you to take a couple of minutes and read it, including what studies have shown. I like this quote:

Countless game, app, and website designers grasp this potency of visible progress. Managers can leverage that motivating effect by communicating progress to their team and showing how their work interacts to move the needle. Everyone gets a boost by showing their work, keeping track of and recording their accomplishments.

I hope I have you convinced. Even so, I also think you will find valuable this HBR article: The Power of Small Wins. Here is a Ted Talk clip of Psychologist Teresa Amabile, one of the authors of the paper:

In the talk, she focuses on engagement and shares how every organization can improve work place performance. Inner work life drives performance.  She found that the single most motivating event in the workplace is making progress on meaningful work.

If I have coached you, then you likely have experienced a breakthrough. It wasn’t necessarily securing a new client. It could be as simple as posting a blog that someone on Twitter retweeted. Hopefully you now understand why when I am coaching you, I am focusing on your small wins.