We had a group telephone coaching session this week. I actually coached three of the six lawyers in the group in person a couple of years ago. They wanted to participate to have me help them be accountable.
When I was growing up, my father held me accountable. Without him, I am not sure I would have stuck with it after I failed at something.
When I was a teenager, my basketball and baseball coach held me accountable. Without him, I would have never learned the discipline and commitment I needed to become successful.
When I was in law school, my favorite law professor held me accountable. Without him, I am not sure I would have finished in the top 5 of my law school class.
When I was in the Air Force, the colonel for whom I worked held me accountable. Without him, I am not sure I would have learned so much about litigation.
When I first began practicing law in a law firm, my first mentor held accountable. Without him holding me accountable, I am not sure I would have become a successful and happy lawyer.
How did they hold me accountable? In each case, my father, my coach, my law school professor, the colonel for whom I worked and my law firm mentor encouraged me, but they also gave me honest feedback when I was not doing my best.
I can remember that critical feedback from each person. I was accountable in large part because I never wanted to disappoint them. I believe it was important that each person was older than me.
When I became a partner in a law firm and I was doing well (actually better than I had dreamed as a young lawyer), I still had a burning desire to learn and to continually strive to become a better lawyer and more valuable to my clients. By then, I could more easily hold myself accountable. I did not want to disappoint myself, or my clients.
If I coached you, are you like the lawyers who come back to me to make sure they take the work we did to the next level?