I want to welcome Cynthia Pladziewicz to my blog. Cindy is the Chief Development Officer at Thompson & Knight. She is a former Thompson & Knight real estate partner with 10 years of experience as a clinical psychologist in private practice at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. I asked Cindy to describe her thoughts on coaching and how a lawyer might coach himself or herself. Here are Cindy’s thoughts.

Ever wonder how great coaches like Cordell are able to bring out the best in lawyers? There is a method to our madness. My method is contained in a coaching model called Love Good Law. While I am a huge proponent of having a great coach who evokes the best in you and gives you an independent perspective, no coach is going to be hanging out with you 24/7. The good news is that you can use this model to help yourself (and others) get the most out of life and career even when you don’t have your own outside coach at your beck and call. Envision your own internal coach (an imaginary mini-me of sorts) who is using this model to urge you on:

Love. This is the phase of coaching where a coach really gets to know and love the client. So if you are going to coach yourself, you really need to get to know you.

Here’s how:

L: Learn who you are. Take the time to really listen to yourself and to understand what you want in life. Just as a coach connects with a client, you have to connect with yourself. I connect with myself by journaling every morning. With the lawyers I coach, I use assessments such as the Myers Briggs Personality Inventory, StrengthsFinder 2.0 and the free assessments contained at Authentic Happiness. They are scientifically validated and measure everything from your highest values to your level of optimism. Get to know you!

O: Outcomes. Know the outcomes you really want in your career and in your life. In the The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey says “begin with the end in mind.” I love that habit and still remember the joy I found as a new lawyer when I discovered the Pre-Closing Checklist. Finally something that told me where all this work was headed and what success looked like! Begin with the end in mind. There is no better advice as you coach yourself. Where do you want to end up in your career and your life? No use setting out on your journey if you don’t know where you want to go.

V: Values: What are your guiding values and principles? At work and beyond, what is it that you believe strongly? Values can’t be isolated in one sphere of life; your career and personal values have to be consistent. If they are not, you develop something called “cognitive dissonance” and that will make you feel lousy.

E: Empathy: Cut yourself some slack. As a lawyer coach, I’m always doing my best to be right there with my lawyer client in the present moment. If she is preoccupied or stressed, then I want to pick up on that and address it. You must do the same thing for yourself. If you are feeling out of sorts, tune in to yourself and try to understand what’s going on inside. And if you are beating yourself up, stop it. Give yourself a healthy serving of empathy. If you need a jump start on this one, read one of Dr. David Burns’ books.

In tomorrow’s blog, Cindy will share the rest of the Love Good Law model. In the meantime, if you would like to hear my podcast interview with Cindy you can download it from iTunes or listen here.