Goodstone Group coaches have valuable experience working with senior legal leaders in law firms and corporate settings. We have provided one-on-one leadership coaching to senior partners, other senior law firm leaders and corporate counsel. We have also provided group coaching for groups of lawyers seeking to expand their leadership skills or take on a new challenge.
In addition, several of our coaches are former attorneys and have served in senior counsel positions, including the Global Head of Legal for a multinational energy company.
Below are select examples of our work.
► Successful leaders who are working to become even more successful
Chair of practice group of an AmLaw 100 firm
This highly successful partner was needed to develop the next generation of partner leaders for his practice group while implementing measures to encourage greater collaboration and cross-selling across the group segments. Many in the group found the partner’s energy and intensity intimidating. The coaching focused on helping the partner reconnect with the positive values he held important as a leader and then tailor his approach accordingly. He also became clearer in communicating his good intentions to his practice group.
The partner went on to implement the needed changes and to win further respect for his ability to keep the group calm and focused during the onset of the recent economic challenges.
Intellectual Property Litigation Partner at an AmLaw 100 firm
In order to fully realize his firm leadership potential, this partner needed to raise his visibility outside the firm. While highly valued for his intellect, he also needed to become more proactive in collaborating with his peers.
Coaching provided guidance and accountability in the implementation of the initial plan to increase visibility and enhance collaboration. In assessing the partner’s performance at the end of the engagement, the points committee complimented him on his actions during the past year and on the plans he had put in place going forward.
Senior Corporate Counsel of Fortune 100 company
This leader was participating in an organization-wide high-potential leader development program and had several key areas in which he wanted to improve. The coaching focused on enhancing his strategic capability to support potential new business opportunities, increasing his internal “customer service” skills and approachability, and developing an awareness of the impact of his natural introversion.
This leader was able enhance his reputation as a “trusted advisor” to internal business partners. Because he developed awareness around his introverted style, he was able to better articulate his thinking behind his approaches and as a result, his team and partners were able to learn from him.
Deputy General Counsel of Fortune 100 subsidiary
This deputy general counsel reached a critical juncture in his career where he wanted to explore future pathways and options. The coaching focused on improving his networking, influencing, and communication skills to broaden his internal influence and reach, create more external awareness, and build additional skills for his current role.
As a result of coaching, he decided to stay in his current role and eventually advanced to the General Counsel position. The General Counsel sought coaching again a few years later when he transitioned into a new General Counsel role at a VC-backed start up.
► Leaders who are preparing to move into or have recently taken on new roles
Managing Partner of Am Law 100 law firm
This recently-elected managing partner had concluded that in order to remain competitive and prosper, the firm needed to make substantial changes to the organization structure and processes. In order to proceed with his plan, he needed to win the support of the firm’s Board of Trustees, which included several rivals for his position as well as opponents to the changes. He also needed to rally and motivate the rest of the firm behind the proposed changes. The coaching focused on easily-implemented persuasion techniques and communication strategies to create enthusiasm and support in the context of complex organizational dynamics in a firm governed by strong-willed partners.
As a result of the coaching, the managing partner won many unsolicited compliments for his handling of the reorganization project. A year later, the firm’s financial results greatly exceeded the project’s targets, and the partners were engaged and excited about the platform they had built for the firm’s future success.
Lawyer transitioning from corporate environment to a mid-sized law firm
This lawyer had spent several years working in the general counsel division of a large telecommunications firm. He was transitioning into the telecom practice of a law firm where he was placed on partner track. Coaching focused on helping him establish his role as a firm member, build out his business development plan and create a platform for himself internally and externally.
The client transitioned successfully into the firm and his role and was promoted to partner.
Senior Vice-President/General Counsel of a multinational retail company
A very successful patent attorney was making the transition to a new role as General Counsel of the billion dollar division of a multinational retail company. This new role required enhancing his delegation skills and expanding his executive presence. During the transition, it was also important to him to pay attention to his life-work balance.
As a result of the coaching, he gained significantly greater confidence in his new leadership role. He also successfully managed several acquisitions and lawsuits with a very lean and effective Legal Department.
► Leaders who are underperforming because of unproductive leadership behaviors
Chief Financial Officer of an Am Law 100 law firm
Eighteen months after his transition from a senior role at a global professional services firm, this executive, was struggling to fit into the firm’s culture. As a non-lawyer in a very senior role, the client was having a hard time adjusting to the complexity of making timely decisions given the amount of deliberation required to gain approval. In addition, the client found the Finance function to be antiquated, and felt they had “taken a step down” in terms of the caliber of professionals on staff. Finally, the client’s leader reported difficulties with the client’s demanding and candid approach, suggesting the client would be a better fit if some of the sharper edges could be toned down.
As a result of the coaching, the executive became more able to influence fellow senior leaders, allowing for more timely decisions. He was able to build a stronger team, identify a successor, and develop the role into a more strategic one. Finally, the client was able to self-correct many of his behaviors that were contributing to apathy and performance issues among higher-potential contributors on his team. This resulted in improved overall engagement and performance among his staff.
Young Litigation Partner at an Am Law 100 law firm
This leader was promoted to partner a number of years earlier, yet had not moved up the ranks of partnership with his cohort. The client’s leadership team had communicated several areas of concern, which effectively were holding the client back from a more senior partnership role.
As a result of the coaching engagement, the client has addressed each of these areas in a deliberate and methodical way. Coaching helped to keep him accountable to these goals while also managing his heavy caseload. The client has made a strong case for promotion, and is being evaluated now for that promotion.
Group and Team Coaching
Income Partner Business Development at an Am Law 100 firm
The income partners at this national law firm needed to hone their skills in client development and expand their cross-selling capability in order to build the business to meet their goals. The coach worked with two separate groups of income partners to enhance their business strategies to grow their books of business. The coach was able to facilitate the group as well as assist each partner individually to craft and implement a plan to expand their specific skills.
As a result of the coaching and an increased awareness in this area of development, several members of the group have experienced critical wins and brought in new clients to the firm.
Strategic Visioning for law school leadership team
The leadership team of the Deans at this top tier law school needed to crystallize their strategic plan, in a time of shrinking resources. In order for the team to be clearer about their priorities and where they would allocate resources, the coach helped them obtain key input from the various stakeholder groups, including professors, alumni and external constituents.
This project is still under way, but already the leadership of the institution is finding greater clarity in deploying resources in a way that is attuned to its mission. In addition, the Deans are now in a better position to manage the polarities and competing demands for resources.
Leadership presence and communication skills for women lawyers
This “Signature Voice for Women” seminar was offered as part of the law firm’s professional development series. It was designed to help women lawyers develop a unique leadership voice that is confident, authentic, and effective across a variety of situations and audiences. Based on a successful framework, the coach-led program was customized to help these lawyers project confidence and executive presence and to communicate, sell ideas, and seize opportunities within their firm. In addition, they developed skills to relate to others in a way that engages, enrolls, or influences them to action.