The autonomy and responsibility of being a professional, such as a lawyer or physician, enhances one’s happiness and fulfillment and provides options that elude the grasp of most people. The accomplishments of professionals are the envy of others (although the envy rarely is acknowledged). Meanwhile, the road to becoming a professional and the day-to-day burdens of professional practice lead to a common set of challenges for many professionals.
For starters, the investment, sacrifices, and perfectionism needed to become a professional often retard social and emotional development and inhibit contentment and joy. Secondly, despite what business consultants and administrators say, the practice of law or medicine is not a business. It’s a profession. Businesses are motivated by profit; professionals are motivated by selfless service. Consequently, professionals struggle in the conflict between their financial and business expectations, on the one hand, and their professional service expectations, on the other. Burnout is caused by repeated activities inconsistent with one’s values, more so than from exhaustion (which commonly is misattributed as the cause of burnout). Moreover, regardless of the legal structure of their practices, professionals essentially run their own enterprises, usually without much training or mentoring in the skills needed to run an enterprise. Finally, western culture and professional training are solution-oriented rather than process-oriented, even though process is essential to our happiness and state of mind and that of those around us. Process ultimately is the major driver of the outcome.
Most professionals will concede that superior people skills often are the distinguishing characteristics of their most successful peers. Nevertheless, many professionals, being logical and linear by nature or training, have been skeptical of opportunities to develop these skills through coaching. The number of skeptics is declining, however, as more lawyers, doctors, and other professionals recognize that their technical skills alone can get them only so far in their profession. In many executive and professional circles, now, having a personal coach is seen as a status symbol!
Even among the professionals who see merit in personal and professional development, the idea that “I can do it myself” is enticing. Professionals tend to be a self-reliant and self-confident lot, and may be put off by concern that taking on a coach will be perceived as a sign of weakness. In reality, however, very rarely can an individual meaningfully change behavior without support. The problem, of course, is actually doing what you set out to do. For professionals, coaching provides the support system with its structure, discipline, feedback, and accountability. Because professionals tend to be high achievers, they can particularly benefit from Partners in Thought® coaching for high achievers. Most of the Partners in Thought® interactive workshops can help enhance the success and joy of any professional, whether in the field of health, law, academia, accounting, architecture, or otherwise.
The health, legal and academic professions are undergoing rapid change and will continue to do so. Sticking with what worked last decade will not be sufficient in the next decade. Intentional planning and continual personal and professional growth and adaptation is required to merely survive in the professions, let alone to thrive. Partners in Thought® support is available to you as you go through transitions in your profession or personal life, make important decisions, seek change and growth in your skills, improve your "people skills,” manage your stress and your time, build your willpower, and seek happiness and contentment.
Are you a lawyer? If so, click here for specific information about Partners in Thought® lawyer coaching.