Lawyers as Coaches and Consultants

Lawyers have a long tradition of being “counselors at law” and some of the emerging models focus on counseling or coaching.

The word “coaching” is being used by many professionals and practitioners in these various groups, although their practices may not necessarily fit within the definition of coaching according to one of the coaching field’s main organizations, the International Coach Federation (coachfederation.org).

Conflict coaching is a set of skills and strategies used to support peoples’ ability to engage in, manage, or productively resolve conflict. It appears to be growing mostly in workplaces as an additional option for employees and tool for mediators, whether or not there is an Integrated (Informal) Conflict Management System. This technique may be used instead of, or in tandem with, mediation and other ADR processes.

I came to the conclusion that lawyers had the potential to be conflict healers.

Philip Daunt
Phil Daunt has created an approach that he calls the Coach Approach to the Practice of Law
Dennis Coyne is a lawyer and coach in Minneapolis.

Conflict Coaching may be used instead of, or in tandem with, mediation and other ADR processes. In addition to helping individuals improve their conflict management skills in any context, some other applications of conflict coaching include:

  • as a pre-mediation or pre-other ADR process to help individuals anticipate and prepare for any challenges and to effectively participate in the process;
  • to prepare clients to actively and effectively participate in collaborative law meetings;
  • as a post-mediation or post-other ADR process to help individuals with the aftermath of any unresolved matters and ways to manage ongoing interactions;
  • to help managers, supervisors and others focus on aspects of their conflict conduct requiring improvement;
  • to help people enhance their negotiation skills;
  • as an integral part of conflict management training, to provide individualized ongoing assistance with participants’ specific challenges; and,
  • to facilitate self-reflective practice of conflict management professionals and others who work in any capacity with people in conflict.

Conflict coaching has gained attention and respect in workplace settings. For example, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, initiated the development of an Integrated Conflict Management System in 2003, A Conflict Management Coaching Program was an integral component of the system.

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