Coaching in the Law Firm Setting

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In this article, I attempted to track the learning theory supporting coaching as a professional development tool back to Socrates, since he was known as the earliest advocate of 'learning through questioning and feedback.' We then took a quantum leap past educational psychologists John Dewey and Kurt Lewin to David Kolb and Donald A. Schön, in the mid-1980's, who expanded the learning theory to suggest that professional education should be centered on learning by doing and developing the ability for continued learning and problem solving throughout the professional career--'reflection-in-action.' Coaching appears to offer a win-win solution to help businesses become more competitive as well as a way of helping individuals reach their potential. Coaching is a one-to-one interactive relationship that creates a trusting and collaborative environment in which personal development and performance improvement occur. Research indicates that employees' job performance is a function of their ability, their motivation to engage with their work, and the opportunity to deploy their ideas, abilities and knowledge effectively. Mentoring is a process in which more experienced individuals are involved in a one-on-one relationship that provides individuals with an opportunity to reflect, learn, and develop. Many organizations couple coaching and mentoring together as part of the same process.

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