THE GOLD STANDARD IN CAREER COACHING

Julia Schechter, Esq.

Julia Schechter, Esq.

Director, Coaching and Transition Services

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Everything you want is on the other side of fear.

Jack Canfield

Harvard Law – what can you share about your experience in law school?

I loved the intellectual challenge; I hadn’t quite expected the brain stretching, or the pace of it. Discovering new ways of thinking were the aspects I anticipated the least, yet I appreciated the most.

I learn best by being around people who are smarter than I am, think faster than I do, and move faster. In that regard, it seemed like an obvious choice, not only because of the great academic reputation, but Harvard’s class size is pretty big. You just know you are going to be surrounded by incredible – racially, culturally, and socioeconomically diverse – people, from everywhere, who had done, literally everything. I want to be where the action is!

From an early age I viewed law as a great direction for someone who wanted to be an advocate. A career in law could enable me to make the most difference in the world. That ties into why I love this work at Greiner Consulting Group, because that’s the piece – being an advocate – that I get to do now, that I did not have the opportunity do quite as much when I was practicing law.

Being an advocate inspires you; advocating, for what?

For people. When I was practicing law at Gibson Dunn the focus was for a case, or a small portion of a case. Now, in my career counseling work, I’m an advocate for a “whole person.” This is where I get my energy, being able to make a connection and help move the needle for an attorney, their career, and their effectiveness, in a tangible way.

Everyone in our company is fully committed to approaching individual attorneys with interest about who the person is as a whole human being, with compassion, honest curiosity, and a well stocked tool chest for helping clients achieve their goals.

When you say you get to connect with and contribute to a "whole person," in what ways does that affect their success?

I’m thinking about the “whole person” when I am counseling an attorney who may be aspiring to reach a new level of success within their organization, or who is in the midst of a job transition. I look and listen very carefully because I am committed to my client’s fulfillment on multiple levels, not just in one dimension of their work life and self. This perspective is a powerful filter through which I look at my client’s potential and it can expand their own sense of what is possible for them exponentially.

It’s not manufactured. I get excited watching clients take steps or stretching towards something that could truly enhance the quality and experience of their professional life.

Say more about what drew you to the work of being an attorney career strategist?

Law is the world I’ve known, of course, since attending law school, and then practicing for several years in California and New York. I believe it is a noble profession, and one of the best tools we have to affect social and political change, all of which I am very interested in.

I want to remain in the legal industry, but recognize I am excited about the interpersonal aspects of work. So, leaning into the interpersonal led me in a different direction, and I joined Axiom Legal in a professional development role. Anything having to do with people, listening, making connections, and helping others move forward inspire me. Once I confirmed that was clearly the thing that made me want to get up and go to work in the morning, I found exactly the right role for myself with Greiner Consulting Group.

Do you have a mantra - something that drives you - your personal philosophy?

I do! “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” It’s Jack Canfield, and motivates me simply because I have found it to be true. As a proponent of the “leap right before you’re ready,” school of thought, most of my success has been an outcome of that. I find that if you wait until absolutely everything is exact, prepared, sewn up, you don’t ever get anywhere. I probably wouldn’t live in New York, or gone to Harvard Law School at all – these things that at first I was incredibly intimidated to do. What I hope to impart to my clients is that growth and change can be exciting and rewarding rather than simply daunting.

After practicing law for several years at Gibson Dunn, you founded a successful fitness company in New York City. How does the experience of developing your entrepreneurial spirit enhance your coaching?

Well, I had to be fearless! And, having a law background was most helpful. I knew that if I had my idea and passion, I could then get all the documents on an unknown subject in front of me, and if I could have an hour alone with them, I could figure anything out. This is enormous when learning about payroll, insurance, all these things I had never done. It was huge to discover that I could tackle anything.

I think, in terms of how this translates to working with attorneys, many who are experiencing a growth challenge of some sort, it is my feeling and experience that things can be managed. It sounds small, but in reality, I have found that it’s actually quite significant. And, we do it together.

You’re an accomplished athlete, and had teachers, trainers, and coaches who made a difference for you. What is the value of having a coach?

Typically, the coach sees the player in much clearer light, than the player sees oneself. The coach is masterful at knowing what is missing, and works to correct it. Often, we don’t know exactly what we need. We don’t see exactly how we are buffeted by fears, anxieties, perceived limitations, hopes, and all of the other complexities that occur in our actions and within the human brain.

My athletic coaches and dance teachers knew when I needed to be pushed, when it was a moment to go for broke, or when it was time to provide a place of comfort or rest. This idea maps completely onto this line of work – career coaching with attorneys. Sometimes, a person needs to practice hard, be led, coached, and told they are ready for the interview, ready to be in front of someone, or pushed to go in an unexpected direction. Other times the client needs to vent their frustrations, and require a place to go to let everything out. I build a relationship with somebody in which, as their coach, they can do both with me.

One of the main attributes I bring to the table is a sense of calm. Working with the attorney to set aside, for the moment, some of the concerns that automatically accompany a demanding professional life, and looking for ways to be clear-eyed and intelligent about what they really want to have happen for them. In this way, I am doing my best work.

What do you enjoy when you are not working?

I still get to ballet class, as much as possible. I love exploring New York, the restaurant scene, and the coffee shops. I’m a big reader, so having our office across from The Strand bookstore is a major plus for me!

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