Welcome to the Coach Approach Lawyers Web Site!

This site is designed to give you an introduction to the Coach Approach to the Practice of Law. If you're a lawyer, you might consider applying a coach approach to your legal practice. If you are seeking legal services, you might consider seeking out a lawyer who uses a coach approach to the practice of law. Why? Read on.

September 5th: Who Are My Ideal Clients?

I am a small business and real estate lawyer and mediator. I have been doing this kind of work for 28 years, now. I handle contracts and contract-based disputes really well. I consider myself a Transformational Lawyer, which means I help my clients to transform their legal problems into opportunities for personal growth and positive change. I call what I do a Coach Approach to the Practice of Law.

In practical terms, this means that I expect more from my clients than most other lawyers do. I expect my clients to take responsibility for the legal situation they find themselves in and to collaborate with me in forging solutions to the legal problems they encounter. An anger and/or guilt-filled, passive client who denies any responsibility for the current situation, who is committed to being a blameless victim and blaming someone else for whatever has gone wrong, and who is not willing to take responsibility to move forward and work toward a positive solution to the current problem, should probably look for another lawyer. I prefer to work with people who see the futility of dwelling in anger, resentment, guilt, and fear, but, instead choose to seize responsibility actively for whatever situation they find themselves in and choose not to waste their time arguing over who is to blame for whatever has happened in their lives, but instead focus on taking action to create a future that provides solutions to whatever problems might be facing them and moves them forward toward their goals.

Who, then, would I like to work with? Who would benefit most from working with me? Who are my ideal clients? Here are some of the attributes that I look for. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Philip Daunt at 4:00 pm | Filed in Personal

July 31st: Philip Daunt Talks About Life And Law

Here is a video of an interview that I gave to Cutting Edge Law Magazine at the IAHL Conference that took place in Plymouth, Michigan, May 15-18, 2008.

Watch Part 1:

Watch Part 2:

Posted by Philip Daunt at 10:55 am | Filed in Personal, Presentations, Videos

February 18th: Choice and the Meaning of Life

Approximately 15 years ago shortly after my infant daughter, Andrea, died, I agreed to participate in a 3-day workshop called the Forum offered by Landmark Education. I took the course because I wanted to sort out the meaning of my daughter’s short life and of her death. I was grieving, depressed and troubled and willing to try anything to get myself unstuck.

I learned a number of expressions and distinctions during the three long days and one long evening that I attended the Forum those many years ago. One expression that sticks in my mind today is the following:

“Life is empty and meaningless, and it is empty and meaningless that it is empty and meaningless.”

At first blush this statement might seem to be a pretty depressing, if not a bit nihilistic. But I have come to love this expression as a way to access the power of belief. I now believe that this expression alone was worth the price of admission to the Forum and well worth the time and effort that I spent on the course. What I interpret this statement to mean is that life, in and of itself, has no meaning other than the meaning that I give to it. AND, therefore, I am free to choose to give my life, or anyone else’s life for that matter, whatever meaning that I want to give to it. I find this to be an extremely liberating philosophy. I have chosen to believe, for example, that the meaning of Andrea’s life was to lead me to examine my life and its meaning at a much deeper level and at a much younger age than I would have, had I not experienced the shock, pain, and grief of her illness and death. This led me to search for, or rather, choose to construct, a meaning for my life from the beliefs that I had chosen for myself and to choose to interpret Andrea’s death, as well as her life, as a gift to me in my life.

I currently choose to believe that the purpose for my life is to use my wisdom and compassion to help the world live in greater peace and harmony. I choose to accomplish that purpose by applying a Coach Approach to the Practice of Law, to be a Transformational Lawyer, to help my clients to transform their legal problems into opportunities for personal growth and positive change, to invite other lawyers to join me as Transformational Lawyers, and to live in accordance with the beliefs and the life purpose that I have chosen for myself.

That is the meaning that I have given to my life. What do you choose to believe is the meaning of yours? What meaning have you given to your life? Have you chosen a life purpose, if only for today? If so, are you thinking, living, acting, working, doing, and being in accordance with your life’s purpose? If not, why not? If you have not yet chosen a life’s purpose, now would be a good time to choose one. Write it down. Try it on to see how well it fits. If it doesn’t fit, change it. Try on another life’s purpose, and then another, until you get a match that resonates with you and truly works for you. Then, live consciously in accordance with your chosen life’s purpose. You will be happier, healthier, and wealthier than you dreamed you could be before you chose your life’s purpose. Choose to live a life filled with passion, focus, and joy. Choose a life’s purpose! Do it now!

Posted by Philip Daunt at 5:52 pm | Filed in Personal, Resources

December 3rd: Playing the Human Game

My life seems to work better when I think of it as a game, the Human Game of being. I have also discovered that my clients’ legal problems tend to get resolved more easily, with better results and less stress when they agree to play the Human Game with me. Here is how we play.

I start out by asking them a question:

Do you believe that you can change the past?

Then I sit back and wait for a response. So far, 100% of my clients have answered this question with some variation of “No. I don’t believe that I can change the past.” That’s when I ask them if they would like to play the Human Game with me. The game has three basic rules:

Rule Number One: Choose to believe that the past is perfect.

There are lots of sayings that extol the wisdom of not being upset about the past, like “there’s no sense in crying over spilt milk,” or “that’s water over the dam,” or “that’s water under the bridge.” What I am talking about in this game is more than that. In order for the game to be successful, the players need to choose to believe that the past is not only not worth getting upset about; they need to believe that it’s actually perfect. Here’s why. If the player believes that the past is anything less than perfect, the player will spend the player’s energy ruminating over “should have” or “could have” scenarios, detracting from the purpose of the game, which is to transform the player’s legal problems into opportunities for personal growth and positive change.

For those players who question the wisdom of such a rule, I go on to explain that if they chose to believe that the past were not perfect they would then want to change the past so that it would be perfect. Since they have already acknowledged that they cannot do that, then their wanting to make the past perfect would be wanting to do something that they know they cannot do, and that would just make them frustrated, angry and resentful and produce a decidedly less than perfect result. In other words, it would be crazy making. It just doesn’t make sense to go down that path. It doesn’t work!

Rule Number Two: Choose to believe that everyone does the best they possibly can, given the resources they think are available to them.

If the past is perfect and everyone who acted in the past did the best that he or she possibly could in the past, then the player does not have a reason for regrets, for anger, for guilt, or for resentment. The player has no reason to cling to any need to make other people wrong for what they did or did not do. I encourage my clients to think of the energy that they will save as players in this game by simply giving up the need to think, feel, and do all those things. Because if the past is perfect and every one has done the best they possibly could, then the player is free to believe in the perfection of everything that everyone has ever done, and no matter how much of a mess the current situation is, blaming someone else for that situation just doesn’t make sense because that someone the player is blaming did the best that they possibly could given the resources that they thought were available to them. Why would you want to blame someone who did the best they possibly could?

Rule Number Three: Choose to believe that you are 100% responsible for your current situation, no matter what it is.

If each player is 100% responsible for the situation in which the player finds himself or herself, then the player has the maximum amount of power possible to transform that situation into a better one. They are not going to wait passively for someone else to fix their life for them. With responsibility and resources comes power, the power to create and the power to destroy, the power to choose between constructive action and destructive action.

Playing the Human Game with these three rules allows a player to see that every event in the player’s past, every choice that the player made, every action that the player took was perfect simply because the event took place, the choice was made, and the action was taken and because everyone who participated in the process was doing the best that he or she possibly could, given the resources that they thought were available to them at the time.

I choose to believe that we all have limitless resources. We just don’t see them all the time. Now, in the current moment, the player may see resources that the player did not see in the past, and because of the player’s new awareness of resources, the player is able to choose to create new and different events, to make different choices, and to take different action.

Because the client/player has chosen to play the Human Game, the player does not waste precious energy blaming, shaming, and justifying. The playing field is always fresh, always new, constantly updated with information from the past, but never encumbered with negative emotions from the past. The player’s energy is focused on the present moment, creating a new future unencumbered by mistakes that might have been made in the past. The client/player gets to play a truly powerful game as a full partner with his or her lawyer/coach. This is a really powerful way to address legal problems and to play the Human Game. Try it!

Posted by Philip Daunt at 4:43 pm | Filed in Personal, Resources

October 11th: The Power of Clear Communication

I like to tell my clients that there are 4 ways to communicate:


Wikipedia defines passive as:

the opposite of active.

We have all met passive people. Initially, they seem quite pleasant, as they agree with practically everything that you say. They seem to just go with the flow. However, they also seem to avoid taking responsibility at all cost. They never seem to initiate any action. You never seem to know how they stand on any issue. Nobody wants to hire a passive lawyer. People want some one to represent them who will actively take charge of the situation and lead them to a solution to their legal problems, allowing the client to (sometimes passively) follow the lawyer’s lead. At first, a lawyer might want to seek out passive clients so they don’t interfere with how the lawyer handles their cases. However, a major problem with passive behavior is that it typically leads to passive-aggressive behavior.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about passive-aggressive behavior:

Passive-aggressive behavior refers to passive, sometimes obstructionist resistance to following authoritative instructions in interpersonal or occupational situations. It can manifest itself as resentment, stubbornness, procrastination, sullenness, or repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is assumed, often explicitly, to be responsible. It is a defensive mechanism and, more often than not, only partly conscious. . .

The term “passive-aggressive” was first used by the U.S. military during World War II, when military psychiatrists noted the behavior of soldiers who displayed passive resistance and reluctant compliance to orders.

Passive-aggressive behavior can drive you crazy, whether you are dealing with clients, or opposing counsel. On the outside a passive-aggressive person appears passive and compliant, but on the inside they seethe with anger and resentment and look for ways, either consciously or unconsciously, to cause harm or pain to those around them, including you. When asked if anything is wrong, the answer is always “no.” You have to engage in a guessing game to determine what their perceived problem is and how they want you to address it. Because they are passive, they never perceive the problem as something that they are responsible for or that they can or should fix. It is always some one else’s responsibility, some one else’s fault. Passive-aggressive people don’t see it as their responsibility to tell you what the problem is or how to fix it, but they will put a lot of energy into blaming you for not seeing the problem and fixing it for them. You can put a huge amount of effort into this guessing game, as the passive-aggressive individual continues to sabotage your efforts to achieve your goals (or even what you believe to be their goals). The result is confusion, wasted energy and frustration.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Philip Daunt at 6:07 pm | Filed in Personal, Resources
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