The 7 Questions With… interview series will give you an inside glimpse into the lives of various individuals involved in the legal profession, but in very different ways. Today we’re exited to welcome Kate McGuinness, an attorney-turned certified executive and life transition coach, who is the founder of Counselor Coaching.
Let’s get started!
1. What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I wanted to be an “actress” when I was a kid. Back in those days the term “actor” was reserved for men.
2. What was your very first job?
I got my first job in junior high school acting as a dental assistant. The dentist started me off seating patients and filing charts. Soon I was sterilizing instruments and mixing fillings.
3. What did you think you’d do when you started law school? How is what you do now the same/different?
I’d never met a lawyer when I started law school so my career plans were based on a combination of my skill set – debate and public speaking – and popular media. I thought I’d be a litigator but my experience in BigLaw quickly convinced me I wanted more human interaction and less research. Instead, I became a transactional lawyer. My career as a coach is similar in many ways. I work closely with my clients to help them accomplish their goals.
4. In one or two sentences, what is your career about today?
As a certified executive and life transition coach, I partner with my clients to help them navigate growth and change, whether in the office or at home. We do this by gauging the present situation, creating awareness of its causes and developing behavioral changes that will lead to the client’s desired future.
5. What’s a typical day like for you?
A typical day for me begins with mindfulness meditation and a short walk. Most of my coaching is done over the phone. I schedule a period for preparation before, and reflection after, each session. I also advocate for women’s rights by tweeting (I’m approaching 15,000 messages!) and by blogging on sites like The Guardian, The Huffington Post and Women’s Media Center. I also practice yoga, strength train and play with my dog. I’m teaching her to dance — watch for us on America’s Got Talent!
6. What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading Gender Intelligence by Barbara Annis and Keith Merron, an explanation of the neuroscience behind each gender’s behavior and an exploration of how to create workplaces where both sexes’ strengths can be used most effectively.
7. What’s one piece of advice you’d give your younger self or a person starting their career?
I would advise someone starting a career to treat everyone kindly and with courtesy. That includes secretaries, receptionists and the folks who run the photocopy machines. It’s the right thing to do. If that point isn’t persuasive, remember someday they may have an opportunity to help or hurt your career.
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Kate McGuinness joined O’Melveny & Myers on graduating from law school and after seven years in the trenches became a partner. She left to become the Vice President and General Counsel of The Times Mirror Corporation, then a Fortune 250 company.
After her stint in the C Suite, she studied creative writing. Her legal thriller Terminal Ambition, A Maggie Mahoney Novel is set in a BigLaw firm and explores power plays sparked by one partner’s attempt to stop widespread sexual harassment. Kate’s essays about women’s issues are carried by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Women’s Media Center, Role/Reboot and other publications. Her advice column “Kate’s Counsel” appears in The Girl’s Guide to Law School.
Kate’s latest career is coaching, and she graduated from The Hudson Institute as a certified executive and life transition coach. Read more about Kate on her website.
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