Client Spotlight: Richard Hernandez
Richard Hernandez is the COO of Lawline, a U.S. based company specializing in continuing education and online learning for attorneys. David Schnurman, CEO of Lawline, and Michele Richman, Chief People Officer of Lawline, both recommended Frame of Mind Coaching™ to Richard after participating in it themselves.
He was then matched with FOM Coach Dave Gorham. “Dave challenges you but also allows you to be yourself,” says Richard.
Richard has been in leadership roles for a while, but before coaching, his position had recently changed. “Instead of leading direct teams, I was now leading leaders,” he says. “It was a big transition.” There were also transitions in his personal life, such as becoming a parent, buying a house, and of course, a global pandemic. “The timing just worked out.”
Much of his coaching centered on his personal life and relationships, but it all connected to his professional life as well. “If there are things that are distracting your attention, it impacts other areas of your life and makes it harder or more daunting,” he says.
Together, Dave and Richard worked on becoming more self-aware and getting to the root of his thoughts, feelings and emotions. “It now seems basic, but I wasn’t doing that digging on my own,” he says. “I used to just think ‘I’m frustrated’ and that’s it, rather than looking at what was leading me to feel that way.”
Before coaching, he used to create stories in his head around what was happening that contrasted with what might actually be going on. He used to avoid certain conversations because he thought he’d lose control of the situation. Dave helped him see that a conversation itself couldn’t cause him to lose control, but rather his thinking about the situation needed to be addressed.
“Just recognizing that my current level of control will be there in the future as well was huge for me,” he says. “If I’m not having a conversation with someone, but I’m telling myself a story about how they’ll respond, that creates a lot of unnecessary conflict.”
Richard also puts less expectation on his family to be a certain way. “No one has to do anything to make me feel better, I can interact in ways that are best for me and be upfront about that,” he says. “I don’t put all the onus on them to change in a way that they’re not even clear on.”
Having a coach in the midst of the pandemic proved to be particularly timely. Amongst Richard’s extended family, there was some conflict and tension around adhering to certain safety measures. On top of that, he found that the pandemic added an extra layer of stress to everything. “It was helpful to have a coaching outlet at that time,” he says.
Dave and Richard also explored frameworks around ways of thinking, especially when it comes to managing people. “We discussed using a combination of autonomy, complexity and rewards in order to not just get what you want but give others the latitude to do their work,” he says. “It’s a concept I go back to often to prevent myself from micro-managing or giving too much leeway.”
As a leader, Richard now describes himself as more self-aware and more receptive to different styles of work and communication and meeting people where they are.
“Having an opportunity to focus on yourself, and only yourself, for yourself, is a rare experience and something you won’t be able to get if your coach or mentor is someone you work with or for,” he says. “Having a coach who is focused on your whole life is really powerful and hard to replicate in another setting.”