Executive coach Jayme Purinton explains how modeling wellbeing from the top down can improve performance teamwide. Especially during times of stress, it’s essential to take time to recharge and reinvigorate, whether that’s by reading a book, going for a run, or watching the news.
Those who don’t take time out are more likely to burn out or make mistakes. By separating from the work and decompressing, there is time to recharge and fill emotional reserves, building resilience, Purinton tells host Judson Pierce.
Jayme Purinton is the founder and Principal Consultant at Blue Sky Consulting.
Special thanks to our sponsor, PInow.
Workers Comp Matters
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Intro: This is Workers Comp Matters hosted by attorney Alan S. Pierce. The only Legal Talk Network Program that focuses entirely on the people and the law, in workers’ compensation cases. Nationally recognized trial attorney, expert and author Alan S. Pierce is a leader committed to making a difference with Workers Comp Matters.
Judson L. Pierce: Welcome to another edition of Legal Talk Network and Workers Comp Matters. My name is Jud Pierce and I’m an attorney at Pierce Pierce & Napolitano in Salem, Massachusetts.
And today, we have our guest Jayme Purinton. Welcome, Jayme.
Jayme Purinton: Hi Jud. It’s great to be here. Thanks for having me on the show.
Judson L. Pierce: Awesome to hear from you, and quick word from our sponsor, PInow.com. Find a local qualified private investigator anywhere in the United States. Visit PInow.com, to learn more.
Today, we wanted to bring you all a different episode, not so much law oriented but so very necessary for all our daily lives. Our business practices, our teamwork, the people that we work with closely every day and Jayme, tell us a little bit about yourself and your company and how you play a role in that?
Jayme Purinton: Yeah, happy too. My name is Jayme Purinton as Jud said, so I’m a Consultant as well as an Executive Coach. I do both areas and I work in a lot of different industries with lots of different people or cultures, lots of organizational culture work is involved in consulting that I do, which is really focused on organization development.
My job, I would say at the end of the day is really to help leaders in any kind of an organization make organizational improvements and professional improvements, so whether that’s through individuals through teams or just strategically for the long term.
Judson L. Pierce: Do lawyers need coaching and consulting? I mean, have you any experience with the law firms and our type?
Jayme Purinton: I do. I know your type, well Jud. I actually do coach a number of lawyers and I have in the past as well. The way that I’ll answer that question is lawyers like all humans, need help seeing themselves objectively. Everyone can always use a sounding board feedback from somebody who’s objective and someone to help them see things, a little bit differently than, they do today so different perspectives on not just themselves, but the world around them.
What coaching does is it really helps individuals to gain self-awareness and to drive change wherever it is that they feel like they need change. Ultimately, you want to lead your most intentional life and a great way to do that is to process with somebody who doesn’t necessarily know you incredibly well, like your family members or somebody that you work with on a daily basis and so coaching really is about helping lawyers or otherwise, humans to really see things a little bit more clearly and to create a path for themselves.
Judson L. Pierce: So interesting. I mean, what issues have you found that might — our specific industry might face and where one would benefit from having a coach?
Jayme Purinton: So Jud, I would say in law as well as in a lot of other industries but lawyers in particular have a tough time with balance. And balance can mean, something different for each individual person and so a lot of times the term work, life, balance is used to explain. Work is when you’re doing work, whether you’re at home or at work doing it including your commute time, and then home is everything outside of work. For some people, they want an imbalance, and so finding the right balance for you that makes you happy is really something that I work on most — I would say, most often with lawyers in general.
In addition to that, I would say, lawyers face the inevitable challenge of working hard day in and day out to make clients happy and to get them what they need. It’s a highly deadline driven industry. The legal system isn’t providing flexibility for attorneys to do things on their own schedule and so finding that balance is sometimes really hard. So making sure that you are intentional about, where you spend your time. It is something that’s sometimes overlooked in people who are working really long hours and ultimately, that could lead to burnout, which is not something we want to really experience.
Judson L. Pierce: Yeah, I mean, certainly this year 2020 that we’re in right now has posed a lot of challenges to us in terms of the work home division, and they’re really has been now a blurred space where people are working from their homes more and more. They need more and more technology and that’s prompted a lot of difficulty, especially in sort of older mindset firms that just don’t have that running yet. What types of change could we implement to help us get through these times, that may be with us for a while now?
Jayme Purinton: Yeah. What kinds of change can you implement?
I think, I would answer this question by saying it’s really individual. So creating some sort of space that you feel like you’re taking care of yourself, you’re taking care of your family, you’re taking care of your work and that you’re moderating well between those things. You’re right, right now it’s so challenging during a pandemic, where people are in their houses very often trying to balance, their family that’s in one room over, but on a zoom call with a client or with somebody who they’re trying to work with. Having that ability to block one out while you’re doing the other. It’s way harder than it ever was before, when you’re sitting in your office all day long.
So, being able to create some sort of structure in your life and in your world where you’re working at certain times, you’re with your family at certain times, you’re taking care of yourself at certain times that’s the piece that I would say a lot of people are missing, right now it’s that self-care. Thinking about well, what do I need? And what do I want? So many of us are focused on taking care of everybody else in your industry. You’re taking care of your clients, right.
Everything is facing outward, when do you take that time to think about yourself, your needs and what’s going to drive you and re-energize you at the end of the day. Oftentimes, in coaching conversations that’s what we’re going to talk about is. How do you take care of yourself, while taking care of everything else that needs to be managed in your life?
Judson L. Pierce: And also, managing and taking care of your employees. People who work with you and making sure that their minds and health are paramount. What types of things and can it be difficult to listen, not only for management but from employee’s perspectives and trying to blend that perfect balance in the workplace? What types of things can lawyers do to help facilitate a better work-life balance for their staff?
Jayme Purinton: The best thing you can do is model that behavior. At the end of the day, they’re looking to you to say, it’s not unlike your kids at home, your employees at work are looking to you to say, “Am I going to work until midnight or am I going to go home and try to have some sort of boundaries?” So modeling the behavior that you feel is helpful for people right now is really important. You’ve got deadlines and you’ve got to drive hard and you’ve got to get your work done, but you’re not that productive after you’ve expended all of your energy. You are going to make mistakes. You are going to do things a little bit more poorly if you are burning the midnight oil every single day.
The reality is you have to model what it is that you want your staff to do. And if you want them to be productive? You have to be productive in the same way, and so being productive right now especially, is not just plowing ahead. It’s recharging. It’s taking moments for yourself. It’s thinking about, what’s going to make you happy? This idea of recharging is new to a lot of people but it’s when you fill your reserves. It’s when you build resiliency and so, taking some time to yourselves — for some people, it’s reading a book, for other people it’s going for a run, for other people it’s spending time with friends. For other people it’s just sitting down and watching the news, right. But decompressing is extraordinarily important right now. It’s self-care but also — it’s something that feels a little bit enjoyable.
Judson L. Pierce: There’s a level of calmness that I get from just hearing your voice and listening to your perspective and experience, and that it’s just been 10 minutes with you, so
I guess my question is, how long does this process typically take because I’m already feeling more energized and resourceful in just our talk together. I mean, how long does this process take in a typical study or firm environment for you and them?
Jayme Purinton: So what you’re referring to is really the coaching — the coaching engagement? How long does that take, so what I generally will do with client is we will have a regular conversation. So that might be every other week or so and more often than that, it’s six months or so it could be longer. Some clients really like to go longer because it really embeds new habits and new behaviors into their daily life. But we have hour-long conversations and in coaching — the beauty of coaching is that I’m asking questions as an impartial person in your life.
You can tell me a little bit about what you want and I’m going to help ask those questions to get you to dive a little bit deeper into why, and what do you want to do to get there and can you take some steps to get there. Whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve, my job is to help you figure out a plan to get there. I’m not taking the action for you because then, you wouldn’t own it right and I’m not actually living your life you are.
So with coaching, we can have an hour-long conversation and tackle a few different topics and you, at the end of the conversation often do feel energized. You feel like I’m going to do that. I’m going move toward my goals. I’m going to think about those things that came up. I’m going to think about the things that came up that I didn’t realize were on my mind. And so in coaching, it’s really about meeting somebody, where they are at the time and exploring those thoughts that they’re having.
Judson L. Pierce: That’s interesting because change is so hard for people and I think, we’re reluctant to want to change. Do you find yourself sometimes having to convince people that what’s going on with them? And their business right now isn’t working and pointing that out and for the light to dawn on Marblehead so to speak or do people not want to share that because it implies a weakness or something in their person that they don’t want to admit out loud. I mean, how do you adjust to that?
Jayme Purinton: The job of the coach is not to tell people what the situation is. The job of the coaches to help that person figure it out themselves. And so if you’re trying to figure out if your current situation’s working for you I’m going explore those thoughts that you have. I’m going explore the possibilities that you might have outside of what the current state is and I’m going to let you figure it out. Again, it goes back to that ownership. I want you to own your possibilities and I want you to own your change and so my job is to steer you in that direction and then, to maybe at times hold you accountable to do things you say you’re going to do. But my job isn’t to advise. It’s actually to help you get there.
Judson L. Pierce: Well, before we move on we’re going to take a quick break for a message from our sponsors and we’ll be right back.
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Judson L. Pierce: All right and we’re back with our special guest today, Jayme Purinton. Before the break, we left off at the idea that you are there to help guide a lawyer, an executive, a manager to better business practices, better personal habits but you’re not there to say, “I see deficits here and here you should change that, right?” So take for example, a boss that is perhaps a little testy can fly off the handle. Deadlines are getting to him or her.
You’ve seen that, you’ve heard that from employees in the office and you have to have that perhaps difficult conversation about the perception that they’re generating. How do you go about having that conversation and are folks receptive to wanting to modify?
Jayme Purinton: Yeah, you’re asking about the secret sauce behind coaching. How do we get people?
Judson L. Pierce: Yeah, what’s the history of your industry? How has this evolved?
Jayme Purinton: Well so those are definitely two different questions so, I’ll answer your first one first and that is, how do I have a conversation with somebody when they’re clearly needs to be a conversation where they are becoming more self-aware and need to have some sort of enlightenment about how they’re coming off to people and how they’re impacting others.
One thing that we do in coaching is we’ll do self-assessments and we’ll do 360-degree assessments. Where we talk to people who work in relation to that person at different level. So people who work for them, people who are their peers and then people who they work for as well. And we get insight, I mean feedback is the most helpful information that you can get to enact change or to even understand that you need to do things a little bit differently. So that’s one approach, is doing 360 Feedback. Another one is asking that person, how do you think the way that things are going right now are impacting other people? Are there things that you feel like you could do differently or better.
More often than not, people have very few blind spots. They might have some, but they have few. So more often than not people actually realize what they’re doing is just a matter of changing that behavior or stopping it before it actually happens. Creating that self-awareness in somebody is extraordinarily helpful. You do that by asking a lot of questions, but also by getting that feedback from other people that they work with, and finding out that impact that they’re having on folks and so that’s an incredibly useful tool. Feedback is an incredibly useful tool in helping somebody to see what’s working and what’s not working.
To answer your second question about the industry, so interestingly, you’ll notice that coaching actually is the same word as coaching, which is used in sports and so as far as understanding the history of it, I think probably very few people than lawyers would actually be interested in the research behind, how it came to be.
However, I will answer that question. At the end of the day, coaching has been happening for centuries. People engage with others to help them learn about process and take action in areas where they want to succeed and so coaching is best known in sports, where a person who has vast knowledge of the sport provides the team and individuals direction and so a sports coach was and is responsible for pushing team members to
perform at the highest possible level.
An Executive Coach works with employees and organizations and the concept is similar. However, the executive coach doesn’t have to be a subject matter expert in your field in order to help you process ideas and take action. So in fact, I mean, one might argue actually that there’s potential for bias if the executive coach does understand the intricacies of the business or if they know the person very well at the beginning of a relationship. Obviously, they’ll get to know them at the end. And so coaching really is, it started as that. Thinking about team sports and how do people come along and these days executive coaching is defined by the ICF which is the International Coach Federation as a partnership with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. So you can see, how all these things have how coaching as sport leader has come along and work similarly with managers, leaders, executives.
Judson L. Pierce: In Boston, we’ve been fortunate to have some great sports teams over the last couple decades and we have some very different coaches to thank for that, on the one hand I’m sure a lot of our listeners know about the Bill Belichick the New England Patriots. Six world championships and he’s a no-nonsense like — just the facts, kind of person and then you have maybe perhaps another coach younger Brad Stevens for the Celtics or some of the younger MLB coaches who are a little bit more a player, understanding and friendly with the players and get them on where they live because they’re perhaps closer in age.
Do you find that in your coaching experience that, if there is a large age discrepancy or differences in terms of culture and brought up in another generation that things can go a little bit sideways unless people are on the same sort of vernacular with one another?
Jayme Purinton: So between a coachee and a coach you mean? No, I actually think the greater difference between people, the easier it is to have a conversation. Oftentimes – well, should I say a coach’s job is to be objective and when I start a coaching engagement I need to be objective and all the way through I need to be objective. So I need to be able to listen and understand what the coachee is talking to me about and what they’re saying, all of it the tacit the implicit, I need to hear it all and I need to see it all. I want to understand who they are without assuming anything, without judging based on their background or what they’re bringing to the table.
Age, race, culture none of that stuff really should matter in coaching, because my job is to listen and pay attention to what the person is saying and what they are
expressing and where they want to go. It’s not my job to be judgmental. That’s not my job.
Judson L. Pierce: How about this question, do you find in your experience that diversity is helpful in the workplace? Whereby, if people are of different ages, backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities that leads itself to a more productive place because like you said, it’s easier to talk with others who might not be like you sometimes and that’s kind of against what a lot of people are saying out there in the news that is actually easier and more interesting to talk and work with people of different backgrounds and such.
Jayme Purinton: 100 percent. Different perspectives, different cultures people coming together and listening and understanding others is how you grow. It’s how you understand your world actually and other perspectives that come in help you to understand your perspective but also helps you to maybe open up your perspective as well. I mean, diversity in an organization, I think it’s probably more important in some ways than technical skills because you’ve got to listen to different perspectives. You have to hear things from different places. You can learn technical skills. You can learn how to do your job better, technical aspects of it. It’s a lot harder to learn how to work with people better. It’s a lot harder to try to listen to people and hear different perspectives, you have to do a lot more work for that. But you’re going to get a lot more out of it.
Judson L. Pierce: I think you’re getting to my next question already.
But what is it that you like about what you do? Tell us a few things that really inspire you about your help with others.
Jayme Purinton: I love what I do. I can’t imagine a job that’s more interesting and rewarding. My job is to help people. Help them to move in some way or another. If it’s there, they’re stuck in their personal life, if they’re stuck at work, if they’re stuck in their career and they want to go somewhere differently, if they have a tough relationship with their boss I can work with them through that and help them to move. There’s nothing more rewarding than that helping people. I mean, we help people in our lives every day, right? And so, I get to do this over an extended period of time and at the end of an engagement — a six-month engagement. Typically, somebody has changed in some way that they are happy about. So my work extremely rewarding intrinsically but it also it gives somebody else the support they need to make some movement.
Judson L. Pierce: The organization is called and make sure, I get this right, Blue Sky Organization Development Coaching and Consulting, blueskyodconsulting.com is your website. If people want to go and find out some more about you and what you do. Do you work with people outside of the Boston, Massachusetts area, where you work with people in other states and time zones?
Jayme Purinton: Absolutely. Different countries we’re on many continents. Absolutely, and the nice thing about coaching is that it’s incredibly flexible. Most of the work is done. It could be face to face but right now everything’s through zoom. So I think a lot of people are finding that. That work is just as well as meeting in an office and taking a lot more time to actually meet in a physical space so it’s a lot more flexible and yeah, I mean, it doesn’t matter where somebody is. I’ve got a client right now, who is in Spain. I’ve got other clients in England and yeah, it doesn’t culture, like I said earlier, culture nationality, all of that stuff actually adds a little bit of richness to the conversation. Certainly, doesn’t impact it negatively.
Sometimes there will be a learning curve on my end to understand the culture and that’s work that I could do on the back end or I can just ask questions to understand a little bit more, but I can still be objective, and I can still help somebody.
Judson L. Pierce: That’s great. Workers’ comp lawyers, which is our sort of target area. We deal with a lot of hard stories. Clients coming to us with lots of different problems, injuries and we really need to have a semblance of service and smooth running to not worry about the day-to-day but to address our clients’ needs so maybe just a tip or two tips that we can take away today, in terms of how best we can conquer our chosen profession by providing the care and service to our clients and not having to worry constantly about the day-to-day. How can we balance that for ourselves?
Jayme Purinton: I guess other than hire a coach, your wife will thank you. Your clients will thank you. Other than that, no seriously, when you’re in a business where you deal with a lot of intensity, which you do. You have clients who you want to serve incredibly well. There’s significant stress. You often neglect your own needs and I know, I said this earlier, but the more balanced you can be and again, balance looks different for everybody but the more balanced you can be, the more self-assured you are. And the calmer you are the better you’re going to serve your clients and the more likely you are to give them what they need in order to feel okay about where they are. One tip, I can give workers’ comp lawyers – don’t forget to take care of yourself. Don’t forget to take care of your life that’s outside of your work. Because your clients are going to be better served, if you are a well-rounded person who actually does invest in their own self.
Judson L. Pierce: No that’s very helpful and I think communication is a large part of our jobs too. I noticed on your website that you offer public speaking assistance right? And that would probably be such a focal point for all of us lawyers out there who want help in the courtroom but also want help in the walls of our offices or homes or wherever we practice.
Jayme Purinton: Yeah. Yeah, public speaking, communication interestingly and public speaking goes in the realm of communications, but public speaking is really hard and it’s really nerve-wracking and it’s really stress-inducing, so there definitely are some tactics that could be helpful in managing to get to a point where you’re communicating effectively and also making sure that you’re succinct and to the point when you’re doing public speaking in general, but communication Jud is the center of pretty much – I would say 90 percent of all of the challenges that people have at work. Sometimes at home too. Maybe not quite 90 percent, but at work a lot of times the issues that come up are about communication challenges.
Whether it’s with a boss, whether it’s on a team, whether it’s in a meeting. It’s all communication right we’re doing that all day long and so the more you can be intentional about your communication, thoughtful about thinking before you speak and making sure that you understand your audience so reading the room and reading somebody’s body language, their facial expressions the more you can be in touch with what somebody else needs. The better you’re going to be at communicating with them.
That goes no matter what industry you work in, no matter where you live, no matter what culture you work within. Communication is probably the key to successful relationships and with people and also in some ways, success in in your career can be predicated on great communication.
Judson L. Pierce: Yeah, we had a guest on last month, that talked about the superpower and finding the superpower in the person you’re dealing with and people respond and can move. If your objective is to move people, what better way than to show them that you love them, right? And that you admire what their superpower or superpowers may be and
let them know that right?
Jayme Purinton: I love that, yeah. Absolutely and that’s actually a great — it’s a great tip. That’s a great to find somebody’s superpower when you’re frustrated with them, when you’re having that moment my ears are burning and I feel my blood pressure rising. If you could pause for two seconds and think, all right what is great about this person right in front of me. I’m frustrated as I could be with them but what is great about them? You will immediately defuse that frustration. You will immediately be able to have a much more rational conversation, so I love that perspective and the pause is really important so not just pausing to take care of yourself, pausing to take care of the people you love. Not just pausing for those things but pausing before you speak, pausing before you react. All of those things are going to be really helpful, again, in managing your relationships with people and helping them to understand you and helping to understand them as well in their perspectives.
Judson L. Pierce: Yeah, well this is an incredible talk. I wish we could go longer, but please I invite all our listeners here to check out this website really. I think you’re going to find a lot of helpful information and hopefully end up contacting Jayme and getting the resources that you really need to lead a better law firm and better life blueskyodconsulting.com.
Jayme it was a pleasure. Thanks so much for being on.
Jayme Purinton: Jud it’s great to talk to you and I hope, I’ll see you around sometime soon.
Judson L. Pierce: We’ll do. Definitely walk in our dogs.
Jayme Purinton: That’s right. That’s right.
Judson L. Pierce: All right, well take care everyone. A special thank you to Legal Talk Network and our sponsor PInow.com and for those of you listening, please tune in to our next show and go out and make it a day that matters.
Outro: Thanks for listening to Workers Comp Matters. Today on the Legal Talk Network hosted by attorney Alan S. Pierce. Will we try to make a difference in workers comp legal cases for people injured at work. Be sure to listen to other Workers Comp Matter shows on the Legal Talk Network. Your only choice for legal talk.