An Interview with Donna

How long have you been doing what you do and how did you get to be an expert on how to Burn Bright, not out?

Formally, I have been doing what I do for over three years now.  I qualified as a Coach and an NLP Practitioner in 2017 which is the year in which I launched my business – Odonnata.  

Informally, I have worked and studied in the field of personal and professional development for most of my life.  My passion for wanting to help others and make a difference began when I trained to be a lawyer straight out of school and I went on to successfully qualify and practice law for five years.  I soon realised however that this role was not enough to satisfy my desire to help others and make a difference.

My next step was to re-train and qualify as a HR Professional.  This took me closer to fulfilling my passion as I progressed up the HR Career ladder to Senior HR Business Partner.  The elements I most enjoyed in this part of my career were the ones involving training and coaching others on their own development. A ha!  This was where I needed to go!

After six years in generalist HR roles, I moved into Learning & Development 100% and became a Development Consultant.  This gave me the exposure and experience of working with people in Senior Roles within organisations on a variety of Leadership & Management topics, not least of which was coaching.

I decided to train as a Coach because, essentially, that is what I was doing most days with my clients as a consultant yet it felt false as I had no solid coaching credentials (I later realised credibility is one of my values so this makes perfect sense now!).  Through my training, I had the realisation that coaching was the ‘thing’ that would enable me to fulfil my passion.  Except, something had changed.  It was no longer about ME helping others and making a difference FOR them.  What I really love to do is to enable others to HELP THEMSELVES and make a difference FOR THEMSELVES and that is what coaching is all about.

The Burn Bright (not out!) focus came about when I suffered a major burnout in June 2017 which took several months to recover from.  Part of my recovery involved some serious and frank reflection on how I had got there in the first place, research into how to recover from and avoid it happening again in the future and a growing realisation that burn out is all around us.  Everyone I spoke to about my experience, either had a similar experience to share or could recognise that they were on the same path as I had been prior to my burnout.

And so, the Burn Bright Programme was created!  Essentially, it is a culmination of the tools and techniques that helped me to recover from my own burnout.

Through my research around this topic, it dawned on me that my major burnout wasn’t the only burnout I had experienced.  Looking back, I realised that I had effectively burnt out in law, I just didn’t know that’s what was happening.  I had thought at the time I just didn’t have what it took to be a great lawyer.  Maybe if I had known then what I know now, I would never have left the Legal Profession. But then… I wouldn’t be here talking to you now would I!

Who are your clients exactly?

I work with law firms wanting to implement an effective and sustainable ‘Wellbeing & Development’ strategy for their junior lawyers.  Law firms wanting to equip their junior lawyers with the tools and techniques required to self-manage their own wellbeing and development in the legal workplace.

How are you different from other “coaches”?

What makes me different from other coaches is that I practised law for several years so I understand the realities of a junior lawyer’s world, particularly the feeling of being unable to switch off from what can be an all-consuming job and not knowing who to turn to for help.

Because of this, my clients receive proven, extremely specific coaching and training for their junior lawyers on exactly what to do in order to Burn Bright, not out, in their legal career.  As a result, my clients experience improved performance, increased resilience and higher levels of morale from their junior lawyers which, in turn, has a positive impact on their business overall.

What exactly is the Burn Bright Programme and what does it include?

The Burn Bright Programme is for junior lawyers who want to be able to get on with ‘doing the law’ that brought them to the legal profession in the first place, rather than feeling overwhelmed, emotionally drained and unable to meet constant demands i.e. burnt out!  

There are three Burn Bright Programme packages, all including a two-day workshop during which we study and apply the Fundamental Principles of how to Burn Bright (not out!). These Principles provide junior lawyers with:

  • Increased awareness of where they are now and where they want to be;
  • Greater clarity on what is important to them right now;
  • A deeper understanding of the choices available to them in order to be and do things differently in their role as a junior lawyer;
  • A discovery of who they really are when they Burn Bright and how to be like that more frequently;
  • Tools on how to say ‘Yes’ to their wellbeing and development more often; and 
  • Techniques on how to apply all of the above consistently and make Burn Bright their new norm.

For more information on each of the packages, click here.

Does the Burn Bright Programme really work?

Yes!  The result of our time together is a new approach for your junior lawyers to thriving in their legal career with your law firm that, over time, with their dedication and your support, will enable them to consistently feel on top of things and be the best lawyers they can be.  (see Success Stories)

How quickly can we expect results?

Obviously, this will depend on how much the junior lawyers put into the work we do together.  That being said, virtually all clients see results within the first couple of months in the form of a greater awareness of what is truly important to them, the direction they want to take their legal career in and a sense of regaining control over their stress levels and feelings of overwhelm.

How can our junior lawyers guarantee for themselves that they will experience a positive change?

Quite simply, they must do the work.  Be totally focused and understand that it is not a ‘quick fix’, it is not magic (although some of my clients have described it as such).  It takes time to plant all the seeds and for those seeds to grow into fruit to be enjoyed.  All my clients who have applied themselves diligently to the work and the actions have successfully transformed themselves into individuals who are burning brighter than ever before and thriving in their career (and life!).

Will we recover the investment we put into securing your services?

Yes, in more ways than one.  

I want you to stop reading for a moment and ask yourself the following question: 

‘What are our junior lawyers worth to our law firm?’  

According to Deloitte your investment will receive an average return of £5 for every £1 spent as a result of:

  • A reduction in presenteeism (working when unwell and being less productive) and leavism (improper use of leave);
  • A lower staff turnover; and
  • A positive impact on the wider workforce e.g. increased staff morale.

By securing my services for your junior lawyers, you will get a proactive approach to wellbeing and development through tailored training and coaching that is focused on increasing awareness to prevent burnout and build resilience.

That is what you are investing in – increased resilience, improved performance, and higher morale within the population of your law firm destined to be the next generation of Senior Partners.

Based on everything we have read and heard about you, we know you are the coach we want to work with. How do we get started?

Great!  Did you know that one of the most prominent characteristics of successful organisations is that they take action?  They take educated risks, are decisive, take action and they move forward towards success faster as a direct result of this.  

Here’s what you do: just click here and let’s talk.  I cannot wait to meet you in person or on the phone to discuss how to get your law firm on track towards enabling and supporting your junior lawyers to THRIVE in their legal career with you for years to come.

We are not sure we are ready to get started, how can we sample your work at low cost to see if it is the right solution for our law firm?

A way to sample my services is to book the Burn Bright Masterclass – a one hour, lunch & learn session where I share the fundamental principles of how to burn bright, not out.  I deliver this masterclass on a No-Fee basis and only ask that my expenses be covered. To speak to me about booking this, click here.

Alternatively, you can register for the next online Burn Bright Masterclass here.

We have a couple of questions.  Can we contact you?

Yes, of course!  If you have a couple of questions, just email me at donna@odonnatacoaching.com or call me directly on 07540 888203 and I will be happy to talk things through with you.