Career coaches, talent managers, professional development experts, den mothers--whatever you want to call them--have become ubiquitous at big firms these days. More or less, they do the same things--help you set priorities, polish your skills, teach you a bit about business development, and set you on your merry way.
But how many firms offer all that plus hypnosis and New Age therapy? Well, that's all part of the package at Baker & McKenzie's Tokyo office. It's hired John Yoon, a self-help guru, to be its on-site professional development manager.
A former Paul Weiss and Shearman & Sterling associate, Yoon was hired to help Japanese associates at Baker & McKenzie sharpen their legal skills and improve their English, and to generally guide their career, reports Anthony Lin in The Asian Lawyer. But Yoon is equipped to offer so much more, says Lin:
For associates who really need a confidence boost, Yoon digs a little deeper into his motivational toolbox. He is a big believer in neuro-linguistic programming, a New Age therapy often associated with [Tony] Robbins that uses hypnosis and other methods to “re-program” the mind and remove blocks to mental progress.
I'm not sure how often Yoon gets to practice his art, but I don't think I'd want to be hypnotized or "reprogrammed" by anyone affiliated by my employer. It sounds scary--a bit too Brave New World for my taste.
I'd be the first to admit, though, I'm not a good candidate for this sort of thing. I don't get motivated by motivation speakers or pepped up by pep rallies.
But perhaps I'm just not giving it a chance. Maybe all that motivation indoctrination is exactly what young lawyers need to get them into the groove of practice. Perhaps if I had been properly hypnotized when I was an associate, I'd be happily marking up asset purchase agreements right now. I'd be a productive member of the profession, I'd make my parents proud, and I'd certainly be making a lot more money.
What do you think--is it a good thing for firms to get touchy-feely? Or should they stay out of that space?
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