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From Lawyer To Business Owner, Empowering Lawyers Through Coaching – Interview With Mila Trezza

Mila Trezza is a former General Counsel of a Fortune Global 500 energy company and an award-winning executive and leadership coach. Her company was named one of the Top 5 Executive Coaching Companies in the UK for 2023.

After more than 20 years of international experience, having served as Director of over 30 companies, and lived in six countries, Mila developed her approach to coaching with the sensibilities of a lawyer in mind.

Her mission is to cultivate a coaching culture for the legal industry that is bespoke to, and has an inside-out understanding of, the challenges that lawyers and legal teams face on a daily basis.

Legal professionals play a central role for the organisations they serve. Yet, little of their training prepares them for building the confidence, relational skills, and emotional agility needed to persevere and succeed. Through her coaching, Mila helps lawyers go from lacking confidence and feeling overwhelmed to having a clear path forward, feeling resourceful, and enjoying their roles.

In addition to running her own business Coaching Lawyers by Mila Trezza”, Mila acts as expert advisor and consultant for leading global companies.

Mila Trezza, Executive Coach ‒ Former Global 500 GC

Please tell us about you and your life, so we can get to know you better.

My name is Mila. I’m a mother of three, lawyer, and a former General Counsel. In 2022, I launched my first business, Coaching Lawyers by Mila Trezza, to offer executive coaching to lawyers and legal teams.

Before all of that, I was born and raised in a small town by the beach in Italy. I still consider my hometown Rimini one of the most laid-back places on the planet and one of those places where nothing ever happens. In a way, my childhood experience planted my desire to do and see more.

I was a busy child and a busy teen to compensate for the monotony: I started ballet when I was three. I finished secondary school one year early and headed to university when I was 17. This time, I was living in a proper city: Bologna.

My twenties were all about furthering my education, becoming a lawyer, and adding an international dimension to my work. I studied at five universities and lived in six countries. Those years made me passionate about the legal profession and people.

In my thirties, my life was mostly about starting and raising a family. It was a time of big changes.

After those years, I tried to bring all my lived lessons together. Moving from the corporate world to running my own business, Coaching Lawyers by Mila Trezza, felt like a natural professional evolution. I am glad it resonated with so many people from its early days.

It remains a privilege to be part of the professional journey of incredibly talented people, to see them overcome the most super-human obstacles and achieve what they want the most. Tell us about your greatest career achievement so far.

My greatest career achievement is progressing a career while running a family with three children! I think it’s one of the hardest things.

It’s not just about being organised and managing a balancing act. For me, it’s about constantly trying to pull out the best of you in all directions.

For instance, it’s a whole-body listening and supporting your children like a parent one minute. It’s your undivided attention and understanding your client like a lawyer an hour later.

I was delighted with my Women Influence & Power in Law UK Awards Lifetime Achievement (In-House) this year. I’m deeply grateful to ALM | Prizes are a wonderful recognition of lifetime work. And an opportunity to meet more wonderful and inspiring people.

If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be and why?

If I could change one thing in the legal industry, I think 21st-century lawyers’ education, training, and support should aim to become a more rounded preparation. This should start as early as possible at university and continue into their career.

Legal skills, competence, and client skills are the pillars of a successful legal career, but a more rounded preparation on people skills and self-management skills would benefit the industry enormously.

Let’s look at the latest figures on mental health: 69% of lawyers are experiencing mental ill-health! Shouldn’t this prompt a fundamental rethinking of how we prepare legal professionals to do the job in the first place?

Many of these professionals want to do what they do but experience great challenges to keep going or simply enjoy what they so steadfastly achieved.

What I believe needs rethinking is how we need to educate lawyers on time management skills starting from their early days, for example. Significant workloads and long hours contribute to abundant stress in the legal industry that could be better managed.

We need to educate people on how to run inclusive meetings, manage difficult conversations, offer feedback with purpose, manage teams, and reward collaboration. We should also talk about leadership alongside management, as we know we need both.

How much stress could be avoided if we just prepare, support, coach, and mentor people better from their early days?

The focus is often on organisations needing to change. But organisations are made of people.

So what are the greatest lessons you learned in your career that you always bear in mind and can share with us?

One of the greatest lessons I learned is that nothing is final—there’s always more to come.

Everything is part of the journey. I was told “no” again and again in my life. I was discouraged from moving abroad and moving in-house. I didn’t succeed the first time I applied for a promotion.

But when connecting the dots, many “nos” in our careers and lives are stepping stones to bigger “yeses.” Don’t settle. If time isn’t ready yet, there’s always more to come.

The second lesson I learned is that simplicity is a wonderful sign you are in a great place in life. Complexity is hard, but in many ways, it’s “easy”, especially for lawyers who are gifted with highly analytical minds.

In simple questions, solutions, and strategies I now see hardly-earned wisdom.

Follow me on LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!



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