THE GOLD STANDARD IN CAREER COACHING

Melanie Heller, Esq.

Melanie Heller, Esq.

Director, Coaching & Transition Services

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You’ve certainly had a wide array of experiences in your career, from BigLaw practice, to talent management, to business strategy with a global media company, to time in the non-profit sector, is there a common thread in your career trajectory?

You’re right – I have had a variety of experiences. The common thread has been my desire to keep growing as a professional, and my focus on people as the most valuable asset of any organization. In every role I’ve held, I’ve had the opportunity to manage a team, and therefore opportunities to coach. Put another way, the common thread, and what led me to this position, is my genuine desire to help people realize their potential, both for themselves and for the benefit of their organizations.

What informed your initial decision to leave the practice of law?

I enjoyed practicing law but eventually realized that what really inspired me was the people – attending to the development of the associates on my team, ensuring that the relationships around me were working efficiently, and concentrating on the communication and interaction amongst all the stakeholders on a matter. My focus on those objectives grew very organically, so when the opportunity to move into a professional development role arose, it was a natural next step.

What makes you tick as a coach?

What excites me about coaching is that each person is complex and unique, and therefore, I need to be nimble in my approach. The consequence is that each day is a new puzzle, and although I draw from a foundation of coaching techniques, I apply them differently in each case. Lawyers and other high-achieving professionals are inherently complex, so the job never gets boring, and it is extremely fulfilling to help these professionals navigate their career challenges. I go home feeling like I made a difference every single day.

What drew you to the work at Greiner Consulting Group?

Greiner Consulting Group is unique in that it offers a profoundly collaborative environment. The group works seamlessly together to continue growing as professionals and, by extension, to better service our clients. Jennifer Greiner has carefully assembled a team of wonderful coaches, and once I knew I wanted to move into coaching full time, my goal was to become a part of the team.

Can you tell us about your educational roots?

I love learning. After graduating with my B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, I went on to earn my MPhil at Oxford University, and then finally pursued my JD at Fordham Law School. I spent a lot of time at school, but each degree has contributed to the whole person I am today.

How would you describe your path to your current role with Greiner Consulting Group?

In general, I’ve subscribed to the notion that you should never turn down a development opportunity, so every time I was offered a new or bigger role, no matter how difficult it sounded, I accepted the challenge. As I mentioned earlier, the common thread has always been an element of coaching and talent development, but it wasn’t until now that I felt like I had the requisite experience to be an effective full-time coach.

What have you learned about transitions from your own career?

I’ve made a few transitions in my career, and, in retrospect, I think each one would have gone much more smoothly had I been working with a coach! I’ve learned that leveraging relationships is the key to not only finding a new position but also to succeed in that role. Many people with whom I networked over the course of my career explorations have proved to be wonderful colleagues, and all the tools I needed to network effectively in a given moment, subsequently helped me connect meaningfully with my new co-workers. I have also learned that it’s healthy to take stock and assess whether your current workplace is affording you the growth you need. You don’t have to be unhappy in your job to make a transition – sometimes it’s simply the best way forward.

Why do clients enjoy working with you?

Clients like working with me because I’m compassionate, funny, and a great listener. In addition, I know that I don’t have all the answers – my clients do! I’m here to help them identify their goals and encourage them to take action.

What energizes you away from the office?

When I’m not at the office, I’m either spending time with my husband and two kids, catching up with friends, or practicing guitar – an instrument I recently started playing. I love being active with my family, whether dancing in the kitchen, logging our steps together, or exploring new museums, parks, and restaurants around the city. I am also a lifelong Jets season ticket holder. I started attending games with my father when I was just 3 years old and now get to do the same with my own children.

Julie Caron Remer, Esq.

Managing Director, West Coast

Julie gave me concrete, actionable assignments, and was a tremendous confidant. Having her in my corner made a huge difference.

Associate, AmLaw100 Firm

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Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

Arthur Ashe