Donna McGrath

Donna McGrath

Founder at The In-House Lawyers' Coach

Donna McGrath specialises in helping in-house lawyers build fulfilling careers. She shares her passions and interests with The Brief.

How do you like to start the day?

I go for a brisk walk in my local park and watch the sunrise over Coventry as I listen to a passage from the Bible which grounds me to what my purpose is and to why I do the work I do. Recognising that there is a world of unnecessary pain and that I have been given natural skills to help people remove the pain and step into possibility.

What’s your favourite object in your office/home office?

Oh, I don’t have one as I really don’t like being confined to one space. But the best thing about working at home is I often get visited by my cat Smokey who is a very vocal rag doll. When I am coaching certain people, he will run in the room and jump up to see them on screen. He has favourites. 

Who is your closest colleague?

As business owner and director I am close to my team. I have Zee, who has been promoted from PA to marketing lead as she is simply creatively brilliant, and then we have Kim our trainee coach, who is also a future solicitor. They both bring different skills and vibes. But Zee keeps me on the straight and narrow.

Do you have a favourite family heirloom?

No family heirloom but I have a family legacy which I have married into. My husband is a direct descendant of Robert the Bruce, and his middle name is Bruce.

What’s your favourite song of all time?

Oh gosh, I have so many as I was brought up on music and across many many different genres. I am quite musical in that I used to sing in musical theatre and I can pick up the stringed instruments and bash out a tune. But at a push I’d say I have three songs, which are:

1.       “Secret Love” by Doris Day (Calamity Jane)

2.        “Gratitude” by Brandon Lake

3.        “Zombie” by The Cranberries

What’s your favourite play?

That’s easy, it’s a musical: Moulin Rouge. It’s full of energy, purpose, emotion, fun and devastation, and great music.

Who’s your favourite movie star?

Gary Oldman, Robert de Niro & Kenneth Branagh for their sheer brilliance, talent and humour. Jamie Dornan because of his personality, have you ever seen him interviewed? A very funny & humble man, and he’s also from my homeland.

What’s your favourite book?

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey, and the Bible. They have both taught me similar things about how to ground myself, and about mindset and mental health. It’s funny how most self-help books all regurgitate the teachings in Psalms and Proverbs.

What book are you reading right now?

Scorecard Marketing by Daniel Priestley

What book do you wish you had written?

The Bible – as it requires wisdom. I am currently in the throes of writing The Lord in Leadership – A foundation of true leadership.

What’s the greatest invention of all time?

Anything in transport to bring people together and to get to see and appreciate more of the world.

Is there a sport you wish you could play?

No, not really, I’m more of a dancer and wish I could go back and learn tap / ballet.

Who inspires you in business?

My clients inspire me, their dedication to transforming themselves and making the changes in their minds to remove all the pain provides the most rewarding and inspirational moments of my life. I am so privileged to be given the skills to be in their presence.  

In the office do you dress up, dress down or somewhere in between?

In between – depending on the day and how I feel. I do love to dress up, though, so I mostly arrive at my computer with a smart but vibrant colour – with my runners on. 

Where do you go to relax?

My relaxing time is with family and friends wherever they are, which is usually attending a quiz or live music, or in the living room with a cuppa.

What country have you always wanted to visit?

Well, I’ve been very lucky to have worked in the US when I was at Severn Trent, and while I was there I visited Hawaii – and it was absolutely beautiful. Anywhere I’ve wanted to go – I’ve just made it happen.

Besides your phone, what do you always have with you?

I always have a hair bobble to tie my hair back! I don’t know why but I have this thing about tying my hair back when I mean business!! Perhaps it’s an unconscious ritual of getting ready.   

What’s the best part of your job?

I think I’ve already mentioned above what inspires me. But it’s watching clients transform in front of me. The lightbulb moments when they realise the power is within them to make the change are just amazing to watch. This is why I do what I do. 

How do you unwind after work?

Dinner with my husband and sitting together and catching up on our day.

Finally, what’s your guilty pleasure?

Don’t judge me, but it’s getting a bar of chocolate (Cadburys), going into BBC iPlayer and finding a series to binge watch while filling myself full of chocolate. I’m currently binge watching The Sixth Commandment.


The In-house Lawyers Leadership Programme

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