I was meeting with a group of firm leaders who were considering hiring me to coach their associates. One firm leader asked a great question:

What kind of lawyer do you like to coach?

I replied:

A lawyer who is like Tiger Woods.

He said:

Tiger Woods doesn’t need a coach.

I replied:

Leave aside that Tiger Woods actually has a coach. You made my point. I want to coach lawyers who don’t “need” coaching. I want to coach self starters who are highly motivated to become the best they are capable of becoming.

I am a fan of Jim Collins, the co-author of Built to Last and the author of Good to Great.” In Good to Great, Collins said his research team expected to find that good-to-great leaders would begin with vision and strategy. Instead the researchers discovered the leaders:

First got the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats–and then they figured out where to drive it.


Collins is right and his point applies to selecting lawyers for a client development coaching program. There is a strong group dynamic in my coaching program. Each lawyer encourages others in the group and the group holds each lawyer accountable.

Sometimes the least motivated lawyer has the greatest power because he or she can undermine what the others are trying to accomplish.

If you start a client development coaching program, make absolutely sure to get the “right people on the bus.”