Tomorrow I am helping one New Jersey office of a national law firm launch an in-house coaching program for the office associates. I have coached many of the lawyers who will serve as coaches, so they have an idea on how to make their program successful.

Yesterday I posted: Coaching: Why it is more important than ever in 2013. I should have added: “and beyond.”  Preparing for presentation I will give to launch the New Jersey office coaching program gave me the opportunity to reflect on how a coach helps lawyers. In this post I want to share those thoughts with you.

I recently read an NPR interview of Atul Gawande, professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School: Athletes Have Coaches. Why Not Everyone Else? In the interview there is a reference to Gawande’s New Yorker article: Personal Best: Top athletes and singers have coaches. Should you?  I urge you to take a moment to read both articles.

In the New Yorker article, Gawande describes paying a recent college grad for a tennis lesson. Then, he writes:

Not long afterward, I watched Rafael Nadal play a tournament match on the Tennis Channel. The camera flashed to his coach, and the obvious struck me as interesting: even Rafael Nadal has a coach. Nearly every élite tennis player in the world does. Professional athletes use coaches to make sure they are as good as they can be.

But doctors don’t. I’d paid to have a kid just out of college look at my serve. So why did I find it inconceivable to pay someone to come into my operating room and coach me on my surgical technique?

Gawande then discusses how a University of Virginia study found that many teachers see no need for coaching. The same is true for many lawyers. This week Seth Godin posted:  The opposite of ‘defenseless’. In that blog, he describes those who will not benefit from coaching. He then writes:

Defenseless is the best choice for those seeking to grow.

If you are “defenseless,” have an intense desire to learn, change and develop a successful career, here is what a coach can help you do.

  1. Help you figure out your priorities in your life.
  2. Help you develop an action plan based on your priorities.
  3. Hold you accountable.
  4. Help you figure out how to best use your strengths for client development.
  5. Help you become more focused and purposeful about your efforts.
  6. Help you figure out what activities are a waste of your time.
  7. Encourage you and help you stay motivated when things are not going as well as you would like.
  8. Help you figure out what client development activities will give you the greatest return on your time investment.
  9. Help you prepare for an event where you will meet potential clients and referral sources.
  10. Share with you ideas on how to raise your visibility and credibility to your target market.
  11. Share ideas on how to make your blog most effective with your clients.
  12. Give you feedback on an article or blog you have written.
  13. Give you feedback on presentation slides.
  14. Watch you give your presentation and give you feedback.
  15. Share ideas with you on how to become more focused on your most important contacts.
  16. Give you feedback on how you can most effectively use social media.
  17. Help you with ideas for meetings or pitches to potential clients.
  18. Help brainstorm ideas to retain and expand relationships with existing clients.
  19. Help brainstorm ideas on dealing with difficult clients or difficult partners in your firm.
  20. Help make your client development efforts more enjoyable and less stressful.

If you want to read about how to set up a coaching program in your firm, take a look at my eBook: Client Development Training and Coaching Program.

We are three months away from starting another year. Are you prepared to take your practice to the next level? Are you getting help, or just taking care of it on your own?