I like to tell lawyers I coach that the difference between a teacher and a coach is:
A teacher will give you the right answers. A coach will ask you the right questions.
My goal in coaching is to help lawyers change and become more focused and purposeful about their client development efforts. I realize from my own experience that change is extremely difficult, especially for lawyers who are busy doing work for clients. I also realize that becoming more focused and purposeful is much easier if you have someone helping you.
I ask questions to get to know the lawyers I coach. I want to know their unique strengths, their unique experiences, what motivates them, what unique challenges they face and what client development activities they have done before they met me.
What is a coach? “Part therapist, part consultant, part motivational expert, part professional organizer, part friend, part nag — the personal coach seeks to do for your life what a personal trainer does for your body.”
~MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL STAR-TRIBUNE
I think lawyers with whom I have worked would say at any given time I have taken on each of the roles described above.
Some time ago, I enjoyed reading The Harvard Business Review Blog: Five Coaching Strengths that Produce Champions. The writer focuses on coaching olympians and concludes that the most important of the five coaching contributions was:
build a strong coach-athlete relationship
I believe that also applies to client development coaching I do with lawyers. The lawyers who have been most successful working with me have allowed me to get to know them and we maintain a strong relationship years after the coaching program ends.
Create Your Own Client Development Coaching Group
I’ve written many times that if your firm is not willing to provide a client development coach, like me, get a group together and coach each other.
If you would like, I’ll make myself available by webinar for your first group meeting and share with you how to get the most out of working together.