A few years ago I met with the managing partner of a 500-lawyer firm for which I was about to begin coaching 15 junior partners. He was my age and, in addition to being the managing partner, he was a leading rainmaker.

During our conversation, he expressed skepticism about the value of coaching. He said: “Rainmaking, you either have it or you don’t. Some lawyers are meant to be finders, others minders and others grinders.”

I respectively disagreed. Several months later, after watching what lawyers in the coaching program were doing differently, he acknowledged that lawyers can learn to develop business.

Deliberate Practice

Last fall I wrote several blog posts on deliberate practice. I keep coming back to the topic because every recent study has concluded that inborn talent does not explain high achievement. According to researchers, “deliberate practice” is the answer.

Deliberate practice is not just any kind of “practice makes perfect.” It is designed to: continually stretch an individual beyond his or her current abilities; be repeatable; get feedback; and be mentally demanding.  To learn more about it, you can read my Practical Lawyer article: Rainmaking: Talent is Overrated, or book by Geoff Colvin “Why Talent is Overrated.”