Have you ever known what you wanted, known what to do to get it and you still didn’t do it?  I have found many lawyers in that situation, and even today, I am in that situation.

When I worked downtown, I woke up each morning at 4:30, got on my athletic gear (and coffee) and arrived at Cooper Aerobics at 5:00 AM to workout. It was my habit. I really didn’t think about it, I just did it. Sometimes I felt my car was on automatic pilot. When I finished working out, I drove to the office and arrived between 7:00 and 7:15. That was also a habit.

Now, I work close to my home. I belong to a workout facility closer to my home. I know I need to workout to stay fit. I just find it more difficult because it is no longer a habit. I get up in the morning and I can come up with several reasons not to go and work out, even though I know it is important to my health. I am frequently too tired, or too sore. I have even rationalized that I do not have enough time.

For most young lawyers I coach, client development is not a habit. They can rationalize reasons not to be actively doing what is needed to build a book of business or expand relationships with existing clients. The most common thing I hear is: “I have been so busy with billable work that I have not been able to…”

I have to find ways to get those lawyers to do something they do not regularly do and create an environment that will most likely enable or facilitate the lawyers to keep up their client development efforts, even when they are not seeing immediate results. When I am coaching a group in a single firm, lawyers in the group feel accountable to each other. A lawyer who was tremendously successful in his firm’s coaching program described it this way to a group of associates in his firm.

The year-long coaching program worked because we had to meet in person several times during the year and be accountable to each other. My suggestion is you all set a time to meet monthly this year and work on helping each other advance your careers and push each other to do the new things you will learn this weekend. Don’t let things keep that meeting from occurring.

If you want to create a successful client development coaching program in your firm, I suggest that you first deal with helping your lawyers do what they have not regularly done. Having a group participate in the program is the secret to accountability and making client development a habit over time.