I received an email last week from a marketing director asking me to describe what I would do if I was coaching lawyers in his law firm. I was pleased when he expressed the desire to have both individual coaching and group coaching. I believe group coaching is an important component of the coaching program.
For many 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…”
Thus, 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 coach a group of lawyers in a firm, we set a group goal and decide on 25 action items to achieve the goal. Each member of the coaching group sets individual goals and prepares a plan to achieve them.
Members of the group share their plans with me and in some cases with the other members of the group. Each month, each member of the coaching group reports on what he or she has done that month.
From the beginning, I work on developing a personal relationship with each lawyer I am coaching. I want to know about his or her family, interests outside of work and what motivates him or her.
I coached two lawyers whose outside interest was trapeze. I coached one lawyer whose two daughters were highly recruited soccer players. I coached a young woman associate who was a pilot.
I want that kind of relationship to have a better idea of what buttons to push to best enable the lawyer to achieve more success.
My approach is based on both my own experience and more importantly, scientific studies on what is most likely to encourage people to actually take actions on client development, work together as a team and have fun in the process.