The Successful Business Development Coaching Session
You’ve recruited good candidates for business development, and they’ve participated in a productive group training program. So what’s the next step to success?
After participating in the group program, your lawyers are ready for one-on-one coaching sessions in order to adapt what they’ve learned and make it relevant to their individual practices. One-on-one sessions work best when they begin with a plan, drafted by the lawyer, that articulates business development goals, challenges, strengths and interests.
Before meeting, the coach should give the lawyer a prep form with a series of questions centered around the lawyer’s practice, goals for the coaching and business development expectations. The form reminds the lawyer of the session and gets the lawyer thinking about what to tackle with the coach.
Once the session begins, the coach should:
- Offer the time check. Confirm that it’s still a good time to talk. If last-minute deadlines or emergencies have popped up, the conversation will not be productive.
- Start with the big questions. For example, “What does the lawyer want to accomplish? What did the lawyer learn in the group program and what does he/she want to address now? What is the firm’s strategy and how do his/her actions align with that?
- Ask open-ended questions. These allow the lawyer to direct the conversation and often open the doors to new ideas and inspiration.
- Follow the trail. A good coach offers a different perspective and helps a lawyer break out of an existing mindset while still holding the compass and maintaining forward momentum.
- Listen carefully to the tone of the voice and other cues. Pay attention to what seems comfortable and what does not. A coach is effective by helping the lawyer recognize his or her own strengths.
- Agree on next steps. Ask, “What is the lawyer going to do next?” Ideally, the lawyer walks away with a list of to-do items for the next session as well as long term.
An excellent coach will help find solutions, inspire action, offer accountability and help the lawyer realistically assess strengths and weaknesses in a confidential setting. Importantly, the coach should also provide marketplace perspective. Effective coaches understand the marketplace through their interactions with other lawyers and other firms. And if you’re working with Wicker Park Group, that extends to the voice of the client as well. We see the perspective of other lawyers but also understand the perspective of the client. Reach out and learn more.