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Business Development Coaching: The New Weapon of Choice

Do you feel that changes to the market mean that there is increased pressure on you to bring in new clients or “sell”? Do you struggle to fit this in to your “day job” of being a brilliant lawyer? What else is getting in your way?

More and more lawyers and law firms are looking to business development coaching as the weapon of choice to build the capacity of lawyers to bring in new and more business.

In the article I wrote for The Trademark Lawyer Magazine, I explain how coaching works, who it is for, how firms are using it, and what results it can achieve.

What can you expect from business development coaching?

There are many benefits of business development coaching for lawyers, and here’s what you can expect from the process:

  1. Helps identify and tap into personal strengths, interests and comfort zones to personalize and effectively utilize business development skills and techniques;
  2. Gives lawyers the permission to spend time focusing on business development initiatives in a strategic way;
  3. Helps lawyers identify what is getting in the way of meeting their business development goals and develop strategies for overcoming those obstacles;
  4. Keeps business development top of mind;
  5. Holds lawyers accountable to their identified business development goals;
  6. Helps lawyers practice and acquire new perspectives, new behaviors and new habits transforming them into business development innovators.

The article also includes excerpts of interviews with my clients on how coaching has worked for them. For example, Geoff Mowatt a partner at Dimock Stratton shares why he thinks coaching worked to prepare him for 2015 BIO

“[Coaching] made me turn my mind to the approach I was taking and resulted in the formulation of a strategy based on what I knew had worked in the past and where I could be the most effective based on my strengths. I was much more deliberate at the conference and, without a doubt, I built the strongest relationships I ever had at a conference.”

Julia Matheson, a Partner at Finnegan, said:

“Anyone who thinks they don’t need business development coaching is getting ready to retire! Even if you are a successful business developer, the truth is that the market is constantly evolving and what you do has to also constantly evolve.”

Get started with business development coaching

If you are thinking about coaching, either for yourself or a cohort of lawyers in your firm, I offer these tips in my article:

1. Hire certified, experienced coaches: Coaching requires a very specific skill-set that helps people to move from ideas and plans into action. Look for coaches that are accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and/or can point to extensive experience and good references.

2. Embrace virtual coaching: To keep costs down and to ensure you have access to the very best, consider coaching by telephone or via video call services. Coaching is just as effective, if not more so, by these methods.

3. Consider group coaching: If your BD budget doesn’t allow for one-on-one coaching for all your lawyers, consider group coaching for a cohort of lawyers. Group coaching also helps to foster collaboration and cross selling – two key elements to bringing in the big deals.

4. Integrate coaching into your BD program: Coaching for individual lawyers is great but can be even more effective when it is part of a BD program for a cohort of lawyers. Design your program around specific business goals and include an information session, incentives and competition among lawyers as well as group coaching.

5. Establish metrics and measure results: Although new business is difficult to attribute directly to coaching, you can track increase in BD activities. It is a pretty sure bet that if your lawyers are engaging in more face time with clients, raising their credibility on line or any other such activity, they are increasing their chance of bringing in new business.

My clients have reported that receiving business development coaching, when it supports a concrete business development strategy for the firm, has increased their return on investment from conferences by at least 20-30%. Individual professionals report feeling less stressed and more focused and having greater clarity about their goals.

Want to give it a try? SC&C has a cadre of certified coaches with the right experience to help you. Contact us for a 30-minute sample session. Don’t yet have that business development strategy for your firm in place? We can help you with that too.

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