Our firm of 16 attorneys is trying to make major strides this year in helping our firm design and implement personal business and client development plans. Should we consider hiring coaches? When should a firm consider coaching for attorneys?
The day-to-day stress of practicing law and serving clients leaves little time for focusing and investing in the future of the firm. When attorneys exhibit the following it may be time for a coach:
- Stuck and unable to move forward on new initiatives
- Indecision paralysis
- Lack of commitment, inertia, self-accountability or follow-up
- Poor implementation skills
- Lack of management, leadership, interpersonal, or other needed skills.
Training and skill development is not easy. Studies reveal that 90 percent of the people who attend seminars and training sessions see no improvement because they don't take the time to implement what they learn. Practice create habits and habits determine your future. Up to 90 percent of our normal behavior is based on habits. The key to skill learning is to get the new skill to become a habit. Once the new habit is well developed it becomes your new normal behavior. This requires practice. Unfortunately, attorneys do not have time to practice and experiment.
The coach's role is that of steward, facilitative leader and teacher. Law firms retain coaches to work with attorneys and staff, mostly on a personal level, to address problems involving lack of commitment, inertia, implementation, self-accountability and follow-up. Firms are using coaching in the following areas:
- Business planning.
- Marketing. Improving performance.
- Organizational skills.
- Firm leadership.
- Achieving balance between work and personal life.
- Clarifying values and goals.
John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC