This is part two of a five-part article. For entire article, see link below.
The second step in the business development coaching process is to carefully assess the lawyer’s position within his or her career – in terms of both age and accomplishment. “All of these steps involve asking useful questions and carefully listening to the answers,” said Tarlton.
Why did you go to law school? Why did you choose to focus on environmental rather than personal injury law? Why did you choose this particular firm? Where do you see your career in five or ten years? Which are your favorite and least-favorite clients –and why? Where did your best clients come from? Which business development tactics have you tried that worked — or did not work? How do you feel about using these tactics?
“A good coach’s questions and answers will be based on a lawyer’s seniority and experience,” said Tarlton. “A young lawyer fresh out of law school needs a different approach to business development than a senior lawyer with a long list of clients and contacts. So does a lateral transitioning from an in-house position. Once again, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach.”
The third step of the coaching process is to skillfully challenge the way that lawyers are trained to think. “In law school and in legal practice, lawyers are rewarded for knowing everything about a matter or a case – and never being wrong,” said Tarlton. “It goes against lawyers’ nature to admit that they might need help. If lawyers state, ‘I’ll never be good at business development,’ follow up by asking them why they think this is true. Try to get at the root of their resistance to business development.”