Gary Mitchell's Biz/Dev Coaching Blog
Although this might be self-serving, I didn’t write it or speak to it. If you’ve ever thought about getting a coach to help you grow and manage your business, I highly recommend you watch this TED Talk. Warning! There are some graphic images. And it gets a little emotional at the end. It’s inspiring, uplifting and real life proof of what coaching can do. Enjoy.
Recently I finished up with a client. His parting words to me were “I feel like I’ve done a ‘180’ with my practice while working with you. You’ve taken the ‘mystery’ out of business development for me and now I know where and how to approach it. Thank you.”
Situation: Managing Partner hires me to work with his senior law clerk in helping her to develop business development and marketing skills. Admittedly, this law clerk did not even know what business development was, let alone how and where to start. However she was open to the coaching understanding that it would help her learn new skills and bolster her career.
Approach: Working with her over the course of one year, we created a plan of action helping her to understand where and how to network, build relationships, grow her professional network, host workshops, create her own networking/mastermind group, get published, speak at events, join organizations, get on the board of industry associations etc. During that time, this law clerk was like a sponge, soaking up all my advice and guidance. She reached out in-between coaching calls regularly for feedback. Her progress really started to take flight after she met a few ‘connectors’ at networking events. She then became part of an exclusive networking group that meets monthly. With that experience she started her own networking/mastermind group with a few of her best contacts.
Results: As the year of coaching was winding down, she had already begun to bring in clients to the firm. The remarkable part of this story is that while she was now fully engaged in business development, not only was she now becoming a rainmaker, her dockets were up 20% over the previous year. She is more engaged, more loyal, more productive and more valuable to her firm. And for her, the results mean more fulfillments in her career and increased income.
One of my clients, a 4th-year call associate clearly identified networking as one of her biggest weaknesses. Not only she felt she was not good at it, she really felt uncomfortable doing it. As I often hear myself telling my clients, “often times it’s not about the ‘what’, but more about the ‘how’ and ‘where’ of what you are doing that will make the difference. So we spent some time figuring out first where the best ‘places or events’ to network at, and then we spent some time on her approach to networking. Recently she was going to be attending a two-day conference and in her words was “pumped’ to go and meet new people. And she had already started meeting some great connectors and growing her network. Another great example of what one-to-one coaching can do for your people.
I just love working with law clerks and paralegals. They are so open to receiving support and growing in their careers. Recently I had one client, (who was identified by her managing partner as ‘extremely shy and introverted’), tell me that just three months ago she wouldn’t have even thought to be doing some of the things around business development and marketing that she’s doing now. We worked on her presentations skills for a presentation (her first) she was about to give. She was very nervous but took the opportunity as a learning moment. Within the week she was going to her first toastmasters meeting and excited about it. Wow, all in seven weeks of coaching. Imagine what’s possible.
Over the last couple of years I’ve had the pleasure of working with various small firm leaders. At first I worked with them on their own business development and fine tuning some of the good work they were already doing. But working with these highly skilled professionals, there comes a time when there isn’t anything else they could do to grow their firm on an individual level.
So, do the math. One rainmaker or several? Everyone on your front line, that is to say who has direct client contact can develop business for you. This all began about two years ago when one firm leader in Ontario had the foresight to hire me to work with his first-year associate and one of his law clerks. It was my first time working with a law clerk. Admittedly when we began, she didn’t really even know what business development was. By the end of the year she had built up an extensive network and had attracted referrals to the tune of 300% ROI for my coaching. Since then I’ve gone on to work with several more small firm leaders and we are doing the same thing. Getting everyone on the front line engaged in business development. As a child I didn’t used to do well at math. But this is pretty simple math. One rainmaker or several?
One of my clients, a law clerk from Toronto just reported her ROI. She brought in 3x in revenue compared to the investment her Managing Partner made in working with me. That’s 300% ROI in just the first year. Now that she is fully engaged in business development, imagine how that will grow over the coming years? Is coaching to help your lawyers and law clerks bring in more business a good investment? This is more proof the answer to that question is YES!
Just do the math. If you are running a small firm or solo practice and have associates and clerks working with you, doesn’t it just make sense to get your entire team engaged in business development? Again, do the math. One rainmaker (You), or 2, or 3 or more rainmakers. You couldn’t take a better path or make a better investment in growing your firm.
I have the pleasure of working with a law clerk in Toronto. Up until her, in the legal industry my clients have been strictly lawyers. But why not have a law clerk engaged in business development? She knows everything about the clients because she has direct and on-going access to them from start to finish. And so, she makes a great representative of the firm. Kudos to her managing partner for investing in her and his firm this way. She is one of the most eager and hard working clients I have had in the eight years of coaching. She is also very well aware how fortunate she is to have her managing parter invest in her success. There is no doubt she is developing into a great legal marketer.