Just say no to coaching

Yes, that’s right. You read the title correctly. Just say no to coaching and watch your career tank. I left the last part out to catch your attention.

I always conduct interviews before taking on new clients. While interviewing one associate recently, it became blatantly obvious he was not an ideal candidate for coaching. He was very negative about his firm, the marketing direction they were taking, and their recent brand launch. (Like he is an expert in marketing?)

I could hardly sit through the interview. I couldn’t believe my ears.  His partners had spoken highly of him and his ability. They wanted to provide him some individual support to help bolster his career, and this was his attitude? He actually told his firm he was too busy to engage in business development coaching. What? That’s like telling your firm, “I don’t really care about the direction of my career”. “I am not really sure I want to stay here”. “I don’t have time to develop my skills.” I could go on.

The flip side of this comes from a typical client. In our final coaching session audit of the program, he told me that initially he had been extremely sceptical about coaching, but he was mindful of saying no to his firm. It’s OK to be sceptical. You are lawyers after-all, being sceptical is part of your DNA. He went on to work with us and thrived in our program. Soon after he was asked to join full partnership. He thanked me for helping him achieve partnership so quickly.

Just say no to coaching and watch your career tank. When your firm is committed to your success and willing to invest in it, it’s not wise to say no, unless you are looking for a new career. 

Be frank with your coach

Today I had a first ‘in-take’ session with a new client. I have to be honest, it wasn’t until about half way through the session that I felt confident he was ‘coachable’. He started off very vague and distant. Then when we discussed his priorities, he came out and said, “building my practice is not my top priority”, so I had to ask, “What is”.

He came out and told me he is a recovering alcoholic and that his recovery is his top priority. Ok then, good to keep that in mind. I knew right then and there that he was not only coachable, but that he would do very well in our coaching program because he was able to be so frank and honest.