4 Ways to Take Law Firm Coaching Beyond Business Development

Law firm leaders are generally familiar with the concept of coaching, but many of them still associate it primarily with a marketing and business development purpose. Coaching programs can have an impact much more broadly across the firm. Here are four additional areas where coaching can influence positive outcomes.

1. Lateral Integration

Lateral hires are a key strategy for many law firms to increase top-line numbers. Firms invest considerable resources in this approach and have high expectations for new lawyers. Typically, the firm rolls out the red carpet in a great show of welcome, but that enthusiasm quickly gives way to pressure to perform.

To be successful, the lateral must be truly integrated in the firm, and that takes an intentional approach to the hiring process, an onboarding plan, and a significant commitment from key firm players and the lateral alike.

A coach can assist the lateral in creating goals, prioritizing activities, and delivering accountability…
The lateral should get up to speed quickly on the firm – practices, clients, culture, internal politics. Simultaneously, she has to devote time to marketing herself inside the firm, educating partners on her practice, and building relationships with key stakeholders. A coach can assist the lateral in creating goals, prioritizing activities, and delivering accountability, helping ensure a smooth transition and successful integration.

2. Succession Planning

Ask any Managing Partner what keeps them up at night and odds are you will hear concerns about succession planning. The successful transition of both client relationships and firm leadership roles is imperative to the long-term sustainability of the law firm. A coach can help assuage fears about both.

A coach can offer an unbiased perspective and help facilitate crucial conversations.
Client relationship succession planning is often personal and can be difficult. It requires the participation of the transitioning partner, the identification of an appropriate successor at the firm, and the willingness of the client. A coach can offer an unbiased perspective and help facilitate crucial conversations. They can also serve as a sounding board to test ideas and strategies for implementing the plan.

Succession planning for firm leadership roles is just as crucial. We often hear concerns about whether the next generation of leadership is ready to lead. Coaches can help develop these potential leaders through dialogue and role play on topics such as discovering their leadership style, handling conflict, managing underperforming partners, or using business intelligence in decision making.

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