Coaching, a New Phenomenon

August 2000

by Edward Poll, J.D., M.B.A., CMC


Someone asked me recently how they might improve their marketing efforts. Many individual ideas are excellent and work; you get them here in this ezine as well as from many books, one of which is my own, entitled "Secrets of the Business of Law®: Successful Practices for Increasing Your Profits", and is available on our web site. For more information about this and our other books and Audio Magazine, please refer to our Secure Store

There is a new phenomenon on the scene that presents a more complete approach and one that can be individually tailored for your particular practice. Lawyers today are retaining "personal coaches". In the "old days", this might have been called "mentoring" ... but was advice generally given by a more experienced lawyer within the firm. Today, there is little mentoring because of the heavy emphasis on billable time; there is too little time left over to then mentor a younger lawyer. A new "industry" has emerged: Coaching.

A number of clients of mine have asked me to be their coach for marketing and business practices. The "bottom line" for them is that both their revenue and their peace of mind have increased since we started working together. We have a telephonic session on a weekly basis by telephone. The topics we address include, among others, topics such as how to increase revenues, how to improve staff relations, what new technology to purchase and a host of other issues.

The results really are outstanding. For example, one client was going to terminate a staff person, but after discussing the issue with me, decided to utilize the staff person in a different and more effective manner. Another client had an issue with a client who didn't want to pay for services rendered. After taking my suggestions, he reported that he earned $85,000 more than he otherwise would have received without our discussion!

The case for getting a coach or mentor can also be made in another context as well. For example, top athletes have personal coaches. I remember a story that appeared in the Sports section during the last Super Bowl. One of the star players (his name escapes me at the moment) said he was bringing his own chiropractor, nutritionist and trainer to the game; he wanted to make sure that he was in top condition for the game; this was in addition to the team's personal trainer, etc.

Other examples are Lance Armstrong, the recent winner of the Tour de France and Tiger Woods, the golfer. Each have personal coaches and trainers to help them maintain their training and high level of performance.

Like the shoemaker whose children go without shoes, lawyers frequently don't take care of their own needs. Having a coach helps focus our energies on completing those tasks that will help us increase our revenues; and having a coach familiar with the practice of law adds the benefit of having sound advice at your fingertips about all aspects of running the business of a law practice. The coach or mentor is someone to whom you are accountable and to whom you have a commitment to perform the tasks you want to do ...and who also gives you advice on how to achieve your desired goals ...

On a personal level, what I find to be most useful is this commitment and accountability. I'm really being accountable to myself and committed to myself. And it's much easier to achieve the goals with someone on your side and available to you for immediate consultation. Performance is elevated; revenue is increased.

Call or e-mail if you want further examples or details how this might work for you.

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August 2000