Coaching used to propel top performers

“… whereas coaching was once viewed by many as a tool to help correct underperformance, today it is becoming much more widely used in supporting top producers. In fact, in a 2004 survey by Right Management Consultants (Philadelphia), 86 percent of companies said they used coaching to sharpen the skills of individuals who have been identified as future organizational leaders.”

The Harvard Business Review has an interesting article about “executive coaching.” The principles apply to coaching lawyers as well.

More lawyers are coming to the “coaching table,” realizing that something is missing in their practice. They need either a larger “book of business” or greater peace of mind or a feeling of greater control of their practice. They’re not getting it now; their colleagues can’t help them; and their family suffer the pain of the void in silence, not knowing what to do to help.

That’s when the coach comes in, an independent, objective ally who can listen to the challenge being faced by the lawyer and provide advice based on experience and years of being “in the field,” of having been in the shoes of the lawyer.

Another aspect is important, according to the Harvard Management Update article: “… the role of the coach is not to represent specific company needs or interests. ‘The perspectives they provide, the alternatives discussed, and everything else has no agenda except to support the coachee,’ ….

“For better or worse, many executives can’t find this type of conversation partner-what Harvard Business School professor Thomas DeLong calls a ‘truth speaker’-elsewhere in their companies.”

In a coaching session this morning, that very issue of needing a “truth speaker” arose. My coachee was offered a marvelous position in a prestigious forum; the problem was that he also was expected to make a hefty ($5,000) contribution to the University involved. In other words, there were strings attached. After my reaction, he chose to alter his participation in a way that gave him the benefits without the unreasonable financial expectation. I was able to put a “truth serum” to the proposition, giving him a new perspective.

Saving this client $5,000 far exceeds the cost of coaching … and only on one session. An incredible ROI!!!!

That is only one aspect of the power of coaching.


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