I was coaching a client today. She pulled at my heart strings by telling me the problems she is having with several of her clients who owe her money, big sums of money.
One of the clients paid her $37,000 two weeks ago and already owes her another $27,000. After complaining about some of the services and getting a $5,000 reduction in billing, he has not yet committed to a date certain for payment of this amount. Oh, yes, you guessed part of it. "The check went out last week."
Should she continue working for this client? My advice was to review your file to make sure it’s clean and not susceptible of negligence claims, make one last effort to collect by telling the client he has to pay what is owed within 7 days or you will file a motion to withdraw because the client has not honored his agreement commitments, and then be sure you are far enough away from trial to have sucha motion granted.
Bottom line, however, while you are taking care of your client, you must take care of yourself! If, while focusing attention on the client’s issues, you ignore your own billings and accounts receivable, you will lose the respect of the client, you will not get paid the full amount owed to you, and you will not get more referrals from this client. Lawyer Beware!
My frustration level has been exceeded! How about yours? Have you had dealings with vendors who fail to respond to your reasonable inquiries and requests? Have you had appointments (doctors and lawyers are the stereotypical examples) that have kept you waiting beyond the stated appointment time?
If you’re a lawyer or other professional reading this, think about how your clients feel in conducting their business with you. Read on for nuances of this issue.
As a member of the National Speakers Association, I had the learning opportunity to participate with several of the great voices of our generation.
Marshall Goldsmith, who coaches more than 50 of the top 100 CEOs of corporate America, commented on several psychological observations that I found interesting:
- What we do at home, we do at the office, and vice versa. In other words, if we are unkind to our colleagues, our staff and our adversaries, we’re probably exhibiting to same behavior to our spouses and our children.
- Among the annoying habits that can hold successful people back is winning too much. Generally, we’re successful because we’re competitive. Being competitive, we win. But, we don’t know when to stop. We even compete on who is to select the restaurant to go to for dinner.
- Successful people often add too much value. In other words, we add something to another person’s idea. Instead of saying "thank you" and being quiet, we say that is a great idea, but it would be better if you add x, y, or z. He says that the quality of the idea may go up by 5%, but the participation will go way down … because it now is no longer the other person’s idea. We have stolen the other person’s investment in the process.
- Destructive comments prevents forward progress. Avoid the use of the words, "no," "but" and "however." These words discount the value of the other person and their ideas. By merely saying "thank you," we can create, maintain and retain our team with significantly greater results for all involved.
- Leadership is a contact sport! Studies show that where the leader followed-up, there was greatest improvement.
- What got you here, won’t get you there. Those competitive attributes that got you to the leader’s position are different than the attributes of a successful leader. You must alter your skill set in order to succeed in your new position.
Powerful thoughts, indeed. How can you apply these thoughts to your law practice. How can you coach your team to greater heights? Do you have a coach yourself? What do you want from your coach? Have you told him/her? How can a coach help you reach greater heights?
In a recent poll, the following areas were said to be the greatest concern for sole and small firm practitioners:
- Income fluctuations
- Managing the practice
- Lack of help in the practice
- Isolation from other attorneys
- Inability to discuss ideas with colleagues
Some lawyers say they barely have enough time to meet their professional and personal obligations, and that new business would put them further behind. Other lawyers fear that new business would rob them of the flexibility to pursue a schedule and pace that they control and prize as solos. These lawyers believe that setting limits on how much they could do and want to do is the best way to conduct their practices. Is there an option that may allow both flexibility and increased revenue?
For more on this subject, see today’s edition of Lawyers Weekly Massachusetts, Coach’s Column.
When lawyers ask me about coaching, and its value, I frequently talk about sports as a metaphor that we can all understand. I use examples such as Lance Armstrong (cycling), Michelle Kwan (figure skating) and others.
In this time of year when football is the dominant sport of interest, Tom Brady, New England Patriot quarterback, and winner of three Super Bowls, and Most Valuable Player in two of them, makes an interesting disclosure about the coaching process. (more…)
The internet continues to surpirse me. There is an incredible amount of free information available to help us run our business. One might even fear getting run out of business because of all the information readily available without monetary cost.
Larry Bodine relates his success story for marketing / business development coaching. Getting paid only $24,000, his efforts helped a firm increase their billings by $1 million. Congratulations Larry … and congratulations to the firm for their understanding the value / benefits of coaching.
Phyllis Weiss Haserot, a well-known marketing consultant, wrote in the March 2006 edition of “The Lawyers Competitive Edge,” as follows:
“Coaching is the cornerstone of professional development which provides the ultimate benefit. It is personalized teaching that expands awareness, brings clarity, develops new habits that achieve growth, and fosters self-motivation. Studies show that coaching after training increases the value (return on investment) by four times(!), integrating and sustaining newly learned skills. Good ongoing coaching is missing in most firms and needs to be ‘the next big thing.'”
March 19, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LawBiz Coaching Summit to be Offered to MN Attorneys