When you want to improve your golf or tennis game, you hire a coach.  As a matter of fact, when you want to improve any skill, you hire a coach and there are coaches for everything these days, from life skills to parenting – the sky is the limit. So, it should come as no surprise to discover that 12.5% of a typical law firm budget in 2011 was devoted to business development training, according to the 2011 Benchmarking Law Firm Marketing and Business Development survey conducted by BTI Consulting Group.

The first thing to note about coaching is that it’s not for everyone.  If the attorney/accountant/executive doesn’t want to participate, all the training by all the top coaches will fail.  In fact, that’s why so many of the top coaches insist that the professional with which they work pay for at least half of the training out of their own pocket. That brings us to an important conclusion: It’s important that the coachee is invested in the experience.

The second key to successful coaching is chemistry. There has to be a good vibe between the coach and coachee.  Mutual respect is paramount.  Remember the football coach or the gym coach in high school that terrorized everyone by yelling and being a brute?  You performed simply so you wouldn’t get yelled at. That model won’t work in professional business development coaching. Well, it might but the long-term effects are doubtful.  Once the stick is removed, there goes the incentive.

Another important aspect of successful business development coaching is that the program should deliver individualized guidance, support and suggestions.  A one-size fits-all approach will NOT work for every coachee. Beware of a coach who says he has a system for everyone.  Each professional is different and their plan must be customized to fit their individual goals.  For example, if he/she doesn’t like to write, you have to formulate a plan that includes other activities even though writing is one of the easiest methods to increase vsibility.

Some coaches employee the socratic method where the coach makes suggestions and the coachee is encouraged to discover new methods for themselves.

At CM2 Marketing, our coachees are full participants in determining the direction of the plan but we facilitate their interests by providing in-depth research into various organizations and industries as a time-saving method and convenience for our clients.

The most important thing to remember about being coached is that it involves change and change is never easy.  Your coach is there to help you facilitate that change by encouraging you and holding you accountable for agreed-upon goals.

We employee the DELTA approach:

Determine values, motivations, goals and interests
Employee traditional coaching methods
Looking and listening for motivational needs and deficiencies
Tailoring coaching techniques
Assessing the effectiveness

A business development coach must always be analyzing the relationship and readjusting.  The coachee must be willing to try new things and bring enthusiasm to the plan.  At the end of the day, your coach should be training you to work smarter not harder.  If their advice doesn’t include a key point about focusing your efforts, you should probably look elsewhere for a wiser fit.  Sure, you could market everywhere with every free moment you have and your activities would undoubtedly result in some new business. You know what they say about throwing enough stuff on the wall?  Sure some of it will stick but it’s going to create a heck of a mess.

Choose wisely.  Working with a business development coach is an investment in your future.  You should enjoy the journey. Find a coach who will use your talents wisely, help you learn new talents and get you on top of your game.

Author: lisawhitleycoleman