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As an attorney coach, I realize there are many different styles out there espoused by my competition. I have yet to read one I would label as bad; some are just better than others, but all of them are moving the ball in the right direction.

I am frequently asked what it’s like working with an attorney coach. I explain that the relationship is very similar to working with a fitness instructor or taking lessons from a golf pro. In that capacity, we share a common goal of helping you to be the very best version of yourself.

Be it an athletic coach or an attorney coach, the job starts with assessing your strengths and developing an individualized plan that works specifically for you.

In my sales career, I have been very fortunate to work for two sales managers/mentors who helped mold and develop me into a finished product. The irony was that both these managers and I had styles and techniques that were 180 degrees opposite. The values we shared included both ethics and a strong drive to be successful.

My first recommendation, if you are evaluating potential coaches, is a strong sense of shared business ethics and goals.

Both these coaches/managers/mentors were secure enough, and self-confident enough, to avoid the temptation to try and recreate me in their own image. Be warned, there are those in the sales training world who think the only way you can be successful is by doing everything the way they do it.

These are people to avoid. They should not be your sales mentors. We are all unique beings and a “one size fits all” business development solution is a recipe for failure. The key to successful business development is finding a style that allows you to be comfortable and highlights your individual strengths and acumen.

One of the things I repeatedly stress is that I am NOT an attorney. I honestly feel this gives me an advantage over attorney-based practitioners of my craft. As a young business developer, I worked in environments where I could overhear my fellow marketing people making “pitches” to perspective clients. That environment is ideal for learning what you are comfortable with, and hearing what is effective. Much like a comedian stealing jokes, you start plagiarizing lines you’ve heard your fellow marketers use successfully, and after a while you develop what becomes “your technique.”

As an attorney, you rarely get the advantage of hearing a rainmaker talk to a perspective client. Law school does not prepare you for the business development skills you will need to successfully climb the partnership ladder. That’s why you should be working with an attorney coach if you want to get ahead.

Let’s go back to my first notable mentor and sales coach and let’s refer to him as ”Larry.”

When I first went to work for Larry some 40-plus years ago, I doubled my previous year’s income in my first year working with, and for, him. I wound up working for him again 20 years later, and under his tutelage, earned 20 times what I had made so many years earlier.

Even in our heyday, our styles remained diametrically opposite, but our ethics and goals remained the same. As a manager and mentor, Larry recognized what worked for him and what worked for me was different, but both worked.

If you are looking for an attorney coach or business development trainer, look for somebody who will see you for who you are, flaws and all. Make sure this is a person who shares your sense of ethics and understands your long-term goals.

My second sales coach/mentor, let’s call him “Steve”, came into my life later when I had made a major career decision to recreate myself and switch industries. This was a much different situation than the one I described with Larry.

Steve was some 13 -14 years younger than me; we had joined the company at the same time, which made us “contemporaries.” We both had enjoyed success before joining the company, but struggled initially due to what we felt was a flawed marketing plan. Two years later, Steve became both my boss and my sales manager.

As far as marketing went, we pursued different segments of our market, embracing totally different disciplines. Steve managed several other successful business developers who, although in the same market segment as him, worked in different areas. As a boss and mentor, his words to me were “just keep doing what you are doing.” I am sure my colleagues received the exact same encouragement.

Steve is another example of a strong and confident sales coach. Like Larry, he didn’t feel the need to make people over in his own likeness. He provided support or direction when it was needed, and pushed us to push ourselves. In the end though, who is harder on us than ourselves?

So, if you are looking for somebody to develop and coach you in legal business development skills based on who you are, drop me an email Kelleher@legal-metrix.com or give me a call 847-525-9134.

Have a great day!