The environment of a professional services firm, especially a partnership, presents leadership and management challenges that are distinct from those encountered in the corporate world. On the one hand, outstanding professionals in their field of practice that become equity partners, or are strong candidates for partnership, are not necessarily seasoned leaders, managers, communicators or business developers. On the other hand, equity partners exhibit a level of entitlement as co-owners and have their own views on business and partner compensation decisions as well as views on other partners – managing expectations while promoting collaboration and maximizing results is not easy!
Successful firms have learned the benefit of addressing these challenges through a focus on leadership at both the top levels of the organization and in the various roles below that. Practice and industry group leadership and as well as leadership of client and project teams have become pivotal to successful firm performance.
For more insights see “Law Firm Leadership: Consensus or Command” and “Why the best managing partners need coaches”.
Coaching partners, leaders and key professionals is a proven approach to helping them achieve their goals in harmony with the firm’s strategy. There is a wide choice of coaches. However, just as a football team is unlikely to hire a basketball coach, we find that our clients want coaches that have relevant experience in their sector and an understanding of their business environment (namely, legal practices, consulting practices and others). Edge’s Principals have that experience.
The needs of our clients for coaching to individuals may be expressed in different ways:
- leadership development
- development of high-potential talent/new leaders
- increased self-awareness and emotional intelligence
- interaction with particular constituencies or individuals (see “Avoiding Law Firm Armageddon” – a specific insight into conflict resolution)
- top team development
- partner performance issues
Our “Professional Development & Training”, “Business Development & Training” and “Client Experience Innovation” solutions address other needs such as:
- coaching in business and client development
- assimilation and on-boarding of lateral hires
- leadership skills training
- partner development programs
Our coaching assignments can vary in length from several weeks to many years, depending on the urgency or breadth of the coaching need. Edge coaching is an intensely personal and confidential process custom-tailored to each individual’s needs. Although each program is unique, coaching generally progresses through a consistent sequence of activity:
- in-depth briefing meeting with the coaching client to know and understand them
- establishing customized objectives/priorities
- assessment to determine unique needs from expertise enhancement to relationship building
- developing a customized action plan with evolving milestones
- ongoing coaching sessions (in person or video) to achieve measurable results
Topics frequently addressed include:
- interpersonal effectiveness and leadership style
- emotional intelligence, self-awareness and social skills
- situation analysis, problem/potential problem analysis
- presentation skills
- change management
- career progression and succession planning
- dealing with “political” issues or conflicts with individuals or groups
- effective group/team management