A Rising Star Learns to Shine: Behavioural Coaching; Leadership and New Business Development Skills

Peter graduated a year early from college and law school and accepted a position in a large law firm, where he worked for several years. Thereafter, he went to work for Pillory, Stox & Associates, the leading mid-sized law firm in his community, where he excelled in his technical legal skills. However, when Pillory's Managing Partner engaged me to work with Peter, he explained, "Peter is so bright, but his oral communication skills are weak and we are concerned he won't inspire confidence in existing and prospective clients. Obviously, to make Peter a partner, he'd have to be both technically and personally highly skilled as well as capable of attracting new clients to the firm".

Fortunately, Peter was very receptive to working with me. We focused first on enhancing his public presence by developing his conversational skills (both face to face and on the telephone), increasing the decibel level of his speech, getting him to commit to a regular exercise program to improve his physical presence, and joining Toastmasters to develop public speaking skills. The results were rapid and obvious and greatly increased Peter's self-confidence, all of which was confirmed in the three way meetings I held with Peter and his manager during the course of my work with Peter.

Through our discussions, Peter decided he next wanted to improve his communication both with the senior partners to whom he reported and with the more junior lawyers and support staff whom he managed. He had discussions with both groups and structured regular check-in and feedback sessions, which worked very well. His intention now is to suggest other practice groups in the firm do the same, and he's looking forward to taking on a leadership role within the firm to promote this initiative.

Peter's next professional "frontier" is to design and implement a business development plan and enhance his ability to cultivate existing and new clients. In our discussions, he's focusing on how to increase his visibility in the community, improve his networking and relationship building skills, and refine his unique style of marketing his excellent abilities.

On one occasion, when I asked Peter to define "networking", he hesitated for a moment and said, "I've always been uncomfortable networking, as it feels manipulative and negative". We then realized Peter's introverted personality was limiting his ability to build his practice. I then suggested that, at its best, networking is relationship building with the goal of creating a high-functioning community. That concept immediately resonated with Peter who began to view enhancing his external profile in a radically different way.

Peter has come a very long way in a remarkably short time and is exceedingly positive about his future at Pillory. He is indeed, a rising star.    [back to case studies]