To be successful at legal marketing, a lawyer may require a change in behavior. In other words, learning the technical skills needed to market your law practice may not be enough. This fact struck me when I ran across a post on behavioral coaching by Marshall Goldsmith on his blog. But, as Marshall suggests, don’t waste your time trying to coach behavioral change if certain factors are present.
I’ll cover those in a second, but first I had to think how all this relates to lawyer marketing. It is true that basic marketing skills can be taught, but as I have learned in two decades in this business, if lawyers don’t want to market or sell their services because of fear or discomfort or lack of desire or beating their secretary out the door at 5 p.m., etc., etc., no amount of technical instruction will help. Either their behavior needs to change or any amount of training in the basics is a total waste of time.
Enter Marshall’s cautions on behavioral coaching in the case of a person who:
*Is unwilling to change (he/she doesn’t think they have a problem or agree they need to improve),
*Has been written off by the firm (fire them or leave them alone, but don’t “jerk them around” as Marshall puts it),
*Lacks the smarts or functional skills to succeed (you can’t make a bad lawyer into a good one),
*Has the wrong strategy, goals or focus (as Marshall says coaching will only get the person there faster), and
*Is unethical or lacks integrity (behavior coaching won’t “fix ethics problems.”
If none of the above is an obstacle, it might be worth considering whether behavioral coaching would benefit the lawyers at your firm.