Boost business development success with coaching

Training provides the relevant knowledge for lawyers, accountants and surveyors to know what they need to do to develop more business – whether through marketing, selling or relationship management. Coaching provides one-to-one support to help them develop the motivation, confidence and skills to apply that knowledge to their particular markets and services. It helps them to develop an effective plan of action. Coaching then provides ongoing support to help them as they implement their plans. So you can boost business development success with coaching.

“Coaching is a process that helps and supports people manage their own learning in order to maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be” Eric Parsloe

The coaching process

Performance improvement coaching relies mainly on the application of proven coaching (asking questions) processes. Coaches often use assessments such as psychometrics (see, for example, the British Psychological Society’s NEO assessment), measures of emotional intelligence and team behaviour analysis such as Belbin.

In personal, career or business development coaching there is also an element of guiding (directing), mentoring (sharing) and teaching (telling).

The typical coaching process follows the following steps:

1. Identify challenges, vision and goals
2. Explore the situation – this may involve various assessments
3. Develop and consider different strategies and options
4. Agree short and medium term plans
5. Signpost and provide relevant learning resources
6. Ensure that there is the motivation and ability to undertake the chosen activities
7. Assess and support progress

More recent research into coaching with compassion shows the success of eliciting a personal vision and concentrating on developing strengths rather than addressing weaknesses. The stages of Intentional Change Theory (ICT) are:

1. Identify the ideal self and personal vision
2. Explore the real self – both strengths and weaknesses
3. Establish a learning agenda
4. Experiment with and practice new behaviour
5. Maintain resonant relationships and social identify groups based on mindfulness, a positive emotional tone, the arousal of hope, an authentic connection and compassion:

Ideally, each coaching programme is tailored to the particular aims, needs and situation of the individual. Different approaches are required depending on the target markets and clients – for example, inhouse professionals, small business owners, referrers and private clients. And also depending on the strengths and preferences of the individuals – for example, profile raising, thought leadership, digital marketing, networking, targeting specific prospects, referrer management, pitching and key client management.

Discussions between the coach and the individual are confidential – although those being coached are encouraged to share relevant information with his or her line managers, team members and peers as appropriate.

Business development coaching

Frequently, I am asked to work with a team of fee-earners (lawyers, accountants or surveyors) or individuals who need help with their business development. Whilst in-house marketing and business development professionals are often able to provide coaching, they are usually under significant time pressure working on firm-wide initiatives so are unable to devote sufficient time to individual fee-earners developing and implementing their personal business development plans.

Sometimes, the coaching process is focused on senior management teams as they embark on a major firm-wide strategic initiative such as new market entry or key account management (KAM).

Typically, the coaching process guides people through the process of analysing their current position, setting clear goals and considering the various strategies that will enable them to be achieved. At other times, there is already a plan in place and the fee-earners need to think about how they go about implementing a plan that they have already developed within tight time constraints.

There are instances where I have helped fee-earners identify and contact the relevant target individuals and organisations, helped them prepare for meetings and escorted them on sales and scoping meetings. Coaching boosts business development success.

As an illustration, a typical business development coaching process might contain the following elements – although usually there will be specific situations and challenges that will need to be addressed.

1. Familiarisation & Foundations

  • Personal background
  • Firm and department plan context
  • Market and client commercial context
  • Professional skills and services
  • Required analyses
  • Getting organised and using systems
  • Core concepts – Business development fundamentals and pipeline management

2. Aims & Assessment Financial and other goals

  •  Short and long term goals and objectives
  • Resources and effort required
  • Skills assessment
  • Personal Learning and Development Plan
  • Preliminary business development goals

3. Opportunities & Options

  • Market, niche, clients and referrers analyses
  • Competitors and differentiation
  • New business opportunities
  • Developing existing relationships
  • Time and work management and motivation

4. Marketing, Positioning & Profile Positioning strategy

  • Proposition (key messages) and personal brand development
  • Profile raising activities
  • Lead generation

5. Relationships & Selling

  • Targeting and initiating contact
  • Following up from networking
  • Learning about the decision-making unit and processes
  • Planning through the sales cycle
  • Building rapport and trust
  • Providing insight and value to interactions
  • Nurturing and developing relationships
  • Assessing client needs and identifying opportunities
  • Moving from continuance to progression
  • Pitching and tendering

6. Personal & Professional Plan

  • Review of decisions, actions and motivation
  • Reflection on changes and challenges
  • Learning, application and practice plans
  • Personal competencies development
  • Professional competencies development

7. Assessment & Progress

  • Establishing measurement and monitoring systems
  • Process milestones
  • Monitoring outcomes and results

8. Next steps and skills

  • Development of new/next competencies

There is a more detailed overview of the business development coaching process. And there is also an overview of the campaign development process

Coaching services

As an experienced strategy, marketing and business development consultant and a qualified coach with counselling skills, I provide affordable coaching sessions for three, six and nine month programmes. Assessments, templates and tailored guides to different types of business development activities are also available.

All sessions are confidential and include a detailed report of the points discussed and actions agreed with links to further reading.

As aims and objectives are established early in coaching programmes, it is easy to measure results and return on investment.

Intensive training sessions for small groups on topics of common interest can be developed both in advance of a coaching programme or to support progress during a coaching relationship.

An alternative to coaching sessions for smaller professional practices is the use of a Non-Executive Director (NED) for ongoing and regular support in a range of leadership, management, business development, human resources, finance and operations topics. I also provide training in coaching skills for both business support through the PM Forum and for professional staff in in-house sessions.

Please contact or telephone 07831 687882 for further details.