Improving Performance and helping you Progress

Issues and challenges will always arise during our careers, no matter how successful we are. Promotion (or lack of), building a new team, managing culture, fostering business growth – even planning for succession or retirement – can all throw up problems that it can be difficult to navigate alone. 

Business & leadership coaching can help with all of these challenges, and more, by:

Identifying your goals

Setting clear objectives

Developing & implementing
a clear plan of action

Throughout my career, and as a leader in three successful firms, I have been responsible for the development, promotion and support of a large number of associates and partners. Career Progression & Performance is now a particular specialism in my coaching, including:

  • Preparing for promotion or a new role
  • Embracing the increased responsibility following promotion
  • Building confidence, self-esteem and promoting your personal brand
  • Connecting with team, colleagues, clients and investors
  • Team leadership, culture development & growth
  • Career planning
  • Managing & implementing succession
  • Preparing for retirement

See the dropdown sections below for real-life examples of how coaching can help you to perform better and progress in your career, or get in touch to discuss your own particular challenges. 

The feedback received from his superiors following his promotion to Head of Underwriting, indicated that he must improve the way he behaved at board and management meetings.  He often came across as disengaged, not interested and slightly embarrassed; he would fidget and mumble. A 360 feedback from his peers and superiors drew out his considerable strengths, which helped to balance the areas on which he wanted to work.  The examples offered helped my client understand how he came across unintentionally, when under pressure, and that this was due in part to lack of confidence, understanding and focus. After three sessions he had transformed his performance and presence at board meetings.

After over twenty years as a successful finance director, it can be difficult to change one’s ways. My client had lost the art of communicating in an open, empathetic and encouraging way. His emails were long and blunt; his manner in meetings was dogmatic and defensive. He had become obsessed with the quality of his advice, and not how he delivered it. This upset his colleagues and his clients, who became reluctant to approach him for help. The 360 review contained some very direct and uncomfortable feedback, which provided the foundation to work on, appreciating that his perception of how he came across was very different from how he was received. We worked together to help him soften and adapt his communication to suit the recipient.

Upon his appointment as CEO my client requested help in stepping back from his previous role, and guidance to develop the understanding, expertise and confidence to become a credible leader of the business. We identified quick ways for him to upskill knowledge in areas where he felt he was weak, obtain help and tutorials before board meetings and bolster his confidence. We developed ways to adapt his daily routines to provide more time and space to be able to focus on using his considerable strengths to lead the business.

My in house counsel client and head of team was having a difficult time with her boss who is not a lawyer and has very bad team management skills. She is very bright and has built a good team but is not treated as an equal at board meetings. As with a lot off lawyers as they get more experienced, she felt uncomfortable not doing the work and adjusting how she uses her time to give more focus on managing the team, building internal and external profile and concentrating on improving the overall service to the clients. We worked on building her confidence by focussing on all the very good things she has achieved, how to promote herself, being direct in seeking feedback and having direct conversations about what she has done . It was also important for her to appreciate that very few people would be able to endure the treatment her boss inflicted on her. It is not normal and the fact that she has coped with it is a sign of great strength and integrity.

Having been turned down for promotion on three prior occasions, she was promoted.

This claims manager had not progressed as well as he could have done due to the way he presented himself and inter acted with his colleagues.

A 360 review highlighted his very strong mentoring and teaching skills, his high technical ability, his tendency to work too hard and his insular approach to some of his superiors. To reinforce his self belief and his confidence he did the Gallup Strengsfinder. We then looked at how he might come across to others, why they might react to him as they do, the fact that he did not need to be quick to show that he has the right answer, the power of managing input succinctly and at the right time, getting the right work life balance and making time to promote himself rather than just relying on doing a very good job. After the third session his boss was very complimentary and said that whatever it was that I’d given the client, he wanted some!

A client wanted help working out his goals and strategy at the end of his first three year transition from fixed share to equity partner. Being ambitious and goal driven he needed to set himself achievable goals which were realistic in circumstances where he was the most junior partner in his team and relatively new at building his business, profile and brand.

We worked on what he enjoyed doing most, how his skills complimented those of the the other partners, building relationships with clients, not being afraid to ask for feedback after pitches, the importance of being clear and upfront about fees and the price and addressing underperforming associates.

  • The newly appointed leader of a sector group wanted to develop a new International strategy. I helped him work through the different models and those run by his competitors, obtain feedback from clients about what they wanted and liked, pull together details of existing relationships and which independent firms had the necessary expertise. He then prepared his strategy and presented to his Group and senior management.
  • My client’s role as leader of a team of lawyers sitting in the business and their rigid promotion criteria, made it very difficult to be promoted. Getting honest feedback on his performance was difficult. I helped him appreciate his strengths and how he might come across to others and mapped out how he was going to get feedback and clear targets for promotion.
  • After two years as an equity partner my client wanted to reevaluate his goals for the next 3
  • 5 years. This lead to his reviewing what he enjoyed and why, what he and his team needed to achieve to produce his own ambitious growth targets and whether a management role was an important and realistic target.
  • Helping a newly appointed group leader prepare business, marketing and action plans, key account programmes and business development events. We then helped the partners and associates with their personal development plans and responsibility for the development and management of relationships with clients.
  • Integrating a senior associate I recruited from another firm, guiding him on the adjustment to working on secondment in a high profile role and building his internal network. Setting targets for promotion, supporting his successful partnership application, advice on marketing and client relationship management

Preparing for promotion, and transitioning to a more senior role can come with its own very specific challenges. Coaching can help to ensure that this transition is well-planned and successful.

I have worked with associates preparing for their promotion from associate to partner and with others outside the law.

My software engineer client had been with his company for over two years and was being used to rescue projects and look after failing teams. He wanted to be prompted to include managing and running a team and had applied for various external jobs. It transpired that he had not told his bosses that he wanted more responsibility. When he did it was not long before he was promoted and is now running his own team. Look in properly before looking out.