We recognise the challenges that partners face making transitions in their roles.
Partners you have promoted have hopefully successfully transitioned from being senior associates and are now taking greater responsibility, particularly on matters and with clients. Lateral hires have hopefully successfully adapted to your new culture and ways of doing things.
But now there’s the big one – to build a book of business and a team to do the work – to justify being rewarded with being an owner of the business and sharing the risks and hopefully rewards with your fellow owners.
Where can new partners go to get that extra support to make the transition to being an equity partner a success?
Sherwood offers a 6 step coaching programme to partners in transition called ‘ From Salary to Equity’. Here’s what we find works well. One of the reasons why we think it works is because we work on their commitment as well as developing their intellectual understanding as to how to develop a legal practice.
Throughout the coaching meetings, we would look at the following issues:
- Where are you ‘on your journey’ from employee to owner?
- What remains to be done/demonstrated?
- Reviewing your ‘personal business plan’ and your resources for doing this
- Identifying and leveraging strengths
- Identifying and dealing with gaps/obstacles
- Keeping yourself sane, honest and on track
- Looking ahead – what happens after you’ve ‘made it’ and how can we stabilize the changes
A typical programme of six meetings might go through the following steps. This looks like a logical process – in practise the focus of the discussions can be rather more iterative, as areas need to be revisited, perhaps in greater depth.
Step 1 – Clarity – What’s Required?
Potential Issues: Anxiety, Confusion, Stress
- A focus on areas of strengths
- A review of opportunities on the marketplace – which types of work and sectors offer growth, profitability and a good fit with other investment areas in the firm
- Clear goals
Step 2 – Taking Stock
Potential Issues: Anxiety, Confusion, Drowning
- Clarity on the source of passion
- Recognition that the partner has found a sustainable practice to focus on
- Hopeful, positive energy
Step 3 – Creating a Strategy
Potential Issues: Vision, criteria for decision-making
- To maintain an optimistic demeanour
- Getting clarity on appropriate criteria for decision-making
- The production of an action plan
Step 4 – Knowledge, Skills and Mindset
Potential Issues: Lack of confidence, not sure about best approach
- Skills refresher – perhaps on presenting with confidence or pitching
- Tips – this is how you might approach this important phone call or meeting
- Opportunities to practise
Step 5 – Taking Action
Potential Issues: Juggling the workload, delegating/supervising, building a loyal team
- Early successes
- A sense of progress and momentum
- Growing confidence – ‘I can Do It!’
Step 6 – On a Roll
Potential Issues: keeping to the plan, not being distracted, following up to ensure changes stick
- Sense of success
- Growing confidence
- An ability to share this newly found confidence and skills and coach others.
Would your firm prefer to have more higher-performing equity partners? If so, give us a call. There’s lots more we can tell you about how coaching works.
We even offer a free chemistry meeting to see if you think it will work!