What a big step it is to go from senior associate to partner. To go from a ‘middle’ to a ‘top’.
All those new responsibilities. A sense that the buck now stops with you. All those decisions to make. Those targets to hit. And all those brown envelopes to open with undecipherable financial spread sheets.
Plus you’ve got your peers who might not be talking to you in the same way, now you’re a partner. Those informal drinks in the pub after work to which you’re not always invited, now you’re a partner.
Where can new partners go to get that extra support to make the transition to partner a success.
Sherwood offers a 6 step coaching programme to partners in transition called ‘The First 100 Days’. Here’s what we find works well.
Step 1 – Clarity – What’s Required?
It helps to focus as early as possible. I encourage clear target setting and involvement from the ‘line manager’ (say, head of the practice group) to set measurable objectives.
Potential Issues: Excitement, Anxiety, Confusion
Desired Outcome: Focus and clear goals
Step 2 – Taking Stock
An early appraisal of strengths and development needs can be important. The coach might benefit from seeing the results of any 360 degree feedback or psychometric diagnostics (MBTI, Insights etc).
Potential Issues: Anxiety, Confusion, Drowning
Desired Outcome: Hopeful, Focused positive energy
Step 3 – Creating a Strategy
Before getting down to too many operational issues, it’s usually useful to get a sense of direction (eg to lead on the project to launch a new service to a certain sector, to introduce a matter management toolkit etc)
Potential Issues: Vision, Option parameters
Desired Outcome: Optimism, Criteria for decision-making, Action plan
Step 4 – Knowledge, Skills and Mindset
Many new partners require some new skills and approaches. The coach should be able to offer some tutorials on these or point new partners in the right direction. Some demonstrations by the coach or gentle role play can be helpful.
Potential Issues: Lack of confidence, not sure about best approach
Desired Outcome: Attitude of ‘I can do it’, Skills refresher, some additional tips, Opportunities to practise,
Step 5 – Taking Action
Rather than just talking about projects, the new partner should be leading by example and being proactive. This gives additional opportunities for the coach to provide support.
Potential Issues: Juggling the workload, Delegating/supervising, Building a loyal team
Desired Outcome: Early successes, Sense of momentum, Growing confidence
Step 6 – On a Roll
The final session invariably includes a conversation about sustaining the changes – how can the partner ensure that they are now cutting a new groove, without the support of the coach? Another useful topic is resilience – coping with disappointment and knock backs!
Potential Issues: Keeping to the plan, Not being distracted, Following up to ensure changes stick
Desired Outcome: Sense of success, Growing confidence, An ability to coach others, Sustainability.
Sherwood has a squad of eight top class coaches. Let us know if you’d like to discuss this approach.