What's the difference between training and coaching?

Coaching is a highly customized form of learning for one person based on just-in-time real life experiences.  It does not require you to step away from work for extended periods of time. Coaching meetings are measured in minutes.

Training is usually done in groups and in a classroom setting. It requires you to step away from work for larger blocks of time (Meetings are measured in hours or days) and is rarely based on just-in-time real life experiences.

How does learning "concepts" differ from learning "skills?"

Just because your professionals can regurgitate a definition learned in a workshop does not mean they will ever apply the concept in the real world. For example, one of our clients met with a prospective client and came back from the meeting all excited. During the debriefing telephone call he said, "I got an advance, the client wants me to meet with his President!" "Advance" is a term that every participant learns and practices during the Courting New Clients workshop. Our reply was "Great! When is it?" At that moment, he realized there was no specific date on which the client agreed to meet which means he hadn't yet obtained an advance.

This conversation happened six days after the workshop. This partner learned the concept of an advance on the day of the workshop, but he didn't learn the skill until six days later. Without the coaching, he may never have learned the skill. He also learned what he would do the next time this situation arises to be sure he doesn't leave the meeting without an advance. For this reason, we think of coaching as time-released learning.

Why only 3-hour workshops, doesn't more classroom time equate to more learning?  No, in fact one, two or three day training programs are insanely expensive when you calculate the opportunity cost. In fact, best selling author Neil Rackham found that 87% of what you teach someone in a training session is lost in one month without effective coaching.  That means you waste 87% of every training dollar you spend when no effective coaching is available.

How does your coaching work?

Each participant gets assigned his own coach.  You will schedule calls with your coach each week or two.  Every meeting and phone call with your coach results in at least one or more action steps and you are held accountable for the promises you make to yourself. If you already have a practice development plan our coaches read your plan before they arrive for the program.  If you haven’t prepared a plan and want one, our coaches will help you develop one during the coaching period.  Our role is primarily to insure that follow up happens after the workshop and that tangible goals (including economic ones) are met and new behaviors are formed. Our coaches will have done extensive due diligence on each person they're coaching BEFORE they show up on the first day of the program.

How do you measure success?

In a group of 12 partners, rarely will two people measure success the same way.  We develop success measures person by person.  One of the most powerful things about coaching is the unit-of-one nature of the learning. Our mission is to “help you succeed as you define it.” We know that many firms want to measure success by how much business comes through the door during the coaching period; that is a valid long-term measure.  However, there are many other metrics that are meaningful and leading indicators of eventual increased business. Here is a small sample of goals our clients have adopted:     

  • Set up a system for meeting or speaking by phone with my top three referral sources once per quarter.
  • Set up a system for calling three C suite executives each week.
  • Call 3 people in my network each week.
  • Add a dozen C level executives and in house lawyers to my network in six months.
  • Add two new referral sources to my network within 90 days.
  • Craft a business development plan for next year and land my first telecom client within 90 days.
  • Organize, design and deliver a 30-minute preventive litigation seminar for a dozen senior executives.
  • Identify and meet with five shareholders in other areas of the firm for purposes of learning more about their practices and to uncover cross-selling opportunities.
  • Add 25 names to the list of people who opt in and receive our practice group’s electronic update or newsletter in the next 30 days.
  • Call five dormant clients to reconnect and invite them to my talk next month.

How do your programs work?

Our programs have four important elements all weaved together to serve an important firm goal of developing your relationship skills.  Those four elements are:  

  1. We conduct a practical, interactive three hour workshop that focuses on how something is done. For example in our basic business development workshop we show you how to network with a purpose, how to prepare for meetings with prospects and how to ask for the business tastefully.  
  2. We meet you in person for 45 minutes and help you map out your action steps for the coming week.  
  3. We hold weekly phone calls with you to keep you accountable, motivated and on track.  
  4. We have a group meeting at the end of the program so you can share successes, reinforce behavior, and offer you ideas on how to keep the momentum going. 

What types of outcomes can I expect from your programs?

After our workshops there is usually positive buzz in the hallways.  Participants are surprised at how quickly they can apply the tools they learn in our programs.

How much lead time is needed for scheduling a program?

We like to have at least three weeks of lead time for conducting our programs.  However, in rare instances, we've done them with two weeks of lead time.

Is there an optimum number of participants in your programs?

The ideal number of participants is between 12 and 15.  However, on occasions we've worked with as few as 6 participants and as many as 21.

What's my firm's time horizon on ROI?

Your ROI will depend on several factors.  How clearly the firm sets forth expectations for participants, whether participants are volunteers, the level of engagement of participants, the quantity and quality of the relationships participants enter the program with, the depth of relationship skills participants enter the program with, the area of practice, and the number of hours each participant is willing to invest in relationship building. Frequently, at least one participant from each business development program is able to secure one or more pieces of tangible new business during the coaching period. Perhaps the more critical issue is assessing each partner's return on relationship.

How much will it cost?

Pricing will vary depending on the program, staff and how long we coach you.  Your investment for doing an entry level program like Rainmaking Made Simple with a group of twelve people is US$3000 per participant.

How would I describe a line item in my budget for your services?

Provide relationship, networking and sales training and coaching for 12 high potential partners.

How can I reduce my risk of making a poor decision on hiring a coach?

Before your firm makes a final decision, we’d suggest you actually put the organization(s) you’re considering to the test. Doing so will lower your firm’s risk of making a poor decision. We are prepared to offer your executive team and/or program participants a demonstration of our coaching for free. The value of the coaching we’re prepared to offer you is worth thousands of dollars. We do this because we’re interested in a long term relationship with your firm, not a one time transaction.  Doing a “test drive” will make it much easier for you to discern the coaches who can talk a good game from the ones who have real talent and substance.  Just because the coaching organization you’re considering is good with a sales pitch doesn’t mean they’ll be effective at teaching your partners how to sell AND build relationships.

Why hire us?

We keep our workshops to three hours.  This means the opportunity cost of training isn’t obscenely expensive.  We focus on strengthening relationships. We use real case studies provided by you in the workshops.  We have coaches who know your industry and the attitudes of the people in it.  We hire only experienced coaches who are passionate about helping you succeed as you define it.  We teach our coaches the Maraia Method® and we are constantly sharpening our skills.  Our coaches are intensely focused on giving you practical ideas on how to grow your practice.  (No theory or ivory tower stuff.)  We know how to move you to the edge of your comfort zone. We’re fun to work with.  We focus you on ways to make this fun so you’ll continue your efforts after the coaching is over.  We use two practical books as coaching supplements and behavior reinforcement tools. 

How do I know this is for me?

You know our programs are for you if you don’t have enough partners who know how to generate business.  You enjoyed reading Rainmaking Made Simple or Relationships Are Everything but you’re not sure where to start.  You’ve lost a major client and need to refill your plate with quality work or clients.  You’re concerned that the next generation of professionals won’t be able to sustain your business.  You’re concerned about your ability to keep yourself busy.  You don’t know how to prepare for meetings with prospective clients.  You don’t know how to operate comfortably in a room full of people you barely know. You aren’t sure how to increase your pool of prospective clients.  Your charged with finding a training program that delivers results and changes behavior. 

How do we maximize our chances for success?

Give us your highest potential people who want to grow their business. Make sure you select true volunteers for the program rather than people “who need it.”  True volunteers will deliver the highest and fastest return.  In addition, we’ve found that how the firm positions the program and how it communicates to the first group of participants can affect how the program is perceived.  Allow some rainmakers and thought leaders in your firm to be part of the pilot group.

What do sophisticated buyers of coaching services know that the rest of us don't?

They know that the skills needed to be an effective business development coach are very different from the skills needed to be an effective rainmaker.  They know the crucial importance of selecting a coach who possesses BOTH sets of skills.  The corporate world has known this for years. Great business development coaches possess a mixture of 50% expert coaching skills and method, 40% subject matter expertise, 5% credibility, and 5% passion for the people they are coaching. [Note: This is equally true for hiring internal coaches.]

Why does having both sets of skills matter?

Unsophisticated buyers treat coaching skills as interchangeable with rainmaking and relationship skills. They are not. It leaves buyers easily seduced by a great sales pitch.  Our competitors go light on their coaching experience (where they are weak) and play up their knowledge of sales. The irony is these organizations don’t even have to possess deep knowledge of selling and relationship building, they only need to know more than the people to whom they’re selling!!  Many of our competitors have poor or mediocre coaching skills, but the marketplace doesn’t know any better. Why does that matter? Mediocre coaches won’t be able to provide you with multiple ways and approaches for relationship building.  Great salespeople can show you their way, and if you happen to like their way, that will work.  However, our experience suggests that the more options and ways you’re given for doing things the more likely you’ll find one that fits your style, personality and comfort level.

What makes us unique?

  • Our approach is relationship-based, and challenges you to capitalize on the power of personal and social networks.
  • The way we define networking is radically different from most organizations and will cause you to stand out favorably with those in your network.
  • We focus you on ways to make this fun so you’ll continue your efforts long after the coaching is over.
  • We’re the only coaching organization that uses The Maraia Method®.
  • The Maraia Method® has delivered unique insight for hundreds of our clients.
  • We know how to move you to the edge of your comfort zone.
  • Our whole business model is geared towards increasing your relationship literacy.  
  • We hire only experienced coaches who are passionate about helping you succeed as you define it.  
  • Our programs were created and refined based on 20 years worth of feedback from thousands of professionals.
  • We’ve been operating with value guaranteed pricing throughout our twenty year history.  It has an amazing way of keeping us very focused on delivering value to clients.  
  • We have an intimate understanding of professional service firms.
  • Our coaches are constantly sharing best practices with each other.
  • We have one person charged with refining our coaching skills so we can deliver rapid and continuous improvement of your lawyers relationship skills.
  • We provide a structure and framework that is proven highly popular and effective with professionals.
  • We use two books, Rainmaking Made Simple and Relationships Are Everything as coaching supplements and behavior reinforcement tools.
  • Our clients tell us we’re easy and fun to do business with.
  • We prefer a long term relationship with clients.
  • We know how buyers of your services think and the key factors that influence them to hire you
  • We’ve helped clients devise new strategies and tactics (i.e adapt) during the recent economic downturn.

What unique insight has the Maraia Method® produced?

Here is a partial list of areas in which we’ve developed unique insight:  

  • Helping our client firms select the best people for the pilot program who will gain the most benefit from the coaching;
  • Knowing which beliefs prevent your partners from developing a marketing plan;
  • Knowing which beliefs and bad habits hold your partners back from executing that plan;
  • Knowing how to adapt our programs to match your firm’s unique culture;
  • Knowing how to help your partners gain confidence in their business development efforts;
  • Knowing how to create a firm-wide sales (relationship-based) culture;
  • Developing custom metrics unique to the individual that give him a way to measure his progress after work with his coach is done;
  • Knowing how to create near universal partner buy-in to our relationship based approach;
  • Knowing how to keep the momentum going many months after our work is finished;
  • Knowing what motivates partners to learn and keep learning;
  • Knowing how far your partners will go outside their comfort zones before fear overtakes them;
  • Knowing the right time to use provocative questions that promote learning;
  • Knowing when participants need a pep talk;
  • Knowing how to make business development fun or more enjoyable for your partners;
  • Helping partners secure cooperation from others within the firm who don't want to market;
  • Knowing how to shift a partner’s mindset from billing hours to building their practice;
  • Knowing how to help newly minted partners shift from an associate mindset to a partner mindset;
  • Helping professionals gain business acumen;
  • Knowing when the chief culprit to progress is attitudinal not skills based;
  • Knowing how to help partners build momentum;
  • Knowing how to help your professionals overcome dips in motivation;
  • Knowing which questions your partners can use to promote strong bonds with prospects and ideal clients;
  • Knowing which questions your partners can use to promote strong bonds with partners;
  • Knowing how to actually get through to hard-to-reach decision makers;
  • Knowing how corporate politics influence sales;
  • Knowing just the right experiment that your partners are willing to try that breaks them free of an old mindset;
  • Knowing multiple approaches that will resonate with your new partners;
  • Knowing which approaches contain the highest probability of success;
  • Helping partners move out from underneath a well-known partner's shadow;
  • Knowing how to secure a fellow partner’s cooperation in pursuit of a prospect;
  • Knowing how to help minority lawyers capitalize on their network;
  • Knowing how to help female professionals artfully deflect improper overtures from male buyers.

Contact us for more information about our programs.