Peerpoint is the only consulting platform that has a dedicated team to support and develop its consultant lawyers. Here the team addresses a few key questions about its unique coaching programme that helps lawyers change direction and build successful consultancy businesses.
What is unique about the way Peerpoint helps consultant lawyers build successful alternative legal careers?
We support and guide our consultant lawyers through every stage of their career with us by helping them find and choose work that is not only fulfilling and challenging but, is tailored closely to their professional experience and personal circumstances.
Becoming a successful consultant involves some thought and adaptation. Most importantly, it requires a shift from an employee to a consultant mindset. Peerpoint’s consultant management team (CMT) helps lawyers make this transition with a coaching and development programme that has evolved over several years. What started out as theory has been strengthened by incorporating feedback and positive outcomes and observing the kind of support that enables consultants to prevail and thrive. We do not give answers or provide templates; we help consultant lawyers make the career decisions that are right for them.
How do you ensure the coaching addresses the bespoke needs of each consultant?
Although the transition to consultancy requires some structure, we understand that one size does not fit everyone and recognise that each consultant has a different appetite for coaching and development. This has led us to develop a toolbox of coaching modules, the CMT coaching methodology, to address different consultant needs. We do not push consultants through these modules in any particular order; instead, we use the tools as prompted by each consultant’s individual needs and receptiveness. This ensures that the coaching remains nimble, effective and, most importantly, is directed by the consultant.
Our consultant lawyers are ambitious and they see consultancy as a way to progress their careers and open up new opportunities. However, in the first instance, it is often useful for them to take stock and re-set, rather than rush headlong into a new and different mode of working. Lawyers are, inevitably, the product of their professional experience and career, and they are shaped by the hierarchies of their law firms or in-house legal departments. We find that many of them want to hold onto the familiarity and structure of their professional experience, while at the same time moving on from it. The CMT coaching methodology is invaluable in helping consultants navigate this dichotomy and transition their careers confidently and successfully.
How does the CMT support lawyers when they first join the Peerpoint panel?
A consultant manager is assigned to each lawyer as soon as they are accepted onto the Peerpoint panel. The first step is to get to know the consultant and understand what they are hoping to achieve as a consultant. This relationship is framed as a partnership and enables productive and realistic career planning. This stage continues into the consultant’s first placement and has the objective of making it as successful and familiar as possible.
How does coaching help consultants choose the assignments that build experience and work towards or fulfil career ambitions?
Initially, consultancy requires lawyers to repurpose their CV as a marketing tool. The comparatively short duration of consultant assignments requires a different approach to CVs. We have developed an adaptable skills-based CV and work with the consultant to prepare this document and encourage them to use the CV process to reflect on their career, accumulated skills and ambitions. The result is an agile document that is aligned to their identity as a consultant and their new direction.
Coaching is a valuable tool for developing a consultancy business. Many experienced consultants use coaching as a ‘sounding-board’ to help them evolve their career direction and their business. We help consultants set short, medium and long term objectives and identify the right opportunities to realise these objectives. We deliver client feedback to consultants in a supportive way so that they are able to evaluate and reflect on the service they provide in a constructive and positive manner.
The support we provide helps consultants build the resilience they need for a successful consultancy business. When they encounter challenging work or circumstances, we discuss the issues and foster possible solutions. We help build confidence and resilience both in the short and longer-term so that a consultant feels equipped to apply their skillset to new challenges. We also encourage our consultants to reach out to the community of Peerpoint consultants to share experience and ideas.
Can you say something about the importance of developing a personal brand in consultancy?
All Peerpoint consultants undergo a detailed vetting process to ensure that their skills and qualities are in-line with client expectations. They are high-calibre lawyers who have chosen to become the architects of their careers and decide the type of work they do. Therefore, we encourage independent thinking and the development of a personal brand, which is very important. This does not always come naturally to lawyers, but coaching helps ‘nudge’ them to think of themselves as a business.
As coaches, we constantly challenge our consultants because we want them to succeed. It is a transparent and open relationship built on trust and one that has consistently led to positive and constructive outcomes, not only for our consultants but also for our clients.
For more information about any of the ideas in this article, please contact us.