Coaching for Development

19 December 2017

GRL was approached by a Chambers Director who had recently been appointed to the post. He had looked at his clerking structure, wished to re-organise it and create two teams within the structure.

The larger team which included the bulk of the QCs would be managed by the senior clerk while the other would be led by a newly promoted clerk from within, with a lot of clerking experience but very little management experience. The Chambers Director indicated that he believed that the promoted clerk had ability and potential.

What was the brief?

The Chambers Director wanted GRL to work with the newly promoted clerk helping him to both develop his team into a successful unit and himself into a successful manager.

The newly promoted clerk and I (David W. Rees) met and talked about the new role that he had acquired both in terms of his own work objectives and the team that he would now lead.

Developing that all-important rapport

We exchanged information about each other, found we had both attended the same university and followed the same football team. We began to develop a rapport. He said that he had worked for Chambers for some considerable time but had in the past been reluctant to develop his career because he did not like the previous regime’s management culture. What the leader said went!

Delivering a first-class service

We discussed his approach to his new role and identified the need for him to deliver a first-class service to members both as a manager and ensure that he provided leadership for his team to deliver a similar service.

In terms of service to members, we identified the need for him to be much more pro-active with them.

We agreed that he should:

  • take the lead in setting up meetings to meet both his old and new members;
  • meet them on a one to one basis look at their present business plans and agree with each, a way forward; and
  • create a close working relationship with them and work in partnership with them moving away from the old working culture.

As a leader we agreed that he should influence the developing of a new culture.

Understanding the team

We examined his relationship with his team. They were four in number with some being graduates and all keen to develop their role and their career. We agreed that he needed to create a close working relationship with each and mold them into a team. We agreed that he needed to spend time with each of them, understanding their strengths and weaknesses and be there for them to provide support and help. He also needed to understand their aspirations and training needs.

We agreed to look at his management style. He described it as inclusive and therefore we both agreed that he needed to spend more time with them briefing them on what was going on in the organisations but also listening to their views and innovations. Creating closer and improved communications was very important.

We also identified the need to work closely with the marketing and business development function.  BD is fundamental to the growth of the business and the clerking function plays a very important role in this area.

It is fair to say that this is a work in progress. He has continued to provide a first-class clerking service to his members and has a close working relationship with them. He has worked on his relationship with his team and has improved communications and their involvement in the business. He has a good relationship with the Chambers Director and the senior clerk and is working on his relationship with marketing and BD. However, as always. there is still a long way to go.