As a managing partner or leader in a professional services firm, your role is to encourage, develop and coach people towards reaching the business development goals you've decided on together.

A crucial part of that process is scheduling regular accountability meetings and using a system to ensure follow-through between meetings. For maximum effectiveness, these conversations must be both intentional and structured. The following is a step-by-step process you can use to guide these conversations:

The C.L.E.A.R. Accountability Meeting Model of the Get More Clients NOW and Forever program

C Clarify goals for the accountability meeting

L Link back to prior meeting for accountability

E Explore options and possibilities

A Accelerate progress by removing barriers

R Recap the session and confirm commitments

Let's take a closer look at what happens in each step of the coaching process.

C - Clarify goals for the accountability meeting - Key question: "What's on your mind?"

If you're using the 48/24 technique, you'll have a quick reference to your last meeting and some thoughts on what to cover in this session.

The question, "What's on your mind?" is a great way to begin. Other options include, "What would you like to focus on today?" or, "What do you need most from our coaching session today?" The point is to convey that you're there to help with whatever the other person would like to discuss.

Regardless of whether it's a professional or a personal concern, write it down and then ask, "What else should we be sure to talk about today?"

Now, do you also have an agenda? Sure. You want to help with the person's agenda, whatever that is. Your only agenda is the other person's success.

L - Link back to prior meeting for accountability - Key question: "What has happened since our last meeting?"

Next, you'll check in to see how the person is coming along with the agenda item and discuss any commitments made in the last meeting. After all, if you only discuss new ideas, then you never really close the loop on what was committed last time. Close the loop before moving forward - that's what accountability is all about and that's the only way things get done.

You can move this part of the meeting forward by asking questions such as: "What activities have you done since the last meeting to bring you closer to bringing in your new client?" or, "How are you coming along with contacting your neighbor who knows the CFO of the target client, so that you can get a meeting with him?"

By asking these open-ended questions, you're also helping people think rather than you doing it for them. That's the ultimate goal of these sessions, so that you're truly developing people, not enabling them. That leaves you free to do what you're supposed to be doing, which is leading and strategizing for your firm's success.

Now you could just skip this part of the conversation by saying, "Here's how I think you're doing with the goal, and here's what I think you need to do next." But when you take that tack, you're controlling the discussion. And when you use controlling behavior, your people won't learn anything new, or learn how to hold themselves accountable for results.In a follow-up article, we'll explore the final three steps of the C.L.E.A.R. Accountability Model of the Get More Clients NOW and Forever program. The Get More Clients NOW and Forever program can solve your professional services firm's seemingly unsolvable business development problems now and forever.

Author's Bio: 

Alan M. Dobzinski is the author of The Accountability Factor: The Buck Starts Here and a Certified Corporate Meeting Facilitator. He is also a Master Certified Coach (MCC) and Executive Business Consultant specializing in working with Family Owned Businesses and Professional Services Firms. To get Alan's Free report "7 Accountability Strategies That Will Actually Make a Difference to Your Bottom Line" visit