"Be the ball," said Chevy Chase's character Ty Webb to a blindfolded Danny Noonan in the cult classic, "Caddyshack." It may hard to get in the head of the wacky character Chase plays, but let's give it a "shot." Chase offers his coaching advice on how to use your mind, rather than your eyes, to envision where the ball needs to go. Whether you're an amateur like Noonan or a seasoned professional who competes at the Masters, everyone needs a coach—and off the fairways, the same is true in the business world.
Coaches are a cross between mentors and consultants. It doesn't matter if you're a staff accountant or the head of a firm; we all need coaches to make us better. Coaches are professionals who gives us the advice and guidance we need to succeed on a professional and personal level. A good coach provides personal development techniques and advice to help us get set and achieve our goals.
Here are some of the drivers to the typical coaching relationship in the business world:
- Coaches maintain close, personal relationships, but by no means should they intrude or try to control our lives.
- Coaches provide support and feedback through whatever frequency and communication methods that work with each other's schedules: in person, by phone, by email, or a combination of all three. Remote chat programs such as Skype or Google Hangouts also work well. Sessions could last 30 minutes to an hour, for example.
- Coaches will tailor their guidance to the needs of the accountant in terms of giving the professional what he or she needs to meet a defined set of goals.
- Coaches focus on issues such as interpersonal skills and communication, practice management, marketing, and rainmaking.
Engaging with a coach doesn't have to take years; the relationship can be a short term, project-specific activity or, in some cases, could last longer.
Whether you're an aspiring golf sensation or hope to be a top-flight accountant, you must invest in your outcome. A good start is finding a coach that will give you the advice and guidance to take you to the next step.
About the author:
Hugh Duffy is co-founder and chief marketing officer of Build Your Firm (BYF), a practice development firm dedicated to the accounting industry. BYF provides an Outsourced Marketing Program which helps accountants operate at dramatically higher profit margins. Hugh can be reached at 888-999-9800 x151, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.