If you think that a coach might elevate your accounting firm game, here are some factors to consider.

Elevate Your Performance - Hire a Coach

Selling for Accountants

During the Master’s, did you find yourself getting caught up in Jordan Spieth’s record setting performance at Augusta National? At how he maintained himself throughout the week at the ripe young age of 21?

Yes, it was exciting to see a fresh young American at the top of the Masters leader board. Someone relatively new to the golf scene.

Unlike some of the other world class PGA golfers, Jordan Spieth has only two coaches while many PGA Tour professionals will have a cadre of coaches covering different aspects of their game. On the PGA Tour, it is common for top players to have a swing coach, who is different than the short game coach, who is different than the mental approach, who is different than the fitness coach. As a result, swing coaches are recognizable names like Butch Harmon, Hank Haney, and David Leadbetter. Short game coaches like David Pelz are well known. And mental game gurus like Bob Rotella, Richard Coop, and Jim Fannon are common too.

For coaching and performance improvement, Jordan Spieth started working with Cameron McCormick, an Australian coach, at the age of twelve and was referred by Cameron to Damon Goddard for fitness training at the age of fifteen. Jordan is dedicated to both coaches, and just two coaches.

Cameron McCormick played college golf at Texas Tech and spent two years struggling on the tour before running out of money. Cameron then stumbled into teaching golf lessons at Dallas Country Club and then switched over to Brook Hollow which is another club nearby. Jordan’s dad was a member at Brook Hollow and approached Cameron about working with his 12 year old son, Jordan Spieth.

For fitness training, Jordan has worked with a golf fitness trainer, Damon Goddard, since he was 15 years old. Damon owns AMPD Golf Fitness in Dallas, which is dedicated to golfers and is Level 3 Certified by Titleist Performance Institute. Damon was a college soccer player himself and has fourteen years of experience in the broader fitness industry but narrowed the range of service to golf fitness. He works with PGA and LPGA Tour golfers, college golfers, top junior golfers, local amateurs and post-rehabilitation golfers.

In a typical week when Jordan is back in Dallas, he works with Damon four days a week. Although Jordan looks slender, he has gained twenty pounds of muscle and can dead lift 380 pounds. At the same time, Jordan also works with Cameron on his golf game.

By all means, Jordan Spieth was well prepared and has been focused on this journey for quite some time. What makes Jordan unique is that he is a prime example of every coaches dream, he’s coachable. That’s right, coaches of all types spend considerable time searching for the following characteristics in their coaching engagements:

  • Willingness to be coached
  • Acceptance of criticism
  • Willingness to go outside of your comfort zone
  • Sense of commitment to the goal
  • Willingness to embrace new ideas
  • Accountability for results

Granted, most of us think of coaches in the context of sports which is why I used Jordan as the example. However, there are many high achieving professionals, even accountants, who work directly with a coach to push them to their potential. Unfortunately, most of them don’t have the name recognition like Jordan Spieth does.

What’s interesting about a top tier coach is that they provide you with honest feedback in a non-threatening environment, point you in directions you were not aware of, and motivate you to achieve tasks outside of your comfort zone.

In the accounting industry, coaching and skill development seldom happens because everyone is taking care of clients, working towards deadlines, and working long hours. Often, accountants operate on auto pilot through the industry demands and they survive. If you have higher goals than just survival, then consider hiring a coach to address your practice goals or individual goals. There truly are all types of coaches available to accountants so identify your needs first.

If you agree that a coach would elevate your game, here are some factors to consider:

  • Type of Coaching Needed
  • Size of Firms They Work With
  • Establish Measurable Goals
  • Frequency of Coaching Matters

Find Your Coach – I would recommend going outside of your organization for coaching. Most large accounting firms are terrible at coaching and you want the coaching to be non-threatening. Honest dialogue and criticism are key to productive coaching relationships.

Industry Experience and Size of Firms – I would recommend working with a coach who has experience working with accountants and can bring subject matter experience to the table. If they are dedicated to the accounting industry, they can add even more value and expertise. The second component is size of firms that they work with. Large accounting firms are radically different than small tax practices.

Establish Measurable Goals – If possible, your goals should be quantifiable and measurable. While not all coaching situations can be quantified, it helps to objectively measure performance by agreed upon metrics. And last, the goals should be limited to just two or three items and use the KISS approach.

Frequency of Coaching Matters – The frequency of coaching really matters. It does not need to be 1-on-1 but it should be at least once of month, not quarterly or less frequently. To make meaningful changes in your performance, you need active, current dialogue to work through issues, achieve stretch goals, and continuously improve performance.

If you are serious about improving your performance, then take a page from Jordan Spieth’s commitment to excellence. Take a holistic approach and dedicate yourself to it.

Here is a great quote for some extra motivation.

“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.”

John Wooden, UCLA Basketball Coach

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Elevate Your Performance - Hire a Coach
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Hugh Duffy, BYF CEO and Co-Founder

Hugh is the consummate marketing coach for accountants and takes pride in the impact that it has on their practice, and lives. Since 2003, he has been teaching accountants how to improve their marketing and instrumental in the Outsourced Marketing Program.