Many of us have fond, or not-so-fond, memories of sports coaches. Whether the coach was a parent volunteer for an elementary school soccer league or a high-level coach for collegiate figure skating, most of us have had some experience with a coach before. I personally had both good and bad coaches, and though having to run laps was not fun at the time, I can now see the benefit.
I recently read a blog post from accounting blog Thriveal relating athletic coaching to business coaching. In it, the author, Greg Kyte, feels that at the core, there really isn’t much difference between coaching a high caliber athlete and advising an entrepreneur. Kyte also uses his own experience with sports coaches to draw advice that can be applicable to business coaches. With the post titled, “Three Ways You Should Coach Your Clients Like How the Best Coaches Coach Athletes,” he offers the following wisdom:
“The best coaches walk the talk“- meaning that the coach should be good at whatever he is coaching. Kyte marks a difference here between athletics and business, “At some point, every athlete has questioned the athleticism of their coach, but we give them a pass because they’re so damn old. We assume they were probably pretty great back in the day. That doesn’t hold up with business coaching. I don’t want a coach who’s not kicking ass TODAY.”
“The best coaches continually challenge their athletes to do better and push their limits”– As in coaches do not let their clients or athletes stay comfortable where they are at. There is always room for growth.
“The best coaches make the sport fun for the athletes”– Kyte makes a point to mention that, “Entrepreneurs are volunteers who gave up a good career elsewhere to create something important and alive, something that brings them joy.” A good business coach will remind them of that.
I enjoyed reading through this post, and not just because Greg Kyte gives his readers insight into his own youth swimming career in a comparison with Michael Phelps. I enjoyed it because it made me stop and think about what entrepreneurs should want and expect out of their accountants. Can accountants, too, coach and advise?
What is a business coach exactly?
A business coach is exactly what is sounds like. It is someone who helps your business achieve its goals. Businesses coaches help to set goals, make plans with actionable steps, and can help the owner of CEO take a step back and look at things a little bit more clearly.
If you are looking to hire a business coach, be aware that there aren’t any mandated standards or requirements for coaches. However, there are certified training programs that coaches can participate in. So, do your research and find someone who knows what they are doing.
Is my accountant a business coach?
Um.. no. Er, yes. Well, sort of. I suppose the real answer is, it depends. If we stick with the stereotypical cliche of an accountant as someone who spends all day punching numbers and staring at an abacus then probably not.
However, many accounting firms are evolving from simply preparing tax returns to offering more value based services to clients. These services include financial advice, growth planning, succession planning, tax laws etc….
So, yes, your accountant can be a type of business coach for your business. And, he or she can be a really good one. This is because your accountant has intimate knowledge of your company’s finances: income, cash flow, trends, payables, receivables and more. Most likely they have a better understanding of it than you do. This means they are a great asset when it comes to asking advice about next steps. Not only that, but many accountants now have more specialized skill sets than previously, which adds even more value.
Should I Ask My Accountant for Advice?
Yes! Unless, you don’t trust your accountant. In that case, I’m not quite sure why he or she is your accountant. As mentioned above, accountants can be a wonderful source of information and advice. When looking for an accountant for you business, keep this in mind and look for an accountant that can help you with more than just preparing your tax return every year (though definitely make sure they can do that too).
Can accountants learn the same coaching lessons from Kyte?
Definitely. If an accountant is hoping to help coach their clients, then Kyte’s advice is good advice to follow. Business owners and entrepreneurs should think about Kyte’s advice too. That is the kind of accountant, advisor, or coach that you want on your team. Don’t settle for anything less.
Looking for financial advice for your business? Contact us at Lumen Advisory and Finance. We promise, we won’t make you run laps.