As a CPA and a life coach for accountants, I know I might be a little biased but I have to be honest – I think every single accountant would benefit from having a coach.  It doesn’t matter where you are on your career path, whether you’re an employee or an entrepreneur, or whether you’re a CPA or not, if every single person in the accounting industry had their own coach, I promise you, things would be vastly different.

If you haven’t already noticed, the accounting industry is struggling, big time.  Unfortunately though, our profession also normalizes the struggles – stress, overwhelm, frustration, not enough time, too many demands, not being valued, overcommitting – I could go on but you get the drift.

But here’s the tricky thing that I’ve noticed with accountants – we have a hard time asking for help.  It’s as if we see our intelligence as a sign that we should be able to figure things out so there’s no need to get support.

The issue is that this “I’m smart- I’ve got this” attitude is actually not very smart and can lead to more problems than necessary.  Our intelligence is both a gift and a curse because we have the tendency to make very intelligent excuses for why things are the way they are, or even worse, we normalize our problems because everyone else in the industry is experiencing them too.

We’re also so used to people coming to us for the answer to complicated financial matters and solving other people’s problems, that we have a difficult time admitting that we need help solving our own problems, no matter what those problems are.  We’re so used to people leaning on us, that it can be challenging to own the fact that we need someone we can lean on as well.

Unfortunately I see this more and more with female accountants who are also moms.  We believe we have to show how capable and strong we are in order to prove our worth as an accountant, as a woman, and as a mother.   

Here’s the hard truth – our ability to admit we need help and to be coached, directly affects our ability to have what we SAY we want.  I stress the word SAY, because accountants complain a lot about what you want, but then don’t actually do anything about it and reach out to get the help you need in order to get the results you want:

 

  • You SAY you want to work less hours
  • You SAY you want more money
  • You SAY you want more balance
  • You SAY you want more time for the things and the people we love

 

Accountants complain a lot, but then don’t take advantage of the help that’s available in order to have the things you SAY they want.  Accountants SAY they’re stressed and overwhelmed, but resist the idea that you could learn how to eliminate that; you SAY you want to create more time but then resist the idea that it’s possible.

One of the biggest problems I see is that as accountants, we are smart but we also tend to argue pretty strongly for our limitations.  We think that since we’re so smart, that if there WAS a solution to our problems, we would have figured it out already; therefore, if we’re still experiencing the problem, there must not be a solution.

I see this ALL the time – accountants using our intelligence against ourselves.  But thankfully there is a better way IF you are coachable.  You can actually learn the skill of being coachable, and the best part is that the more coachable you are, the easier it is to understand why you have your current results and the easier it will be to have what you want instead.

This week I’m going to discuss what it means to be coachable so that you can deal with your struggles and have what you want in your career and your personal life.   

 

What it means to be coachable

 

Before I explain what it means to be coachable, let me say that I’m not trying to say that you should choose me to be your coach.  What I am saying is that you should consider being coachable so that you can work with a certified coach, any certified coach.  

Truthfully, being coached is life changing and career changing.  Whatever goals you have, whatever area of your life or career you’d like to improve, can all be addressed with coaching.

I’ve been a life coach for quite awhile now and I also get coached myself.  So the question you might be thinking is – why would a coach get coached?  Simple – because I want better results in my life and I’m willing to let someone else show me what’s getting in my way.

I have literally changed every single aspect of my life because I was willing to be coached.  The best part is that I have been able to take that skill of being coachable into every area of my life, helping me both professionally and personally.

I actually got the idea for this podcast because I was listening to a fellow coach’s podcast and realized how important being coachable is in order to have a balanced, happy life.  I am living the life that I only wished was possible 10 years ago, all because I was willing to want more and to ask for help in getting it.

So now I’m going to share what that coach touched upon in her podcast, about what it looks like to be coachable:

 

#1 – Come with something to be coached on – Like I said earlier, I think one of the toughest things for accountants is to admit we don’t have the solution to a problem, especially when we’re the ones with the problem.  We’ll complain about things not being what we want them to be, but then convince ourselves that that’s just the way it is.

The sad thing is that we have so many other accountants that will agree with us – “Yup, that’s just the way it is”.  But just like anyone that’s ever done something that others doubted, I am also here to tell you that the “It’s just the way it is” belief that a lot of accountants have is a lie.

Let me just share one thing that has improved drastically since having my own coach – I don’t experience stress and overwhelm during tax season anymore.  You heard me correctly – I do NOT feel stress and overwhelm during tax season AND I’ve got more on my plate than I’ve ever had in my life.  THAT is the power of being coachable.

So don’t think that there’s any subject that you can’t be coached on and make sure you open yourself up to the possibility that someone could actually show you the solution to your problems.  You might be pretty smart, but a good coach can help you to be much smarter.

 

#2 – Be open to being wrong – Oh boy, this is a tough one!  You have to be open to the fact that the thing you think you need coaching on, might not be the thing.  I know that sounds confusing but it’s true, especially for smart accountants.

When I first started getting coached, I would come to my coaching sessions with a problem, but then I also had my own idea of what I believed the problem and the solution might be.  Then when the coach asked questions that I didn’t think related to my issue I would get frustrated, as if he or she wasn’t understanding me.

But here’s the truth – every time I thought I was right, I was actually wrong.  Every.  Time.  The reason is because I was trying to solve my problem with the same brain that created the problem – I needed my coach's brain to see the issue from a much clearer space and to see things that I couldn’t see.

The analogy I like to tell my coaching clients is that you are standing inside a box with four walls and that’s all you are capable of seeing – those four walls.  But a coach is outside the box looking in from above and can see things from a much different perspective, offering solutions that weren't possible for you to see within your box.

By being open to being wrong, you make it possible for things to change.  The more willing you are to be wrong, the faster the change can actually happen.

 

#3 – Believe that your coach is on your side – this is another challenging one, especially when it comes to being pushed out of your comfort zone of current beliefs.  You have to understand that your coach wants to help you help yourself, but unfortunately your thoughts about your coach can impede your ability to get the results you want.

Again, it all comes down to being open and especially being curious.  Whenever my coaches have said something or questioned something that I resisted, I learned to give myself a day after the session and be curious about seeing what they said from a different perspective.

That’s why coaching is so powerful – it allows you to see things in a different way that wouldn’t necessarily be possible with your brain, your life experience, and your current beliefs.  So what I’m about to say isn’t a judgment of you at all, but you have to consider the fact that your best thinking got you here – so why not believe that your coach is on your side and allow them to offer you a better way.

That’s why I think every accountant should have a coach because again, our intelligence is a blessing and a curse.  When you can allow your coach’s intelligence to come forth and resist the urge to dismiss what they offer you, I promise you that your life will change in ways you can’t even imagine right now.   

Now when I get coached I’m willing to just let the coach show me everything I can’t see because I know how much better my results will be.  I always believe they are on my side and that we make a great team, allowing me to dream bigger, want more, and actually achieve it.

 

#4 – Don’t be in a hurry – this has also been a tough one for me because once I have chosen something that I want to be coached on, I want the issue to be solved quickly so that I can feel better.  I want the feeling I believe I’m going to have once the issue is resolved and I have the result I want.

I’m not saying that you can’t understand exactly how to have a result you want in one, one-hour session, but just because you understand it doesn’t mean you won’t have obstacles along the way.  When you’re in a hurry, you unfortunately don’t get the learning you need and you’re more likely to put a bandaid on a situation that really needs some stitches.

The truth is that, if you don’t take the time to learn, to take action, to fail, to learn some more, and to take some more action, all while being coached along the way, you’re going to have a similar issue in the future because you rushed the solution the first time you dealt with it.

For example, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve worked with accountant coaching clients who were in a hurry to get a new job because they were unhappy with their current job, only to be unhappy in the next job once the honeymoon phase wore off.  For those that weren’t in a hurry, who used their current situation to get a better handle on their accountant brain, and who trusted the coaching process, they’re much happier and fulfilled in that new job.  

So don’t be in a hurry because you’ll actually take more time in the long run.  When you relax into the coaching relationship and the process, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you actually do get the results you want and how much longer lasting and far reaching the skills will be that you learned along the way.

 

#5 – Notice when you only want to know “how” – this is a tricky one for most people, but especially for accountants.  We tend to be very information/action focused, always looking for clear-cut answers to solve problems.  

But your need for a coach to tell you what to do or how to solve a problem can often come with impatience.  Humans are hard-wired for instant gratification, so it’s understandable that you would want the relief that you believe working with a coach would provide, but unfortunately there is no “quick fix”.

The truth is that how someone else got the result you want isn’t necessarily your “how”.  There is no one-size-fits-all solution to any of the issues you are looking to work on, so it’s best to let a coach explore more than just the “how” with you.

Be willing to allow the coach to understand what’s going on under the surface because they want you to take empowered action, but they also want to make sure you’re ready to take the right action.  The fuel you use to take any action needs to be the best fuel possible and a good coach can help you explore your options.

I promise you that learning how to do anything is much easier when you take a little extra time on the front end to get clear about the best course of action, rather than just taking any action.

 

#6 – Be willing to sit with the coaching – this ties into #4 – Don’t be in a hurry – but it’s also about being willing to hear what the coach is telling you and let it sink in.  You may not fully understand it or agree with it, but just let your brain process it a little.

I’m not saying that you need to agree or go along with your coach on everything, but again, there’s a reason you have the current results you have that you’d probably like to change, so it’s worth it to let the coach do what they’ve been trained to do – help get you from where you are to where you want to be.  If you feel resistance, notice it and question it.

Here’s the thing when it comes to coaching – you are most likely going to be challenged by what you learn about yourself because you couldn’t possibly understand your brain the way a professionally trained and certified coach can.  No offense, but if you did, again, you would already have the results you want.

I want to point this all out because I don’t want you to be surprised when your coach stretches you beyond where you might be comfortable.  The truth is that you don’t work with a coach to stay the same – you work with a coach to move you from where you are to where you want to be.

Being coachable means you go into the coaching relationship knowing that the coach isn’t trying to be difficult – they just want you to take the most empowered action you possibly can in order to get the results that you want.

 

#7 – Be willing to use what you learn to help others – this is one of the amazing benefits of being coachable – you get to help yourself and then help others based on the skills you’ve learned.

I can honestly tell you that I am a much better mother, wife, and person because I was willing to be coachable and take what I learned into every area of my life.  When you do your own work with a coach, you can’t help but show up differently and people will begin to notice.

I often think of that funny line in the movie “When Harry Met Sally” where the woman in the deli says “I’ll have what she’s having” when Meg Ryan’s character is faking an orgrasm – that’s also true when you work with a coach.  By getting coached and then being an example of what’s possible for others, you allow them to want what you have. 

Because I was coachable and saw the transformation in my own life, I decided to become a trained and certified life coach for accountants.  Being able to bring what I’ve learned to others has been one of the greatest gifts of my life.

As a mom, I can tell you that being coachable has also made me a much better mother.  I have improved my relationship with my children in so many ways, but they also know that since I’ve done the work, they can come to me when they’re struggling as well.

So hopefully I’ve given you some pointers and ideas to think about when it comes to being coachable.  Again, I’m not trying to sell you on coaching with me because you have to be coachable in order to work with me and I’m not the perfect coach for everyone, but I promise you that it’s definitely worth a try.  I’ll just leave you with this – it works if you work it, so work it because you’re worth it.

 

Summary  

 

  • Here’s the tricky thing that I’ve noticed with accountants – we have a hard time asking for help.  It’s as if we see our intelligence as a sign that we should be able to figure things out so there’s no need to get support.
  • Our intelligence is both a gift and a curse because we have the tendency to make very intelligent excuses for why things are the way they are, or even worse, we normalize our problems because everyone else in the industry is experiencing them too.
  • We’re so used to people leaning on us, that it can be challenging to own the fact that we need someone we can lean on as well.