The value of a coach

When I stepped onto the ice for the first time back in April 2008, I did so in a vastly different way than most 30-year olds that suddenly decide to strap a pair of steel blades to their feet.

When Dan McLaughlin decided to test the theory about it taking 10,000 hours of focused practice to master a skill, he didn’t start out by himself.

Me, Dan, and hundreds of thousands of other people, no matter what it is that we are trying to accomplish, utilize a coach to get us where we want to go.

It took me many years to understand the value of having a coach in the things that I do. Since I didn’t play team sports in high school, this was a valuable lesson that I missed early in life. It wasn’t until my late 20’s that I came to know the vale of having a mentor or a coach, and I first learned that lesson in the business realm. My first business mentor and coach, James Orr, is today one of my closest friends and advisors (if you have any interest in real estate investing, you should check out his web site).

In fact, due to his incredible expertise on the subject of lead generation automation and systemization, James will be my guest on the second webinar in our December series, Tax Practice Success Automation.

Without James as a business mentor, and without others that mentored me when I first entered the tax profession, there is no way that I would be where I am today. Not only would I not be writing this to you, but I wouldn’t have the lifestyle tax practice that I have now — something I can turn on and off at my whim, with systems that I can turn up or down depending on how many clients I want and how much money I want to be making at any given time. None of this would exist if it weren’t for these coaches and mentors.

In early 2010, I got the crazy idea to try out for the U.S. National Shooting Team. Without coaching from some of the best marksmen in America, there is no way that I would have even had a shot at making the team. I never made the U.S. team, and got my butt kicked earlier this year in a shoot-off at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs prior to the London Olympics, but because of coaches and focused practice, I at least had the opportunity to try out.

Utilizing a coach can cut your learning curve dramatically. Your license to practice demonstrates your technical competency, but building a practice is markedly different from preparing a tax return or putting together financial statements. I would encourage you to participate in local mastermind groups with other business professionals, take advantage of seminars provided by your local Chamber of Commerce and community college, and of course, the coaching opportunities offered at each membership level from me.

Athletes utilize professional coaches to help them enhance their skills, and the exact same thing applies in business. No matter who you are, no matter how long you’ve been in practice, there is always something new for you to learn about running your firm better. I learn new things every week about how to run all three of my businesses, and I still participate in coaching programs offered by other business experts, and I still spend a lot of time chatting with my business mentor. I consider my participation in such conversations to be some of the most important work I do each week.

Having a coach to help you grow your business, implement better systems, and offer new services is a fundamental principle of success cited by wealthy self-made tycoons for decades. Nobody achieves success on their own — nobody. The people within our organizations are obviously crucial to our success, but so are people outside our firms, and coaches and mentors (yes, plural) are some of the most important people we can have in our lives.

If there is somebody in your local business community that you admire and respect, I’d highly encourage you to invite them to breakfast or lunch (it’s easier to get some people to breakfast, due to their schedules). Spending thirty minutes or an hour with somebody will give you a good idea about how they think, and if it clicks for you, it never hurts to ask them to mentor you.

I was very, very lucky with how I met James and came under his wing. You don’t need to let it be driven by luck, however. If there is somebody you would like to have mentor you, then just ask them. Seek out coaching programs where you will learn the specific skills you are looking to gain, in any field of endeavor. Coaches not only accelerate the learning curve, but also provide a level of accountability that many of us find difficult to achieve on our own.

If you think that you and I might be a good fit for a coaching relationship, I’d like to invite you to take advantage of a special offer on the launch of our new Diamond membership, which is really a tax resolution practice coaching program more than anything else. From now until the end of 2012, I’m offering the Diamond coaching program at a reduced monthly rate in order to help build the group to a size that permits interaction among members, which will benefit everybody.

Click here to learn more about Diamond Tax Resolution Coaching membership.

A good coach can help you shore up the holes in your tax practice, identify additional revenue opportunities, and guide you towards “ah-ha!” moments that might otherwise take you years to reach on your own.