Business owners typically hire a CPA when they need help getting their financials in order, preparing a tax return, getting through an audit, or when they need assistance with other accounting-related “projects.” You complete this task and then you part ways until the next time they need you.

That’s fine, but while you wait for them to call you with their next project, they are suffering in other areas of their businesses, and you are missing out on a fantastic opportunity to add value to your clients while at the same time earning significantly more revenue.

Almost all business owners feel “stuck” from time to time in the area of sales, marketing, customer service, human resources, leadership development, systems implementation, strategic planning, and of course, financials and exit/succession planning. If you’re like most CPAs, you only provide assistance in the “financials” and/or “exit/succession planning” areas of business. And therein is a huge opportunity for you and your clients. This opportunity can be named in three words: “Professional Business Coaching.”

Business coaches are different from tradition consultants. Consultants are hired to solve a specific problem or handle a particular project for a client and then they go away. Conversely, a business coach is generally paid a monthly retainer for providing ongoing, regularly-scheduled meetings with the objective of helping business owners solve their own problems. When one problem is solved, or when the owner feels back in control of the challenge area, the business coach and client continue working together to solve new problems or meet new opportunities. Many coaching relationships go on for years.

What do business coaches do?

Business coaches work with business owners and executives in two distinct areas. First, they help business owners who don’t know what to do in a particular area of his or her business. We call this “business effectiveness.” Most areas of business effectiveness fall into the categories listed above: Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Human Resources, Leadership Development, Systems Implementation, Strategic Planning, Financial Management, and Exit/ Succession Planning.

When companies struggle in any of these areas, the owners feel paralyzed. They are filled with stress, grief, concern, anger, frustration, and doubt. These negative emotions compound the challenges and can create new problems of their own; some at work, others at home.

A professional business coach helps get the client out of the proverbial trees so they can work strategically on business development and systematically solve these problems. This results in higher profits, better cash flow, and a happier workplace, which in turn leads to a healthy, productive, and joyful life. Business owners gladly pay a premium for these meaningful, life-changing results.

The second distinct area where a business coach comes in is when the client knows what he or she should be doing, but isn’t doing it. This is what we call “personal effectiveness.”

Many personal effectiveness issues stem from bad habits, addictions, or self-limiting beliefs. Other issues actually stem from personal strengths that are overused so much they actually become weaknesses. Think of how strong and powerful a bull is… now put him in a china shop!

Personal effectiveness starts with knowing yourself and knowing your own personal vision and goals. Then it moves to how you interact with other people of all personality and behavioral types. Ultimately, personal effectiveness is about behavior that is congruent with values. It is about being physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy.

With all the pressures in our world, it is very difficult to maintain personal effectiveness without paying ongoing, deliberate attention to it. A business coach provides the structure and knowledge necessary to help people maximize on their own personal effectiveness while constantly providing structure and support in business development.

A business coach is very much like a coach you may have had in sports, music, or the arts. If you’ve had a coach before, you know what a coach does. Coaches teach, encourage, challenge, and provide structure and accountability to the people they coach. Coaches reinforce positive advancement and also bring people back to the fundamentals when needed, and allow their clients to meet their full potential. A good coach leads by example and is inspiring to those around him/her. Yes, a coach is a role model.

Business coaching is absolutely an art and a science. You have to know yourself, know other people, and you must know business! Much of what you do as a business coach comes naturally, but there are also many important techniques and skills you need to master in order to provide excellence to your clients.

If you are passionate about helping others achieve their own dreams, and if you have a strong background and interest in business, you may find professional business coaching to be a lucrative and rewarding additional revenue stream to add to your CPA business. If you already have small- to medium-sized businesses in your portfolio of clients, then you already have a prospect base that will very likely be interested in hiring you to coach them as well as take care of their accounting needs.

By adding business coaching to your service offerings, you can substantially grow the top line of your income statement while also providing value that will lead to even stronger client retention. For more information about becoming a Certified Professional Business Coach (CPBC), click here.