The month of November is National Career Development Month! It feels appropriate to celebrate the occasion because one of the things we pride ourselves most on is coaching and developing our team members. Developing our team is much more than perfecting tax returns – it’s a long-term, teambuilding effort. Further, coaching is about investing in our people, building trust as a collective firm, and establishing a camaraderie between us all. In turn, this improves the work we put out for our clients. Learn more about the specifics of our Coaching Program below!
How it Started
Prior to this year, coaching fell into place naturally at Howard. Experienced, veteran team members took newer members of our team under their wing to guide them as they got acquainted with the firm and our clients. That changed mid-2021 when we decided to formalize these coaching and developing relationships to ensure that every team member was set up for success. Hence, the Coaching Program was born!
Beginning in January of this year, we formally assigned coaches to coachees on our tax and audit teams. When new team members join the firm, they’re given a coach based on availability and personality. Coaches then get to know their coachee’s learning style, values, goals they’ve already set for themselves, and what they want for their career long term. This concludes with setting relevant goals that coachees can get to work on. After that, coaches check in with their coachees periodically, and major conversations about development and goal progression take place twice throughout the year. This process continues on as goals are accomplished, new ones are set, and coachees develop personally and professionally!
How it’s Going
Since formalizing this program, we’ve seen growth in both our coachees and coaches! Currently, coaches have three to five coachees each, which allows personal relationships to form between them. Accountability is a key value in these relationships, in which coaches are expected provide opportunities for learning and growth, and coachees are expected to follow through on the commitments and goals they’ve set. This fosters teamwork and responsibility amongst us all.
Additionally, managers and directors who are in a coaching role are simultaneously coachees! Our partners coach our managers and directors to continue building their leadership skills and guiding them through their career goals.
Another personalized element of the program is that coachees have the ability to switch coaches based on their interests and goals. For example, someone who is particularly interested in real estate can be guided toward Tax Partner Sarah as a coach because she has a background in that industry. We strive to make coaching relationships beneficial for everyone involved; it’s a structured yet flexible program.
We’re proud of the foundation we’ve built with our Coaching Program throughout this year. Going into 2023, we’re working on making our coaching curriculums more formal by setting defined topics that all coaches will discuss with coachees at designated times of the year. This will enable coachees to learn set concepts at the same time, while still allowing time for personal goals and development. We recognize that the program will always require revising and tweaking, and we’re excited to continually improve its curriculum and structure!
Our Howard Coaching Program allows us to get personal guidance with setting goals, creating a pathway to accomplish them, and achieving those objectives. If you’re a college graduate hoping to work for a firm that develops its team members one on one, we’re proud to offer that experience in addition to working for a range of clients and industries.
There’s more to come about coaches and coachees that have embraced our Coaching Program above and beyond, so stay tuned!