Roger Knecht – What Makes Coaching Distinct? | Conversations with Coaches | Boxer Media

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Roger Knecht | Conversations with Coaches | Boxer Media

Roger is the president of Universal Accounting Center where they offer training, certifications, coaching & support to help individuals start and build the premier accounting firm in their area.

In our wide-ranging and quite frankly energizing conversation, Roger speaks eloquently on the key distinctions between coaching, consulting, mentoring, advising, and teaching. We also discuss the passion and self-actualization that comes from being a coach, as well as the vital role that coaching plays in our “continuing education” and development not just as professionals, but in all areas of life.

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Kevin Stafford 0:00
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of the conversations with coaches podcast. I’m your host, Kevin and I have just had the pleasure of meeting Roger next. And I’m very excited to introduce you to him as well. Roger is just delightful. I’ll just go and say that upfront, like that’s not in the bio, that’s not part of his like his CV. He’s a delightful human being. And I’m excited to like know him and sharing with you. Just to give you a little taste, Roger is the president of universal accounting Center, where they offer training, certifications, coaching and support to help individuals start and build the premier accounting firm in their area, they’re focused on business focus on accounting. Roger is the real deal, we were just talking a little bit about what we might talk about, and he immediately jumped to some of the hottest topics we tend to hit on this podcast. And I was just like, yes, yes, I’m already gonna have I’m already like thinking about the trouble. I’m gonna have watching the Zoom clock. So Roger, I am pleased to meet you. And I’m so glad to have you on the show today.

Roger Knecht 0:51
My pleasure. I appreciate the opportunity. This is gonna be fun.

Kevin Stafford 0:53
Yeah, yeah. It shouldn’t be right. Yes. So let’s go Speaking of fun, let’s just let’s go back to the beginning. Now, the beginning beginning about like, you know, in the in the dawn of time, or whatever, but like the beginning of your coaching journey seems almost a little bit too trite. But that’s kind of what it is, like, where did how did you figure out that? Or did someone tell you at the right moment, at the right time that coaching was something was a way for you to impact the world in the way you wanted to impact it that coaching was a way for you to grow your business or build a business in a way that maybe you hadn’t seen or understood before? When When did that realization, I guess might be the right word. When did that realization happened for you? And how’s

Roger Knecht 1:29
a very distinct moment. And there’s two stages to it. The first, I was at a conference, I was sitting in the audience, and I was watching on stage someone much younger than me, professing of things that they were, you know, competent in. And I realized I could say what they were saying better than they were and I had the experience to back it up, we were an inc 500 company five times over Utah 100 company where our corporate headquarters it are and we had done that seven times. And so we had had the history of the success. And I just realized, why am I sitting in the audience? Why am I not sharing this and that was the first thing is realizing there were no more excuses, I had actually accomplished enough, I had the experience the expertise, I needed to now share it. The second reason is because in our profession, the accounting profession, there’s been talk for years of how we as professionals need to be offering more value to the client relationships that we’re providing. And value was this very vague, you need to be offering more value value and a cap on just being valued. And I just never saw anyone offering anything. Basically organized that was condensed as to this is what you do for your client that they will appreciate and pay for. And so we’re a post secondary school for accounting professionals, I felt it was appropriate to create a curriculum, a program that accounting CFOs CPAs, enrolled agents that accounting professionals could lean on to get the training, they needed to offer these types of services. Well, for me to provide the training, I felt I needed to go out there and actually offer the service. And so for the last six years, I’ve been working as a business coach, helping business owners and working with owners of accounting firms to learn and implement these things in their own companies, as well as services to others.

Kevin Stafford 3:08
Awesome, awesome. Well, well, well stated. succinct, yeah, there’s all sorts of little jumping off points there. There are two things that jumped out to me immediately, I love the way that you sort of described that urge to move out of the audience and onto the stage or move out of that like passive viewer state, when it comes to this kind of stuff and be like, You know what, I have a lot of ways that I can help, I’ve got the expertise, I’ve got the experience. And now I’ve got that missing piece, I can see myself in that young person’s position, I can see myself up on that stage, I could see that being a way that I can move into the next phase of my business and like that, like it’s almost in my head, I almost see a light switch turning on and a room lighting up. And you’re like, oh, oh, there was an epiphany, I had no idea.

Speaker 2 3:50
So if you’re familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you’ve got the self actualization at the very top. And it’s where you realize that you now can leave a legacy you can give back to the community, you’re at a point where you’ve accomplished everything that you really wanted to. And I mean that in the intellectual, emotional, spiritual state, it’s not that your dreams are no longer there. It’s not that you don’t have anything more to do professionally or personally. But you get to a point where it’s no longer about everyone else, and you have something to give back because you have competence. And when you’re in a coaching state, I think that mental set of I’m I’m in a state where I can help others is where you start to get very passionate about what we’re talking about today.

Kevin Stafford 4:27
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. And it comes through because the moment you the moment you really, basically I like putting all the pieces together the rug that ties the room together if I could borrow from The Big Lebowski, and it really just it does. It’s it’s difficult to describe, but I love trying because it fits ultimately boils down to feeling almost magical, even though it’s very practical, and you can understand it very clearly and very well in your life. Just the way that passion blossoms out of that realization. And you’re like it’s passion, not just as a feeling but passion as almost like a like a like a movement of purpose. Like you can feel yourself moving into action. But that passion is not passive. It’s not just kind of resting in some sort of idealized place in your head or your heart. It’s, it’s got its feet on the ground, and it’s ready to go. And it’s got its head in the clouds, and it’s loving life. And it’s thinking about what comes next. It’s like, it’s this real, complete feeling that quite frankly, there’s nothing like it. And then when you have something like that, of course, you want to pass that feeling on to others, you want to help them along their, their journey up the pyramid.

Roger Knecht 5:23
Oh, yeah, and I love your use of the word passion. Because I’ve identified over these years, five key things that are needed for success and passions. The first thing, passion is that one thing that is contagious, other people are drawn to it, other people want to tap into it. And because it’s contagious, people can actually in drawing from it really get empowered. And that’s one of the things that I think as coaches we bring to the table. But the other thing that passion also enables us to do is get through the hard times, when you’re passionate about something and you’re dealing with some of the struggles personally or professionally, you can tap into that extra energy, that passion that you’re bringing to the whole conversation and now use it to get through those difficult times. And so passion is so essential to the success I see.

Kevin Stafford 6:04
It’s it’s a very clean burning fuel. He’ll it’ll carry you through those those areas where you’re, you know, I’m almost thinking about old, like road trips in the American Southwest where you’re like, you know, a few dozen or a few 100 miles between gas stations. And it’s kind of like, okay, that makes sure I’ve got enough to get from here to there, that the water in the back just in case, you know, got AAA on the on the speed dial, I’m just done. Now, I’m just reminiscing about about old times in the southwest. But yeah, just having having that that kind of fuel that passion to be able to burn it will, it will carry you and not just carry you, it will propel you through even the darkest of times,

Roger Knecht 6:39
there you go. And I just say to myself, I think I can I think I can I think I can make again, and then I’ll make it over there, make it over the top.

Kevin Stafford 6:47
Lovely, love it. Let’s talk a little bit. And we talked about this a little bit before I hit record. But this is something is this, I’m always very, very fascinated to talk about this subject. And that is what actually distinguishes coaching not just in the general sense, but also your coaching. But we’ll start general and move into the specific what distinguishes coaching from say consulting or some kind of advisory role, or mentorship, you know, there are these words that will get not thrown around, but they’ll get used in in concert a lot to sort of speak to the kind of services that someone like a coach is providing. And so what do you think makes coaching generally and yours distinct from these other kinds of very, very closely adjacent services?

Roger Knecht 7:29
Excellent question. And I’m very passionate about this. So give me a moment. Here we go. The first thing I think is outside of our profession, I do believe that the word is used as a synonym these various words, they’re just used interchangeably. But I believe we’re doing a disservice to ourselves as a profession, where we’re using these words flippantly and interchangeably, we need to be more concise as to what we do and what our clients are paying for, and what it is they’re receiving. And so let me just address all of that with that premise. So first of all, mentoring, I believe, that’s something that is not paid for, it’s basically through association with individuals that have accomplished success or ourselves with others, where we’re actually just experiencing groups and activities. We’re interacting with them over time. And it’s through those interactions that we get to glean these little nuggets of success. But it wasn’t a structured program. It wasn’t anything we paid for. It’s just something we’re experiencing, because we’ve chosen to associate ourselves with successful individuals that have maybe gone ahead or before the individual, that’s a consultant, they have a specific skill, and we’re going to pay them for a project. So we may be the consultant were painted, actually now perform a task, and it’s going to be something that we do and when we’re done, we’re finished. But as a consultant, whether we’re offering that service or paying someone to be our consultant, they’re coming in with a very intent, purpose, that’s what we’re doing. And we’re paying for that advisor is totally different advisor is generally someone that isn’t instructed, they’re teaching, educating, they’re showing best practices, they’re being paid for this. But what they’re lacking is the advisor is indifferent to whether or not it’s implemented, they’re not going to follow up, they’re not going to stay involved, they’re not going to hold you accountable. They’re going to teach you that principle, they’re going to trust that you understand it, and maybe it’s in a group setting of instruction or one on one, they’re going to impart that wisdom, but whether or not you do anything, it is entirely up to the recipient. But the coach the almighty coaches totally different. They are going to be perhaps that mentor, they’re not the consultant the coach does not do that is very important. They as an advisor, however, will educate show best practices help the independent individual understand how what they’re learning applies to them. But the coach does two things more than all the others. It’s holds them accountable and ask the right questions. In asking the right questions. They go deep with the individual to assess how this applies to them. And with the accountability, it’s where they’re asking. So this is important to you. And when are you going to get this done? You’re gonna have this done next week. Great. And when they speak to him again, they’re gonna say, Okay, you told me this was important. You told me you’re gonna get it done next week. Okay, it’s next. It’s the following week. Did you Do it, how did it go? Very little in our lives, do we have individuals, especially when we’re dealing with seasoned professionals and so forth, that hold us accountable. And that accountability is the game changer. It’s what accelerates the success, it allows us to actually see the implementation of what we’re talking about in the people’s lives that we’re working with.

Kevin Stafford 10:20
And then accountability serves as as the perfect tool for a coach to help that person realize what they need to realize that they’ve pretty much got everything they need already. It’s already there. It was there before I got there, and it’ll be there after I leave. What I’m here to do is to help you realize that and access that whatever, you will tap into it, tap into it. Yeah. And that’s, that’s it? No, it’s there’s there’s both more to it than that. But also, that’s it that is that is the distillation of what coaching is what value can bring to your, to your life and to your, to your to your pursuits.

Roger Knecht 10:49
We may be oversimplifying this, and I don’t want to suggest otherwise. But I will tell you that a great coach is, in my opinion made up of excellent questions that is able to probe deeply into the situation, believing that the individual they’re working with is the expert, exactly as you said, they have the answers. But with the accountability, they’re able to also move things forward, they’re able to draw out of the individual, what is the priority? What needs to happen next? And when and then hold them accountable to that and call them on their BS?

Kevin Stafford 11:21
Exactly. And that’s, that’s a really good I was in my head as you were talking, it’s I started to think about it in a certain way. It’s like what, when you’re thinking about whether or not you need a coach, or want a coach or a consultant or something like that. It’s like, what are we missing? Are we missing answers? Or are we missing questions? Are we missing accountability? Are we missing strategy? Like, what are we missing? What gaps need to be filled? And that’s something that I think about all the time, and I was thinking about it earlier, when you were first talking about your journey into coaching, how there’s this culture of continuing education, at least in the in the in the accounting field, especially. But I feel like it’s growing into other fields as well. And I end up talking about this a lot. There’s this, this very structured formal education commitment, where we spend like decades of our lives to begin with, in engaged in very formalized, very structured education. And then there’s a certain point at which for most people, or in most industries, it’s just like you’ve graduated, you’ve you’ve topped, you’ve gotten the degrees you need, you’ve hit the top of the mountain or whatever. And that’s it. And yet, there is such a need to continue learning and continue educating yourself and growing and developing. And there’s not a lot that fills that gap. coaches do that. coaches do that. Oh, so so so, so well. And it’s such a, it’s such a big gap. I feel like that’s a big part of why coaching has exploded over the past few years as both a need and an opportunity. Because there’s just there’s just such a need for that commitment and embracing of continuing education. And what’s some of the best, the best educational experiences you’ve ever had? A teacher asked you a very intriguing question, and then held you accountable to the answer. They were there in the classroom, and I’m even putting air quotes up right now. Because the classroom just continues, it’s just turns out to be your life.

Roger Knecht 13:07
Well, there’s something I do with with youth that I interact with. And it’s a fun little game. And I think this is applicable to exactly what you’re saying. I asked them what a word means. And I say you cannot use the same word to in its description. Okay, so I say, what does this mean? And it’s amazing to me, the first inclination normally is to repurpose the same word in a sentence to describe itself. And I’m like, no, no, you cannot use the same word to tell me what it is. Describe it to me. And what I’m trying to describe here is the fact that if you go deep, someone that is actually asking the right questions can go to the therefore what and tell me more and share with me why. And as you dive deeper into these things, all of a sudden, like you were describing, the teacher has the the opportunity to enable the student to really dive deep into themselves and the information and learn things that they wouldn’t otherwise learn.

Kevin Stafford 13:56
Hmm, yeah. I’m always I’m always so fascinated by Well, I mean, it’s not really a surprise, but just like the way that we grow as people and like, I obviously I have myself as my nearest and dearest example. And I but it’s just it’s so like, I’ll just, I’ll just, I’ll use myself an example here real quick. Because I talk about this all the time. I love this podcast so much. I’ve been just really, really, really increasingly grateful for what I get exposed to like this conversation right here. I can feel my mind and my heart and my like, you know, my passions and my purposes. And like my thoughts. It’s kind of expanding and playing around with things and seeing things. Not that I didn’t already know. But I’m just kind of like my perspective has shifted slightly to the left or to the right, because of what you’re saying. And I’m like, I’m considering things just slightly differently. And because I’m considering them from that slightly different angle. I’m illuminating it from a slightly different angle. And so I’m seeing things I didn’t see before like I just all I did was like take a half step to the right. But now the shadows are falling differently. And I’m like I’m seeing things in relief or in depth field that I wasn’t seeing before. I’m beginning to make an art art metaphor now but you know, that’s how I roll. I roll from metal metaphor as I started thinking out loud, but I’m just I’m so, so taken with how much just being exposed to coaches just talking that sharing questions and talking about what drives us how much that develops me personally, just that exposure does so much for me. And then of course, the like, like you were saying the accountability element that presents that coach of they’re just kind of refining the questions finding the next the next best question, which will lead to the next best question. And it’s like it sound when you when you say like answering a question with a question with a question that sounds like annoying. It is the exact opposite. It is, what I didn’t realize before is everything you need to grow into the person you want to be. And I know I’m making it sound kind of political, but that’s how I feel about it.

Roger Knecht 15:42
Well, I’m going to add to what you’re just sharing them and take it deeper. I agree. If you don’t want the questions to appear as if it’s an interrogation, this isn’t 21 questions, and I’m just going to interrogate you. And I’m going deep. Tell me why tell me why I don’t want them to go into the defensive. However, one of the things that I find it’s very enlightening is in the conversations I have with business owners, that’s principally who I work with, whether it’s a personal or professional conversation I’m having with them. I dare say they’ve never, never had anyone asked the probing questions that I’m asking about themselves or their business, their spouses, haven’t their employees don’t the, you know, these are conversations that they may have had in their own minds. And they’re like, you know, no one’s ever asked that before. I mean, how often in the conversation Am I Am I told, you know, no one’s really ever asked that of me before. And they have to articulate this answer that in their minds makes sense. They’ve said it to themselves that sleep at night, so many times, but I’m saying so tell me again, why are you doing this? Why are you putting your heart soul second mortgage on your home to run your business? Why are you doing this? And they go on? I’m like, That’s fascinating. Why is that so important to you? That’s fascinating. So what happened in your life that caused that to be so important, and you dive down, and here you are having a half hour hour long conversation about something they’ve never discussed out loud before. And that’s the beauty. One of the biggest beauties of being a coach is you’re having somebody really articulate from within who they are.

Kevin Stafford 17:03
It’s not interrogation, it’s excavation. There you go. You’re just really, really just kind of like, just looking around shining some light into some places and having that light a little while, you’re like, hey, what about us? And it turned into that person that you’re coaching that you’re having a relationship with, right? What’s that over there? Yeah, what the heck, let’s go, let’s go check that let’s go check that out. Let’s go see what that’s about. And it really is, it’s, it’s such a, it’s such a joy. And part of what makes this all possible is that trust that a coach knows is the it is the first last and always thing that you must have with someone in order to have to ask those kinds of questions, to to help keep people from, you know, putting up their defenses to actually hold them accountable is they, they they get to know you very quickly, they understand you, you’re very vulnerable and available to them. It’s like they know what they’re getting from you. And so they begin to trust you very early on. And that’s something that I’ve always, I always find very, just very, again, heartwarming, it’s not quite the right word, but like it puts a warm spot in my chest. When I think about the coaches who are just they understand how important that trust is. and treating someone with that level of integrity and honesty and forthrightness, so that they can begin to trust you enough to begin that that journey with their coach. And it’s just it’s so again, I keep stumbling over the word because you’re describing it so beautifully. Well, but it boils down to magic for me the way it feels in my heart,

Roger Knecht 18:23
there is a magical moment, if that’s the word we want to use that after I’ve worked with a client for maybe a month, a little over a month, I do find that there’s this trigger this thing that happens, the light goes on, where all the sudden they realize I’m in a safe place, I can be vulnerable. And I can share some things, say some things here because I don’t feel I’m going to be judged. When that person it’s not in the first meeting. It’s not the second meeting. But generally it’s about the third, fourth, fifth meeting, they start to realize, I don’t have an agenda. I’m here to help them. And I’m not judging. I’m not. I’m not trying to question what you’re doing or why I’m just wanting you to articulate it and help me understand you. And if you if you do coaching correctly, it isn’t about you. And if you do coaching correctly, just like counseling just like therapy, it’s not your agenda that matters. It’s them coming into their own realizations, them having their own epiphanies, it’s them having those insights for themselves, and then acting upon them. This is their life. And so as I work with my business owners, this is their business. I’m not they’re not doing what I want them to do in business, they’re going to do what they need to do in their business. And so that’s really helpful. But to your point, there is this magical moment that happens well, when all of a sudden you see in them, they’re safe now they’re going to be vulnerable and they begin opening up

Kevin Stafford 19:42
yeah, that that that that moment of of safety and trust. You could really you could feel the world opening up when you went when you when you feel it when you see it. And I just love there are a few feelings better in life than seeing like being like actually witnessing that happen on someone’s face. I just, I will never ever, ever get tired of that feeling. Not

Roger Knecht 20:00
an hour and a half ago I was with one of my clients and with one of my clients who is very professional in what he does for business, he’s actually a professional therapist. He and his personal life dealing with some things caused him to come to tears. And he was being vulnerable with me that kind of relationship as I’m working with him on his business is special and unique. And I treasure that and I treasure it simply because of the fact that I know that he feels comfortable with me like he perhaps doesn’t does not with anyone else. And I value that and that comes from a relationship I’ve now had with him for over two years as his coach and it’s something I cherish

Kevin Stafford 20:40
I can talk to you about all of this all day. And I just looked up and I saw the three I saw that I saw 30 something on the on the Zoom clock. This is I mean this is this is this is get out of bed is why why get up why apply why put the feet on the ground and go to work every day and just do like live my life. This is this is the kind of stuff that just really like, I’m honestly I feel like I need to go for a run right now. I feel so energized by this kind of conversation. I think I might have to have you back on for like other parts like, like, just have you back on like three or four or six months or whatever, just to keep this conversation going or, like, explore different aspects of it. Because I gotta say that me too. I don’t like to well, okay, I was gonna say I was gonna say I don’t like to blow smoke up people’s butts, but I totally do. I love I love to give praise where praise is, is is is warranted and you are you’ve got it, you’ve got the you are the real deal, you have a way of expressing what might otherwise be somewhat opaque or complex. subjects regarding like human personal development and business and growth and coaching and all this stuff, you have a way of explaining it in a way that rather than remove the magic, it shines a light and reveals the magic, if that makes sense. It’s just it’s just the way the way you speak and the way you comport yourself. And the way that you the words that you choose, are just they’re exactly why I love having this conversation. So I feel like you really made it very accessible. And also like with the implied invitation, where it’s just like, so you see what this can do you see how valuable it is, you see where this comes from? Come inside. Let’s let’s let’s let’s do some work together. I love it. So I’m just I’m basically I’m praising everything about your approach and your demeanor and the way that you express what moves you.

Roger Knecht 22:18
Thank you, Kevin, it’s, it’s from a genuine a point, a point of view of being authentic and genuine with my clients.

Kevin Stafford 22:27
It’s, I swear it comes down like you hear these words. And again, some certain words get bandied about or lumps together are used as synonyms. As the real stuff that genuine that commitment, authenticity, to showing up in a very real way for free for your people, your clients. And this, obviously, we talk specifically about like coaching and certain kinds of businesses. But then you realize very quickly that this applies to pretty much every area of life, and the way that you show up in it. And it’s just, I’m glad you showed up today. I’m glad I got to share some time with you. And I’m excited to just get to know you better know you buy your works, and also get to talk to you again sometime in the future. Before I let you go, I have to have to do the responsible podcast thing. Where can people where can people find out more about you? Let’s find out more about who you are, what you do, how you do it? And also if it’s different, where can people best connect with you if they wanted to start a conversation, start a relationship get into business with you just just have a chat and maybe slide into your DMS if you have a social media profile you’re active on so where can people find out more about you and find you?

Roger Knecht 23:29
First of all, thank you. This has been wonderful. I’ve enjoyed this, this has been an honor. As for connecting with me, LinkedIn is a great place for us to connect. And I would appreciate that. For information, you can go to Universal There’s information there related to the business coaching services that we provide. There’s free resources for business owners. And for my podcast, I actually host one as well called Building the premier accounting firm. And so I’m happy to have people just check that out. And perhaps that’s a podcast that you would enjoy, especially if you’re in the accounting profession and the easiest way to remember it is if it’s about accounting, it’s universal.

Kevin Stafford 24:06
Lovely. Okay, I have to I have to do the responsible thing to let you go Roger, thank you. Thank you Thank you for sharing some time with me today. Thank you it was great and to the audience. I’m I’m trusting that you got like at least a fraction of the of the joy and insight that I got just hosting this. So if you did you know what to do next links to everything that we talked about in the show notes, all the usual podcast stuff, you know what to do. Thank you so much for being here and for listening and we’ll talk to you again very soon.

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