At ConvergenceCoaching, we’re continuously developing new content. Find our newest topics, not yet listed in our course catalog, below. For more information on any of these instructor-led sessions, contact Brianna Johnson.
Enhancing Teamwork, Communication and Success
In this session, we will explore how you can produce positive results in your life and your team by giving you access to more power and positivity and to enhance your firm’s teamwork and communication by:
- Learning generational differences and similarities and how to increase your understanding and working with each
- Exploring individual career motivators for you and your fellow team members
- Learning quick and effective communication techniques to establish performance expectations and delegate (and receive delegation) effectively
- Discussing methods for taking ownership and empowering and inspiring others to achieve the things most important to them – and your firm
- Exploring two methods for delivering feedback when expectations aren’t met
Leave this session with strategies to enhance your effectiveness in your work and your team!
Driving Change Through Strategic Firm-Wide Communication
Today’s organizations must navigate ever-accelerating change in standards, technology, mobility, talent, succession, consolidation, globalization, values and norms, and more. To successfully manage dramatic change, leaders must strategically design, execute, and communicate their strategies with the same focus and intention that they spend conceiving of the planned change. In this session, prepare to drive your firm’s change initiatives by:
- Learning the elements of a strategic communications plan
- Identifying the stakeholders and cascade of communications that need to occur to each and when
- Planning your message to engage and enroll others in the planned change and powerfully handle objections, too
Leave this session with a template you can use with your leadership team to more effectively drive organizational change through better firm-wide communication.
Navigating Challenging Client Relationships
We know that you appreciate your clients – the relationships, the opportunity to make a difference and the continued business you gain from them. We also know that not all clients are created equal and that some clients are more challenging to communicate and interact with than others. Take steps to better manage these more difficult client relationships so that you can collaborate better and achieve higher satisfaction, too. In this session, we’ll:
Leave this session with strategies you can adopt to ensure that all of your client relationships embrace effective communication and collaboration.
Driving Partner Performance and Accountability
As firms continue to drive growth and attract and retain top talent in our tight labor market, most have turned their focus to improving partner performance and accountability. In this session, we’ll take a deep dive into the levers that drive partner performance to help you identify areas where you can improve your personal performance and the performance of your partner team. Through a combination of large group facilitation and round table discussion, we’ll explore:
- Clearly defining performance expectations, partner goal-setting and reporting mechanisms for each partner to ensure clarity about each individual partners’ contributions
- Performance feedback mechanisms, including partner performance reviews and upwards feedback
- Rewarding partner performance and tying contributions to partner compensation
Leave this session empowered with concrete ideas to drive partner behavior and performance!
Defining Your Firm’s Strategy for the Future
Between the generational shift in the market and the changes that our profession is facing, there has never been a better time to carefully set (or refine) your firm’s five-year vision. The more proactive you can be in establishing a forward-thinking strategy for growth, the more success you’ll have in sustaining your firm for the future. Attend this interactive, attendee-driven session where we’ll explore:
- Current and prospective market trends affecting your firm’s vision
- Potential methods for developing the most engaging vision plan possible
- Strategies for ensuring your firm carries out your firm’s vision
Leave this session with practical strategies for driving your firm’s growth more strategically!
Consulting Services vs. Compliance Services: Managing the Difference
CPAs have worked hard to become not just historians (dutifully ensuring clients are in compliance) but trusted advisors (regularly offering fresh ideas, proactively identifying needs, and consistently recommending innovative solutions to client challenges). You know you can’t continue to market, grow and manage your consulting practice like a traditional compliance practice – but what’s the difference? In this session, we’ll explore strategies to feed and grow your consulting practice including:
- Why consulting?
- Differences between consulting and compliance services in your:
- Business model
- Marketing and sales approach
- Ways to manage your consulting practice to drive sustainability and profitability
Leave this session with an understanding about the differences you need to apply to gain momentum and growth of the consulting services in your firm.
Developing Innovative Client Solutions to Make a Bigger Difference
Nothing is more important to firm growth and stability than retaining key clients. In this highly interactive session with facilitated group and table-top discussion, we will explore creative ideas to truly be proactive and consultative to expand the value you deliver to clients. In this session, we’ll:
- Analyze the mindset shifts and behavioral changes needed to shift from compliance to consultant
- Discuss ways to run client service team meetings that allow you to assess client relationships and strategize to deliver more
- Identify methods for understanding the needs and drivers within clients and match those with your firm’s services
- Discuss differentiating your firm by solving clients’ problems and making a bigger difference in their organization and in their lives
Leave this session with practical and innovative client service ideas that will ensure your clients look to you and your firm for services for years to come!
Methods for Soliciting and Being Truly Open To Feedback from Others
We all have areas where we can improve and yet it can be challenging to discuss them. In this session, we’ll explore methods for being truly open and receptive to feedback from others, creating a culture of “get better” on your engagements and teams and putting yourself in a position of respect and trust so that others are inspired to also receive feedback well. In the session, we’ll cover:
- Outmoded ways of thinking that create fears around feedback
- Ways to solicit honest, constructive feedback on your performance and the things you manage
- Verbal and non-verbal do’s and don’ts when receiving feedback
- Ways for handling feedback that you don’t necessarily agree with
- What to do with feedback to ensure that improvement occurs and the other party feels heard
Leave this session ready to try new techniques for improving your personal performance and enhancing the clients, engagements and initiatives you manage.
Delivering Meaningful Midstream Feedback
The engagement review and performance review aren’t supposed to be surprise parties, where we unpack all of our unmet expectations at once and overwhelm the feedback recipient by doing so. Instead, we’re supposed to be delivering appreciation, coaching and evaluation feedback as we go. In this session, we’ll explore ideas for delivering feedback throughout the year, inside and outside of the engagement cycle to make sure our people feel valued, invested in and respected. This session will cover:
- Benefits of midstream feedback delivery and some simple do’s and don’ts
- Methods for delivering feedback when you can’t be together in person
- A strategy to help you hold the recipient accountable for improvement and to also remember the feedback yourself
- Ideas to track and manage midstream feedback so that you capture it for use in the formal evaluation process
Gain the ability to deliver feedback “on the fly” and as you go, so that those you work with are getting better year-round.
Clarifying Performance Expectations
The onset of engagements. The beginning of a year. When entering new roles. These are all times when our people need to be clear on what’s expected. And for some reason, many of us aren’t very good at clarifying expectations – even though almost every situation we encounter in our work would be better if we were. Attend this session where we will:
- Understand how fuzzy expectations drive disappointment
- Review the five elements needed to establish clear expectations
- Identify the various situations at your firm where expectations need to be established or re-set
- Review a simple method for discussing unmet expectations
Walk away from this course armed with strategies to drive higher performance in your people (and clients!).
Providing Tricky Feedback Effectively
Delivering feedback to your peers or superiors can be awkward and feel risky. And sometimes, the feedback we have to deliver to others can be awkward and almost embarrassing – like issues of personal hygiene, executive presence, and more. In this session, we’ll:
- Discuss best practices for delivering upstream and side-stream feedback
- Explore tips and techniques for delivering awkward or challenging feedback
- Identify the signs that feedback you’re considering first requires discussion with a superior or HR before delivering it
When we complete this session, you’ll have confidence in knowing how to handle more advanced or difficult, yet significantly transforming feedback.
Helping Your Clients Retire with Grace: Understanding the Psychology of Letting Go
For many, it can be very difficult to give up their life’s work and transition into retirement. This session is designed to help you guide those nearing retirement to develop an all-new possibility for life after retirement. We’ll explore:
- Overcoming the psychological barriers involved in retirement
- Developing new roles that leverage retirees’ wisdom and abilities
- Identifying up-and-comers and the skills, experience, and behaviors expected for replacement
- Creating and managing an operational transition plan
Retirement can be a fantastic new phase of life when planned for and embraced. Join us for this session to see how you can help your clients experience the positives of this important life transition!
Effectively Transition Clients
CPA firms across the country are preparing for the retirement of thousands of talented Baby Boomer CPAs. Many elements of succession need attention, but one of the most important areas to address is effective client transition. Attend this session to discuss answers to the four most common client transition concerns retirees – and other firm leaders – have, including:
- Identifying the “best” time to start transitioning
- Determining the most effective approach to transition
- Finding the appropriate successor
- Identifying the right time to talk to your clients
The future sustainability of your firm depends on your successful client transition. Leave this session armed with the information you need to plan and execute your firm’s client transitions effectively.
Effectively Transitioning Responsibility from One Generation to Another
Organizations across the country are preparing for (or are already facilitating) the retirement of thousands of talented Baby Boomer CPAs. Many elements of succession need attention, but one of the most important areas to address is effective transition of responsibility. Transition affects far more than the retiree –because their transition creates a ripple effect that causes all others in the firm to shed responsibility to. Transition will be an ongoing process for you as you develop as a leader and move your responsibilities to others so you can take on new ones. Attend this session to discuss answers to the most common transition questions those engaged in transition ask:
- When should we start transitioning?
- What mindset do I need to have to either let go or step up?
- How should we approach transition?
- How do we choose the people that we transition to?
- When and how do we tell staff, clients and/or other external stakeholders?
Your ability to grow depends on your ability to successfully transition. Leave this session armed with the information you need to plan and execute your transitions effectively.
Managing Change Amidst Uncertainty
The only thing constant in life is change. Your team members face all kinds of change, including changes in standards and processes, internal firm changes, transitions within the client base and more. Most of the time, change brings feelings of uncertainty and can lead to discomfort and even disengagement. As a leader in your firm, your role is to help your people navigate change positively and keep them focused on the things they can impact. In this interactive session, we’ll discuss strategies for leading through change including:
- Understanding the normal change adoption process and where you fall on the change curve
- Appealing to change motivators by communicating potential benefits of change and engaging in and encouraging hopeful interpretations
- Dealing with change inhibitors as they arise
Leave this session able to confidently lead yourself and others through times of change.
Truly Engaging Your People
According to national engagement surveys, as few as 30% of American workers are engaged at work. Wow! As performance managers, our job is to drive employee engagement and to watch for and address signs of dis-engagement. Join us for this session where we’ll explore:
- Better understanding employee engagement
- Strategies that drive engagement including:
- Putting people priorities first and actively managing your people
- Giving the work meaning
- Garnering input and feedback and acting on it
- (Really) Addressing low performance and bad behavior
- Identifying signs of full engagement and what to do when they’re missing
- Evaluating what you can personally change to drive engagement directly
Leave this session with concrete strategies to enhance employee engagement and ensure a more productive, committed team going forward.
Strategies to Develop Your Rising Stars
With the impending change in our leadership teams over the next decade, it’s imperative to identify your future partners and understand their hopes and dreams and ready them for leadership. Doing so will allow you to create a development track for their path to leadership and ensure they’re prepared and confident to steer the firm of the future. In this session we will explore:
- Overcoming the philosophical barrier of parity in your people programs
- Important questions you should ask your rising stars to really know them
- Areas where you can further develop your rising stars’ skills, appeal to their interests and engage them long term
- Appropriate actions, changes, and investments you can make to address the things you learn about your key people
Leave this session with ideas to engage, reward, and promote your best and brightest and secure your firm’s future!
Developing Rainmakers In Your Firm
Most firms want to create a business development culture and develop new rainmakers to replace the rainmakers who will retire in the next 10-12 years. Yet many struggle to truly achieve these goals. In this session, we’ll explore the “must haves” for developing new rainmakers by:
- Understanding and identifying the four types of business developers on your team
- Identifying and developing the skills and then activities your new rainmakers should undertake
- Using personal marketing plans to drive participation and homework by all types – and levels – of business developers in your firm
Leave this session with a plan to develop your firm’s next generation of rainmakers!
How High-functioning is Your Firm?
Over the years, we’ve worked with countless CPA firms helping them solve their challenges and develop strategic plans to achieve their goals and vision. Once in a while, we encounter a firm where the leadership team collaborates effectively, they hash out actions and strategies relatively easily and things just run smoothly. In this session, we’ll explore eight characteristics of high-functioning firms and what sets them apart, including:
- Attributes we consistently see valued and practiced by high-functioning firms
- Simple actions your firm can take to improve within each attribute
- The importance of championing these values and developing them in all levels of your firm
Attend this session to learn how your firm can execute decisions and actions more strategically, engage with more ease and enhance its overall functionality for long-term success.
Women Who Win: Strategies for Ensuring Career Success
Accounting Today Top 100 The corporate world has made huge strides in the representation of both genders, however, leadership still lags. While roughly half of new CPAs are women, merely a fifth of women in the public accounting profession hold partnership positions. It can be challenging to pinpoint a definitive answer to why more women haven’t climbed the ladder so it’s important to consider a variety of factors and work to diminish them. In this session, we’ll explore four ideas and how you can manage them to your advantage, including:
- Having it all by balancing family and your career
- Freely expressing yourself in the workplace
- Ensuring your free expression is perceived how you mean it
- Exhibiting a professional, polished and empowered presence in the workplace
Attend this session to identify factors that can hold women back from leadership positions and learn strategies for reaching the career level you’re working toward!
Reframe Common Generational Complaints to Breed Success
We’re hearing a lot about the younger generation and the impact they’re having in our firms. The shifting demographics offer an enormous opportunity for improving collaboration and efficiency and “building a better mousetrap.” But first, firm leaders have to set aside their resentment about changes being thrust upon them and young CPAs need give up their frustration that change is too slow. It is critical that firm leaders – mature and up-and-coming — let go of common generational complaints and consider the different perspectives that will lead to collaborative problem solving. Attend this session to explore common complaints we have about “the other” generations and ways to reframe these “problems” into opportunities. In this session, we’ll explore common concerns and possible solutions, including:
- Time and perceived effort
- Accountability and commitment to the firm
- Over-reliance on technology
- Leadership and talent development
- Letting go of control and holding on to too much responsibility
Take personal responsibility for giving up your leadership complaints and get in action building a future-focused firm poised for enhanced collaboration and success.
Moving Away From the Time and Place Paradigm
Increased talent competition is spawning new and innovative employee engagement strategies. At the top of the benefits list for many is the ability to complete work at a time and place of our choosing whenever possible. This demand for anytime, anywhere work is driving CPA firm leaders to give up their attachment to their traditional work values of “face time” and mandated office hours and move to a more flexible, virtual work model. Technology innovations make the dream of anytime, anywhere work a reality. Attend this session to explore steps you can take to navigate away from “old school” notions toward a more time-and-place-independent work environment including:
- Defining your firm’s values and goals as you change your orientation to time and place
- Managing pilot programs including:
- Giving up mandatory Saturdays or other mandated time periods
- Managing remote employees to ensure success and maximal productivity and client service
- Seeking clients to pilot different work hours and/or a more virtual service approach
- Running team meetings or other collaboration discussions virtually
- Management must-haves to maintain service quality and firm profitability as you make these shifts.
Attend this session to further your ability to deliver service in new, time- and place-independent ways.
A Healthier, Happier You During Busy Season
Compressed work periods require extra effort to take care of yourself and keep up with your personal commitments and responsibilities. It’s easy for the stress to pile up when it feels like you’re being pulled in so many directions. This coming busy season, take a proactive approach to achieving better harmony between work and life by joining us in this webinar where we’ll explore:
- Ways to collaborate and manage expectations at home and in personal commitments ahead of and during busy season – so that it’s a win for everyone!
- Tips to boost your health and maintain energy when you need it most
- Steps you can take to manage stress and encourage positivity so that you can be your best self
Leave this session with a strategy for maximizing your personal happiness at work and outside the office during the busiest times of the year!
Promoting Employee Wellness in Your Firm: An Exploration
There’s a growing emphasis on work-life balance and ensuring employee welfare in today’s workplace. Encouraging the health and well-being of your people can truly differentiate your firm and healthy team members will produce more and remain with your firm longer. Attend this session to explore:
- The growing demand for changes in workplace wellness – including reasons why both your employees and your firm will benefit when you collaborate toward wellness goals
- Strategies your firm can employ to kick start or supplement your wellness programs
- Must-haves for gaining leadership buy-in and employee participation
Hit the ground running with practical and effective solutions to create or refine your firm’s wellness strategy and take immediate action to promote employee happiness and well-being!