Business Coaching Skills Can Double Your Practice
Are you a financial planner who wants to magnify the benefits you can offer your clients? Did you know that Thomas Leonard, recognized by many as the founder of personal coaching, was a financial planner.
How do coaching and financial planning fit together? Thomas Leonard recognized, as have many other financial planners, that your clients are not dealing solely with financial issues; they are planning life decisions. Their decisions must account for their values, their vision, and their dreams. To that end, coaching skills will give you the tools to listen and to inspire dramatic growth.
First, a definition of business coaching: Coaching is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States. Through coaching, people are able to get from where they are to where they want to be in both their business and personal lives — much faster and more easily than they normally would. Coaching is the art of asking empowering questions to clear away extraneous stuff, and dig out answers that may be buried. According to FORTUNE, “Coaches are everywhere these days…For a surprising number of people, it is now the coach- not the boss- who pushes them to hire, to fire, to fine-tune a sales pitch, to stretch.”
The coach is the person who asks great questions, listens to the answers, and views the entire person and situation with complete objectivity. The coach enters the situation, stands on the sidelines and sees all of the pieces without any attachment to the results. Then the coach has the client look at the view from the coach’s eyes. This helps the clients see new perspectives, learn the truth and gain the knowledge to move ahead and make positive, sustainable changes in his or her life.
How can you incorporate this dynamic skill set into your financial planning practice? Coaching can be an integral part of your planning practice, or a separate line of business. You can make refer to your coaching services in your initial client engagement agreement. Fee structures vary. Some financial planners charge an additional fee for coaching, while others build it into their basic fee. Fee structure is also dependent upon whether coaching is group or individual, on-site or off-site.
Laura Terrebonne, founder of Success Alliance, a coaching and financial service company located in Crossville, TN, is an example of a personal financial analyst who now offers coaching services to her clients. She coaches national and international clients in the areas of practice building/management, financial planing, and management and team coaching. Her clients represent both the non-profit and for-profit sectors across a variety of industries. “I began offering coaching as an extra service to my clients when I realized that clients needed more than a once a year meeting to reach their financial goals.” stated Terrebonne, who reports that more half of her financial clients have now hired her as a coach.
Terrebonne, who received coach training at Comprehensive Coaching U, offers financial clients a full and complete financial analysis to determine their financial status. “Many of my clients are surprised to find they have so much debt and are not prepared for emergencies or even retirement” said Terrebonne who added, “They are ready to make better financial decisions, but often do not know how to break they cycle of spending.”
That’s where the coach comes in. Once clients have an accurate picture of where they are financially, they can develop their financial goals, but it doesn’t stop there. Coaching takes them to a new level by offering clients clarity and ongoing support. Coaches work with clients to develop a plan for achieving their goals and assist in identify and eliminating barriers.
Coaching is an ongoing process. After the initial meeting, Terrebonne will typically meet with clients telephonically for 3, 30-minute sessions per month. While she may manage a client’s financial assets for a lifetime, their coaching relationship lasts an average of 9 – 12 months.
“I’m building lifetime relationships with my clients. I know their life’s plans. I know how their finances fit into their plan and that makes me a better financial planner”, she said.
Coaching and financial are clearly synergistic professions. The two can be successfully combined.
Learning basic coaching techniques allows the financial planner to provide extraordinary advice. These techniques are:
- Asking powerful question
- Making powerful observations
- Making powerful requests
“Clients who have hired me to coach them are not the only ones who benefit from my coaching skills”, stated Terrebonne. “The coaching skills I’ve developed have helped me to better serve all of my clients and to work more efficiently with my team.” Once your opinions and advice are formulated, coaching skills will also allow you to assist the client in adopting the changes necessary to benefit from your advice. In other words, the excellent listening and motivational skills of a coach will help you to provide good financial advice. Coaching skills will also allow you to partner with the client as he or she incorporates that advice into his or her long and short-range plans.
Business at Success Alliance has more than doubled since combining coaching and financial services. Terrebonne, who was once the sole employee of the practice, now works with 5 other professionals.
Top ten coaching benefits for financial planners
- You will learn to listen and ask the right questions.
- Clients will recognize their own potential and the possibilities that can open up for them as the result of receiving skillful financial advice.
- You will build long-lasting relationships with your clients.
- You are offering a unique service, one that your clients cannot find with most other planners.
- Your clients will make better financial decisions for themselves and you will benefit from their satisfaction.
- You and your clients will be working a plan. You will know exactly what they expect of you because you are a part of their plan.
- As a coach and financial planner, you can take your clients to a whole new level and provide optimum value.
- You will be a true partner in the success of your clients. Not only will you provide information, you will encourage, motivate, validate, and inspire
- You can develop a lucrative second career that offers flexibility, less travel, low overhead.
- Coaching is a great source of new clients. It’s also a great way to incorporate the skills you’ve already developed into your current field or begin a new career all together.
You can learn to coach your clients. There are a variety of coach training programs available, including Comprehensive Coaching U, a coach-training program for professionals. ). Information about other programs is available at https://www.coachfederation.org/, the website for the International Coach Federation.
Once your clients have experienced coaching as an adjunct to financial planning, they may ask you to continue the coaching as a separate service. This will provide additional revenue for your practice. It will also greatly increase the likelihood that your financial advice will be effectively implemented. Coaching the client through the changes associated with sound financial decisions will ensure effective and efficient implementation of your advice. The clients will remember you on a daily basis as they see your advice in action, improving their financial position and moving them toward greater success and security.
In sum, financial planning and coaching are separate but powerful partners. Working together they can offer a quantum leap for your practice.