After almost a decade of promoting coaching and selling its many benefits to financial advisers together with Chris Budd, coaching is now widely recognised for its crucial role in the financial advice process. And within financial wellbeing it is finding a welcoming embrace, a setting where coaching can really demonstrate its full powerful benefits to both clients and advisers.
For many years the focus of financial advice was on the technical aspects of managing investments. In many practices the conversations with clients are, in reality, still focused on investment portfolios, percentages of gains and losses, risks and tax planning. But this is fast becoming the commodity of the industry, what every adviser can do – so the pressure on margins is increasing.
Progressive advisers are moving to demonstrate more value-add, moving from the amount of money being the end-goal, to money being a means to a bigger end for the clients i.e. starting with what the money is supposed to do for the clients!
Coaching is a powerful approach and skill set to start that conversation, helping clients uncover what is really important to them, their goals and motivations. Once the adviser understands these well, they can create a cashflow plan to illustrate what is possible, before finally looking at what that means in terms of financial instruments and solutions. When the adviser shows how their proposal will help their clients achieve their unique personal dreams, they get a much stronger and long-lasting trusted adviser relationship, where how it is done technically is almost inconsequential for the client.
Coaching skills can help advisers have much higher quality conversations with clients, where the clients really feel the adviser is listening, understands them and makes them feel valued. But coaching can do so much more to help increase client’s self-awareness, make better quality decisions, overcome blockers and change mindset and behaviours.
Enter Financial Wellbeing where coaching’s power can really shine! Any adviser who wants to help their clients be happier, not just wealthier (as per the strapline from the Initiative for Financial Wellbeing) need a new skill set, as these are very different conversations from the traditional investment orientated conversations.
In the accredited Financial Wellbeing Certificate programme that we are delivering in partnership with the IFW, we look at four elements:
- what research tells us about happiness, wellbeing and in particular financial wellbeing;
- how to identify what makes the client in front of us happy;
- what research tells us gets in the way of people being happy, and;
- what blockers, biases and self-limiting beliefs around money and how they spend it is preventing the client in front of us from achieving financial wellbeing.
Coaching is an absolutely essential element to facilitate these discussions with clients. Through a coaching style conversation, advisers can help their clients understand what makes them happy.
It is not unusual that clients don’t really know this at the start. They may not have given it much thought, or they just follow what others are doing and what is expected of them, without truly reflecting on ‘What actually makes me happy?”, “What sort of life would I like to have?”, “What is really important to me, deep down – beyond the expectations of others?”
Through coaching, the adviser can also help the client understand: what is stopping them from being happy; how their current spending might be mis-aligned to their true motivations; and address biases and self-limiting beliefs that drives them to make self-defeating choices.
So, the benefits to the adviser are many:
- Higher quality conversation including better listening, questioning and rapport building.
- A differentiator from other advisers and practices.
- Improved demonstration of compliance and lower risks of complaints.
- Less focus and worry by the clients on short-term investment losses and gains.
- Happier clients who become ambassadors for yourself.
- A big value-add and a lot less pressure on fees.
- Much more interesting and rewarding conversations with clients.
- Truly making a big difference, helping your clients live happier lives.
- And much more …
Yes, coaching has indeed found a warm welcoming home in the financial wellbeing advisory community.