Have you ever experienced a pivotal moment during a client consultation – one where your client suddenly ‘sees the light’ and gains clarity on their future plans?
These kind of 'a-ha' or 'light bulb' moments can make a huge difference for clients, and advisers are increasingly considering whether they should actually set achieving these transformational moments as a specific objective.
A helping hand
It’s not advisable to try and force these a-ha moments.
But it is possible, using coaching skills, to facilitate an environment in which they are more likely to happen, and this could be the best gift you can ever give your clients.
An article by Sophie Austin published in Coaching at Work lists 10 ways in which we can increase the likelihood of facilitating an a-ha moment.
These also act as reminders to help facilitate positive and productive sessions in a broader sense:
1) Focusing on building the relationship
2) Offering reflective space
3) Encouraging the client to ‘unfocus’
4) Considering your questioning
5) Using all the senses when coaching
6) Listening, watching for contradiction, paying to attention what isn’t said, and whether there is chaos in thinking
7) Challenging the client to step out of their comfort zone
8) Using metaphors or storytelling to make a point
9) Being happy
10) Drawing on tools associated with opening up the creative thinking process.
If we can create a quiet, calm and reflective space, this is often when more insightful thoughts can emerge from the subconscious to the conscious.
When they do, it can be a powerful moment; one that your client remembers for years to come.
Coaching through the a-ha moment
As a coach, I have witnessed many such moments and sometimes they may happen for my clients without me taking particular notice.
It may only have been a flicker rather than a lightning bolt, and only later may they mention a particular point, thought or notion that really made a difference for them.
When I notice the light bulb light up, I’ll stay quiet, allowing that thought to truly emerge, for my client to experience how it feels and live it through their emotions so it is allowed to grow and develop true meaning to them.
While remaining quiet I’ll think of what's happened as more of a hypothesis: there might be something there which I should pursue in my questions, or shall share later with the coachee in a way that's helpful for their learning.
The core skills of advisers and planners may not necessarily be in coaching techniques, but it is possible to learn the necessary skills.
For example, we recently worked with First Wealth managing director Anthony Villis.
He went on to write an article about his transformational experience, and how embedding coaching in his financial practice has made a real difference. (You can read his article in full here.)
Using coaching techniques in your role as an adviser can also lead to improved client conversions through more effective first client meetings, as well as help to establish long-lasting relationships.