When to Hire a Coach

This coach ad­mits that his ser­vice isn’t for all ad­vi­sors. Those who are helped the most have an en­tre­pre­neur­ial mind­set.

Financial Planning - - Contents - BY JOHN J. BOWEN JR.

This coach ad­mits that his ser­vice isn’t for all ad­vi­sors. Those who are helped the most have an en­treprenue­rial mind­set.

Fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sors who are look­ing to achieve big busi­ness break­throughs are in­creas­ingly turn­ing to coach­ing and train­ing pro­grams for help. One im­por­tant rea­son is that while tra­di­tional learn­ing out­lets like con­fer­ences tend to fo­cus on one or two dis­creet ideas, coach­ing takes a more holis­tic ap­proach that fo­cuses on how ad­vi­sors can max­i­mize their en­tire busi­nesses.

Given the scope of the chal­lenges that ad­vi­sors face to­day, it makes sense that many are seek­ing train­ing that takes their en­tire prac­tices into ac­count and helps all the mov­ing parts work in con­cert.

Full dis­clo­sure: I am the CEO of a coach­ing firm. But my goal is not to sell you on my firm — or even on coach­ing it­self.

En­list­ing a coach is not the right move for every ad­vi­sor. In fact, my firm turns away more than half the ad­vi­sors who ex­plore work­ing with us be­cause they sim­ply aren’t a right fit. My goal here is to help you un­der­stand what coach­ing re­ally is, how to de­cide if it’s right for you, and what to look for in a coach­ing pro­gram.

First, coach­ing helps many ad­vi­sors achieve their de­sired re­sults much as a per­sonal trainer might help you fol­low through on a work­out reg­i­men.

Coach­ing can also en­hance ad­vi­sors’ pro­duc­tiv­ity around the core ac­tiv­i­ties of their firm and thereby re­duce their over­all work­load.

The bot­tom line re­sult: ac­cel­er­ated suc­cess. With a coach, plan­ners can of­ten ac­com­plish in two to three years what would have taken five years on their own.

Ob­vi­ously, each coach­ing pro­gram will dif­fer de­pend­ing on who is do­ing the coach­ing. But any good pro­gram should fo­cus on three ma­jor goals:

With good coach­ing, a plan­ner may achieve in two or three years what would have taken five years on his or her own.

1. Dra­mat­i­cally en­hanced client im­pact:

Your clients should be so happy with you that they be­come your mar­ket­ing dis­ci­ples and ac­tively help you grow your busi­ness. How? By giv­ing you more of their as­sets to man­age and proac­tively in­tro­duc­ing you to ideal prospec­tive clients.

2. Sub­stan­tial growth of net in­come and eq­uity value.

Truly ef­fec­tive coach­ing should re­sult in an in­crease in net in­come and eq­uity value of at least 25% in Year 1. Mere in­cre­men­tal growth should not be ac­cept­able to a great coach.

3. A sig­nif­i­cantly higher qual­ity of life.

A coach can help you have fewer, more en­joy­able clients; a stream­lined busi­ness model that re­duces headaches and burnout; eas­ier ac­qui­si­tion of new as­sets and af­flu­ent clients; the abil­ity to take more time off from work; and more money to ful­fill your life goals. All these things add up to a higher qual­ity of life for you and those who are around you.

To en­sure that par­tic­i­pants achieve those goals, a coach­ing pro­gram should pro­vide spe­cific strate­gies

and tac­tics that are re­sults-ori­ented, highly ac­tion­able and proven to work. Taken as a whole, these moves should pro­vide a track to run on and a clear path for­ward.

Truly ef­fec­tive coach­ing should re­sult in an in­crease in net in­come and eq­uity value of at least 25% in Year 1. In­cre­men­tal growth should not be ac­cept­able.

Of course, at the core of the ex­pe­ri­ence is a great per­sonal re­la­tion­ship with a coach.

Good coaches will mon­i­tor their clients’ per­for­mance to iden­tify and cap­i­tal­ize on their key strengths, and min­i­mize their weak­nesses. They will hold their clients ac­count­able, be their ad­vo­cates, act as sound­ing boards and give a push when needed.

To see how coach­ing might sup­port your suc­cess as a ad­vi­sor, you need to un­der­stand how it might pos­i­tively im­pact your busi­ness.

Ar­eas of Change

In coach­ing hun­dreds of ad­vi­sors, my firm, CEG World­wide, has seen dra­matic changes in such ar­eas as:

• As­sets un­der man­age­ment: Sig­nif­i­cant AUM growth can be gen­er­ated in var­i­ous ways. Ac­quir­ing the right types of af­flu­ent clients and cap­tur­ing ad­di­tional as­sets from ex­ist­ing clients are two of the best.

• Type and num­ber of clients: By set­ting min­i­mums, ad­vi­sors of­ten end up work­ing with fewer, wealth­ier clients — while man­ag­ing more as­sets and earn­ing higher in­comes.

• Client re­la­tion­ship man­age­ment: Ad­vi­sors de­velop sys­tems to en­sure high-qual­ity, con­sis­tent client ser­vice that af­flu­ent in­vestors de­mand. • Ca­pac­ity to serve af­flu­ent clients: Many ad­vi­sors po­si­tion them­selves to ad­dress non­in­vest­ment con­cerns 'such as wealth pro­tec­tion and wealth trans­fer) along with their tra­di­tional in­vest­ment man­age­ment role to meet the af­flu­ent client's di­verse, com­plex fi­nan­cial needs. • Client ac­qui­si­tion strate­gies: Ad­vi­sors learn to move away from mass mar­ket­ing strate­gies to much more ef­fec­tive strate­gies, such as strate­gic al­liances with other pro­fes-sion­als and ex­clu­sive pri­vate events. As use­ful as coach­ing can be, it isn't right for all ad­vi­sors. If you are sat­is­fied with your busi­ness and qual­ity of life, you prob­a­bly don't need coach­ing. But if you are frus­trated with some or many as­pects of your busi­ness — or just think you can ac­com­plish a lot more —

coach­ing is worth con­sid­er­ing.

The ad­vi­sors who tend to get the big­gest im­pact from coach­ing share one at­tribute: an en­tre­pre­neur­ial out­look. Many of these ad­vi­sors ac­tu­ally think of them­selves as en­trepreneurs first and as ad­vi­sors sec­ond.

En­tre­pre­neur­ial Ad­vi­sors

En­tre­pre­neur­ial ad­vi­sors think big. They challenge them­selves to com­pletely re­de­fine progress. Tripling as­sets un­der man­age­ment, cut­ting the num­ber of clients served by 75% and sim­i­lar BHAGs (big, hairy, au­da­cious goals) are com­mon. For such ad­vi­sors, coaches can be a big help. By con­trast, ad­vi­sors time, ex­pense and com­mit­ment re­quired of a coach­ing pro­gram to be worth it.

En­tre­pre­neur­ial ad­vi­sors think big. They com­pletely re­de­fine progress, and they set big, hairy, au­da­cious goals.

To find a pro­gram that is truly fo­cused on help­ing you gen­er­ate re­sults in your prac­tice, look for these key at­tributes: proven in­dus­try-spe­cific ex­pe­ri­ence; ac­tion­able strate­gies rooted in re­search and facts; a screen-ing process so they're not au­to­mat­i­cally say­ing yes to every ad­vi­sor who wants in; tool­kits such as tem­plates, scripts and thought lead­er­ship con­tent that make it easy to im­ple­ment spe­cific strate­gies; and mea­sur­able re­sults so par­tic­i­pants can cal­cu­late their own po­ten­tial re­turn on in­vest­ment.

Coach­ing can help many ad­vi­sors achieve sig­nif­i­cant suc­cess and leap over hur­dles faster than they could oth­er­wise. That said, coach­ing is not a sil­ver bul­let for all ad­vi­sors’ prob­lems.

Your best bet: Con­sider if you have the en­tre­pre­neur­ial out­look that could make you a good can­di­date for coach­ing. If you do, eval­u­ate your coach­ing pro­gram op­tions care­fully.

In light of the growth in coach­ing ser­vices in re­cent years, you’ll al­most cer­tainly find a pro­gram that can help you achieve the goals that you most want for your busi­ness, your clients and your life.

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