Have you ever considered the similarities between working with a fitness coach and working with a business coach? Typically there is a lot of motivation at the start. Both coach and pupil are on the same page and good things begin to happen. However, for many people, motivation wanes under the weight of the consistent effort required to sustain lasting results. The pupils tend to morph back into their old routine of avoidance patterns (too busy to exercise, too busy to get out of the office and onto the affluent playing field.)
Thousands of advisors have hired coaches over the past few years, and although each of those coaching relationships takes on its own personality, most if not all are geared to growth. Advisors understand that if they are not growing, their business is dying a slow death; there is no plateau. So here are some questions to ask both yourself and a prospective coach before entering into a coaching relationship.
- Do you have a clear objective that you want to achieve from this coaching relationship?
- Do you have a fairly good understanding of your strengths and weaknesses?
- Are you committed to gearing your business to today's new world?
- Are you willing to perform activities, even if they take you outside your comfort zone?
- Will you allow your coach to hold you accountable for executing the activities you've agreed to perform?
- Do you plan on developing a metrics system based on discipline, structure, and performance?
- Are you willing to do what you need to do, even when you'd rather be doing something else?
- How long do you plan to engage in a coaching relationship?
If you find yourself challenged by any of these questions, you should make time to sort through the associated issues. For instance, if you're somewhat reluctant about going outside of your comfort zone, it is important that you have an honest discussion with yourself. What is it that you fear? On a 1 to 5 scale, with 1 being low, what is the probability of your fear actually occurring? What benefits would accrue from venturing outside of your comfort zone? You're likely to discover that most, if not all, fears are irrational.
It's easy to assume the affirmative to the aforementioned, but the best coaching results come as a result of having an honest discussion on these topics. Once you're ready to move forward in a coaching relationship, here are some questions to address your prospective coach.
- Do you specialize in coaching financial advisors and wealth management teams?
- How long have you been coaching financial advisors and wealth management teams? Are you up to date on today's best practices? Do you have references?
- Do you understand what today's skeptical affluent investor is looking for in a financial advisor?
- Do you have a process for assessing my strengths and weaknesses?
- How will you hold me accountable? Do you have an appraisal process that can periodically assess our coaching progress?
- Are you going to push me outside of my comfort zone? If so, how?
- What is your coaching process (frequency of sessions, phone or in person, duration, cost, payment schedule, etc.)?
- What type of access will I have to you between our coaching sessions?
As you can see, there are numerous ways a coaching relationship can get off track. There is no perfect coach but there are many who are first-rate and can help you model the best practices. Effective coaching is collaborative; both parties must be committed to the process and agreed-upon objectives. Whether the objective is to get in shape or to join the ranks of elite advisors, any coaching client must be prepared to work hard, to learn, to be accountable, to get outside the comfort zone, and to develop new habits.
Matt Oechsli is an industry leading author, consultant and speaker, writing such books as Becoming a Rainmaker and The Art of Selling to the Aflluent. www.oechsli.com