Three Steps To Adviser Heaven: Part 2 – How coaching can boost your practice
In the second of his series of articles for ABR Chris Budd, MD of Ovation Finance, looks at the affect client coaching can have on an adviser practice
In part 1 of this series of articles we looked at the Coaching then Planning then Advice model of delivering financial advice. Next we’ll look at the affect this can have on your practice.
Stronger client relationships
I hope this first point will be pretty self evident. A client who has a clear path to their identifiable goals, goals that really matter to them, is going to be more loyal to a firm than a client who simply gets update on their investments during their annual meeting.
And a client who walks out of that meeting with their dreams now a reality is going to love you forever!
Robo-advice and other threats
One threat that is getting a great deal of press at the moment is so called ‘Robo Advice’. Automating investment portfolios may well be a threat to an adviser who sells an investment product and gives no other service.
A reasonably intelligent person with time on their hands can do a simplified version of what we advisers can offer, and that may well be enough for many. They might miss some tax points or fail to rebalance, but the information and simplified services available mean many people can conduct their own financial planning.
The one thing we CANNOT do, however, is to challenge our own assumptions. A coaching based financial planning adviser will always offer something to their clients that they cannot get from a Google search or an automated investment service.
There are strong compliance reasons why a firm should employ coaching skills. The FCA expect to see more from the ‘know your customer’ process than a fully completed factfind these days. They want advisers to really understand their clients and to be providing advice that fulfils a client’s objectives.
Compliance is, of course, all about proof. It’s not good enough to have a conversation. As the old adage has it ‘If it isn’t written down it didn’t happen’.
One basic principle of coaching is the importance of using the client’s own words. No paraphrasing. There is real power in a coaching situation of writing down precise phrases that the client used, especially around objectives, and then reading them out later in a session.
These phrases should then be used in the client suitability letter. In quotation marks.
A robust practice
Planning is all about helping clients obtain the lifestyle they want. Coaching helps clients get nearer to the lifestyle they have dreamed of.
This will result in greatly increased client loyalty. Imagine a client actually looking forward to seeing their financial planner! Imagine them calling you to book their annual meeting, so that they can find out how much closer to achieving their objectives they might be.
It makes for a much stronger business model, based around regular income rather than having to find new clients every month. You will find that adopting the Coaching/Planning /Advice model you will rarely lose a client.
The result of this three-step process is not just even greater client loyalty and a more resilient business model. Clients who have been encouraged to dream and have then been provided with a plan to get to those dreams, can even go beyond loyalty and become ambassadors for your services.
In the next article we’ll look at some specific coaching skills that advisers can use.
As well as being managing director of Ovation Finance Chris Budd is a Diploma qualified business coach.