How Hiring an Executive Coach Can Change Your Life
Written by: Jackie Kindal
My wish for all leaders is that they have the benefit of working with a certified professional coach.
My personal experience with an executive coach changed my life. That is a powerful statement, I know. But it is sincere. I am truly overjoyed by the impact that partnering with an executive coach had on my life.
Before I continue I must give a disclaimer: I am also a certified professional coach. That is not, however, why I am such a believer in coaching. Please allow me to share my own personal story about the impact coaching had on my life. I will also highlight a few coaching success stories about executives and organizations around the world.
For years, I dreamed of becoming an organization development consultant. I wanted to work with organizations and leaders in a highly impactful way that super served their growth and development needs. My desire to start my own business was strong.
Despite my conviction, passion and sense of purpose, it was years before I took the leap.
Whenever I found myself close to doing so, I talked myself out of it by telling myself that I needed more knowledge, more experience, more certifications and degrees, more time in my current position, and so on and so on and so on. I stalled for more than 15 years. I enjoyed my career and the organizations I worked for, that was not the issue. I climbed the corporate ladder and loved the people who I was fortunate to work with. But it just was not enough.
It wasn’t until I obtained my professional coaching certificate that I realized I too needed a coach to help ME get unstuck. With the support of my fantastic coach, I successfully moved fear out of the way. I was then able to see my blind spots, get very clear on my goals, implement a plan and eventually succeed in reaching my goal – starting my own business. I will admit it was a process that did not happen overnight. But it was well worth it.
After 27 years in corporate America, I am now running my own coaching and consulting practice. It’s been up and running for 16 months and I am elated. The alignment of my passion/purpose and my work exceeds my wildest imagination. And I truly owe this to my executive coaching experience.
Many other leaders around the world have experienced significant improvements in their life and work performance by partnering with a certified professional coach. The International Coach Federation (ICF) has this to say about coaching:
“For many it’s a life changing experience that dramatically improves their outlook on work and life while improving their leadership skills. It helps people tap into unknown potential unlocking sources of creativity and productiveness. ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential even in the face of growing complexity and uncertainty which is common in many workplaces today that are struggling with the war for talent.”
Research shows that when organizations provide coaching to their leaders, the organizations achieve positive business results such as increased employee retention, highly collaborative and creative teams, improved productivity, and attainment of peak performance. Over time, leaders become more effective at building high performing teams and organizations that thrive. Coaching recipients have reported increased job satisfaction, improved relationships, higher goal attainment, and improved personal satisfaction, to name a few.
According to the ICF, Genentech created a coaching culture in their IT department and experienced a 50% increase in communication, collaboration and conflict management. The IT department also went from being regarded as the worst department in the company to the No. 2 Best Place to Work in ComputerWorld Magazine.
In another example, Roche-Turkey, a subsidiary of a global pharmaceutical company, implemented professional coaching in response to a low company rating from an outside firm. They trained high-potential leaders to become internal coaches and then provided coaching to 45 high-potential employees who could use either internal or external coaches. Within 2 years, Roche-Turkey went from being evaluated as having “lackluster” employee engagement levels to being rated as a “high performing company” with an 11% increase in employee engagement levels. They also saw a 22% increase in the employee talent pool, higher levels of trust and improved communications because of coaching.
In a third example, a large public sector employer of 14,000 employees uses trained coaches. The research found that coaching increased confidence levels, performance and productivity. The study also concluded that organizations and managers are well served when they create a strong coaching culture.
These are just a few examples of the effectiveness of professional and executive coaching. The success stories are rapidly increasing as organizations continue to integrate coaching into the organizational culture.
Coaching is a remarkable journey for those willing to put in the work. If you are looking to unlock your potential, I encourage you to partner with a coach.
Solving Your Biggest Client Issue May Be at Your Fingertips
Written by: Shileen Weber
When the American Funds’ Capital Group asked 400 advisors last year to name the biggest issues they face in their businesses, it wasn’t the DOL, market uncertainty or the economy that sat in the center of the idea cloud of answers.
It was client issues.
At a time when regulatory concerns and market turbulence would seem to be at all-time highs, the advisors who answered the survey were most concerned about servicing their clients as well as ways to find new ones and grow their businesses.
It’s one of the ironies of the business, that the things most people find so hard to manage – creating financial plans, managing assets and staying ahead of events – are what advisors find to be the easiest parts of the business. Marketing - the business of selling themselves – can be the area advisors find the hardest elements to master.
In this age of instant communication, it can be even more intimidating to market your practice, especially to younger clients for whom many traditional methods like newsletters, postcards and phone calls don’t work anymore. For them, email is the preferred way to get information, and, if it’s important, they are more likely to respond to texts, not phone calls.
But, it doesn’t have to be that hard. The digital age gives you access to ideas and content of all kinds you can use to touch your clients in a way that positions you as a valuable resource. The key is to keep it simple, stick to some basics and create consistent outreach that clients and potential clients are interested in and will appreciate you sharing with them.
Here is a common-sense approach you can take that will not require you to hire an expensive agency or take valuable time away from managing your clients’ assets and running your business.
Content is King
Create a content calendar for the year: Think about reasons to touch a client 13 times during the year – that can be once a month and on their birthday. (The common rule of sales is that it takes at least 7-13 touches to make a connection.) The number is limited and keeps you from inundating the clients who likely already feel inundated with content. You can take the seasonal approach – tax planning in the fall, January for account review content, college financing in the spring – and supplement it with topical events during the year. Creating a calendar will help you stick to a plan. Here’s one resource for a content calendar.
Review what content is already available to you: Basically, this means finding the resources you already have and determining what pieces will be most valuable to your clients. Start first by checking out content your broker-dealer already generates that you can personalize. Many firms have economists who write regularly about the market. That’s content you can pass along to keep clients up-to-date they would not have access to anywhere else. In addition to your broker-dealer, mutual funds, your clearing firm, and money managers are all excellent sources of informative and even analytical content.
Personalize the content you use: Add your name, the client’s name or some way to avoid making it feel like canned content that you are using just to check the outreach box. See what capabilities your email program may have to help you.
The birthday strategy: One advisor used clients’ birthdays in a new way. Instead of the card or lunch date, the advisor asked the client’s spouse for a list of friends he could invite to a birthday lunch and made it a memorable event that was also a soft approach to getting referrals.
Become a curator of good content: What your review will show you is that you don’t have to generate the content yourself. You can point clients to pieces you find insightful. You are likely already doing this every day just to keep yourself informed. The next step is to compile it and send out the very best pieces to your clients, again, with a note with your own thoughts about why you found it valuable.
Find out what is working and do more of it: Use your client interactions, in-person and online, to find out what types of content clients liked and any they didn’t. You can use tracking on your emails to see how many were opened as a measurement tool, but the personal interactions tend to provide more insight than raw data.
Be disciplined about your execution: Get help from an office assistant or schedule the time each month to do the content development and outreach. As any good strategy, if you make it a habit, it won’t seem so hard.
Most importantly, be yourself and be personal: You may want to regularly get personal by talking about your family and hobbies. The ultimate is if you can provide content that is personal to your clients, not just about their investments – they get that from their statements, apps and online portals. Think alma maters, hobbies, children and parents.
Of course, as a disclaimer, you have to make sure all content and communications are complying with regulations and the rules of your own broker-dealer.
The process of creating a plan will get you thinking about your clients in a new way. That exercise alone can re-energize your business and get you seeing marketing opportunities in places you may never have seen them before.
Shileen Weber is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at GWG Holdings. She was previously Director of Online Strategy and Client Experience at RBC Wealth Management, where they placed first in two JD Power and Associates U.S. Full Service Investor Satisfaction Study (2011 and 2013).
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