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Expanding the Purpose Your Professional Role

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Don’t Get Left Behind … Great advisors are more than simply money managers or even financial planners: they play the part of a coach.

How do you see the purpose of your professional role?

If you’re just wanting to provide great investment returns for clients and think that’s going to add value, you’re fooling yourself. In fact, even if you see yourself as just providing financial planning for clients, again, I would argue you’re going to get left behind.

You need to see yourself as a coach – an invaluable part of your clients’ relationship to getting to where it is they want to get to with their financial aspirations, while keeping them on track emotionally.

An interesting survey by Morning Star surveyed a load of investors as to what they believed was most important that their advisor needed to provide. The first item was that the advisor helped them reach their financial goals. Interestingly the least valued piece that they saw the advisor offering was this: that they would help them stay on track and in control of their emotions.

Yet, we all know as advisors, one of the biggest reasons why people miss out on portfolio returns and don’t achieve their financial aspirations in the timeframe they wanted to is because they let emotions get in the way.

So, as a great financial advisor, you must see yourself as a coach.

First, thinking about what a coach does, they have a plan. They outline a plan and a projected timeline that they’ll take to get to their aspirations. When I was swimming, for instance, my coach and I laid down a thirteen-year plan that would eventually take me to the Olympic Games and win a medal. So, we had our long-term plan.

Second, and importantly, that coach keeps that person in emotional check, so to speak. When I was swimming, my coach would see me get frustrated. Oftentimes he would have me out of the pool at the end of the workout, and he’d sit down, and he’d say, “Hey, we are on track. We just need to stick to the plan. I know you might not be feeling as good as what you wanted to feel. I know the clock says you’re not swimming as fast right now as you want to swim, but no one’s handing out Olympic medals today, right? We’ve still got two months to go. Let’s just stick with the plan.”

It’s the same thing as a financial advisor, but as a coach. When markets get turbulent, when people get restless because they’re listening to headlines, as a coach, you need to bring them back, sit them down, and say, “Hey, we need to stick with this plan.”

Third, you’re providing them peace of mind. When I was swimming I couldn’t see exactly what I was looking like, but I could look at my coach and know everything was on track. I could see him smile, I could see him nodding his head. He’d offer me those words of encouragement when I was really tired and just needed to hear them. As a financial advisor and as a coach, we do exactly the same with our clients. We let them know, “Hey, we’re on track to achieve this. Hey, we’re going to get those children through college. Hey, this is how college prices are increasing, but we’re ready for that: we’ve already built that five percent allowance into what we need to be contributing.”

So,

  1. Outline a plan for your client.
  2. Be ready with sometimes-tough love to make sure they stick with the plan.
  3. Offer them peace of mind. Encourage them along the way. Make sure that they’re hearing that they’re on track.

Work with them closely as a coach – more than a financial advisor, more than just a stock picker. You’re going to add phenomenal value, not only to their financial lives but to their total lives, in general.

Related: Don’t Be Too Quick to Judge Yourself

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