What is the difference between coaching and financial planning? This is a question I was challenged by when approached by a fellow coach, who has since retired. He was a financial planner, with all the letters behind his name. In the early 2000’s, he decided he didn’t like how things were going in his financial planning practice. He didn’t feel his clients were getting where they needed to be financially and emotionally with their money. He came across a coaching program and, “click,” a light bulb turned on. He dropped the brokerage/broker-dealer mentality of pushing products for commissions and went into coaching. Coaching for a fee, he had no incentive to recommend any product based on how much money he or his superior’s would make. He would finally work for his client’s best interest instead of his or his brokerage firm’s financial interest. Clearly a breakthrough!
I was intrigued when approached by him in 2003. However, I neglected to look into the process. Technology was starting to take off within our industry. I truly felt my clients were finally going to get some of the growth and emotional stability for which they had so patiently awaited. All was well until 2008, when complete disaster struck. The markets were utterly thrown into disarray. Our commission-based business model was broken. Our clients weren’t diversified properly, and they weren’t emotionally ready for this complete financial meltdown. As a financial advisor with a broker-dealer, I wasn’t ready either.
In the spring of 2009, I came across an article describing in detail the coaching process and why coaching works. I came to understand what true academic diversification meant and how it was accomplished. I came to see why the investors using coaches were totally prepared emotionally. This is what I had wanted all along for my clients. It was a breakthrough, a game changer. The light bulb had finally turned on for me.
Today, our firm, is coaching over 300 clients–offering academic investment strategies based on studies from the leading financial educators of the country. We are educating clients on how markets work and how to keep their emotions from getting in the way of investment decisions. Best of all, we see our clients finally learning to be less emotional about market swings and having a greater understanding of being a smart investor. If you are frustrated and discouraged, maybe it’s time for you to find a coach.