The Coaching Way of Being

This year I have listened into a number of webinars from other jurisdictions such as the US, South Africa and the UK, among these the Humans Under Management conference from South Africa, PFS webinars from the UK and Carl Richards/Michael Kitces conversations in the US. These are jurisdictions where the profession of financial advice has evolved massively over the last two decades or so from a product focus to a professional service and solutions focus.

It has become hugely apparent to me that a crucial skill for many of the leading advisers in these jurisdictions has been improving their communication skills with clients through the integration of coaching skills.

This “Coaching way of being” enables a fundamental change in approach and outcomes. One adviser speaking at HUM in South Africa (Warren Ingram, a previous winner of Financial Planner of the year in SA) said developing his coaching skills was The most transformative experience he has had as a financial planner” and that Advisers don’t have time not to work on this.

Another SA adviser, Kim Potgieter from Chartered Wealth Solutions (a PMX partner firm in SA) said that her firm has been able to substantially grow their business by focusing their advice process and conversations around a coaching framework. Kim is now so committed to coaching that she has become internationally certified and runs a coaching program for other financial advisers.

Other benefits of the coaching approach are:

  • Increased quality of relationship, share of wallet widens and the depth of relationship with the next generation improves
  • Moving from technical conversations to really understanding the person you are speaking to
  • Asking better questions and really listening
  • Learning to focus on the person not the problem
  • A Better understanding of client’s values and beliefs about money
  • More fulfilment from the role of being an adviser
  • A great way to build greater connection and trust in client relationships
  • Helping to ensure clients are motivated to take action

I see this as giving Irish advisers an opportunity to stand out from the rest of the crowd in a competitive market place.

With this in mind, we recently worked with two very experienced performance and executive coaches John McNamara and Brian Downes of The Performance Nerds (www. to develop a Coaching Conversations for Financial Planners introductory program for several of our adviser partners.

Coaching Conversations for Financial Planners

The overall aim of the training was to provide advisers with the tools necessary to have in-depth coaching conversations with clients. The training consisted of two separate group sessions via Zoom with a two week gap between sessions to enable participants to put some of the skills acquired into use in live conversations with clients.

The ground covered was:

  • An overview of what coaching is
  • The value of a coaching lead approach to building client relationships
  • How to structure a coaching conversation using GROW Model
  • EXACT Goal Setting Model – Generating emotion around their financial goals
  • Introducing these skills into your meetings online and offline
  • Why Powerful Questions are the Answer
  • Creating Connection through Listening – 3 Levels of Listening Model
  • Calibration of Clients and Self-Management within a conversation
  • Developing Clarity of Outcomes – Paraphrase, Summarize and Bottom Lining (FORM-V Model)

Overall, the feedback from participants has been fantastic and it will be great to hear from our adviser partners on how they continue to implement these tools with clients in 2021.

As Warren Ingram said at HUM in South Africa in September: “You cannot lose going down this path. You will not be a worse adviser. There will be some cost in terms of time and money, but the rewards are multiple. It will change your relationships with not just clients but also colleagues, friends and family. It cannot hurt you, it will only help you – at best it will change many aspects of your practice and your life.”