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10 months ago

Blue Chip Issue 83

  • Text
  • Fpi
  • Hollard
  • Liberty
  • Offshore investing
  • Equity
  • Outsurance
  • Financial planning
  • Financial
  • Financialservices
  • Investing
  • Advisor
  • Planner
  • Momentum
  • Global
  • Coaching
  • Professionals
  • Investors
  • Investments
  • Funds
Blue Chip Journal is the official publication of the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa NPC (FPI), effective from the January 2020 edition. Blue Chip is a quarterly journal for the financial planning industry. Blue Chip publishes contributions from FPI and other leading industry figures, covering all aspects of the financial planning industry. Visit Blue Chip Digital: https://bluechipdigital.co.za/

BLUE CHIP COACHING

BLUE CHIP COACHING Transitioning from Financial Planning to Financial Coaching HOW TO DO IT GRACEFULLY Our freedom is in the choices we make; our realities are controlled by our perceptions of life. Life is an unpredictable journey and we can only control our mind. 1 January 2014 was my awakening moment. It was the start of everything new. A new dawn is born. Fast forwarding to 10 January 2014 my greatest fear became a reality. I was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. The hands of time stopped. Racing thoughts and incessant chatter clouded my mind. Like with most, and for me, this diagnosis screamed two choices “Cancer = Death” or “Cancer = Rebirth”. I chose rebirth. This experience taught me that the human mind has the power to create and the superpower to make choices. In January 2015, I rejoiced as I went into remission. The magnificence of choice glared at me when I decided to leave the corporate world. It was daunting, another life-changing transition entangled with mixed and confusing emotions. Etched into my mind are the words of my 12-year-old daughter at the time, “So what’s going to happen to us?” As a responsible parent I understood her concern and fears. Over the years, I have prudently managed my finances so my family’s financial wellbeing and quality of life may go on without the traumas of pain, worry and fear. For me this is the key to freedom, the key to hope and choice. Choice brings happiness and ultimately happiness brings freedom. Freedom to live, to do and to be. In pursuit of this new life and new-found purpose I stumbled onto Bill Bachrach’s book Values-Based Financial Planning. His Financial Road Map for Living Life on Purpose was a fascinating read. And so, the journey began. I pondered on the milliondollar question, ”Are we human beings having an emotional or spiritual experience or are we emotional and spiritual beings having a human experience?” This curiosity culminated in accreditations in Enneagram from Integrative 9 and Coaching Essentials and Accessing Personal Genius from the Institute of Neurosemantics. Apparently, there is a notion that “personal finance is more personal than finance” and it doesn’t just resonate with us anecdotally; it’s also backed by scientific research. Should we really be surprised to learn that up to 80% of our rational recommendations aren’t implemented when 80% of our clients’ decisions are made without consideration for rationale? Is it possible that most financial planners are simply speaking the wrong language to clients? That we need to learn to speak “elephant” because most of our decisions as humans are driven by emotion. I am sure that many financial planners may have chosen this career because they’re “good with numbers”, which maybe implies that their role is to charge a premium for the transfer of that numerical knowledge to those who are arithmetically challenged. Only to realise that the majority of what we do with clients doesn’t really require more than high-school maths, and that the greater challenge in financial planning isn’t bringing new mathematical revelations to clients but helping them clarify and act on their intuition and dreams. How has this shift worked for my practice? In the past, I found myself doing all the talking. I was enthusiastic to share product knowledge, to showcase my expertise or just to build rapport. With the awareness that being human is still a financial planner’s key competitive edge, I embraced the shift to a “coaching client-centric approach”, which means that the client is the centre of the conversation, the most important person in the room. They do all the talking and I do most of the listening. My focus is intent on understanding this unique human being in front of me. I observed that clients like it when the conversation is dedicated exclusively to their agenda in a non-judgemental way. 64 www.bluechipdigital.co.za

COACHING BLUE CHIP Transitioning from financial planning that covers the WHAT, to financial coaching that covers the WHY to jointly arrive at the HOW, this complementary process works wonders. Person before problem Using powerful coaching skills and techniques, a “person before problem” approach, a true client-centric approach becomes seamless. The focus is on understanding the client, their goals and dreams, their needs and fears, what is important to them, how they are thinking and how they make decisions. Unbeknown to me, one of my pitfalls was when a client was describing a problem or situation, I was tempted to solve the problem, by starting to understand the issue and then using analysis, logic and problem-solving techniques Can you remember when someone last listened to you? I mean really listened, without interruption or cutting in to have their say? to offer a solution. This was unresourceful and shifted my attention away from trying to understand the client and their needs, and ultimately my solution did not necessarily suit them or their needs. Now, when the client describes a problem, my focus instead is on understanding how the problem is affecting them – does it give them sleepless nights, does it affect their relationships, etc. I ask substantively different open-ended questions (tell me more, what’s important to you about that, what does that mean for you, how does that make you feel). This starts to navigate the client’s discovery process in a very curious way. I tread cautiously with closed “why” questions. I find them restrictive and clients tend to become defensive and feel they need to explain or justify themselves. The why? takes them to an unresourceful place. I prefer my clients to feel comfortable so they can talk to me about anything with ease, to challenge their money blind spots and invite them to play smarter without being told to what to do. Use the same language If I hear the words “frustrated with…” I use the word “frustrated” in any follow-up question or recap or summary. If I hear “my dream is to…” I don’t talk about “objectives” in our conversation or reports. Repeating the exact words and expressions demonstrates to the client I have really listened, cared and understood. Make the client feel good Can you remember when someone last listened to you? I mean really listened, without interruption or cutting in to have their say? If you have experienced such a conversation, you’ll probably recall how good it felt to have the opportunity to talk, to explore your thoughts and to be heard. Imagine if each client felt this way. Help the client create their dream By applying a range of interpersonal tools and techniques, effective listening and powerful questioning skills I am able to help my clients explore and understand their aspirations, motivation, needs and dreams. What for instance lies beneath their initial “objective” such as “a comfortable retirement”? What does this mean for them? They start to visualise their future. I raise self-awareness by digging several layers below the first statement. This helps them (and me) to understand their uniquely personal dreams and goals and places me in a fantastic position to structure their plans and my advice to meet these. With the help of deeper, more meaningful and effective conversations, my role has fundamentally developed, moving from “just” telling clients what to do with their money, to helping their dreams become reality. I don’t have the time! Oh, this was my concern too: “All this coaching and listening stuff takes too long”. When done right, all the follow-up meetings are quick, short and succinct. Being mindful that time is money and that clients demand value for the money and pay for our time. So, isn’t a client-centred conversation with real outcomes a far more valuable use of our time spent together? With experience I learnt the key is to be very effective, by learning and developing skills all the time so real impact can be made in a short space of time. Every client is different and unique. The light-bulb moment One of the most rewarding aspects of this approach is experiencing that “light-bulb” moment, when a client gains insights and a real picture of what the future holds and what they need to do to get there. They feel empowered, relieved, excited even and truly appreciative of the help in giving them the space and time to find answers to their own questions, which held them back for so long. This is priceless. For me this makes a coaching approach and the skills to do so, an essential tool kit for building long-lasting, loyal relationships on which to form our stable, robust and successful financial practice. Nilan Pillay CFP®, Certified Financial Planner and Coach, iWealth Consult www.bluechipdigital.co.za 65

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