Coaching the professionals

For many of us January is about holidays and enjoying the Australian Open tennis. While the skill levels vary, one aspect of tennis never seems to change. When the heat is on, the players turn to their coaches.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably wondered why the very best players in the world even need a coach. After all, what can be taught to those who are among the world’s best players?

Perhaps it’s because the coach sees much more than just the technical action? Instead they focus on everything from physical condition to court movement, tactics and more. And the best coaches are able to understand and align every aspect of a player’s game to help success.

The value of a financial advice practice coach

Dean Lombardo from specialist training and consulting business ‘effortless engagement’, sees similarities between this and coaching financial advice practices. He believes many financial advice practices underachieve due to misaligned areas of their business preventing them achieving their original business vision.

“A coach provides the practice owner with an even greater chance of achieving their goals by aligning every part of their business to support those goals,” Mr Lombardo said.

Mr Lombardo highlighted the desire of many financial advisers to be more effective at engaging wealthy clients, however often lack the networking and referral plan to effectively mine their current client base for new business.

Furthermore, for practices with different specialty areas of advice, simply targeting wealthy clients might not be as profitable as a modest couple with more sophisticated financial needs.

“Whatever the target demographic is, it needs to be supported by an achievable acquisition plan for new clients,” Mr Lombardo said.

The acquisition plan also needs the support of the right client engagement process – one where the entire client experience is positive and will lay the foundation for ongoing business and referrals.

Similarly, the value proposition – that is the value you bring to clients (and why you charge what you charge for advice) needs to have an aligned capacity plan (how many clients can be served) and this in turn affects the fee model and technology required.

“Bringing all areas of the business together provides clarity about how the financial adviser will achieve profitability.”

Holding business owners to account

While coaches can, in many instances, be measured by the improvements they bring to the business, they aren’t necessarily there to make life easier.

Ultimately, while a practice owner has the freedom to create a business which is their picture of success, it's the role of the coach to hold the business owner accountable and help their original vision becomes a thriving business.

Breaking down a business vision to short-term goals means a practice coach can ask what the business owner has done to achieve these goals – and leave you sweating if the answer’s nothing!

Ongoing, holistic support

Coaching isn’t the same as consulting either. While a financial advice consultant generally works on one area of the business, coaching provides the holistic, ongoing view across every aspect of the business. While it’s less of a quick fix than consulting, keeping everything integrated and the bigger picture in view helps build longer term success.

Whether you’d like someone to offer a fresh perspective, help you set goals and develop a plan, or just provide the motivation and confidence to try something new, a financial adviser coach might just be answer.

And who knows – a good coach may just give you more time for a tennis coach.

The information contained in this newsletter is provided on behalf of the IOOF group of companies and is intended for financial adviser use only. It is given in good faith and has been prepared based on information that is believed to be accurate and reliable at the time of publication. Any examples are for illustration purposes only and are based on the continuance of present laws and our interpretation of them at the time.