How to Become a Successful Financial Coach in 2020

How to Become a Successful Financial Coach in 2020 financial coach

Can a financial coach help you to earn and enjoy money? Yes!

Every country is facing several economic challenges. Yet there are more financial coaches in the market today than ever before. This is because clients are realizing what it takes to create abundant wealth and prosperity in their lives.

Does a financial coach help clients do this? Yes!

How? That is what we will be exploring in this blog today.

How to Become a Successful Financial Coach in 2020 financial coach
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Why should a client hire you as a financial coach?

Are you starting out in your career as a financial coach? Or are you switching careers to pursue your dream of becoming a financial coach? Either way, some of the concerns are the same. Most coaches ask themselves the following questions.

  1. How will I get clients?
  2. How can I get noticed for my coaching services in an overcrowded market?
  3. How will I advertise my services?
  4. Will I earn enough to have a good life and support my family as a financial coach?

Can you relate to these concerns? If these are some of the questions you have asked yourself, then you are in the right place. Throughout this blog, I will answer each of the queries listed above.

First, let us start by examining who is looking for a financial coach?

What does your target audience profile look like? And what are they looking for in you?

Most clients who hire financial coaches are looking for:

  • A rewiring of deep-seated emotion towards money
  • Hand holding while drawing up a budget or financial plan. Needs may centre around saving for retirement or getting out of debt
  • Someone who will hold them accountable

Financial coaches help their clients to identify, understand and work through a client’s emotions towards wealth and abundance. 

How to Become a Successful Financial Coach in 2020 financial coach
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What are the qualities of a good financial coach?

There are several traits that make for good coaches. I have written about it in detail in a few blogs. In my previous blog Top 10 Coaching Skills You Must Have as a Life Coach, I have mentioned the following qualities. I have paraphrased some of the points here:

  • A good coach maintains confidentiality at all times. When a client opens up to you as a coach, it is because they trust and respect you. They have faith in your judgement. However, to retain their trust, you must uphold total confidentiality. Agree with your client on what information you can share before you begin! And respect those boundaries.
  • As a financial coach, learn to be objective. Empathy is a core coaching skill you need. This helps you understand what your client is going through. And it helps them find a way to reach their objective. Ensuring that you ask the client the right life coaching questions is crucial to help you look at their issues objectively. Read more about asking the right life coaching questions here! 
How to Become a Successful Financial Coach in 2020 financial coach
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  • Be supportive, yet firm. Your clients hire you because they cannot take the steps necessary to change their lives. But even after they have hired you, this inertia can remain. Change is hard and this becomes the first major roadblock you face as a coach. Establish ground rules before you start your sessions with the client. Make sure they are aware of the role you will play in their lives moving forward. This is even more important in the case of a financial coach. Often the client may call upon you to help with matters beyond your expertise. It is best to stick to the objectives you chart out and measure success against these.

They are paying you to help them discover and confront the real issues they face. This truth can be hard to take at times and will cause discomfort. But the important thing to remember is that this discomfort is only momentary and is to keep moving forward and shall pass soon.

  • It is not personal when clients ask you what you do. What do you have to offer to someone who is struggling with making positive changes in life? What do you stand for? What do you offer your clients? Knowing who you are will help you explain your beliefs and values to your clients.
  • Be a willing learner. Coaching is a skill, and just like any other skill, you need to be properly trained so you can get an understanding of what coaching is all about. Because without the training, you will realize that you’re floundering, and that will be the end of your career. This means, before you get started, it is important to put in the time and effort to get training. This will not only polish the skills you already have, but also give you a better idea of what is expected from you and help hone the skills needed.

There are several other qualities that make for a good coach. You may read the whole blog for more.

You may also want to refer to my blog on 21 Coaching Skills Every Successful Coach Needs and Top Qualities Of A Successful Coach.

These qualities mentioned are helpful for all coaches, including financial coaches.

How to Become a Successful Financial Coach in 2020 financial coach
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Top qualifications required in a financial coach

Are there certain specific things that your client is looking for in a financial coach?

Besides a willingness to help people, the traits that make for a good coach are common to all coaches.

However, clients who look for a financial coach usually expect some experience in the finance sector. Clients will not be asking you to advise which investments are best for them. So, do not worry if you do not have such knowledge. This part will be best addressed by a financial advisor.

What does a financial coach do?

Financial coaches do not just educate clients about how to manage their finances. Their main role is to bring about deeper change. They help bring about behavior change in clients. Their intention is to help clients form good financial habits.

What does a financial coach do?

Primarily, a financial coach does these three things:

  • Helps the client identify goals that matter
  • Works with client to develop a plan to achieve the goals
  • Motivates and supports the client to execute the plan

It is important to know what you do exactly. This is because clients often come with requests that may be beyond your scope. I will talk about this in the next segment.

Common questions about financial coach

How can a financial coach help me? This must be the top question in the mind of your prospective client. It is better to set clear expectations about what a financial coach does.

Clients are often unclear about how a financial coach is different from a financial investor or tax consultant.

Financial coach vs financial planner/investor

A financial coach is fundamentally different from a financial advisor. Let us look at what each does in order to understand the difference.

What does a financial advisor do? A financial advisor advises the client on his/her monetary investments. Where should he invest? What percentage of his money should he put away as savings? These are the questions for a financial advisor.

This is the main difference between a financial coach and advisor. As a financial coach you will not be directly dealing with a client’s finances. Ideally, you should not even be making recommendations about where to invest. Nor should you have a stake in your client’s investments.

Your role as a financial coach is to work with a client’s attitude towards money. You may want to explore the following questions to get a better understanding of your client. An initial assessment will pave the way towards being able to help your client.

Questions to help financial coaches:

  • How does your client feel about money?
  • Does he associate wealth with trauma or joy? Is there any other deep rooted emotion about money? Is it impairing your client’s ability to enjoy his wealth?
  • Are there patterns of behavior preventing your client from earning money?
  • How does bankruptcy or being in debt feel?
  • Is there any self-imposed reticence towards earning/receiving money?
  • How can the client overcome these deep-seated emotions and improve financial habits?
How to Become a Successful Financial Coach in 2020 financial coach
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As a financial coach you will be helping your client to analyze what choices are available to him. What is he choosing? How does this impact his financial status?

Once the client has changed any restrictive behavior patterns, your coaching engagement is going to come to an end. This is when you may refer him to a financial advisor. The latter will help him invest his money.

What are the areas that require financial planning? This is best addressed by a financial advisor. Traditionally these related to retirement, investments, insurance, or taxes. Today, people need help for working on issues related to credit card debt or building an emergency fund or drawing up a budget.

Does a financial coach work with a financial advisor?

Is there any point where the financial advisor crosses path with a financial coach?

Well, the type of service each provides is distinct.

But as a financial coach you will benefit from collaborating with a financial advisor. You may cross-refer your clients to each other.

Which clients should a financial advisor send to a financial coach?

Clients who constantly run into credit card debt, have limited or no emergency savings fund need help from a financial coach. These are the clients a financial advisor should refer to you. This way you will be able to work with each other.

This is an interesting definition online of what a financial coach does. Financial coaching is about educating, empowering, and being an accountability partner for clients (source unknown)!

Similarly, a client who is looking for best ways to manage the taxes he is paying should consult a tax consultant.

How does a financial coach work?

Change is hard. And clients often struggle to learn and practise life-altering behavior. Clients understand that these changes are necessary. But they often find that they break down in the face of conflict. And this is where they need help from a financial coach.

 

So how does a financial coach work?

How to Become a Successful Financial Coach in 2020 financial coach
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The process of coaching is fairly common across all niches. Irrespective of whether you are a life coach or a sports coach, you will follow the same process. You may follow a particular coaching style. In my blog Types of Coaching Styles and Models Every Coach Should Know About, I have mentioned some of these styles. The truth is your style of coaching will depend on your personality and the niche. However, you should know these coaching models and tailor your style to suit your client.

As a personal financial coach, you may work with a particular client over several weeks. Usually, a weekly or bi-weekly meeting is enough to take stock of progress and chart action steps. The process of coaching usually follows these steps.

Building awareness is the first step. Get the client to understand and analyze repetitive behavior patterns. Analyze his spending habits, by tracking daily, weekly and monthly expenses. Then explore the feelings he associates with money. A large part of behavior is often associated with feelings. For example, do you feel happy when you are eating your favourite meal? Why is this? It is because your brain has associated happy memories with a particular type of food. Similarly, a large part of our spending habits come from memories we associate with money. These can be positive or negative.

The next step is to work with your client to develop plans to achieve goals. The plans can include setting a monthly/annual budget, creating an emergency fund or paying off debt. An action step could be to accumulate savings over three months, for example. Clients will have to face the practical challenge of how they will put away a part of their earning. It is also a behavior challenge. If they have never done it before, it can appear overwhelming. The objective is to constantly prepare your clients for the outside world.

The third step is to work as an accountability partner with your client. Over the coaching period, your clients should be well on their way to achieving their financial goals.

The last step is equally important. As a good coach, ensure that your clients know they can rely on you. It is easy to tell people what to do when you are coaching them within the four walls of your office. But your clients will have to go out and face the real world. Temptations are sure to cross their path. And they could find that they are slipping back to old behavior. Show them your support even after your coaching engagement has ended.

How much does a financial coach earn?

As a financial coach, how much can you expect to earn? This website reported that according to recruiting website Glassdoor, the average financial coach salary was $43,333 in 2017. According to ZipRecruiter, a financial coach can earn $38,104 per year in 2019.

How to Become a Successful Financial Coach in 2020 financial coach
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The truth is that coaching is a growing industry.

Let us look at some market realities. I have mentioned these statistics in my earlier blog posts as well. But this sets the context in terms of what you can expect to earn as a coach.

This post claims that the life coaching industry has crossed the $1 billion dollar mark.

  • The International Coach Federation boasts 53,300 members. It has a steady growth trend.
  • Average income for life coaches ranges from $27,100 to $73,100. Specialty coaches can charge more than $100,000 annually.
  • Growth projections for the life coaching industry are an estimated 6.7%. This would take revenues to $1.34 billion by 2022.
  • 92% of life coaches remain active in the field.
  • In Asia, there were around 3,700 coaches. They contributed $113 million in total annual revenue.
  • More and more corporations are hiring life coaches instead of mental health counselors to work with employees (no stigma).
  • Life coaches remain unregulated. There are no state licensing requirements. This suggests freedom of practice, but also raises concerns about quality.
  • Executive coaches can earn a handsome salary too. Salaries start at $150 and can go up to $350 for most coaches. Executive coaches can also charge $1,000 per session.

This news report reported from the 2017 ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study. The research was also conducted by PwC Research. It stated:

  • 89% people in India are aware of life coaching
  • 59% have partnered with a life coach at some time
  • 97% expressed satisfaction with the experience

Since financial coaches have a very specific niche, tap into this enormous market.

Now, you may be wondering how you will you get your brand name noticed? The market is evolving and growing. But the competition is also getting tougher. You may want to refer to my blog How to promote your life coaching business? for more on this.

Do you need certification to be a financial coach?

No, you do not!

Right now, the coaching industry is still unregulated. This means everyone can claim to be a financial coach. What will set you apart is your expertise at being a good coach, marketing yourself smartly and getting good client recommendations. Learn more about these in my blog Is Marketing Crucial to my Coaching Business?

A financial coach focuses on the personal money management, behavior change, and instils accountability in a client. For doing this it is not important to get a certification. However, it is important to get training. As I always say, you should invest in yourself before asking clients to invest in you.

Resources to help your career as a financial coach

A simple Google search will show you several books and podcasts online. As a financial coach, you may want to look up some of these.

Books to read as a financial coach

A search on GoodReads will offer this list of books on financial coaching:

  1. The Prosperous Coach: Increase Income and Impact for You and Your Clients (Kindle Edition) by Steve Chandler
  2. Objections: The Ultimate Guide for Mastering The Art and Science of Getting Past No (Kindle Edition) by Jeb Blount
  3.  Willpower Doesn’t Work: Discover the Hidden Keys to Success by Benjamin Hardy
  4. The Leading Brain: Powerful Science-Based Strategies for Achieving Peak Performance (Hardcover)
    by Friederike Fabritius
  5.  Zig Ziglar’s Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar
  6. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Paperback) by Richard H. Thaler
  7. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Paperback) by Robert B. Cialdini
  8. The Process of Financial Planning: Developing a Financial Plan (Paperback) by Ruth H. Lytton
  9. Getting Naked: A Business Fable about Shedding the Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty (ebook) by Patrick Lencioni
  10. The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More (Paperback) by Chris Anderson
  11. Values-Based Financial Planning: The Art of Creating an Inspiring Financial Strategy (Unknown Binding) by Bill Bachrach
  12. So You Want to Be a Financial Planner (Paperback) by Nancy Langdon Jones
  13.  The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything (Hardcover) by Stephen M.R. Covey
  14. Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business (Hardcover) by Erik Qualman
  15. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action (Hardcover) by Simon Sinek
  16. The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right (Hardcover) by Atul Gawande
  17. Stop Asking for Referrals: A Revolutionary New Strategy for Building a Financial Service Business That Sells Itself (Hardcover) by Stephen Wershing
  18. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others (Hardcover) by Daniel H. Pink
  19. Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing (Hardcover) by Harry Beckwith
  20. Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant (Hardcover) by W. Chan Kim

Podcasts to listen to as a financial coach

There are several YouTube videos and podcasts on financial coaching online.

You will find a list of popular podcasts for financial coaches here and here. A popular podcast series for financial coaching is also linked here.

 

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