Even the Very Best Strive to Find Another Level
I’ve been saying for years that, when it comes to coaching, the people who like it the most tend to need it the least. You see this in many walks of life but it really stands out in the world of athletics. It never ceases to amaze me that many of the best athletes in virtually every field of endeavour have a personal coach to help them find another level of effectiveness. And if you think about it, the coaches aren’t better than the athlete at the sport, yet the athlete values the coach’s contributions immensely.
I was reminded of this recently when, after a conversation with a coaching client, I searched for, and found, an article about Sidney Crosby and his relationship with a personal coach. If follow the NHL, you are probably of the believe that “Sid the Kid” is the best hockey player in the world. He has won the Stanley Cup, scored the winning goal in the Gold Medal Game at the Vancouver Olympics and has battled back from injuries to lead the league in scoring again. So why does he have a personal coach? Because to the very elite, being the best of the best is not the objective. Being the very best you can be – finding out how high is high – that is the objective.
The people who seem to get the most out coaching are those who not only hope for greater achievements, but are also grateful for their accomplishments to date. They still have a healthy level of aspiration but it’s balanced by appreciation. They take nothing for granted. And this is where the coaching dynamic gets really interesting. In addition to gratitude and humility, the very best subscribe to Andy Grove’s mantra that “Only the Paranoid Survive.” Top performers know that the road to success can move up like an escalator but drop-off like an elevator. And it starts with losing perspective for what matters and taking your foot off the gas. Top performers know that the moment you believe the hype, it’s over. The plateau is reached and the decline begins.
Does Giving Start the Receiving Process?
In my work with top financial services professionals, I often remind them that I learn as much from them as they do from me. But there is a value in the two-way street. It has been said that the best way to reinforce a good idea or habit is to share it to someone else.
Additionally, having a sounding board ensures that you don’t drift too far off track and develop a trajectory that is subtly but surely taking you further away from your goals. A coach can validate good activities and encourage mid-course corrections to unlock efficiencies and add to the momentum. Most limitations in life are self-imposed. Sure there can be misfortunes, but misconduct is more common. Slight errors in judgment and the next thing you know you are on a different track.
Minor Adjustments = Major Improvements
I read an article about a professional golfer who hired a coach to completely rebuild his golf-swing. That’s pretty extreme but also an anomaly. Most performance coaches who are trying to squeeze a little more productivity find that it’s not wholesale or dramatic changes that need to made. Often the individual in on the verge of greatness and in the proverbial red-zone. Below are a few simple examples of minor refinements that advisors make that lead to meaningful and measurable improvements.
Run Your Business Like a Business
Many advisors are good asset managers but not necessarily good relationship managers. Many are quite effective at managing financial resources but not so great at managing human resources. Remember, the value of your business is based on the procedures and processes you have in place just as much as it’s based on your production. Predictable and sustainable revenue stems from loyal clients who are experiencing consistent service. A systems-based business creates liberation and order for you, accountability and direction for your team, and an exceptional experience for your clients.
Stop Chasing – Start Attracting
If you have to convince someone to become a client, you are really only renting the relationship. The value is temporary and you are trading your time for money. If you establish a new relationship based on a fit process where there is an alignment between your solutions and the client’s needs and goals, you will have a client for life. And they will in turn, go out of their way to convince people on your behalf.
Communicate Like a Pro
We’ve helped countless advisors make minor tweaks to how they communicate their value with a tremendous impact on results. Some advisors used to deploy a call to action in their marketing that read “Call me to receive a complementary review of your portfolio” or something along those lines that sounded generic and was easy to dismiss. They shifted to “Part of my process is to conduct strategic review of your current plan. This approach allows me to evaluate the track you are on and identify untapped opportunities and overlooked vulnerabilities.” You know your communications are resonating when someone engages with you by asking, “Tell me about your process, how does it work?“
Some advisors would get referrals from clients, but the quality of the referrals was very low and not aligned with the advisor’s ideal client profile. So rather than dancing around the issue, the advisors would instead start being more forthright and crystal clear about describing for clients who is a good fit. Some would go so far as to say, “My ideal client isn’t hoping that I’ll make him or her rich. They are already rich. My ideal clients want me to deploy a process that preserves their assets through all market cycles.“ This enables you to project a bit of scarcity and create an environment where your clients can be more clear about who is a good fit for you. Ultimately you want people to aspire to working with you, not simply buy something from you.
Are You Sitting on a Vein of Gold?
I read an article recently about how oil companies are going to long-dormant oil wells with new technology and squeezing more out. It seemed like a good metaphor. In your business, a few refinements to your approach might be all it takes to unlock untapped opportunities. It’s not about working harder than you are currently, simply optimizing your approach and therefore your results.
Take Time and Money Out of the Equation
Many advisors who put-off taking action on a coaching opportunity will say they either don’t have the time, or they don’t have the money. Often what they are really saying is they don’t see the value to make it a priority. For many others, they simply haven’t found the right fit in terms of a coach with a process that really speaks to the advisor’s unique situation. But chances are the issue is not “if” you will pursue coaching at some point as way to take your business to the next level, but rather “when”. Until the stars align for you, stay open minded to the concept and do your research. A helpful tool is a white paper we created called The Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Coach. If nothing else it can get you thinking about what to look for and how to select a coach that is best suited for you.