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More Than a Financial Professional: How to Be a Life Coach for Your Clients
• Matt Schulte • October 22, 2020
“Studies show you can’t be successful in one area of life if you have issues in others,” said Deanna Laufer, Director of Research at the Fidelity Center for Applied Technology. “Health and finances are deeply connected. It’s one area where advisors can really start to play a bigger role for consumers.”
Laufer’s research puts her in close contact with emerging user interfaces and technologies in the financial services space, as well as the larger societal trends that are driving demand for those innovations. In short, she has her finger on the pulse of “what’s next” for financial professionals.
The ability to play that larger role for clients requires financial professionals to commit to a radical shift in mindset. The days of simply helping clients manage their investments are in the past; today’s investors want deeper and more personal relationships with their financial advisors. Meeting those expectations creates a foundation of trust, which is the key to exploring new opportunities outside of the advisor’s traditional role.
One of those new opportunities—which in reality is more of a requirement for success in the current climate—is to serve as a life coach for clients. Financial professionals in life coach roles help clients clarify their goals, see the obstacles in front of them, and develop a strategy for clearing them.
The Path from Advisor to Life Coach
Alois Pirker, director of research for Aite Group’s wealth management practice, echoes Laufer’s call to action, encouraging advisors to begin the journey toward incorporating life coaching advice among the services they provide clients.
“We’re going to see the service model of an advisor expand into the wellness space as well, making managing investments just one component of the advisor role,” said Pirker. “There might be other components like healthcare, insurance, and other non-financial elements as well.”
Blazing this path to life coach includes:
- Anticipating differences in younger generations. According to the Brookings Institute, more than half of the U.S. population are Millennials or younger. These emerging and future planning clients have vastly different life and investing goals than Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. In broad strokes, they get married and have children later, have less wealth than their parents did at the same age, and are more likely to live non-traditional lifestyles. Financial professionals will need to appreciate and embrace these differences to position themselves as true life coaches.
- Defining goals in real-world terms for clients: Clients, especially those in younger generations, benefit from having their planning strategies defined and explained in ways that articulate their relevance in real-world terms. A general goal of saving $1,000 per month, for example, may not be as salient or motivating as a strategy for saving for a specific purchase or life goal.
- Partnering with subject matter experts: Financial professionals will need to look outside of the industry to expand and tap into the expertise they don’t have themselves. These alliances will help them bridge the gap to provide services, such as family counseling, that clients expect but may not ask for explicitly.
- Focusing on health and well-being: These areas are primed for an expansion of advisor services. Laufer anticipates that clients will look to financial professionals for advice on personalized medicine, which is driven by the convergence of technology and healthcare. The ability to provide advice on digital health will be paramount to an advisor’s ongoing success.
Learn more in eMoney’s latest eBook, “Planning for the Investor of the Future: Generational Shifts Require a Holistic Approach,” which dives deeper into how financial professionals are becoming life coaches, providing values-based advice, and choosing the right technology to innovate and evolve.
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