Coping with the Fickle World of the Financial Advisor Industry

It’s a fickle world in the financial advisor industry. One of the most important things you need to have as an independent financial advisor is a constant love for change and the ability to cope with every single bit of it. Demanding as it is, this obsession for information is what separates the high-earning financial advisors from the rest. It’s that and the continuously aiming for personal development to meet the high-strung demands of the practice.

You may be at the point where you know you must develop yourself personally because your business cannot grow any faster than you grow as a person. You may be wondering what kind of help you can get to improve your performance.

Progressive businesses use various methods to improve their performance. Mentoring, consulting, and coaching are the three most common ways of doing so. As these methods are very effective in other industries, there is every reason to say having a mentor, a consultant, or a coach for your independent financial advisor practice is an excellent idea. The question now is which of these three paths to development is the easiest, fastest and surefire way of getting there?

Actually, there is no definite answer for that. Mentoring, consulting, and coaching are three different methods altogether. Choosing the right one for your practice depends ultimately on your own needs as a financial advisor. Be aware of the strengths and limitations of your practice first and know what you want to improve before you decide whether it is a mentor, consultant, or a coach you should get.

The Role of the Mentor

Mentors within a firm are usually the older, more seasoned financial advisors who have the knowledge and practical experience to provide advice to younger, less experienced members of the firm. Mentors are deemed “the experts” who are there to show the up-and-coming and promising financial advisors how “it is done”. Besides professional advice, mentors also provide personal support, introduce you to their network of contacts and share with you a better understanding of the political and cultural workings of the world of financial advising. Those who are taken under the wing of a mentor are typically groomed for a higher management position.

The Role of the Consultant

There is a specific objective that has to be met by a consultant. Unlike coaching and mentoring, which both focus on a more general development of the financial advisor, consulting is a result-driven affair. A consultant is an expert that you hire if you have little or no expertise in a certain skill, product, application, tool or program. In place of the two-way conferences that happen in coaching and mentoring, consulting is essentially a one-way process, where you provide the specifics of your problem and the consultant goes on to deliver the solution for you. You may hire several different consultants for several different problems.

The Role of the Coach

The coach assumes that you know your business better than anyone and already have the innate ability to be a highly successful financial advisor. That’s why he doesn’t have to be a financial advisor himself. He’ll bring out your latent abilities and encourage you to use them. However, a coach who specializes in financial advisors knows the best practices and what works. He can act as a coach/consultant. He is often referred to as a results coach.

A good results coach can show you what to do. He can also help you remove unreasonable fears, conflicting intentions and negative beliefs. They stand in your way, trip you up. If these are not removed, the most sophisticated strategy and tactics in the world will not work for you. He’ll help you overcome roadblocks that are preventing you from becoming the best you can.

Coaching usually requires professional and confidential one-on-one sessions for solving problems, especially those that deal with personal and interpersonal issues that affect performance.

What have you discovered about getting effective help to grow your practice? Share your ways in the comments.

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