I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed for one of the NextGen Planners Podcasts.
If you haven’t heard of NextGen Planners, check it out here. It’s a community founded by young financial planners, focused on creating an informal way for young advisers to share ideas, best practice and develop skills outside of the profession. Adam Carolan, one of the founders, asked me about:
• My journey from financial advice to financial coaching
• How financial coaching differs from financial advice
• The way I work and types of clients I work with
• The training courses I offer
• My advice to younger financial planners
You can listen to the full podcast by clicking on the play button above, or just the part where I talk about my training. But, to save you time (it's a long one!), here are some of the key points of the interview:
My journey from financial advice to financial coaching
Soon into the start of my career I transitioned into the world of personal finance, training to become a financial adviser, which I immediately loved. Lots of client interaction, talking to people about their lives and goals, exploring different ideas with them, explaining the complex world of financial products and helping people make informed choices. But, as a young woman in a male dominated industry, I stood out. My career then took me from working for a large multinational organisation to working among a small team of female advisers, specialising in advising women.
Even in that culture, my financial advisory practice was different to that of my colleagues – I listened far more than I talked. I welcomed clients sharing their emotions, with a box of tissues at the ready. As I began to learn more about myself and what I could offer, I became disillusioned with the financial service industry and felt that there was something missing.
During this transition, and despite always working in a culture of fees rather than commission, I felt that the industry was moving further away from ordinary people wanting help with their finances. And moving more towards only working with a small percentage who had significant money to invest.
The birth of Wise Monkey
Following a period of personal development, I began to realise the key role our relationship with money and mind-set plays in our ability to manifest our goals. I realised that advice alone wasn’t sufficient. We also need to feel motivated and empowered. And for many - if not most - help and guidance with finances had nothing to do with buying products.
My journey had led me to pursue my dream to travel and, when I returned, I had complete clarity on the type of service I wanted to offer. I went in search of a company that matched my ethos and ideas, but soon discovered that what I was looking for didn’t exist. So I had to create it. That’s where the concept of financial coaching began to take shape. I started to create a unique offering that was a blend of my two passions: personal development and personal finance.
Starting with only pen, paper and calculator, I tested my theory that many people need help and support with their finances without wanting advice on financial products, and saw that there was a good level of demand. I went onto launch Wise Monkey Financial Coaching in March 2002, beginning with offering financial planning and support without products. I helped people with practical questions like: Can you help me understand the products I have? Will I be able to afford to retire when I want? How can I set up manage my finances so that I can quick my job and set up my own business venture? How can I stop myself from hijacking my finances and start to become more grown up when it comes to money?
The business really took off in October 2002 with my first big press article in Mail on Sunday. After that, clients came flooding in.
Pretty soon, it became clear that I also needed to help people tackle their emotional relationship with money. Practical solutions weren’t enough. What money means to us individually also determines how we interact with our finances and whether we’re able to meet our goals. So I trained in coaching, NLP and life planning to help me better serve the needs of my clients. I came to realise that helping people with their finances was a perfect vehicle for personal development and that the work I was doing could be transformational for a client.
I later went on to co-write a book, Sheconomics, aimed at women who would never ordinarily pick up a book about money. And this helped me reach a far wider audience.
Financial coaching today
Today I have a wide range of clients including individuals and couples in the South East and, with the aid of technology, in locations throughout the UK and around the world.
Using my background in the financial advice world, combined with the tools and techniques of personal development and coaching, I've created a unique offering which often transforms people's lives. I ask powerful - sometimes provocative and challenging - questions to help people gain insight into their relationship with money and facilitate them to create the changes they need or address their concerns.
It’s so much more than the financial advice model and such rewarding work.
Financial coaching training
But I can’t do all of this work alone. There’s a massive need for guidance and support for everyday people and my business has now reached a stage where the demand is too much for me to meet on my own. I’m also passionate about pioneering a style of working with clients that is more about empowerment and transformation, rather than limited to planning their finances. Especially now that industry fees have led to financial advice no longer being available to the masses. I’m more ready than ever to train more people to become financial coaches and join me on this mission.
I’m now 15 years into my Wise Monkey journey and seeking out people who want to learn from my experience. I've created tools, resources and methodology. And share these with the people I train. It’s not just financial advisors who attend my courses, but people with a good knowledge of personal finance who are equally inspired to empower people financially.
I run twice-yearly group training courses in Brighton where I equip my trainees with the skills to coach clients. We only take small groups to ensure that everyone has the best opportunity to practice, and receive coaching on, the skills and tools they learn during the week.
The next financial coaching training course runs 23 - 27 October 2017. Get in touch if you're interested in attending, would like to receive further information or would simply like to chat through the idea of becoming a financial coach or integrating this training into your existing practice.
I look forward to having more people join me on this journey!