‘The course is incredibly well-designed’, says Martha Lawton, who trained online with us in October 2020. ‘I’m a trainer myself, so can be hypercritical – but this course is intense, slick and fun.’
Since the pandemic, we’ve moved our Financial Coach trainings online, and we’ve discovered real benefits to doing so. The traditionally five-day course now lasts ten consecutive work mornings. There are currently a maximum of six trainees, to our three facilitators.
‘It’s really intensive’, says Martha, ‘in a good way. And the group was great – really mixed.’
Full on, fun and engaging
‘It’s a full-on course,’ agrees Funmi Olufunwa, who trained in July’s cohort. ‘Having mornings only is really good; you need the afternoons to process.
‘I was apprehensive about Zoom overload, but actually it works really well.’
Funmi, who’s a lawyer, says: ‘You don’t lose the intimacy, online; and the course is packed with content… Definitely thought-provoking, and insightful.’
And Jeremy White, who also trained in July 2020, agrees. ‘I absolutely loved the online version’, he says. ‘I’m an introvert anyway, and I found it far easier to concentrate and focus this way, without distractions.
‘I found the whole experience engaging, fun and informative.’
Playing the detective
One vital element of the trainings is the ‘Case Study Practice’ – quite involved role-playing.
‘One of the facilitators is a trained actor, and she portrayed a client first’, says Martha. ‘Later we broke into groups, and played each part ourselves…
You get a lot of individual attention, a lot of personal feedback that’s really useful – in depth, and detailed. ‘It’s all about developing coaching skills. On the one end of the spectrum, there’s teaching, instructing, advising – on the other, pure coaching. In Financial Coaching, we learn to sit in the middle.’
Jeremy has worked in financial services for 32 years. 'The case study practice was brilliant,’ he says. ‘You have an audience of two – one observer, and a trainer – and you forget they’re there, and get totally absorbed in working with your ‘client’.’ He said he had some ‘trepidation’ beforehand, ‘but it’s so good to do the roleplays, and actually fun, with the right attitude.
‘The feedback’s helpful. Having been a financial planner for seventeen or eighteen years, I’m so used to taking on other people’s problems and solving them. Coaching is about not doing that!’
Funmi also rated the case study practice. ‘I really liked the detective element’, she says. ‘You’re given a set of facts about a ‘client’: on the face of it, x means y; but you know there’s hidden material.
‘I really liked that. It encourages you to stay with it, and think a lot broader. Keep an open mind. Not impose your own assumptions, but come to everything like a blank sheet of paper – which is how we need to work with real-life clients, too.’
Rooted in practice
George Callaghan is one of our trainers – he did the training himself, and so met Simonne, three and a half years ago. In another life, he also works as an Open University personal finance academic – work he describes as ‘groundbreaking’ – and he thinks financial coaching is fantastically relevant.
‘It’s quite new in the UK, but it’s gaining traction. It’s about devolving decisions down to the individual – which is crucial. Society demands people make financial decisions all their lives. But we’re never taught how.’
George agrees moving the training online has brought some real benefits. ‘One big plus is location matters not at all,’ he says, ‘so it opens up the training to all who are interested.’ Also, there’s now a wonderfully supportive online network of peers and previous trainees you can join as soon as you come off the course – so the benefits and support are ongoing.
George also thinks the ‘very involved role playing is a tremendous asset’.
‘Simonne’s developed an intense and transformational programme,’ he says. ‘A physical folder full of stuff; very well supported, well resourced, and – crucially – above all else – rooted in practice.’
We’re continuing to develop our online training into 2022 to maximise everyone's learning experience and improve our trademark high quality.
Click here to find out more about our training.