We were hugely excited about bringing everybody who’s trained with Wise Monkey together for the first time this year – in spring 2020.
Our trainings have always been held in small groups, and we’d never before organised a big event. But we had one all planned and scheduled for April 2020.
Of course, by then, the pandemic had struck and it was not to be. As a substitute, we convened a meet-up online.
Still, we had no idea what was about to happen: a one-off check in has turned into a regular weekly fixture. The sense of community that has emerged has surpassed any expectations: it feels like we’ve become a movement.
Collaborating not competing
It’s been beautiful – watching people build connections. Everyone involved is so different, and it’s precisely that diversity, and pooling of experience, that’s been so rich. So many groups and sub-groups forming. So many buddyings-up.
And the overriding characteristic? Generosity. Across the board. People collaborating, not competing. This is the message that keeps emerging.
People are tendering for work together. Encouraging and supporting each other. It’s a practical network of trained financial coaches with a shared purpose and ethos – to transform clients’ lives. A living system of peer support, and on-tap supervision.
And a real bonus to our Wise Monkey training.
It’s wonderful to have a welcoming community to point new trainees to when they come off our intensive course: there’ve been 24 new arrivals since we started the weekly sessions.
Sasha Speed is one. Sasha completed her Wise Monkey training in summer 2020, and she’s currently working towards practising. She says she ‘uses this group to remind myself I am a financial coach’.
One initiative that’s emerged from the Wednesday mornings is a (finance) book group – set up by two members. Sasha’s joined this; and more broadly laps up learning. She says she makes ‘copious notes’ each week.
‘There’s so much information shared, it’s a fount of further knowledge. Such a broad range of personalities and styles, and each person being their authentic self.
‘The community is made in Simonne’s image’, says Sasha: ‘generous, supportive and energising.’
And it’s not only recent trainees who report reaping benefits. Graham Wells of GroWiser Financial Coaching, who trained five and a half years ago, says the Wednesday mornings are proving really special.
‘They spark me back into action’, he says. ‘Members are from such a vast range of backgrounds, across finance, and coaching.
‘There’s something for everyone to learn from everyone.’
Graham ran one Wednesday morning session himself – on coaching competencies. ‘It’s a brilliant community for sharing best practice’, he says; ‘empowering, reflective and full of integrity.’
Finally, Sara Maxwell, of Wealth Coach, trained in January 2020 – ‘although it seems much longer ago! I trained in a group of six, and we’ve kept closely in touch too, as we’ve each been building our own practice.
‘That peer support has been incredible,’ says Sara; and the small group has even formed its own podcast: Money Natters.
‘Simonne herself is so open and encouraging; she gets really excited for you. And the big group is the same: it’s a vision to see other people doing this work really successfully. And all of us sharing tools and books and resources…’
Sara also thinks the variety in the group may be its winning ingredient.
‘Everybody’s a strong individual; nobody is copying anyone. Nobody thinks they’re better than anyone else. And everybody is giving. We’re all engaged in the same common purpose – the life-changing work of helping clients regain control and self-reliance.’
So how does Sara describe the Wise Monkey community? ‘Empowering, encouraging and I want to say FUN!’ She describes a session she co-ran recently, and adds ‘I really enjoyed myself.’
And to think, none of this would have happened without the pandemic. Our work with clients is always nourishing. Now we have a community too, built around that, and flourishing.
2021 will certainly see this develop further. At the time of writing, we’re just surveying all our members, to ask what do people want, going forward…
Watch this space for further, exciting developments.
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