A recent call with our coaches was quite revealing. We were discussing changes in coaching over the past year and everyone agreed that the coach-advisor relationship had become holistic. It makes sense; we’re all dealing with a never-ending stream of external factors. This led to a great discussion around how financial advisors were adapting to the reality of our new world on a personal level.
Greg Blackwell, one of our veteran coaches, shared an exercise he was using with advisors that I thought was brilliant. I hope in sharing it that you find value in it as well.
Phase 1: Determine the Positives
The exercise begins with reviewing your successes of 2021. So go ahead and reflect on the past year and all that went well in your business. The idea here is to zero in on the positives. We tend to focus only on major accomplishments, but we have numerous mini-positives, little wins, and focusing on them is one of nature’s ways of stimulating self-motivation.
Phase 2: Reflect on 2021 Business and Life Changes
After your 2021 professional reflection, it’s time to consider what impact 2021 had on your…
1. Business – The idea here is to think beyond production and AUM. What, if anything, did you discover about your team members? Maybe someone became empowered, accepted new responsibilities, and became even more essential last year. Conversely, maybe you found that working from home was a setback for some.
What changes did you experience in your clients’ needs, expectations, and mindset? Most likely your method of communication changed. Videoconferencing, which you probably used sparingly before, became the new normal.
It was also a year where those in business development had to pay more attention to social media. You might be running Facebook ads or using short videos to position yourself as a thought leader. Many of you have learned how to get personal email introductions (67% of clients are comfortable with this). This is just the tip of the iceberg. There were likely many changes in your business beyond production and AUM.
2. Family – With schools vacillating between in-person and virtual, vaccination recommendations being embraced by some and dismissed by others, we’ve been tested in ways never before experienced. What impact has all of this had on your family? More than likely, there were some negatives, but I bet there were some positive changes as well.
As we all have experienced, remote work has impacted the family as well. Yes, they’re very convenient, on the other hand, they can be full of distractions. Working from home is a family affair – how did it impact your family?
3. Finances – As you’re only too well aware, advisors have been in an envious position to be able to advise clients remotely, use technology from their home office that replicates their normal office, and still earn a good living. And hopefully, you’re one of the many advisors whose personal income has gone up during this pandemic. What impact did all of this have?
4. Socializing – We’re social creatures, yet many of our social activities have been curtailed or modified by the pandemic. That said, most people have found ways to remain social with their close friends and family members. Neighbors who were once waiving in-passing are now taking walks together, having drinks around the fire pit, and so on.
How about socializing with clients? Whether it was finally having a social lunch, meeting for a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine, advisors who made the effort to socialize with clients strengthened these relationships. In the worst of it, we’ve seen social lunches and happy hours over Zoom, personal phone calls, and gift baskets all add a nice personal touch.
5. Health – How was your health during 2021? Regardless of political views, living through a pandemic has everyone thinking more about health issues than ever before. In my world, even though two of our children and two grandchildren did get Covid (fully recovered), we’ve been lucky on the Covid front. However, I did tear the patellar tendon on my good knee. But most likely it was because I’d increased my physical activities beyond the level this aging body could handle. That said, no complaints – all good.
However, health is beyond physical. Ongoing stress lowers our immune system, which is never a good thing. Some people have become more active, while others are more sedentary. Some people have been eating better as they’re cooking more, others are eating and drinking more.
As you reflect on these five questions, think in terms of what impact this reflection can have as we press forward in 2022. We wish you the best in the coming year with your business, family, finances, social life, and health. This can be a positive year for change.