No two advisors benefit from coaching in the same way or in the same magnitude. It’s truly a partnership between coach and client. Here at Oechsli, we have experienced every coaching result imaginable in our long history, from the extremely positive to the extremely negative, and we’ve learned from every one of them.
A coaching experience I had about ten years ago sticks with me vividly to this day. I had coached a certain advisor for about a year. Our meetings happened right on schedule. The calls were amicable. He even invited me out to visit and go skiing. Then it happened. He not only ended our professional relationship, he also asked for a full refund on our year’s worth of coaching. I couldn’t believe it. My emotions went from embarrassment (my colleagues knew), to guilt (how did this happen), to anger (this was his fault, not mine).
In hindsight, there are things we both could have done better. I should have recognized that our calls were interesting, but not very productive. He shared story after story, and because it was pleasant, I didn’t intercede. I could have done more to keep him focused.
For his part, he could have done more to execute on our recommendations. His storytelling was likely a cover-up for his inaction, helping him avoid the discomfort that certain marketing recommendations represent. I also think he could have been more forthright that my coaching wasn’t meeting his expectations.
While our negative outcomes are sometimes the most memorable, it’s worth noting that most of our coaching outcomes here at Oechsli are actually really good. Our recent Coaching Impact Study showed that our clients brought in an average of 16 new clients and $17mm in new assets last year. 96% said that coaching improved their sales skills.
Part of this stems from the fact that we spend a lot of time training our coaches on how to create the best possible coaching outcomes. We also try to educate our clients on what they can do to make the coaching experience worthwhile. I thought it might be helpful to share some of those recommendations with you. After all, coaching is an investment, and you want to get the most from it! Here are my top six “musts” if you want to thrive with a coach:
- Be Prepared for Each Coaching Session – Come to each meeting with questions, situational issues, and major accomplishments you would like to discuss.
- Expand Your Comfort Zone – Your coach will likely ask you to do some activities that may stretch your current comfort zone. See this as a positive, take action, and it will help you grow.
- Embrace Accountability – Hold yourself to a high standard and let your coach do the same. Strive for 100% adherence to your commitments.
- Communicate – Tell your coach exactly what you expect from the coaching relationship. Coaches need feedback from their clients to mix the proper amount of instruction, accountability, and support.
- Drastically Change Your Behavior – Studies have shown that dramatic, sweeping change is actually easier to embrace than smaller, incremental changes.
- Involve Your Support Personnel – This is a team effort, even if it’s just you and a shared support person. Everyone needs to be included at times to make certain that all aspects of your practice are operating at a high level.
The most effective coaching occurs when your coach feels like a part of your team. It’s a personal and professional connection that takes time to develop, but is critical in helping you make meaningful changes to your business.