What to Expect in a Financial Coaching Relationship
A primary reason for starting 60minutefinance.com was to help motivated individuals and couples take control of their financial lives. Leading small group classes was my starting point, but I longed to be able to “dive deeper” with those needing help in improving their financial situation.
Financial coaching seemed like the perfect blend of my interest in personal finance and teaching. Through my own experiences and training, I’ve been blessed to help numerous families and am always looking to assist more.
I have discovered, though, that many people have never had an exposure to financial coaching and they typically have questions like: What information do I need to provide? How long will it take? How will the recommendations be communicated to me? What does it cost, and when do I have to commit to paying the fees? Who will see my information?
Regardless of the subject matter, each individual coach typically structures the process they use when working with clients. It’s important for potential clients to understand at the beginning of the process what to expect from their relationship with a coach.
Here is a summary of my process:
Meet and greet
- The financial coaching process begins when a potential client initiates contact with me. This may be via email, a contact link on my website, or by phone.
- I will request that they complete the Financial Overview Form. This form gives me their basic information and a summary of the issues they would like to discuss.
- Once I’ve received the completed form (via e-mail or fax), we will set up a time to talk on the phone. The initial discussion usually lasts around 30 minutes. During this talk, I have the following objectives:
- Understand the potential client’s current situation.
- Discuss the issues or problems they see in their current financial status.
- Determine if my experience and training can be of assistance to them. I’m not interested in taking on a client that I don’t believe I can truly help and provide much more value than any fees they pay.
- And just as important: Give the potential client an opportunity to get comfortable with me and my coaching style.
- This discussion is without cost or obligation. If for any reason the potential client feels they can get better assistance elsewhere or if I feel my experience and training would not be beneficial to solving their problems, there will be no fees assessed and the process will end here and we part friends!
Investigate where you are and where you want to go
- Should both the client and I have an interest in working together, I will forward to the client the Personal Counseling Agreement and fee quote. This is a sample Agreement and it may be customized for an individual situation.
- Any additional information that would be required to fully analyze the issues the client would like to discuss will be requested as well. Typically this includes a spreadsheet detailing their current financial situation.
- Upon receipt of the requested information and the payment of the coaching fee, an appointment will be set up (typically within a few days) to meet (if local) or talk on the phone. This conversation typically lasts 1.5 to 2 hours. Don’t let that time-frame scare you! It’s amazing how quickly time passes.
- During this appointment we’ll discuss in great detail your financial situation, but more importantly your goals and objectives. The coaching process is NOT about what I think your goals should be – it’s about helping you reach the goals YOU define!
- Few, if any, specific recommendations will be made during this discussion. The purpose of the discussion is to help me understand where you want to go in your financial life.
Analyze and research options
- Once this meeting/discussion is complete, I’ll begin to work on your recommendations report. This process normally takes a few days.
- I may initiate brief follow up emails or calls to address any questions that arise as I compile my recommendations.
- While always striving to remain tactful and aware of a client’s sensitivities, please understand that I believe effective financial coaching requires that you hear what you NEED to hear, not what you WANT to hear. That is the approach I will use when preparing your report.
Review the recommendations and implement the plan
- Once the recommendations report is complete, I will forward it to you for your review. Typically we will schedule a discussion on the phone to go over any questions you have after reviewing the report.
- The decisions regarding which recommendations to implement always remains with you, the client. My objective is to offer independent advice and education about your best options (in my opinion) to meet your stated goals.
Follow up on implementation
- Depending on the coaching arrangements decided at the onset of the process, there may be additional follow up sessions over a set period of time. The sample Personal Counseling Agreement, for example, calls for one follow up meeting in approximately 90 days, but this may not apply in every coaching situation.
- The fees to be assessed will be based on the complexity of the issues, and whether additional follow up meetings and support are required. Naturally the time invested (and the related cost) will be higher if we work together over the course of several months.
To give you an idea of what you can expect in your recommendation report, here is a Sample Coaching Recommendation Report from a recent financial coaching client. They graciously allowed me to provide this as a sample of what a client could expect. The only changes were to remove identifying information and some details were altered to protect their privacy.
The following testimonial was provided by the clients who allowed their recommendations report to be redacted and used for this post:
“The report John prepared for us was much more than we expected. During the very sensitive process of sharing the financial details of our life with John he provided an atmosphere that was inviting, non-judgmental and professional. His comprehensive and detailed analysis of the information we provided to him was extraordinary. With consideration of our goals, John crafted a step by step pathway for us that would change our financial future forever.”
Their report shows numerous phases to meet their goals. The exact structure of your report may be different depending on your situation. Other reports have been broken down by each successive goal the client wanted to attain. Still other reports were simply a list of recommendations that could be implemented simultaneously. The reports are all customized to meet the needs of each individual client.
Regarding the privacy of your information, your file remains in my office at all times. I don’t provide the details to any other individuals or entities. If I need to get advice from a specialist as I prepare your recommendations report, it will be done without disclosing who you are. Your privacy is of the highest priority.
If this process sounds like something you’d like to explore further, I welcome the opportunity to discuss it with you. As mentioned above, this is done with no cost or obligation, so what do you have to lose?
Contact me today so we can discuss your situation!