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When Advisers Shouldn’t Advise

I was talking to a chap recently who knows a lot about the IFA world, and knows a lot of advisers.  Discussing my own business coaching activities, he commented that there was a real trend amongst many advisers he had met recently to move into some form of coaching.

It strikes me that this is a really good trend.  I have never been comfortable with the word ‘adviser’.  It means giving advice.  It means ‘telling people what to do’ and, in the wrong hands, can mean ‘telling people what I think is best for them’.

In training towards my Advanced Diploma in Business Coaching and Mentoring, a major theme has been taking yourself out of the conversation.  I have been introduced to concepts such as ‘clean questioning’, a fascinating area designed to ensure that any question is framed in such a way as to not lead the coachee, to focus on their values and world view and not your own.

I have listened back over recorded interviews and heard myself saying “absolutely” when a coachee has said something I agree with.  I have learnt to notice when I am copying the coachee’s body language because their values are aligned with mine. Both of these give implicit confirmation from me that what they have just said is correct.

The role of a coach – whether it be Kinder, life coaching, business coaching or any other type – is to help the coachee to understand themselves better (I have never been a fan of mentors who advise people to do something simply because it worked for them. More on this in the blogs “98% of Business Advisers Are Rubbish”  Part One and Part Two.)

It is for the coachee to decide what path they wish to take, and then the adviser can step in and help provide the tools to help get there.

It is no coincidence that none of my articles for Adviser Lounge mention products.  Clients don’t really care about subjects such as clean share classes (whether they should is another matter).  They trust that bodies such as the regulator looks after that issue for them (whether they do or not is another matter).

Whisper it quietly, but many clients don’t even care about their investments.

What clients really care about is what money can do for them.  And the role of the modern day adviser is to foster understanding and self awareness in order that plans can be put in place to achieve this.

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