The Client-centred Blog

What are (great) clients really paying for?

Patsy Rodenburg is one of the world’s leading acting and voice coaches, having worked with many famous names including Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Daniel Day-Lewis and many others.

She has also very successfully taken her work into the business environment, helping people to operate from what she calls second circle.

The basis of her work is there are three circles of energy we can operate from. All have their uses but when communicating with others is part of what we do then our awareness of our energy and how it impacts others is essential.

We are increasingly living in a digital world where, as a generalisation, we are more self-absorbed, desensitised and unengaged than ever before.

The three circles

When in first circle energy your focus is inwards and on yourself. You are not very perceptive about what is going on outside of you and can come across as self-absorbed.

Third circle energy moves outwards but is unfocused and lacks connection. In this circle we are projecting our energy in a controlling, even domineering way.

Second circle energy is focused and responsive. It is the energy of real presence and it flows back and forth. When in second circle we are fully available to others and they feel touched and impacted by our presence.

We can easily under-estimate just how important this is.

If we listen in first or third circle, we miss a great deal. We can only properly hear other people and all the nuances in their communication if we are in second circle.

If we speak from first circle, then we can easily drone on and people tune out. From third circle people will often back away from us. In second circle we naturally tune in to people and both listen and speak in a way that is highly engaging.

Imagine you are working with a professional person on something important in your life. For example, your doctor, lawyer or financial planner.

Which circle do you want them to be in?

Of course, we want them to be in second circle, so they connect with our humanity, and us with theirs.

Importantly, the energy that a professional person operates from can also have a massive impact upon the client’s outcome.

What matters when choosing an adviser?

In the financial press, I recently read a long article about choosing a financial adviser.

How it looks to me is that much of the ‘industry’ continues to see the human element as irrelevant and advice as a commodity.

To quote from the article:

‘Aside from cost, your choice of financial adviser comes down to how much confidence, expertise and time you have to manage your own investments.’

Really? What about…

Helping a client make wise choices?
The ability to uncover what matters most to your clients?
Skilfully connecting money and meaning?
Talking through significant life (not just investment) decisions?
Helping your clients stay on track?
Challenging a client’s false beliefs and assumptions so they avoid mistakes, or even catastrophes?
Being there when it really matters?

If none of these things are seen as valuable then, of course, the business will increasingly move towards advice being delivered digitally and at the lowest possible cost.

Just the way that general insurance has already gone.

So, what are clients really paying for?

Yes, some will only want to affect a transaction. But are these the kind of people to build a thriving practice around? Aren’t these the kind of people that are most likely to leave?

Bringing it back to where I began, if you want to work with great clients who know that the real value is in the relationship with you, you can only work from second circle energy (to use Patsy Rodenburg’s terminology).

Unless we learn to operate from this energy the impact of our work and the satisfaction we gain from it will be limited.

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