Finances are a challenging subject for many people, perhaps most.
So, for someone to seek out a financial planner or advisers help is a big deal.
Yet just because someone receives good financial advice does this mean they will automatically be successful in achieving what they want?
The answer is no because there will be many potential obstacles along the way.
This is why helping clients stay positively engaged with their outcomes over the long term is paramount to both their success and yours too.
This article looks at a highly significant but often invisible aspect of the client and adviser relationship.
Is technical know-how enough?
Financial Planners and advisers are well trained to provide technically sound advice. Yet the human element of advice, on which most advisers receive little or no training at all, is what brings the process to life and makes it work.
Several years ago I came across a powerful distinction that changed how I approached my work. And I have continued to share this with my financial adviser clients to powerful effect.
The social self verses the professional self
When we are young, we are trained on how we need to be in society to get along. We are trained about what is acceptable, to be likeable, to be approved of, and be good.
There is an ancient and strong survival aspect to this because we want to be an accepted member of the ‘tribe’ and avoid being rejected.
Yet what often happens is that as adults we carry our social self into our professional relationships. It becomes a default position, and this can be poison to the impact we have and, consequently, our success.
Because if we are people pleasing, wanting to be liked, seeking approval, and avoiding ‘difficult’ but necessary conversations we are not serving our client in the highest and best way possible.
And this can negatively affect both their results and, by definition, ours too.
Our professional self, by contrast, is based upon leadership, strong principles, creating solid agreements, taking ownership, fully respecting the outcome, and holding people accountable.
I want to add that there is nothing wrong with our social self. When we are with our family and friends this is the time to be sociable. So, it is all about context.
A lesson I never forgot
I wrote about an experience I had in my book, ‘The client-centred financial adviser‘.
‘A few years ago, I remember being curious about working with a particular coach and I said to him ‘Shall we have a chat? He said ‘No, I don’t have chats. If you are really interested then let’s schedule in two hours together and have a powerful conversation about what you really want to accomplish in life’.
This immediately set the tone. He was leaving the door wide open for me to walk away and, at the same time, letting me know who I needed to be to get involved.’
That was a perfect demonstration of me being in my social self and the coach being his professional self.
Overcoming our internal resistance
Initially, it feels far more comfortable to be in our social self than our professional self. For instance, if we fear how someone might react to being challenged, we might avoid the possibility of conflict or pushback by keeping quiet.
A book that really helped me with this is ‘Turning Pro‘ by Steven Pressfield. He writes:
‘Turning pro is like kicking a drug habit or stopping drinking. It’s a decision to which we must re-commit every day.
Each day, the professional understands, he will wake up facing the same demons, the same Resistance, the same self-sabotage, the same tendencies to shadow activities and amateurism that he has always faced.
The difference is that now he will not yield to those temptations.
He will have mastered them, and he will continue to master them.’
There is no resistance to love
My personal experience is that when we come from a place of loving service towards someone, they welcome being held accountable. So, there is nothing to fear.
This is because someone can sense that we are acting with integrity and in their best interests.
In fact, I believe that coming from our ‘professional self’ is essential to being experienced as a ‘Trusted Adviser’.
PS.. If this article resonates with you, I recommend you also read ‘Financial planner? Stop trying to prove your value. Click here.