The good, the bad and the ugly
Despite the failures, I am a fan of coaching so last week I engaged with another coach.
At a recent Institute of Financial Planning ‘art and science’ conference I gave a presentation about my experience of coaching and coaches. I called my journey The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Coaching because it is not all been plain sailing. The experience when it has worked has been life-changing – literally – but on other occasions it has either been bad, and in one case downright ugly.
But the good outweighs the bad, and I must carry some blame for when it has not been as successful as it might have been. Anyway, despite the failures, I am a fan of coaching so last week I engaged with another coach. I am now working with five different coaching programmes, each designed to achieve different and specific things. The latest is a ‘reshape coach.’
This is modern parlance for what used to be called a personal trainer – but the title and the proposition sound miles better. For example, the website pitch for my coach said: “JP changes people’s experience of living by reshaping their bodies and mindsets. He works with professional and creative people in London and is known for inspiring people with his enthusiasm. He delivers an experience that is fast, fun and furious, leaving people feeling drop-dead gorgeous”.
Well, I wanted some of that. In fact I really wanted his 12-week reshape programme – in his words “an experience that focuses on transforming your body, lifestyle and maximising your fitness, health and targeted fat-loss goals”.
A 12-week programme. I definitely bought into that. With personal coaching there is only a beginning, and middle, there is never an end. It stretches out before you like a one of those long straight roads you see in the American Midwest – boring. Instead his programme is just 12 weeks, with guaranteed results, and I did not care how much it cost or how hard I had to work. It is finite.
Except it will not be. But 12 weeks is the time it takes to establish new habits, and he knows that. Also there will be the option to sign up for another 12-week programme, to help me reach the next goal. Mrs H has suggested a six-pack might be a goal to aim for, and she was not talking about beer.
As usual, I draw parallels with the work we do. So I looked at the language we use and how we promote our services. There was not even a hint of any transformation, high energy, or fun. Is there any wonder people avoid engaging in financial planning – it is such a drag. We tend look far out into the future, making people plan for an event 20 or 30 years away. Yet the real problem is getting people to transform current behaviours, and to establish new or better savings habits.
How could a fresh look at what we do allow us to position our message so people became excited about working with us. What outcomes do they want? Is there a 12-week programme you could create that would immediately engage with clients? A 12-week financial fat-loss programme anybody?
Dennis Hall is managing director of Yellowtail Financial Planning