Recently, I noticed a recurring pattern with a number of financial advisors with whom I coach. Many advisors seem to go through a cyclical emotional pattern that begins when they realize that their business is not as successful as they want it or need it to be. This awareness creates anxiety which if/when it sets in can put them in a “fight or flight” mode; either by working harder, prospecting more and/or doing more business with their current client base (fight mode) or causing them to retreat inward into a state of situational depression leaving them feeling hopeless (flight mode).
Eventually, the advisor gets motivated, works harder (or hopefully smarter) and achieves their desired level of success putting their mind at ease. The problem is if the advisor gets too relaxed they then become unmotivated and as a result do not maintain that same level of success, thus creating the same emotional pattern all over again.
Does this sound familiar? Are you caught up in this cycle?
I have noticed this emotional pattern with my client base in the past. In fact, I have come to expect it with some clients-knowing that about once a quarter they revert back to an unmotivated/unsuccessful phase- but for whatever reason over the past several months, more-and-more advisors seem to be experiencing it. As a result, I decided it was time to do a little investigating to find an additional coaching model that might help them break the cycle.
During my research, I had found the G.R.O.W. Coaching Model. Wikipedia-an online encyclopedia service- states, “The GROW model (or process) is a technique for problem solving or goal setting. It was developed in the UK and used extensively in the corporate coaching market in the late 1980s and 1990s.”
This coaching model is based on a four step process for determining both goal setting and providing problem solving. In addition, it allows you to identify options on how to deal with those challenges and what course of action needs to be taken to overcome them.
The following first explains and then illustrates how the G.R.O.W. Coaching Model can be utilized by advisors to break the emotional cyclical pattern previously described.
Goal: The first step is to understand what your goal is. Understanding your goal gives you a concrete objective towards which you can work, and the freedom to start doing so.
Reality: The next step is to look at your current reality. Where are you in relation to your goal? Have you almost achieved your goal? Are you a long way away? Do you need to break the goal into smaller, more achievable goals? It may require a detailed and honest analysis of where you are, but having a deep understanding of where you are provides a very solid foundation of understanding what needs to happen.
Option: Once you understand your goal and your reality, the task is to find out how to start to move the reality towards the goal. At this stage in the process, you examine what options are available to you. This is where the planning takes place. There may be a single course of action, or there may be multiple options from which to choose.
Way Forward: At this stage, we have examined the goal, we know where we are in respect to the goal, and we have examined the various options that we can follow to reach the goal. The final step is to examine the options, and to decide what the best option is to reach your goal. Note that you are not looking at the easiest option, but the best option which will move you closest towards your goal.
Now here is how a financial advisor could use the G.R.O.W Coaching Model as it pertains to providing resolution to their pre-existing fight or flight pattern as discussed earlier.
Goal: To continue with a level of productive activities on a steady basis regardless of my success.
Reality: That I self-sabotage when I am successful by reducing my activities because I am afraid of having too much success.
Option: To surround myself with successful advisors to reinforce a belief system that reaching “The Next Level” is natural and non-threatening.
Way Forward: Find a mentor who is willing to help me work “smarter” as well as hold me accountable. Find that mentor by the end of the week!
This might seem like a simplistic method, but I assure you it is very effective! Every time I have applied this coaching method with financial advisors, they have determined exactly what course of action needs to be taken. Then, I keep them accountable for taking that action! It gives them the path out of the cyclical pattern and the road to accomplishing their goals consistently.