Monday, March 29, 2010

Coach versus Consultant - What's the Difference?

The term "Coach" is quite popular in this internet-based age we are living in. There are "mortgage coaches," "interior design coaches," and even "tax coaches." It seems that these days everyone is a coach. I answer questions about coaching and consulting often enough that I decided to clarify the differences.

When hiring a consultant, the business owner wants something specific done by an expert. A consultant is usually an expert in a specific area and once hired can create what you want for you. They may also implement their recommendations for you if need be. The relationship is time-specific and project-related.

Coaches can also be consultants by advising and assisting clients to make changes in their business and their life. But not all consultants are coaches.

A true coach is a trained professional, not someone borrowing the term "coach." Look for a coach who has earned a credential from the International Coach Federation (ICF), an organization of 14,000 members in 80 countries. The ICF does not train coaches – it certifies training programs and awards credentials to coaches who have a specific amount of training from an ICF accredited organization, have accumulated client hours, and can demonstrate coaching experience.  A coach with an ICF credential has agreed to uphold a strict code of ethics.

Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile. Vince Lombardi

You hire a coach when you want to grow personally and professionally. You may want to grow your business, but growing yourself could be what you truly need. A coach can see things you cannot see and can point out where you may need to improve your skills.

Hiring a coach is all about change. If you continue to do the same things you're doing now, you'll get the same results you had in the past. Change requires action on your part. There's no growth where there's no implementation.

When hiring a coach, you are hiring a business partner focused on your success. You learn to focus on high pay off tasks and actions that move you forward.  You learn to work ON your business weekly rather than getting caught up in the busy work of the day. You are focused on SUCCESS. You have a long term relationship with a coach that builds your character and your business.

There is absolutely a time and a place for hiring a consultant. However be aware that not all consultants are coaches. Coaching is effective because it delves into the human psyche and pulls out that which is great.  For further discussion on why coaching is effective, read Marketing, Change and Success

Business Coaching for Financial Advisors & Entrepreneurs

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What Do Values Have to Do with Success?

Everything! Success comes to us easily if we know what makes us happy, what we VALUE, and what we stand for in life.

A person who has integrity knows what they value.  If we live life based on our values, we have integrity. We don't make mistakes as often as those who don’t know what they truly value.  Long term happiness comes from knowing what you value- what you STAND for in your business and your life.

"Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values." Dalai Lama

I'm helping an advisor reposition his practice in the market place. In essence you could say that he is reinventing himself.  After many years of experience, a great many lessons learned, and a dose of luck his practice has grown to provide a decent living but not the kind of fulfillment you might expect.  The advisor wasn't attracting the type clients that are a joy to for him to work with.  After working on his Mission Statement and Practice Values, he was able to draw to him just the kind of clients that are joyful and profitable.

Values are like a COMPASS – drawing to you what you want

Business success comes from running your business based on your values. Your passion comes out in the way you manage your business.  If you'd like to attract more ideal clients, read this "How to Article" about how you can create a Mission Statement based on your values.  The article has a long list of sample values and my own Mission Statement.

Grow Your Business and Prosper!
Suzanne Muusers

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Guest Post: Focus on Benefits Not Features in Your Marketing

Susan Weiner CFA writes a guest post about stating benefits rather than features in your marketing:

Focusing on the benefits your clients will receive from your financial services is much more effective than touting your firm's features. In other words, focus on you, the client--not us, the firm.
I found a great example of this when I looked for gyms near me.

Gym 1 said, "Gym 1 is a premiere fitness, athletics, and rehabilitation facility that features the highest caliber trainers, equipment..."

Sounds impressive, doesn't it? But does it get you excited about joining a gym?

Now read the beginning of Gym 2's ad.
     We've helped our members:
     -fit into their clothes
     -make their exes jealous
     -look amazing at their wedding

Sure, some people would opt for Gym 1 over Gym 2. But clearly Gym 2 makes more of an emotional connection with the reader.

You can find similar contrasts in wealth management. For example, one firm says, "Our company has been in business for 60 years." Prospective clients may read that statement and ask "So what? Why should I care?" 

They might re-word that as "Your money will be managed by a firm that has weathered up-markets and down-markets for 60 years."

How would you re-write "Our company has been in business for 60 years?" It would be great to get your suggestions:

Copyright 2009 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Susan B. Weiner, CFA helps financial professionals increase the impact of their writing on clients and prospects. She writes and edits investment commentary, white papers, articles, web pages, and other communications for leading investment and wealth management firms.
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