Do you cherish the typical experience when visiting a doctor? You sit in a waiting room long past your appointment time. A nurse eventually takes your vital signs as you explain the reasons for your visit.
In your best words, you explain your discomfort.
Your doctor comes in, briefed by the nurse and their assessment. Within minutes, the doctor makes their diagnosis, prescribes treatment and writes a prescription.
With very little eye contact and very little personal connection, you leave hoping that your doctor is right.
Unfortunately, many people translate working with their financial health in much the same way. They wait visiting a “financial doctor” only when there is a problem or when things begin to be financially uncomfortable.
As a financial coach, I help people by knowing more about who they are by asking lots of open ended questions. Before I ask to review any financial documents, we discuss the decisions they have made in the past that have lead up to our discussion and current situation.
I like to see if my client can articulate their financial situation to give me a perspective of how they view their future financial reality and their values. After all, there is difference between getting rich and building wealth.
One of my favorite questions to ask is, “If you thought you were doing something right, then later found out you were wrong...when would you want to know?” The answer to this question allows me to assess how coachable someone is and if they are willing to make adjustments. Unfortunately, I have seen pride, ego and defense of past financial decisions to “save face” get in the way of their progress.
Unless someone can commit to their own personal development, take responsibility for their own actions and increase their financial awareness as we cultivate our working relationship, it is difficult to help them.
As I have coached Tom Forde on MSN Money's personal finance reality show "The Invested Life", I have always reinforced to him that the ultimate answer is “within you”.
And that is why he, succeeds.