Customized One-on-One Business Coaching for Financial Advisors
Bridging the communication between advisors and their support staff.
Monday, June 17, 2019
Heather Amlin, Operations & Efficiencies Coach
I can’t believe it’s been a year since I started with The Personal Coach. Since starting, I have felt blessed to be able to take the time I needed to figure out how to use my “unique abilities” (cue Art Schooley’s voice inside my head) so I can best help guide advisors and their teams. I also have Fortunato Restagno to thank. He speaks to his branding clients about their compelling story which inspired me to discover my compelling story.
I spent many years in the financial services business as a Marketing and Operations Assistant in the trenches. Subsequently, I was a co-business owner of an advisory firm who purchased 2 other advisory firms. Finally, I became an ex-business owner transitioning clients and myself into a new role with our merger. You can imagine the many hats that needed to be worn for the merger to go smoothly.
I’ve really enjoyed the challenges of each role. I have especially loved the fact that each role has given me an opportunity to create processes, procedures and work with advisory support teams. It’s something I am passionate about and I enjoy bridging the communication between advisors and their support staff. With that being said, I’ve decided to focus my coaching on developing better operations and efficiencies with advisory teams.
I know first-hand the challenges an advisor has to deal with. It can be challenging to find time to listen to your support staff without distractions. If both the advisor and the staff member(s) are receiving calls, emails and texts, when do you find the time to get ready for meetings, process paperwork, keep an organized office AND create processes and procedures so that things run smoothly? Every advisory firm is unique and different - from the advisor doing it all themselves to the offices with 2-3 advisors and a support team for each. No matter the size, you still need to have processes and procedures in place. Every person in the office should know what those are, even if they don’t have to use each one.
I use a back-office checklist, which focuses on technology, administration, client services, and investment and insurance procedures. Reviewing this with advisory teams has led to great discussions around weaknesses in existing processes and identifying where there are no processes at all. We also review strengths and affirm the areas that are running smoothly.
As I embark on my second year with TPC, I’ve expanded this process to include the integration of new employees into an advisor’s office. We call it the Coaching for Integration Success Program. One of the challenges of working in small/medium team environments is how to set your new employees up for success as you try to train them in the many areas of your busy office. Having a clear agenda for their first day, their first week, and their first quarter is a great step! So, I keep Kim Poulin’s motto in mind and off I go….”Hire for attitude, train for skill.”
Our Coaches, Kim and Heather, have been working away on further developing our hiring and integration programs offered to advisors and their teams. Hiring a team member can be a long and onerous task, especially without guidance or experience. We have discovered that many advisors prefer someone else handling certain aspects of the process – and often, the entire process. Our hiring programs allow you to continue to focus on what you do best and delegate the hiring to us. We become an extension of your team - your human resources and hiring team!
Key elements of the coaching process include, attracting, hiring, retaining and compensating the right team members; understanding each team member’s competencies, skills and responsibilities; having each person in the right role and building team effectiveness, efficiency and cohesiveness.
Services available include:
Identifying the candidate pool
Narrowing the candidate pool
Due diligence – screening final candidates
We also have a Coaching for Integration Success Program that will help you hit the ground running from day one with your new hire. Your customized program includes the following:
A copy of the Right Fit II Booklet - Integration and Development of a New Team Member
A customized agenda to follow for your employee’s first day and their first week
A comprehensive training checklist with a focus on the first 3 months of your employee’s development
On-site training the first day followed by video conference/phone and email consultation with the advisor, training team and the new employee, as required
Failure to hire right can be very expensive and time consuming. To learn more about these exciting services and how to hire and integrate an exceptional team member, please connect at email@example.com.
Insights on how a team is using Everything DiSC® Workplace assessments to create business momentum
Do you believe one of your biggest assets if not the biggest, is your team? If you said yes, so do we which is why at The Personal Coach, we have a process in place to help teams grow stronger. We use Everything DiSC® profiles from Wiley, which are a personalized, specialized and in-depth analysis used to help individuals develop a broader understanding of themselves, their relationships with team members, explore their own potential and realize unparalleled success.
Everything DiSC® profiles help to develop critical business skills such as:
In a team building session, we discuss the results of the assessments and when needed, coach people one-on-one to assist with implementing the necessary behavioural changes. We recently received feedback from a valued client of ours who uses DiSC Workplace to manage their large team. Keep in mind that DiSC is for teams of all sizes. In their case, they have many team members with different personalities and profiles. So, they have benefited from understanding each other's personalities to best work with each team member.
Our client assigned one team member to be the DiSC® Team Leader to make sure that DiSC was not getting lost in the day-to-day to-dos and was remaining an important aspect of their business that they focused on regularly.
Here is what the DiSC® Team Leader shared with us:
THE IMPACT ON THE TEAM, As an organization, it’s the best thing we could’ve done. Since doing the DiSC® profiles for all the team members, we are much more aware and sensitive to each person’s unique communication and work style. We know that different people prefer, and need, different types of communication. We have incorporated DiSC® discussions into our staff meetings every month to make sure team communication and effectiveness remains top of mind for each team member. Since doing DiSC®, it has also motivated us to do even further research on communication styles and working with different styles. We use DiSC® profiles to facilitate better understanding between team members. Sometimes team members with different DiSC® styles can feel like they are not on the “same page” but having another person in the meeting who understands the different styles can help validate people’s feelings and their reactions to certain scenarios. On each employee’s door frame or work station, we have posted “How to Work with Me” so everyone can be reminded about how to work most effectively with their colleagues. The team is encouraged, on a yearly basis, to update this if anything changes in their preferences. We use terms like “Bring out your inner D” (dominance) or “pull it back when communicating with someone who is not a high D.” Not only does everyone know everyone else’s styles but they understand themselves better which only helps team and individual growth.
AS THE TEAM GROWS, Whenever we have a new staff member, we have them complete a DiSC® profile. I go through a detailed account of our initial introduction to DiSC, why we went through it and how it’s helped us to better work together and be a more cohesive team. Once the profile comes back, I discuss it with the new hire. Most people, when they get them back, are surprised at how precise the results are. I also order comparison reports for the new hire and for the people who will be working closely with them. It helps me to identify any issues that could potentially come up. It’s a proactive move so I can have conversations with existing staff prior to the new person starting work.
We are happy to see the benefits that our clients have realized from working with our coaches and Everything DiSC® profiles. If you are a business leader with a team, big or small, you will benefit from Everything DiSC® profiles combined with coaching.
You will discover:
what your priorities are at work
what you are motivated by
what stressors you likely have
what people will notice about you
what your limitations may be
what your communication needs are
Your team will:
have better communication
better understand one another
realize increased productivity
realize increased performance
improve the hiring process
leverage each member’s skills
Please reach out if you would like any further information.
An article in Harvard Business Review on “The Secrets of Great Teams,” highlights the importance of teams socializing together. The study suggested that even the simple act of having employees take their coffee break together increased productivity by 8% and up to 20% in some cases!
Is team building worth it?
The short answer: absolutely! The long answer: an effective team is a productive team. A team that works well together will increase client satisfaction, maintain quality control, and build and grow your business.
The old saying is true: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
How can you do team building activities with a small advisory team?
There are many options including:
escape room mazes
zip line, etc.
Keep your team’s interests and abilities in mind.
Do the activities during work hours so employees with young families can still attend, plan the events together, include spouses if your team is very small, and take pictures to share with your clients. Most importantly, remain consistent and plan events year round. The most successful teams do an event quarterly or semi-annually.
If you have read the April e-newsletter "Smart Hiring," skip down to Step 4 to continue.
Hiring a team member can be a long and onerous task, especially without guidance. We have discovered that advisors prefer someone other than themselves to handle certain aspects of the hiring process – and often, the entire process. Here are 10 steps to consider when going it alone.
1. Clearly Define the Role
Ask yourself and your team what you want the person to accomplish in this role. What is the main raison d’être? Once you know the outcomes you want you can determine:
The three most critical functions to be performed;
The skills needed to perform those functions;
The three main strengths the employee must have.
Be in selling mode as you create the job posting.
2. Identify Sources for Attracting Candidates
Ideally, you would have a bank of contacts that you have been collecting from your and your team’s own personal observations. If you do not have one, you will need to look at these traditional options.
Online job boards such as Indeed, local sites such as bcworks and kwjobshop, as well as industry specific sites such as Advocis and the FPSC;
Word of mouth through colleagues, clients, friends, etc. Send out an e-mail blast;
Local college and university career centers;
Networking sites such as LinkedIn; and
Employment agency firms including The Personal Coach
Decide which of the above are within your time frame, budget and expertise.
3. Review the Resumes
This is a very time consuming step, so know your minimum requirements and scan for items that would add value to the role. Pay attention to the candidate’s experience, background, courses taken and qualifications. Check the grammar and find typos if any. Note any questions you would like to ask this candidate. Choose ten to twelve of the most likely candidates. Your goal is to conduct a series of interviews that will whittle the list down, eventually revealing the right person for the job.
4. Telephone Screen
This is where you discuss the most important aspects of the job and how their experience may fit. Ask:
Why are you interested in this job?
Rate yourself on a scale of 1 – 10 on MS Office, organization skills, etc.
What experience do you have in the financial services industry?
What do you excel at?
What would you not want to do in your next role
Once you have chosen the six to eight candidates you want to interview, bring them in for the first of two face-to-face interviews.
5. Conduct a Structured Interview Day
Book a day specifically for interviews. Plan to spend 30 - 45 minutes with each person and allow time between interviews to debrief with your team.
Break the interview into three parts:
Data - have them walk you through their education and career path from the beginning so that you can see how it has evolved. Ask what they were hired to do; were they successful and were they promoted, recruited or fired?
Important attributes that are not indicated on the resume - organization, accuracy, neatness and loyalty, for example.
Personality and socialization - get to know the real person.
Discuss with your team or a colleague and pick the top three candidates. Ask yourself the following questions about each person you interviewed:
Will this person fit the company’s culture? (You will need to know in advance what the key adjectives are that describe your culture).
Does he or she have the strengths required?
Why do I think this would be the right person?
7. The Second Interview
Ask candidates to bring in past performance reviews and references. If you have a skills test, this is the time to run it.
Understand what is important to the candidate when it comes to the work environment. This may include compensation, flexibility and benefits. You want to know the candidate’s expectations about what you are going to provide as an employer. Then you have to decide if it fits your game plan.
The underlying philosophy of multiple interviews is, if you still like the person as much after the second meeting as you did after the first, chances are you’ve found the perfect fit.
8. Reference Checks
Do not skip doing the reference checks. Call previous employers and ask questions about:
Duties performed and compensation received;
What the candidate could have improved back then;
Whether they would hire the person again or not; and
Why the candidate left the organization.
As in step 6, discuss your options with someone whose input you value. Who do you think has the best chance at succeeding in the role and on the team? Be as concerned with the fit for the candidate as you are in the fit for you.
10. Negotiate Compensation & Make An Offer of Employment
Balance what you can offer as an employer against the candidate’s flexibility and skills. Be sure to put a formal offer of employment in place, including:
Specific responsibilities of the position;
Required work hours;
Any holidays, vacations, special considerations;
Any additional expenses you will cover (e.g., training, licenses etc.);
Any expectations regarding changes or growth within the job.
Good luck with your hiring and if you would like to talk to a coach, please connect!
How can advisors continue to attract younger generations to our business? Our coaches April-Lynn Levitt and Kim Poulin delve into why senior advisors may have to accommodate more or watch the industry shrink even further