I’ve always been impressed with those who have the ability to listen and take direction. Yes, I know, it sounds simple – and I’m often guilty of a short attention span myself – but to this day I find I’m surprised when working with someone who gives me their complete focus. I almost don’t know what to do with it once it is given to me! As a father of two daughters, I’m even more fascinated when I witness undivided concentration from young children. I guess that’s the most recent lesson I’ve learned from my sweet, attentive, four-year-old daughter.
While at T-ball practice last week (yes, we start them early), I looked out on the field of 15 kids wandering around the bases like they were some new version of tag. Totally directionless, absolutely chaotic, and endlessly hilarious. Then, I saw my daughter standing at home plate, listening to her coach explain how to swing the bat. I was amazed as she listened, played it through in her mind, and then took a swing. Smack! A single on her first ever attempt at the plate! Granted, it probably helped that none of the kids playing defense even knew she hit it, but that’s beside the point. Little Jolie was successful. Not because she had the most talent or because she had even been practicing, but because she was coachable.
It reminded me of how advisors often get so caught up in the complexity of building a business they forget some of the fundamental principles that made them successful up to this point. One of those valuable principles is being coachable.
So, we went to our team of Executive Business Coaches – who happen to coach hundreds of elite advisors – and asked them, “What are the essential traits needed to 1) have an effective coaching relationship and 2) help an advisor grow and establish a successful firm?”
Here’s what they had to say:
Coachable Advisors Keep an Open Mind
“I believe the key determinant of success in a coaching relationship is the degree to which the advisor, no matter how big of a producer or how intelligent, remains open to the idea someone else may have a more effective approach to solving a particular problem.” –Michael Rose
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again with the expectation of different results. This idea applies to thought processes as well. The same old thinking will ultimately net the same old outcomes. Allowing yourself to let go of what is comfortable or familiar often unlocks a willingness to experiment with new methods and consider alternative options. Carson members who actively keep an open mind are more likely to adapt their behaviors, overcome obstacles, and maintain strong relationships with their team.
Coachable Advisors Don’t Give Up After the First Try
“Understanding you don’t have to throw out the full concept due to one attempt is so very crucial. Exploring what happened, what went right, what could have gone better, and making absolutely certain there was a strong call to action and a plan for follow-through usually leads to an opportunity to try, try, try again.” –Carly McCulloch
As a society, we embrace stories of tenacity and drive. When we learn famed athlete Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team or best-selling author Steven King was rejected 30 times, we are awed by their sheer persistence. To be successful in any coaching program, you, too, need to adopt an iron will and a burning desire to forge on, even if your first (or fifth) attempt goes awry. Your readiness to try again determines the story of your business.
Coachable Advisors Seek Knowledge
“The most coachable members are insatiable learners. They are open to new ideas from all directions and feel even those producing less have ideas to learn from.” –Amy Koenig
Whether it’s formal education or the school of experience, a hunger for knowledge is an important factor for growth in any field. Without an interest in increasing your understanding, you not only become stagnant, you also lose the ability to recognize opportunities for change and identify areas to improve. A passion for lifelong learning makes advisors well-rounded and worldly, ultimately attracting clients who appreciate their extensive expertise.
Coachable Advisors Find the Time
“My most effective members make time in their schedule to actually implement the best practices we share with them.” –Holly Batchelder
It seems like such a simple concept, but if finding the time to execute best practices was easy, everyone would be a million-dollar producer. Between personal and professional responsibilities, it’s often a feat just to accomplish the daily grind. When our members begin to sort through the many tasks competing for their attention and carve out some quality time dedicated to making a change, their firms undergo a transformation. Sometimes, your coachability comes down to a commitment to clear your calendar.
Coachable Advisors See the Future
“Most advisors will not execute a strategy or follow-up on an idea without a sincere belief it is one more step towards building the business they desire. When an advisor is clear on that vision, they’re much more likely to take action and move from wanting to doing.” –Scott Wood
The very first step in the Carson Group program involves Blueprinting both your personal and professional life. This process inspires a path forward and guides you through unexpected challenges. We find those who have a well-defined mission and an unwavering purpose benefit most from our coaching, which is designed to complement their vision.
Coachable Advisors Think Strategically
“A common trait of coachable members is their willingness to focus on strategy and overall approach for their practice, but then hire amazing team members and let them do their jobs.” –Ellen Konsdorf
At some point, it’s crucial to move from the role of an advisor to the role of a CEO. Over the past two decades, we’ve met thousands of individuals who struggle with this inevitable evolution. We’ve also seen many of these same entrepreneurs find success when they switch from being involved with every minute detail of their firm to only orchestrating the big picture. Strategic thinkers and their coaches spend a great deal of time arranging and rearranging the pieces of a practice to ensure everything is in the best possible working order. The first step to being more strategic is hiring the best people you can find and getting the heck out of their way.
Coachable Advisors Understand Their “Why”
“The ones that are in the business for the ‘right reasons’ are the largest producers. At the core they want to help people. Their stories, background, life experiences, and talent levels vary but, at their core, prospects and clients feel that authentic desire.” –Greg Opitz
As Simon Sinek so profoundly states, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” The heart of this declaration lies in discovering a person’s unique purpose. An answer delivered with conviction isn’t just meant to sway prospects, it’s also meant to keep an advisor committed to their dreams. When we encounter an advisor whose “why” is woven into every action they take, they are enthusiastic about taking the necessary steps to cultivate their firm and help more families.
Are you coachable? Do you think you have the traits it takes? Take our quiz to find out.