The Current State
Though often referred to as a “relationship industry,” there is a wide variation in actual relational skills among advisors. This becomes most apparent when looking at what it takes to facilitate in-depth client understanding. It can be intimidating, risky, uncomfortable…and many advisors feel under-qualified.
As an industry, the main development opportunity is around cultivating more robust relational and facilitation competencies (and a willingness to move toward --rather than avoid--the uncomfortable conversations).
Resources to Help You Succeed
Being able to pick up on a client’s communication style and “synchronize” with them can be a powerful step forward in creating connection and openness with clients; ask yourself:
- How well do you understand your own communication style and tendencies?
- How well do you pick up on your clients’ style and tendencies?
Many advisors report participating in personality & communication style assessments to improve their knowledge and self-awareness; frequently mentioned mainstream tools include: MBTI, DISC, Kolbe, and CliftonStrengths
A pillar of the emerging value proposition for financial advisors is the development of their own emotional intelligence and competence to facilitate deep discovery and behavior change with clients.
Read more about emotional intelligence for financial advisors and models for facilitating client self-discovery and behavior change.
Empathic listening is a central pillar of facilitation competence (but financial advisors don’t have many focused training options)
Many organizations offer financial life planning or coaching programs that include empathy training; for focused empathic listening training -- learn from a different industry: free online empathy training program (designed by the AMA for Healthcare Practices)