The Power of a Plan

I’m looking for coach.

As someone with ADD, I still struggle with organization. Getting the right things done is a challenge. I have been fortunate to have worked with some great coaches in the past and our relationships have run their course. I have some current struggles to get through and it is time to find a guide for the next chapter.

The search has been frustrating. I have done a few trial weeks with a couple coaches. I do exercises and complete inventories and evaluations. But by the third or fourth session I am left feeling like where are we going with this? I feel like I am not accomplishing anything but what is reasonable to expect. I move on.

Interviewing candidates, one conversation really drove home what has been missing. She sounds competent and works with people similar to me. Someone I respect recommended her. We discussed her approach and what kinds of tools she uses. Still, I was uncomfortable committing to a relationship. Then it struck me why.

She could not tell me how she would get me where I wanted to go. What were the steps? What will we analyze, address, and remedy? What’s the path?

There was no vision of how we would progress. No strategy to create the result I was seeking.

Clients want to know where you will take them. They need a plan. Not in the sense that you do planning and so if you work together you will create a plan for them. Clients don’t want a plan, they want the plan. They need to know up front what the plan is. They seek a vision of who they will become and understand your process for getting them there.

Being client driven means focusing on the unique challenge of a specific client profile and having a strategy to overcome it. Showing that you have a blueprint for the way through the challenge can be a huge reassurance.

Of course, the specific recommendations will be different for each individual. Everyone’s circumstances are somewhat different and the advice will be tailored. But having a consistent approach, the ability to describe the steps to their desired outcome, instills confidence. A plan is proof you can guide clients where they want to go.

For example, one firm we coach focuses on professionals within five years of retirement. Their message was general. Success arose from having a clear vision of where you are and where you want to go and how to get there. Services include financial planning and investment management. A successful executive who found the website would have no way of knowing how the firm might advise someone like him preparing for the transition into retirement. The firm communicated a message that could apply to anyone and was therefore weak. It spoke to no one in particular.

We narrowed it down to specifically what pre-retirees needed. An income plan. A tax strategy that takes advantage of increased limits and catch up provisions. A distribution strategy. And more. We identified which steps we took in what order. We defined a path. Advisors at the firm can now speak specifically to pre-retirees about the steps involved in laying the groundwork for an optimized retirement. Their website reflects the language. Their blog posts address those topics in particular.

Describe the journey to prospective clients. Enable them to envision achieving the goal as a result of the process. Give them enough detail so that they can see how your guidance helps them become who they want to be.

If I find a coach who can lay out the steps that can lead someone with ADD through developing the habits to get the important things done, that’s the one I will hire.

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