Sometimes a legitimate quest for information can lead down unexpected paths. When AFCPE® first announced the Financial Fitness Coach certification in partnership with Sage Financial Solutions, I was curious. I didn’t know what the certification entailed, why I would need it, or even why AFCPE had decided to offer Financial Fitness Coach training. So I did what I would recommend to my clients considering a significant purchase: I asked a few questions. Those questions sparked a heated debate and, those questions revealed that I was not the only one who was new to the idea of a Financial Fitness Coach certification.
After a lively exchange about the cost-benefit analysis of the certification, I decided to enroll in the course and attend the November session. Admittedly, my decision to invest in the course came down to a colleague who had enrolled in the first cohort and was completing the certification that same November. “Do it. You won’t regret it,” was all she had to say. Sometimes, a strong endorsement from someone we trust is all that is necessary. In the end, she was right. I did it, and I have not regretted it.
I am nearly finished with my coaching hours and the additional live webinars, both of which are required for the Financial Fitness Coach certification. What I have gained from the course has far outweighed the cost. Financial coaching is the piece of the puzzle that I felt was missing from the Accredited Financial Counselor® (AFC®) designation. AFC professionals accumulate a breadth and depth of financial knowledge, which is further developed through interaction with clients. However, there is always that one client which is stuck, that all the financial knowledge in the world cannot budge. Because for some clients, the struggle is not about a knowledge gap. For some clients, the struggle is about everything else; their lives, relationships, childhood, teenage years, children, parents, pets. Coaching provides a communication dynamic that allows financial professionals to use all the tools in their AFC toolbox to help those stuck clients move forward.
Recently, I had the honor of helping a couple of long-time friends take control of their finances. Luckily for them, I had just returned from the seminar with Saundra Davis. Upon discovering that they were utterly convinced that they would never live debt free, I realized the traditional communication paradigm would not work. Early in our sessions, I also realized this conviction had little to do with a knowledge gap and everything to do with mindset and experience. Therefore, all my knowledge would be useless to them until they began to believe in their own potential. The Financial Fitness Coach model allowed me to flip the communication dynamic, which in turn provided the opportunity and space for them to begin seeing things differently. The power of the financial coaching process, combined with the emotional and intellectual gentleness of the approach amazed me.
Would I have been able to help this couple without the Financial Fitness Coach certification? Perhaps. However, they would not have owned their achievement in the same way. Coaching requires both active work and a level of responsibility from the client. When a coach views his or her client as capable, whole, and in command of their destiny, the client begins to see that as well. That is the heart of empowerment.
Guest Contributor: Adrienne Ross, AFC®, FFCTM Candidate