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Is Your Strategic Mindset Out of Shape?

By Ray Sclafani | April 24, 2014

If you’re like many successful advisors who come to our offices, you probably have an innate ability to run your firm. In all likelihood you spent a considerable amount of time learning, and then naturally began the process of running your business by producing and acquiring a variety of clients. Probably without really taking the time to consider the process you were using. Perhaps you’ve even built out what you feel is an effective team, by hiring people to fill certain roles over the past couple of years.


These are all great things, and they probably indicate that you’re naturally inclined to be in your current position. But they could also mean that there’s a lack of strategy around your process, and very little connection between your clients’ goals and your overall goals as a business. You are probably working harder and producing less because you’re not engaging your strategic mind to its fullest, and therefore aren’t working from a process that’s premeditated, scalable, and repeatable. This realization can be startling for many advisors who feel as though they’ve been effectively running their businesses with a clear process for years, only to discover that this isn’t the case.


One of our clients who is involved in our Business Builder’s Workshop, where he attends quarterly meetings with other top financial professionals, recently expressed some concern. He felt overwhelmed with the volume of material and content. The prospect of entering into workshop coaching, especially without a coach guiding him one on one, made him feel as though he might not maximize the financial investment he’d made. But here are some things I told him to consider as he began the process:


Think about it like exercising: It's sort of like the guy who used to be a great college athlete, but hasn't worked out in 8 or 9 years.  He tells his new trainer that while he hasn't worked out in a while, he's cool to jump right back into it.  So the trainer has him start working out and the former athlete realizes that he's more out of shape than he thought. The same thing is true of thinking strategically about your business. If you haven’t recently exercised your brain in this way, it may take more effort at the start.


Capitalize while the energy is high: This particular advisor feared that he would jump into the material after our meeting while his energy was high, just to have the material drag him down once he was in the thick of it and back to his day-to-day routine. But, like getting back into working out, sometimes advisors need that energy to start the process. The coach then provides the support and energy to keep them going along the way, so the fear of maintaining momentum often becomes a moot point for advisors. It’s like that old saying “it’s easier to steer a moving ship.”


Own the trajectory of your coaching: Many advisors incorrectly assume that they will lose control when entering a coaching partnership. This is not the case. You are responsible for driving the trajectory, the coach is there to keep you accountable and remind you of the goals you created from the outset. Coaching increases the efficiency of how you spend your time, but it doesn’t control it.


Imagine yourself 3 months, even 3 years out: Coaching, unlike consulting or advising, is a marathon, not a sprint. Not only does it take time to get your strategic brain back in shape, but the best and most productive goals for your business are often long terms ones. The ideas and concepts we discuss while coaching clients are HUGE, but the results they generate are huge as well. I’ve often told clients that I will witness their income increase by 10 times its current amount, and I’ve frequently seen it happen! But this takes time, and the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll get there!


Coaching is really a small investment for a greater sense of confidence and focus, and having to overcome a few fears to get started is really an important part of gaining that confidence and focus.


Coaching Questions from this article:

  1. Be honest with yourself about the reasons why you aren’t coaching and write them down on a piece of paper. Are they really ones that should prevent you from moving forward? Or are you just fearful of discovering how out of shape your strategic mindset is?

  2. Where do you see your business a year from now if you continue on the path you’re currently on? How does this compare to where you’d be if you hired a coach today to partner with you in making some important changes?

  3. How much growth are you capable of on your own vs. what you’d be capable of with the trusted partnership of a coach helping to track and account for your larger goals?

  4. Where do you ideally see yourself three years from now? Is this similar to the kind of progress you made over the previous three years, or do you need to reassess your approach? 




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