If you’ve been able to catch any of the Olympics over the past few weeks, you might have noticed how the TV coverage often features the stories of the various athletes. They’re usually inspiring and always interesting. (Much like the girls and I while swimming!)
It seems like each one who makes it to the Games takes a unique path. But they share many common traits, including perseverance despite setbacks, a strong desire to win, and the guidance of a great coach. (It would be safe to say that any athlete who qualifies for the Olympics has an excellent coach.)
During the events, it’s the athletes who are doing all the running, jumping, and throwing. Their coaches don’t seem to do much, except give a few instructions or words of encouragement.
But unless the athletes had a good coach and listened to what he or she said, they wouldn’t be competing at this level. The roar of the crowd is exciting, but their success is the result of following their coach’s instructions every day at practice for years before this.
The athlete is the one putting in all the work, but it’s their coach who’s making sure it’s not wasted effort.
It’s not too much of a stretch to say that this is how a financial advisor helps you. Like a good coach, your advisor first assesses your unique situation—your strengths and weaknesses and what you have as a final goal. Then based on others in similar circumstances as well as the latest performance research, they create a plan to get you to your desired destination.
In each Olympic event only one athlete can win the gold. But a good financial coach can help many clients achieve their retirement dreams.
Jim Rohrbach, who consults with financial advisors all over the country, has observed that this coaching analogy accurately describes how effective advisors approach their clients.
He writes that an essential quality in both is the love of helping others succeed.
“Check your ego at the door,” he advises, “because it’s all about the players not you.”
Another essential is a willingness to teach. Rohrbach points out that the most effective coaches are committed to instructing their athletes even at the most elite levels. But this also presupposes that a coach has a willingness to learn, so he or she has valuable insight to pass on.
Both coaches and advisors know how to give “corrective feedback,” telling players and clients what they might not want to hear—but really need to know.
And finally, an effective coach helps his or her players not give up when the going gets tough. When things look bleak, it’s important to continue to do the things that made you a winner in the first place.
Great players and successful investors are the ones who believe they can still win even at moments where things aren’t going their way.
Cultivating that attitude takes good coaching.