Guest Post: How Financial Advisors Can Help Everyone

(Well… How can any coach help anyone really…)

Original post: Maria Marsala (2 May 2018)

While I’m a big proponent of niching, like you, I’d like to help everyone.  And in this article, I’ll show you how to do that in a way that doesn’t drain you as you “try” to help someone.  The goal, for me, as I believe for you, would be to give the person what they need to eventually become a client.

See if this sounds familiar.

You want to help everyone who comes your way.  You don’t want to leave anyone out.

However, over time, I’ve learned, as I’m guessing that some of you reading this have learned, we just can’t help everyone.  And in some cases, I’m 200% sure I can’t help someone.

And it’s not because they don’t want help.

Here’s what I’ve noticed about people I can’t help.

  • Have you dealt with any of these scenarios the first or 2nd time you speak to a prospect?  
  • Or maybe a few months after they become a client?

From what they say, questions they don’t answer, or a number of canceled appointments (already), it’s evident the prospect doesn’t really want help or doesn’t want to change.  What they seem to want is a quick fix without doing the necessary work.

In my work as a coach, sometimes, a prospect comes to me who really needs therapy or a 12-step program but won’t go, and having a coach sounds classier.

They don’t have time to do what’s necessary for you to help them, and you’ll hear how busy, busy, busy they are all the time.   (Even if you give them “happy homework” to do that could help them make the time, you’ll hear excuses.)

They want YOU to do the work for them. Sure, we all know it’s impossible to create a life, business, or marketing plan for a client without their input; plus, you set yourself up for problems or a lawsuit when you do it all for them.)

They didn’t or wouldn’t complete your initial online new client application.  (Even after you give it to them in a format they can complete, you don’t get it back.)

They have excuses on why they can’t (or didn’t) do some basic things to help themselves with their situation.  Or maybe it takes months to get you the paperwork you need to do the next step.

They don’t have the money to pay for services. (In actuality, they do, but things like getting a new car, floor for the dining room, new furniture for their office, etc. take priority.) They don’t realize that in order to change, in this case, make their business more successful, they need to be willing to give up something(s) before reaching that bigger goal.

I’ve had to deal with all these costly scenarios in the past (almost) 20 years.  And when I talk to advisors, most of the above rings true for them, too.

How Do You Notice Red Flag People?

For many years, I didn’t.  I took on new clients just because they wanted help, I knew I could help them, and they could pay me.  But sometimes, I noticed that, although they wanted help, RED flag people weren’t yet ready for the help.

Here’s what I started noticing…

  • If a prospect calls, instead of completing my application online, after reading my website it’s a RED flag.
  • If, when I ask them my Initial Meeting questions, I hear lots of excuses (i.e., they are not taking responsibility for their current personal or business issues) it’s a RED flag.
  • If they say they don’t have the funds to pay me what my services are worth to them and their firm, it’s a RED flag.
  • If what they want from me is all the answers or my resources — for free, it’s a RED flag.
  • If they don’t treat me with “human” respect, it’s a RED flag.
  • If they think they’re going to be able to double or triple their income in just a few months, it’s a RED flag.
  • If they submit the documentation I need to help them with, not in a reasonable amount of time, it’s a RED flag.
  • If they rush the process or push the process, it’s a RED flag.

The good thing is, that with time, some of these RED flags can be turned around.  Not now of course, but being an optimist, hopefully, they will turn themselves around in the near future.

Give Them Resources

My first financial professional-client had a great way to help people he couldn’t yet help.

First, he asked for permission to put them on his email list.

He created a Resource Brochure.  It was branded in his colors and included his contact information etc.  It included a short paragraph about the type of clients he worked with.  The rest of the pages included a local resource guide to professionals who helped his current clients (lawyers, CPA, bookkeepers, mortgage lenders, etc.), and on the last page of his brochure, he included a page of books to read, CDs to listen to, and links to websites he enjoyed.  Now, these resources were NOT all financial.  They were also motivational.

If they read the books he recommended, took action on what was in his newsletter, and listened to some of the CDs, etc., chances were that they’d eventually BE one of his clients.

He did it in a way that was not salesy.

How I Do It

When someone contacts me and wants information on becoming a coach, as they so often do, I send them to this page on my website with lots of coaching resources — articles as well as coaching schools to research.

You can do the same for people who are looking for information on becoming a financial advisor.

When someone completes my complimentary Intake Form and isn’t my ideal client or isn’t ready for coaching in one way or another (I ask questions on my form to see if they are) I send them to my online Resource Page and I ask them for written permission (via email) to add them on my newsletter.

So… what are you waiting for?  Create a process to help people that you’re unable to help by preparing them to be a client in the future.

  • 2018 Elevating Your Business: Coach Maria Marsala

Guest Blog: How do you measure your clients’ progress?

Original Article: ReciproCoach Research January 2011


Measuring our clients’ progress in coaching can be a sticky topic. Ironically however, without client progress we’re all out of a job! Thus, being clear on how and by whom progress is measured, is a process that all coaches need to be skilled up in. In her paper “Why is Progress a Controversial Issue in Coaching?” Tanya Prescott (2010, International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, Special Issue No.4, pp.21-36) sheds some light on the issue.


One thing that makes measurement of progress in coaching so tricky is the reality “that indicators of progress may not become immediately apparent during the lifespan of the coaching, and that even if they do, they may not be attributable to coaching alone” (pp.23-24). As if that isn’t enough, this study highlighted numerous other challenges coaches are faced with when attempting to gauge progress.

An important theme presented in the paper was the controversy surrounding whose definition of progress prevailed. Re-phrased simply as “Whose agenda?” in this study, three competing agendas arose:

  • the stakeholder’s e.g. sponsoring company or client’s wife 😉
  • the coach’s
  • the client’s (of course!)

In some cases, coaches reported stakeholders setting the parameters for progress. A coach in this situation facetiously highlighted how this in turn affected a coaching session: “This is your agenda; what would you like to talk about?” (CR6) (p.27). In another case, a coach reported not seeing any progress, but, after checking in with the client, discovered that the coach was unaware of the internal process the client was going through and therefore could not see the progress that the client experienced. Finally, another coach demonstrated how other parties could also identify progress e.g. “one client reported to a coach that his wife had observed signs of progress” (p. 28).

Another finding which crept its way into this study which was particularly interesting to me, was that numerous coaches in the study described how coaching benefited them. Of course we know this, otherwise we wouldn’t be ReciproCoaches, but it’s nice to see some official evidence for it, which appears to be the first of its kind.


As always, research findings are redundant if we don’t put them into practice, so here are a few things to remember: Each involved party’s definition of progress is not necessarily the same. Be clear about each.

  • “It is not always possible to satisfy all parties” (p.27).
  • “Careful contracting with the stakeholders at the start of the process… [can] ensure sufficient flexibility to allow the client’s needs to be addressed” (p.27).
  • “For the client to have the opportunity to grow within the coaching relationship, the coach must first establish what progress means to the client” (p.28).
  • Develop awareness and flexibility by examining the foundations and assumptions underlying your own practice (ReciproCoach supervision groups are a good way of doing this) “to ensure that the power is equally shared between the coach and the client” (p.28).
  • Solicit “feedback from the client on what was happening” so that you can get an insight into what is “going on inside” them (p.28).
  • Regularly engage in coaching yourself.

Finally, this paper provided much information on the blurry lines that exist when there are third-party stakeholders. If you do any such coaching (or intend to), I recommend you read the entire paper yourself. You can do this via this link:

Translating coaching research into coaching practice,

Dr Kerryn Griffiths
Global ReciproCoach Coordinator

Guest Blog: Are your clients actually ready for coaching? (2010/11)

Original Article: ReciproCoach Research – November 2010


When I first sat down to read the research paper for this month’s issue of Coaching Research in Practice, I was tempted to write just one sentence in this email:

“Here’s the link – just go and read it!”

Research into clients’ readiness for coaching has been long overdue and Ines Kretzschmar (Exploring Clients’ Readiness for Coaching, International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, Special Issue No.4, October, 2010) has written a paper that’s full of insight and reader-friendly!


Through eighteen semi-structured face-to-face interviews and nine email interviews with coaches, coaching clients and enquirers about coaching, Ines identifies six variables which influence clients’ readiness for coaching. Ines presents these variables as layers, which potential clients pass through in order to take on coaching. Notably, some layers represent an impasse for some potential clients who do not convert to become coaching clients, but if all layers are ‘transcendable’, a client may be deemed “ready”. Here they are:

  • A potential client’s culture and class affects the degree to which they are exposed to coaching opportunities. In addition, culture and class appear to suggest that some potential clients may lack some of the skills needed for coaching, e.g. self-awareness and responsibility.
  • A potential client’s knowledge about coaching, that is, how much they have heard and know about coaching affects their readiness.
  • A potential client’s access to coaching affects their readiness. This includes factors such as time, cost and client selection. Of these, cost was named as the biggest barrier to coaching.
  • The “psychological interpretations” ( p.11) of a potential client, otherwise explained as clients being “ready in themselves” (p.11), affects client readiness. In particular, this research suggest that clients who are open, willing to look “deep inside” (p.11) themselves, who have a healthy self-esteem and positive attitude and who have the ability to take feedback and reflect and are emotionally stable, are more “ready”.
  • A client demonstrates more readiness for coaching when they feel safe . In this study, safeness was affected by the coach-client relationship, and also by the support of the people around a client e.g. their partner, family, friends and workplace.
  • When clients have a commitment to change, their readiness is enhanced. A commitment to change is indicated when the client “has a clear reason to engage in the coaching in the first place” (p.13), as well as commitment and responsibility to make the change.


Ines has included a questionnaire for “Exploring Client’s Readiness for Coaching” on pages 14 and 15 of her paper. If you really want to ensure that your clients are actually ready for coaching, I’d recommend you print off the questionnaire and consider it before your next client intake. Here’s the link again, in case you missed it the first time. In addition, keep in mind these essentials:

  • Be able to explain, succinctly and scientifically, what coaching is – it will increase your potential clients’ knowledge of coaching and with that their readiness for coaching.
  • Continually help your clients to become more and more clear on the personal value of coaching and this will support your clients in becoming more and more ready (coaching may begin with a process of developing readiness for it!).
  • By having different ways to deliver coaching, you reduce the barrier that “access” can impose on client readiness.
  • Notice if you are working harder than your clients, as “that should be a warning sign where the client’s readiness for coaching has to be questioned and explored further” (p.13).

Translating coaching research into coaching practice,

Dr Kerryn Griffiths
Global ReciproCoach Coordinator

Guest Blog: Forming a coaching relationship (2010/10)

Original Article: ReciproCoach Research – October 2010


In their paper, “Exploring key aspects in the formation of coaching relationships: Initial indicators from the perspective of the coachee and the coach” (Coaching: An international Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, Vol. 3, No.2, September 2010, 124-143), Alanna O’Broin and Stephen Palmer highlight an interesting paradox in the field of coaching. Although we all herald the importance of the coaching relationship, “little dedicated research currently exists on those qualities or characteristics important in its formation” (p.124). Indeed, if little research exists, then what we think we know about forming a coaching relationship may or may not be true…


In their qualitative interview based study of six coaches and six coaches in the UK, O’Broin and Palmer identified three main themes which coachees and coaches considered important in forming a coaching relationship:

  • Coach attitudes and characteristics
  • Bond and engagement
  • Collaboration

Coach attitudes and characteristics include: characteristics, such as a genuine, non-formulaic, empathetic style; attitudes, in particular coach self-awareness or self-management; and, adapting to the coachee, placing attention on the individual coachee’s needs and working to achieve the most effective relationship possible with the coachee.

The factors which affect engagement include: trust, listening, rapport, openness and disengagement and disruptions (such as withdrawal by the coachee). Interestingly, although most participants in this study perceived the bond as a characteristic of a good coaching relationship, there was little agreement on what actually constituted a bond.

Finally, collaboration involves: a two-way relationship, in which coach and coachee participated in a reciprocal two-way process; respect, which was mutual between coach and coachee; and, support, which included guidance, motivation and, especially for coachees, support outside the coaching session itself.


This research holds several considerations for practice:


  • How genuine is your style? How formulaic is your style? How emphathetic are you?
  • what degree do you engage in processes that enhance your own self-awareness and self-management? (e.g. How often do you get coaching yourself?)
  • How focused are you on adapting your coaching to achieve the most effective relationship with each coachee?
  • well do you manage disengagement and disruptions?
  • How much of a bond do you sense between yourself and your clients?


With each of your current clients, take a moment to rate (out of 10) the (i) trust, (ii) rapport, (iii) openness, (iv) collaboration, (v) respect and (vi) support you experience with each of your current coachees. Then, if you’re really keen to improve your practice, copy and paste the above points into an email and ask your clients to do the same!

Translating coaching research into coaching practice,

Dr Kerryn Griffiths
Global ReciproCoach Coordinator

Meaning: What is a Life Coach?

A life coach is much like it sounds, someone who helps a person with their life and tough situations that they may be encountering. A life coach can effectively help you get your life into order and create the organization as well as a great outlook on life in general. Many people don’t realize how much of a help a life coach can be for someone who is trying to get their life together. Life coaches are trained solely for the purpose of helping others, which is why it is very important to consult with a life coach that has had such training.

Although many people feel that it isn’t hard to become a life coach, those that are life coaches beg to differ. Becoming a life coach is much more than just listening to someone else’s problems or allowing them to cry on their shoulder, which is what many people don’t understand. A life coach has to know what questions to ask an individual as well as what tough questions to ask. Not only that but they also have to have certain tactics and methods to aiding the person and fixing their problems within their life.

It is very important that when you are searching for a life coach that you pick very carefully. Many people will claim to be a life coach but won’t carry out the true duties involved in being a life coach to someone. You want to make sure that you are choosing a person that has had experience in the field of fixing problems and tough life situations. It also helps out if a person has reliable sources from past clients that can vouch that the life coach did indeed help them organize their life and also helped them fix tough problems that they went through in their life.

A life coach’s main goal is to help with the motivation of a client. In a sense, a life coach can become your own personal cheerleader when you accomplish the goals that your life coach has set for you. Realize that your life coach wants to see your life changed in a positive way and this means listening, motivating, and guiding their clients in the right direction so that this can be accomplished.

Although there are many different reasons why a person would choose to incorporate a life coach in their lives, as long as you follow the strategies and help given by your life coach, you are sure to get your life back on track… the right way! So if you yourself are having troubles in your life and feel like your life is incomplete shambles and disorganization, then hiring your very own personal life coach may just be your ticket to having the structured and organized life you have always dreamed of.

For more information in regards to our coaching and mentoring service… contact us directly – Click Here

With Love, Gratitude and Grace,

  • Yvonne E. Venter-Louw
  • YEVL (Pty) Ltd.: Founding Director & Principal
  • Researcher, Advisor, Educator, Coach, Mentor, Keynote Speaker & Host of the Financial Independent Coach show on YouTube
  • Personal Thesis: The Psychological impact of past experiences (and the rehabilitation thereof) on daily driven financial decisions.
  • Naturally creating and experiencing Freedom, Meaning & Wealth!

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