What is Financial Coaching?
If you want to be a better golfer or tennis player, you’ll want to hire a professional coach.
If you want to get in shape or lose weight, you’ll want to hire a personal trainer or a wellness dietician.
If you want to hike or explore in a foreign country, you’ll want to hire a trail scout or a tour guide.
If you want financial freedom based on Christ’s abundant life, you’ll want to hire a Christian financial coach. And if coaching is new to you, here’s what financial coaching is – and is not - all about.
Financial Coaching is a holistic approach.
Unlike life coaching or fitness coaching, which depend on your prior knowledge and applying it in new ways, financial coaching is similar to a personal sports coach. In sports such as golf and tennis, the individual athlete contracts with a coach to teach, train, strategize, give performance feedback, and consistently encourage. Most individual athletic coaches are former players or team coaches. The athlete ultimately controls the relationship because they pay the coach. But they also are willing to contract for a certain amount of time to do what their coach teaches in order to improve their performance. If their performance improves, the athlete usually will extend the coaching contract to stay on track. When you contract with a financial coach, you will not only learn how to hit the ball, you will get help to hit the ball better and more consistently.
Coaching is NOT counseling.
In counseling, the counselor helps the client identify problems and issues, and then recommends to the client what he/she should do. This is like a doctor/patient relationship. The counselor and the client have a relationship, but they are at an arm’s length. The counselor expects the client to do what they are told to get better. In coaching, the coach helps the client identify problems and issues, but the coach helps the client to find their own solutions based on their own knowledge and experience. The coach helps the client to refine the performance of the solutions. The coach also helps the client identify gaps in knowledge, and what they need to learn to be successful. With a financial coach, you will get help with applying solutions, you won’t be completely on your own.
Financial Coaching is teaching.
Not in the traditional sense of training or school, but more like tutoring. The financial coach provides content with context and individual application. You not only learn what you need to know, you determine how to apply it to your life right away. Each week meeting with a Christian financial coach, there will be a spiritual topic and a money-related topic. This is not a Bible Study where the teacher tells how much they know and you fill-in-the-blanks after reading a verse. Usually the financial coaching topic session is more of a discussion than instructional – more mentoring than instructing. The coach’s teaching objective is to build up your knowledge and wisdom that you can apply, not to teach just for knowledge sake. With a financial coach, you agree to be tutored in spiritual traits and financial wisdom that you can apply to your life.
Financial Coaching is NOT accountability.
Unless you want the coach to hold you accountable to performing certain tasks or achieving specific goals by your own deadlines, the financial coach is not going to hold you accountable. You must learn to honestly hold yourself accountable, analyze your performance, and try again. Many Christian accountability groups have a specific set of character traits and habits that participants agree to abide by and confess when they fail. Financial coaching is not this kind of “gotcha” agreement. Financial coaching should edify or build up your confidence in applying a renewed spiritual/financial mindset. Good athletic coaches don’t pay attention to wins and losses, they pay attention to performance and offer constructive feedback to the athlete that they cannot see during the event. With financial coaching, you will not be penalized by accountability, you will be built up by constructive feedback.
Financial Coaching requires co-active participation
from both the coach and the client.
Co-active coaching is a two-way conversation with ground rules for privacy, respect, openness, compassion, empathy, active listening and speaking the truth in love. When connecting our finances to our spiritual character, we will go deeper than surface level to find out why we have unhealthy financial habits. When we better know what we’re up against, we can ask for God’s help and find His solutions together. The solutions to our financial problems are not more money. With financial coaching, you will have a guide hiking alongside you who helps you navigate the path, but cannot do the hiking for you – that’s your job!
Financial Coaching is NOT financial advising.
A financial coach will not recommend specific investments and specific funds. For example, a financial coach will NOT say, “Open an account at Superfund Financial and put $5,000 in a growth stock ETF and $10,000 in a precious metals mutual fund.” This is what a certified financial advisor does. A financial coach will say, “Based on what we’ve talked about with blessed investing, how will you plan to invest your money in your own Roth IRA that is outside your employer’s plan?” Your financial plan with your financial coach may include a goal to find a trusted certified financial advisor to help you with investing in your retirement plans. With financial coaching, you will learn about forestry and landscaping and maintenance, but you will not be told which specific trees and shrubs to plant.
Your financial coach is on your side!
We're here to help accelerate your performance and your pace to achieving that prize of financial freedom with the heart of God's steward. If you’re thinking about working with a Christian financial coach, we would be glad to find out if coaching is right for you.