A column in the current edition of the Insurance Journal brings up the issue of coaching, albeit within the parameters of insurance versus investment advising.
is a long-time coach, author, and keynote speaker, outgrowth of a highly
successful career as an insurance advisor and executive manager. His view is that coaching advice for
insurance agents and insurance-based financial advisors needs to differ from
that offered to investment advisors. In practice,
many of the former group are exposed to coaching designed for the latter.
‘homogenization’ of financial advisor coaching links to the tenet that “a
financial advisor is a financial advisor”.
However, there are key differences in the needs of the two advisor
‘client maintenance demand’ is lower for life insurance agents, due to fewer
policy reviews as opposed to portfolio reviews each year. As a consequence, agents can handle, and require
for income, far more clients and client families. Life agents have ‘a much greater prospecting
urgency’ than investment advisors (especially established ones), in order to
grow their business to any comparable extent. These realities need to be addressed in the
coaching focus that insurance professionals receive.
a wider sociological scale, not to mention an economic one, coaching means a
disparate category of necessary qualifications. The
simple fact of some activities not directly relating to paychecks makes
professional grade coaching non-universal.
Take one of
the highest profile sub-groups, sports and athletes. Here, the levels of coaching needed
correspond to fairly well-defined factors, including professional vs. amateur,
experienced vs. novice, young vs. adult vs. older adult. In the lower echelons, there’s the issue of
paid vs. unpaid – and insofar as the latter, what degree of voluntary effort is
reasonable to expect.
cases, there is question about the degree of expertise and capacity to apply
while relating to different human ‘pressure points’. How much should be harnessed from within (the
coach) as opposed to without (the one being coached)?
issue is how much the mentality, and so approach, of coaching is influenced by
the affluence of so many professional athletes, especially the top tiers.
public arena, one suspects that the preponderance, and omnipresence, of social
media means that the practice of being a school teacher means being
increasingly confronted with opinionated (therefore, somewhat self-coached) students
at earlier stages than in the past. The
reality of student ‘pressure points’ shifting, the adaptability of teaching and
the teacher are challenged.
Back in the
business perspective, as my own past experience attests, the manner and
effectiveness of presenters providing coaching messages in meetings can be all
over the map. To some extent, impactful
circumstances include those beyond a presenter’s control, such as time of day,
ambient distractions, and how effective was one’s lead-in. This is where a clear and adhered-to agenda
can be a big help: if attendees are unable or unwilling to focus equally on all
parts of a meeting, at least they will be in a position to have their energies
maximized for those segments perceived to be of greatest personal value.
combines this physical and mental reality of people, with the inevitable competing
attention-grabbers, such as deadlines or commitments awaiting them, not to
mention the ripple effects of home life, one can understand the challenge to
coaching distracted targets.
the significance of ‘common’ versus ‘uncommon’ counselling.
coaching attempts to cover more than one discipline, assuming their similarities
are sufficient for transferrable-level advice to be effective. Often, as in the example of insurance and
investment advisors, this may not equate.
coaching relates directly to one’s business or activity; its inherent greater
efficiency is an engine to greater achievement by the one coached.
fits all’ is a limited business and social mode of operation. The same translation is apropos for coaching.