Planting the Seed

Planting the Seed

In a coaching and planning session, it’s often tempting to just focus on getting results. And often, that’s exactly what we do – we help our clients to see things they wouldn’t otherwise see and we challenge their beliefs. But great planning and coaching work isn’t always done in the room – sometimes, it can just be about planting the seed. Let me explain.

Sometimes your client needs to go away and have a think

Sometimes, the big emotional blockage that’s causing all of the issues for your client – the thing that needs to be resolved before anything else can be dealt with – is so big, engrained or emotional that it’s not something your client can just decide in a meeting with a financial planner.

Sometimes, they have to go away and think about it.

And your role, as a great planner, is to be able to identify when that is the case – and then do 2 things:

1. Give your client the time they need to let it settle in their mind.
2. Keep your client focussed on that one issue.

And keeping your client focussed means staying in touch with them – reminding them that this is the one big issue that they really need to think about and deal with.

Plant the seed

It’s a bit like planting a seed in your client’s head to:

  •  Help them to stay focussed on that one issue.
  • Enable them to come to a natural conclusion that unblocks everything else – allowing them to continue with their great lifestyle financial planning work.

Find a trigger for the seed

What I find really helps is to put a trigger on the seed. And that trigger should be a task that you know they will do every day – something that reminds your client to think about that one issue every time they do that particular task.

I’ll give you an example.

I once had a client who had no financial need to work anymore, but he couldn’t really articulate why he was so hell bent on continuing to work when he really didn’t need to! A few weeks earlier, he’d even said, “if you could get me out of work, I’d be gone – I’m just so sick of it…”

So I planted the seed and gave him a trigger by saying to him, “every time you get on the train to Aberdeen for work (the trigger), I want you to remind yourself that there’s absolutely no need for you to go to work at all – you are choosing to go (the seed)”

And you know what? He did just that – for months! But then one day he called me, “Neil, I’m on the train and I’m getting off at the next stop and going back home.”

Aha! The seed had grown in his mind. The trigger had forced him to keep asking himself the same question until he eventually came to a different answer.

So what made the difference?

The thing is, he would never have just come to that decision by chatting about it in a financial planning session. But two key things made all the difference:

  • The seed
  • The trigger

And when you choose a trigger for your client, it really does need to be a regular daily event. It can be when your client brushes their teeth, or when they put their pants on – it really doesn’t matter. It just has to be a task that you know they will do every day.

Show them how to link the seed and trigger together by saying, “Whenever you do that, I want you to ask yourself this question….”

And it needs to be a big question, like “why am I doing xx when I don’t need to?!”

This approach will really help your client to take that seed and allow it to grow in their mind – unblocking everything else so that you can continue with some really great lifestyle financial planning work.

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