When you hear the word “guide,” who do you think of? Yoda or another wise sage in one of your favorite films? I’m not much of a movie buff, but somewhat embarrassingly, what pops into my head is the title track from the “Ghostbusters” movie.

If there’s something strange
In your neighborhood
Who you gonna call?
Ghostbusters! 

If there’s something weird
And it don’t look good
Who you gonna call?
Ghostbusters!

When faced with market volatility and economic uncertainty like our current situation, you’re there for your clients – but who are you going to call?  Who can you count on to provide you with perspective, guidance and emotional support in times like this?

The importance of having a guide

A good guide serves two roles: they help prepare you for the inevitable challenges along your journey, and they provide support when you need it most.

When the economy is strong and markets are stable, a guide helps you see your blind spots and encourages you to prepare for the challenges ahead. They illuminate areas of your business where you’ve become complacent – perhaps areas where you’re less efficient than you could be, or a profit margin that can’t absorb much of a revenue decline before requiring drastic cuts.

They help you think about an inevitable market decline, and put plans and processes in place so that you can effectively serve your clients and keep your business running in periods of extreme volatility or prolonged downturns.  They help pull you out of the “weeds” of the day-to-day operations and look more holistically at your business and the future.

When things abruptly change, and you have curveballs like the current coronavirus pandemic thrown at your business, your guide is there for you in a way your friends, family and colleagues can’t be. Guides can support you in a number of ways:

  • They can help you strategize. When things go sideways, your guide helps you develop a plan of action.  How should you be communicating with your clients? What does that messaging sound like? How should you be taking care of your team? What business changes do you need to make? What’s the best way to streamline your business?
  • They can help you make smart business decisions. Just like you tell your clients to avoid making fear-based decisions, you need to do the same for your business. But that’s sometimes easier said than done! A guide helps you think through your situation and your options, and the potential consequences of each, then helps you make the smartest decision you can based on the information that you have.
  • They provide perspective. It’s easy to feel like you’re on an island when you’re running an independent advisory business. Times of market volatility and economic disruption can make you feel even more isolated. A good guide provides you with perspective about the situation and what you should be thinking about to not just survive, but thrive.
  • They help you create plans to capitalize on opportunities. Albert Einstein once said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” No matter how challenging or bleak things are in the world, there are always opportunities – for example, opportunities to grow, to get better, to give back or to build a new foundation.  Your specific opportunities will be different from the next advisor; a guide will help you uncover those opportunities and develop a plan to take advantage of them.
  • They provide emotional support. During times of market and economic uncertainty, financial advisors are on the front lines, constantly managing the emotions of their clients and coaching them to make good decisions. A full day of this can be emotionally exhausting – weeks or months of it can take a huge toll on even the most mentally-strong advisors. And yet, many advisors don’t have anyone to turn to – they feel they must be strong for their clients, team, and family. Having a guide allows you the space to process what you’re going through. It allows you a place to vent, talk about worries, and be human.
  • They help you be a strong leader. In times of uncertainty, your team needs you to be the best leader you can be.  Your guide supports you in being this leader by helping you:

• Be thoughtful about your internal communication and messaging
• Create a plan to support your team
• And develop a strategy to take care of yourself so that you can take care of others.

Who is your guide?

A guide can take many forms, but as you probably guessed, I’m a bit biased – my personal favorites are mentors and coaches. At Carson, our coaching members think of their coach as one of the first people to call or email when they need advice, ideas or perspective.  When they get a curveball, they know exactly “who they’re gonna call” – their coach.

So, who did you call when the markets turned volatile? Who prepared you for these challenging economic times? Who is currently helping you plan for a potential prolonged downturn?  My hope is you have a strong guide in place to help you navigate this environment. But if you don’t, it’s not too late. Take the time now to find your guide. It will be well worth it.

Interested in hearing more about the Carson Coaching program? Let’s talk! Set up a complimentary consultation today.

AUTHOR

Sarah M. Cain

Vice President, Coaching & Consulting
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