So, you're looking for a coach, huh?

mindset Jun 17, 2021

Coaching. It’s all the rage these days in the world of financial advisors.

Just do a simple google search of “coach for financial advisors” and you’ll get numerous results. For good reason, too.

Being a financial advisor is increasingly difficult by the day. You work in a hyper-competitive, increasingly commoditized profession. You need every edge you can get to remain relevant and successful, and hiring a professional coach can help.

The promised benefits of a coach are numerous:

  • Improved mindset, eliminated mental barriers, no more limiting beliefs
  • More clients from your target market
  • More income and more freedom

The list goes on.

However, just knowing that hiring a coach is beneficial doesn’t make hiring one any easier. In fact, your choice is made even more difficult by the prevalence of mastermind and focus groups that have formed as a lower-priced alternative to coaching. While you don’t get the 1-on-1 exposure you do with a coach, these groups offer a forum for exchanging ideas and best practices.

With so many options available, it can be extremely difficult to choose what’s right for you. That’s why we’ve written this guide to break down the elements you should consider when choosing a coach or membership group, and we’ve even provided a checklist of questions you should ask any prospective coach before hiring them.

The Coach

The most important element you have to consider before hiring a coach is their background. We’ve created 4 different buckets or tiers that all advisor coaches fall into. Those tiers are:

  • Tier 1 - Current or former financial advisors who built successful firms
  • Tier 2 - Entrepreneurs who built successful businesses in other areas/fields
  • Tier 3 - Coaching firms
  • Tier 4 - Everyone else

Tier 1 coaches are the most valuable ones you can hire. These coaches have been in your shoes before. They’ve walked the walk of financial advisors, and they did it successfully. They understand what’s required to build a successful financial advisor practice, from the major elements to the most minute details.

Tier 2 coaches have built successful businesses like Tier 1 coaches, but it wasn’t as a financial advisor. These coaches provide great value since they know what it takes to build a successful business, but they don’t possess the focused knowledge of Tier 1 coaches. Tier 2 coaches understand marketing, operations, etc., but they may not fully grasp the nuances of financial advisor practice. 

Tier 3 consists of large coaching firms that focus on financial advisors. These firms themselves are a collective wealth of knowledge, but the coach you work with is one hired by the firm and assigned to you. While this coach’s pedigree is screened by the firm, it may not be to the level of Tier 1 and 2 coaches. However, what Tier 3 coaches lack in knowledge may be outweighed by the additional services offered by the firm and the infrastructure supporting those services. For example, the firm could offer services like marketing outsourcing. 

Lastly, Tier 4 consists of all the other coaches. These are your self-professed “gurus” who say they’re experts in things like marketing or sales, but they neither have a background in financial services nor have they built any sort of successful business in the past. Their track record is questionable at best.

What do you get?

The second most important element to consider when hiring a coach is what you get with their service, and this is where it becomes difficult to discern between them.

All coaching programs will offer things like:

  • 1-on-1 calls
  • Accountability check-ins
  • Online courses
  • Group office hours/Q&A sessions

But what is discussed in these calls, check-ins, and sessions? What material is covered in the online courses? It’s important to distinguish between the coaches who provide detail into what you’re getting with their service or program and the coaches who just provide generic statements about what they offer.

Additionally, given the increasing commoditization of coaching services, it’s important to take note of coaches who offer services beyond what’s offered by the majority. These services can include things like:

  • Implementation support - After working with you to develop a new marketing strategy, does the coach have a team or system to help you implement the strategy? If they do, how much does the implementation team do for you?
  • Collateral development - If part of the new strategy requires the development of new collateral, does the coach help you create it or have collateral already made that you can customize as your own?

All coaches will help you develop new strategies, but few offer services to help you implement them. Implementation support can be worth well more than the cost of the service. 

The Coach’s positioning

Positioning refers to the focus and outcomes that the coach promises. It’s important to make sure this focus matches your goals.

For example, some coaches are focused on improving your mentality by knocking down your mental barriers and eliminating your limiting beliefs. This is great for advisors who maybe want to charge more for their services but don’t feel their services are worth it. it’s also good for advisors with a strong pipeline who may be having issues closing clients. 

Other coaches focus on helping you attract more of a certain type of client. This might work for you if your goal is to improve your prospect pipeline and grow your client base. It’s important to do your due diligence with these types of coaches though because growing your practice comes with its own challenges. Not all growth-focused coaches also offer programs or support that then assist you with establishing the systems and infrastructure to support that growth.

The unicorns of coaching programs are those with a defined focus on helping you with one element of your practice while also offering services for addressing other areas. For example, the focus could be on systematizing your practice to increase your profit and personal freedom while still offering a program that addresses your mindset. While these programs are likely to be priced at the higher end of the scale, an all-encompassing program can be well worth the cost, just like implementation services. 

Access to the coach

It’s an unfortunate reality that some personality-based coaching programs might not actually come with regular access to coach marketing themselves. Many of these coaches are just the face of their program, and while they might take on a few clients, most of the time they are outsourcing their coaching service to someone else on their staff.

On the flip side, some coaching programs promise you regular access to the coach while also providing you regular access to other subject matter experts. For example, some programs that offer implementation support provide you direct access to the implementation expert, thus knocking down barriers and streamlining your experience. This might come with an additional cost, but most of the time it’s included in the packaged price. 


It’s important to balance costs with what you get with the program. Coaching programs can cost as much as $15,000 a year, and some of those programs are just general coaching without additional services or support. Since coaches will all profess to help you grow your practice, it’s advisable to conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis. Will the promised growth exceed the required cost?

Lastly, the coaching program should fit your budget, and the coach’s business model should not revolve around you graduating into pricier and pricier offering tiers. It’s one thing to retain a coach at similar pricing year over year, but it should be seen as a red flag if the coach requires you to buy into a more expensive program after completing one.

12 questions to ask before hiring a coach

  • Are they or were they a successful financial advisor?
    • For how long were they an advisor?
    • If they weren’t an advisor, what makes them capable of coaching other advisors?
  • How long have they been coaching other advisors?
  • Do they provide you ideas and systems in the following areas? (Mind you, these ideas and systems should not cost extra. They should be part of their program)
    • Mindset
    • Metrics
    • Profit
    • Marketing
    • Selling
    • Automation
    • Client Retention
    • Succession Planning
  • Are they versed in the art of direct marketing, and if so, do they provide the tools for you to implement it quickly?
  • Do they offer system implementation services, and if so, do they cost extra?
  • Under what circumstances will they refuse to work with an advisor, or do they take anyone who isn’t maxed out on their credit card?
  • Do they understand the intricacies of the financial planning process?
  • Are they tied to a product vendor? Or worse, are they themselves an FMO or RIA hoping to bring you into their fold?
  • Do they utilize obviously paid celebrities to talk about great their service is, or do they give you access to their current clients?
  • Do they give you 60 days to decide if the program is right for you? If not, will they refund you fully with no questions asked?
  • Lastly, how accessible is the “coach”? Are you getting direct access to them or will they ultimately pair you with someone else in their organization?
  • How are they different from other coaches or programs? (A question to then ask yourself - was their answer unique and specific or canned and general?)

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.