Canadian financial advisers turn to coaches, mentors

Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:44pm EST
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By Andrea Hopkins

TORONTO (Reuters) - It often starts with a case of weekly dread. Frustrated financial advisers, overwhelmed or under water, need objective advice. With few formal supports available in an industry that breeds fierce competition, they seek out a coach or mentor.

"It's typically someone sitting late on a Sunday night, playing 'Gee ain't it awful,' in their mind, and then getting up on Monday morning and saying 'I need some help'," said business coach George Hartman.

A managing partner at Accretive Advisor in Toronto, Hartman said advisers often struggle when their business gets too big and presents a conflict between running an office and serving clients. For many, revenues are down and costs up, and they are surrounded by people who depend on them for security.

"In many cases they've built the practice doing themselves all the things that other people should now be doing, so it's hard for them to delegate, hard for them to justify adding resources or outsource activities."

That's where coaches or mentors come in; experts who can advise the advisers at any stage of their career. Business coaching is flourishing in Canada's financial world as professionals fork over between C$3,500 and C$12,000 a year for an assessment, strategy and support to improve their careers.

Art Schooley has seen his business grow exponentially since starting The Personal Coach for financial advisers in 2002 in Toronto. He now overseeing five coaches and has hundreds of clients.

"When I was growing up in the industry, mentoring was important, and senior people had the time, and did it. I don't think it is there as much. The world is busier, people don't have as much time," Schooley said.

"It can be a pretty lonely world out there, and they just like to bounce things off a coach. They don't have that outlet at home, typically don't want to get it from their supplier, so a coach offers a partnership relationship that they trust, and allows them to think out loud."   Continued...