At the core of cash flow coaching, is the cash flow coach’s role in assisting clients to change their behaviours. Human behavioural change is a huge area, based in psychology and at the centre of individual counselling needs and organisational development projects. For cash flow coaches, recognising ways to help clients take on change and turn old habits into new behaviours can be challenging, yet very rewarding, for both client and coach.
B = MAT
One model for behavioural change, introduced by BJ Fogg, from Stanford University is B = MAT. Fogg suggested that for Behavioural change to occur you need three things – Motivation, Ability and Trigger
A client’s motivation to change is about their underlying drivers – the areas that fuel their desire to change. Fogg defined motivation at three levels - Sensation (the physical level); Anticipation (the emotional level); and Belonging (the social level).
In cash flow coaching, all three areas of motivation are competing, bound in the struggle between the short-term (instant gratification) and the longer-term (financial security and independence)
The physical level of motivation, sensation, refers to the feelings of pleasure and reward as opposed to pain and threat. As part of the human condition, clients are drawn to rewards and avoid threats. Cash flow coaches who reward clients for positive changes in behaviour and are not threatening or forceful in positioning change, note their clients have increased motivation.
The second level of motivation is anticipation. Emotional drivers, such as dreams, fears, goals and aspirations play an important part in the cash flow coaching journey. A client’s desire to achieve future successes and live an enhanced lifestyle can be a recurring motivational theme during cash flow coaching sessions.
Belonging, the social aspect of motivation is also worth consideration for cash flow coaches. Whilst personal finances are predominately a private affair, they are part of the client’s need to feel like they belong to and are part of their social groups and society as a whole. Being excluded or rejected from communities because of financial constraints are things clients are motivated to avoid.
In Fogg’s model, ability goes further than the client’s capacity or competence to complete actions that lead to positive change. Rather, it puts the onus back on the coach to focus on simplicity; ensuring the steps of the cash flow coaching journey are easy to complete. The simpler tasks are, the more readily they will be accepted and completed, leading to transition and behavioural change.
Cash flow coaches should consider the following areas in enhancing their client’s abilities.
Time – No one likes to waste time and it is becoming increasingly precious. Breaking down the steps of the cash flow coaching journey into small chunks can help with the sense of achievement and allow changes the time to cement themselves. Sure, you could set up a three-hour appointment with a client, to fully analyse their position, set goals, establish processes and set out the next steps, but you will probably never see them again and they won’t have achieved anything. It’s not that they didn’t have the capability, it’s just that the actions were too time-consuming and not bite-size and manageable.
Money – Here the coach will need to demonstrate the return on investment for the fee clients pay. A client’s monetary ability is generally not that they don’t have access to funds. There needs to be correlation and understanding that it is an investment, not an expenditure.
Effort – Overly burdensome work, such as filling in forms, manually completing paperwork or having to re-enter figures can impinge on a client’s ability to complete cash flow coaching actions. Given today’s technology, ease of access and application is an expectation.
Automation – When we don’t have to remember to do something - when it just happens, we are more likely to do it. Taking the thinking out of certain cash flow coaching activities prevents distractions and enables focus on behavioural change.
Community – Clients feel comfortable knowing they are not the only ones on the journey. Cash flow coaches that build a full book of clients and organise ways for clients to interact or meet with other clients enhance the ability for clients to come on board and stay the distance.
Routine – Making cash flow coaching part of a client’s routine goes a long way in ensuring it is done. “It’s just what I do”, is the ultimate expression of a client’s ability. It represents unconscious competence.
Sometimes, clients who are struggling with behavioural change may just need a more simplistic approach and easier processes to follow. It doesn’t necessarily mean ‘they don’t get it’.
Sometimes clients will have the motivation and ability but still, the cash flow coaching journey struggles to get underway. This is because they need a trigger or prompt to get the ball rolling or to maintain momentum. Triggers can come in the following forms.
Specific Motivator – Some clients will have a general motivation to change but it’s too ethereal for them to grab onto. Cash flow coaches need to dig deeper to find out what is really important for their clients and then use that as the spark to get them focussed and determined to engage in enduring habitual and behavioural change.
Techniques – Determining the right approach for a client will vary from one to the next. The cash flow coaches ability to recognise personality and client types goes a long way to choosing the best technique to trigger the client and move them in the right direction.
Clear Actions – Some clients prefer clear, unambiguous steps to follow. They are motivated to succeed; they have the ability to do it and they are happy for their coach to provide them with the actions and milestones for them to reach as part of the next stage of their own journeys.
Advancements in coaching and neuroscience have demonstrated that behavioural change is not out of the reach of anyone. Armed with this knowledge, along with an understanding of the different elements required, cash flow coaches can work with clients across all demographics and walks of life.
elevateB provides the training program as well as support and ongoing development for certified cash flow coaches. Individuals who choose to work with a certified cash flow coach are better placed to achieve financial independence and security. If you would like to make a difference and help everyday Australians be more financially prudent and savvy, consider becoming a cash flow coach today. Click here.