The underlying role of a Cash Flow Coach is to help clients to change and move forward, whether through learning new skills or encouraging them to approach their financial affairs differently and take on new fiscal responsibilities. Just because the client’s next steps seem smooth and straight forward to the coach, doesn’t mean it is simple and stress-free for the client. Clients who demonstrate understanding and exude confidence can still falter when it comes to the reality of implementing their cash flow management structures and sticking to the actions that will achieve their financial goals.
Human nature suggests this is, in fact, not surprising. Change, even sensible, positive change, is daunting. Clients are entering into a new realm, expectations are high, and there is a raft of further information to absorb. Old habits are hard to budge, and it’s all going to be a bit uncomfortable.
Given this, one thing that cash flow coaches know is that clients will, at times, be reluctant to take the next step, and they will sometimes struggle to move forward. And, the common cause for these barriers is underlying, primitive fear.
The inability to deal with these fears can be extremely limiting for both cash flow coach and clients in undertaking the journey and achieving their goals. Some clients will be severely tempted to give up and not prove to themselves that they are capable of habitual change.
The good news is that clients have made the first step in recognising the benefits of cash flow management and change. The challenge lies in maintaining the focus on reaping the rewards that positive cash flow brings while dealing with the risks, apprehension and fear that come with new approaches and habits.
Recognising Thinking Preference
In working with clients and assisting them to progress on their cash flow coaching journey, and perhaps address their fears, cash flow coaches need to acknowledge the different thinking preferences clients have. Understanding how clients think is fundamental to determining the best ways to move forward, which actions will be the most impactful and, when things become uncomfortable, how to overcome hurdles and learn from them.
Everyone has a different thinking preference and knowing a client’s thinking preference becomes a specific tool that cash flow coaches can use to tailor conversations and position processes that suit a particular client’s mechanisms for change. For clients, accepting they have a unique thinking preference, increases their self-awareness and helps them realise they are in control of their future and that one–size does not fit all.
A client’s individual thinking preference means they tend to approach information and knowledge from a unique and singular perspective. Understanding this preference can be a strength because it helps to give a situation context and position ways to address issues. However, it can also be problematic if it is the only way to form solutions. It should be a preference, not the sole option.
Three Thinking Styles
Thinking preferences are a combination of thinking styles. Thinking styles have been defined and categorised in numerous ways, and a client’s dominant style is a strong indicator of their individual thinking preference. Knowing your dominant style helps to leverage cognitive strengths; however, being aware and utilising other thinking styles can help develop overall capacity and enable a more diversified approach to problem-solving and change management.
The three thinking styles are: -
The What Thinking Style
Clients that have a predominant what thinking style are all about details. They want to know facts, figures, and statistics and be able to define what is happening or what has occurred. In relation to cash flow coaching, they will focus intensely on their cash flow structures, expense items and cost to income ratio. They will be good at analysis and dissecting each month’s numbers and will assume that knowing all the facts will enable them to understand why and how things happen.
Simply put, 'what' thinkers may have tunnel vision about reaching a cost to income ratio of 70% without really knowing how to go about it or why it is necessarily such a great achievement!
The Why Thinking Style
Why thinkers need an understanding of the reason for doing things and taking actions. While detail is somewhat important, why thinking clients are more interested in the motivation for doing things and the results, outcomes and benefits from taking actions.
The assumption for why thinkers is; if they fully embrace and believe in the benefits or consequences of a course of action, it doesn’t matter which particular route they take to get there and that the facts and figures will take care of themselves.
'Why' thinkers want to know why achieving a cost to income ratio of 70% is so good and what it will mean to them.
The How Thinking Style
The how thinking style is about the process. How to go about something or how something happened. How thinkers focus on actual implication. They will follow instructions or recipes fully and explicitly and have faith that the outcomes will follow and the details will bear witness to success. They don’t delve too deeply into why they are going about things in a certain way, just that they will produce results.
'How' thinkers want to know the actual actions they need to do to achieve a cost to income ratio of 70%.
Working with Thinking Styles and Preferences
Sometimes, determining the dominant thinking style that makes up a thinking preference is relatively easy. For some clients, it is not so apparent because they use multiple styles. A key indicator of thinking styles is considering the types of questions clients ask when taking on new information or implementing new concepts.
Regardless of thinking preferences or styles, cash flow coaches can use a framework to work with clients in leveraging their dominant thinking style and developing complementary, alternative thinking styles.
When faced with a new challenge or a change in habit, clients may need to consider their approach from several perspectives. Accessing different thinking styles can help provide clarity and open up a variety of options for them to move forward.
By addressing each of the following four areas, cash flow coaches can assist clients in working with their thinking preference, view things from multiple angles and utilise their non-dominate thinking styles.
A core area for cash flow coaches and clients is having absolute clarity on the metrics of success. What are the targeted, specific outcomes and what are the expectations and key deliverables? With clarity comes focus! And focus makes the seemingly impossible, achievable. The cost to income ratio is the primary tool for providing focus and measuring performance.
Processes are the pathways to success and achieving the performance metrics the client has established. They are the ‘how to implement’ part of the equation. It is essential to recognise that there are multiple processes to be put in place, each one a stepping-stone to the next. Establishing cash flow structures and regularly reviewing cash flows are the process-based tools that support cash flow coaches and clients on the journey.
For a client, the cash flow coach is their main area of support. However, there may be other people who can support the client to achieve their performance targets and appropriately enact the processes to achieve their desired results. Family and friends involved in the journey can help clients feel they are not alone as well as keep them accountable. And, having open communication channels and potentially establishing peer-based groups can be instrumental in assisting clients in assimilating other thinking styles into their context.
It’s only natural for clients to be fearful of change. When faced with a new challenge or being asked to change the way you do things, risks and dangers become front of mind. The cash flow coach’s role is to alleviate these fears by maintaining the client’s focus on the possibilities and options the journey will open up. The result of establishing proper cash flow management will differ from client to client and reminding the client that the benefits far out way the sacrifices is a worthy conversation for a cash flow coach to have.
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.