The ability to initiate and maintain the momentum of a conversation is a fundamental skill-set for a cash flow coach. Cash flow coaching helps clients with their self-awareness; transitions their experiences into development opportunities; leverages their strengths, and assist them to address their challenges. Ultimately, empowered cash flow coaching conversations encourage clients to be accountable for their actions and be responsible for establishing healthy financial habits.
The art of having an empowered conversation lies in balancing support and challenge.
Supporting clients means assuring them they have been heard and understood and that their feelings, emotions and values are a constituent component of their cash flow coaching journey. Providing support engenders psychological safety, builds trust, and encourages honesty and transparency.
Challenging clients is about fostering a constructive dialogue that enlightens their thinking, helps them see the benefits and rewards available to them, whilst avoiding triggering defence mechanisms.
Empowered conversations achieve this balance and are conducted in an authentic rather than formulaic way.
An empowered conversation is centred on drawing out your client’s potential. And the key to empowered conversations lies in questioning. However, before a cash flow coach is in a position to ask the right questions and facilitate an empowered conversation, three important basics have to be observed.
When cash flow coaches truly listen, they allow clients to consider, review, formulate and articulate responses and solutions. Active listening starts with not assuming what the conversation is about or what direction it should take. Active listening can also be referred to as listening to understand.
The premise of listening to understand lies in the concept that, during a conversation, there are multiple levels of information being communicated. In a previous article, we looked at the difference between presenting problems and underlying issues.
Another example of levels of information is the difference between factual information and the reasons behind the facts. Our brains tend to deal with factual information first and, as a cash flow coach, it is important to delve deeper and to look for the values and emotions that are associated with the facts and the realities of the situation.
When practising active listening, cash flow coaches often start to recognise and understand a client’s objections, reservations and barriers. These can be the springboard to new and more powerful conversations. And, really listening to understand a client, puts the cash flow coach in the position to of tremendous value.
It is sometimes hard to do, but cash flow coaching isn’t about offering a quick solution, an immediate fix or gaining agreement. This applies to both the cash flow coach and the client. Thoughtful responding is about exploration, enquiry, openness and uncovering more answers. It means drawing out more information and stretching the client’s thinking before moving to a response.
Asking high-level questions such as the following can uncover insights that may not have otherwise come to hand.
How else could you have done this?
What other ideas do you have?
What alternatives have you observed or heard about?
What else has affected this situation?
In a scenario where a client has not achieved their cash flow target for the month, at the review meeting a forward-looking, solution-focused cash flow coach may ask the following question: -
“What is your cash flow target for next month”
On the surface, this seems like a reasonable question as it creates focus on the future state and asks the client to confirm their objective. However, it isn’t particularly powerful as it is unlikely to add any real value because it is getting the client to repeat a fact that they already know.
An alternative question might be: -
“How will you feel when you achieve your cash flow target for next month”
A non-directive prompting question like this is likely to elicit reflection and lead to greater insights.
Both client and cash flow coach need to be comfortable and relaxed for thoughtful responding to work. Tonality, body language and allowing time for the conversation to flow are elements that engender cash flow coaching sessions where feelings can be expressed and judgements do not exist.
It is common and natural for human beings to want to solve problems and give advice. And, while there are times for direct answers, cash flow coaching conversations are fundamentally about the client’s development and learning not about the cash flow coaches opinions or expertise.
Being willing to share knowledge is great and sometimes this is the best course of action. However, in these situations, an important element of an empowered conversation is allowing the recipient the option of whether to take-on information. By asking the question “would it be helpful for your situation if I share with you some of my thoughts and experiences”, you give the client the option of considering your information as part of their context. Compare this to “I’ll tell you what you should do”.
The difference between advice conversations and empowered conversations can be summarised as follows: -
Advice Conversations are about the coach, who is the expert, is right and sees that their role is to tell the client what to do.
Empowered Conversations are about the client, who is resourceful and wise and knows the best solution. The coach’s role is to listen and ask questions to help the client work out what to do.
When you’re able to listen carefully, respond thoughtfully, and resist imposing your solution, you have the basis of an empowered cash flow coaching conversation.
Becoming familiar with and having a repertoire of questions, provides a cash flow coach with a strong basis for having empowered conversations with clients. From this basis, you will be able to enhance your questioning skills and incorporate them naturally and spontaneously into cash flow coaching sessions and conversations.
The following sets of questions have been categorised into the various stages of the cash flow coaching journey.
Establishing Rapport/First Sessions
How was your weekend?
How has the last week been?
How did you get on with your analysis we discussed last week?
How did you feel when doing it?
What have been your highlights since we last spoke?
What has gone well for you?
What progress have you made?
What have you been most pleased with since we last spoke?
What do you want to achieve through our cash flow coaching sessions?
What is important to you right now?
What would you like to achieve from this particular session?
What do you want to happen as a result of this session?
By the end of the session, what will you feel pleased to have achieved?
If anything was possible what would you want?
Describe your perfect outcome?
What do you want to happen?
Building on success
What is working well right now?
What can you do more of that will help you move forward?
How can you ensure this happens again?
To clarify…what you have said is….?
Can you tell me a bit more about….?
If I have heard you correctly you have done…?
What would work for you?
What options do you have for moving forward?
What else could you do?
If anything was possible what would be your ideal course of action?
How have you handled this successfully in the past?
Who do you know who has been in a similar situation and how did they handle the situation?
If you were advising a friend what would you suggest?
If you did know what to do what would the answer be?
In the last session, you said x and now you are saying y…which is more important?
If I were to challenge you to complete this by next week what would be your reaction?
If you did know the answer what would it be?
What question would you like me to ask you?
What question should I be asking you?
On a scale of 1 -10 what progress have you made so far in achieving your goal?
On a scale of 1 – 10 how committed/motivated are you to carrying out this action?
On a scale of 1 -10 where are you in relation to…?
What are you not facing up to?
What are you pretending not to know?
If you did know the answer what would it be?
What is the real issue here?
What would your best friend be saying to you right now?
What is important to you?
Values and Motivation
What is important to you right now?
What would you like people to say about you?
When things were going well for you what was happening?
When did you last feel energised….what was happening for you?
What is your way forward?
Which option most excites you?
What one small action/step are you now going to take?
How are you going to do it?
When exactly will you do it?
Who will help you?
On a scale of 1 -10 how committed/motivated are you to achieving this?
How will you ensure you do it?
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.