As a cash flow coach, one of the first things to be cognisant of, when you start working with clients, is the difference between a presenting problem and the real problem or the underlying issue.
A presenting problem is typically the one which the client first explains. When you ask a question like: “Why are you here to see me today”; they may respond with: “I can’t seem to save money”. Often, this is not the underlying issue. It may be what your client thinks is the problem or possibly a way for them to deflect away from what really needs addressing.
Discovering the underlying issue is pivotal in a successful coach/client working relationship. It assists the coach in setting direction and navigating the best course of action. And the client can personally benefit and overcome the struggles they have in identifying, understanding and overcoming their presenting problems.
In the early stages of the cash flow coaching journey, the primary challenge is to uncover the correct problems to solve. As an example, you may spend time helping a client establish accounts and automatic deposits to agreed levels of expenditure and savings, only to find that they just don’t adhere to them. It may be because of personal reasons, or that ingrained habits are difficult to change. Whatever the reason this is an example of addressing a presenting problem and not the underlying issue.
For cash flow coaches to have conversations about the real problem, they need to get beyond the initial façade.
To achieve this, the cash flow coach must ask questions that clearly define and expressly state the problem or goal. Questions along the line of
“What’s the biggest issue you need to solve in terms of your day to day cash flow management?”
“How would better cash flow make a long-term difference in your life?”
“How does cash flow management relate to your overall objectives?”
“What matters to you in life?”
Occasionally, cash flow coaching can be straight forward. As mentioned earlier, setting up the right systems and structures may be all a client needs to get them stated. However, if you’re dealing with ingrained habits, cash flow coaching can be quite the journey. For example, some clients will tell themselves if they can just get past Christmas the pressure will be off, and they can ‘get serious’ about their cash flow. Others may think that the pay rise, they are surely due soon, will be the solution to their financial shortcomings. Again, these are more presenting problems than underlying issues.
A good way to discover how ingrained a client’s habits are is to ask questions that delve into their history.
“When you’ve had to make changes in the past, what difficulties did you encounter?”
“When has your personal cash flow been in good shape?”
“Have you dealt with this challenge before?” “Does it reoccur regularly?”
Without exception, cash flow clients want to improve their and their family’s lives. However, many of them think that a change in their environment or the people around them will be the solution. Presenting problems versus underlying issues!
The role of the cash flow coach is to help people realise that the real solution lies within. Instead of changing the situation, especially when the level of an individual’s control is minimal, realign the response to that situation. Decide whether the environment needs to be changed or just how to approach it and deal with it.
It is easy for coaches and clients to focus on the symptoms instead of the cure. For example, a client who wants to save money for a deposit on a home may have a problem in saying “No” to friends and family, putting pressure and demands on their finances. Or their identity may be linked to keeping up with the next-door neighbours – the Jones.
When you start working with your cash flow clients on their underlying issues, you can start to assist them in their transformation. You will start to focus on permanent solutions rather than short-term remedies. You will start conversations with phrases like:
“How would it feel to know your cash flow is positive and working strongly towards your future financial freedom and independence?”
“Do you have confidence in your ability to make the changes necessary to achieve this?”
Once the journey has started, and the focus is on solving the underlying issues you can start to work with your client on the motivations and behavioural drivers that will move them to a new state.
“Now that you have determined what you need to change let’s look at the how. What has caused you to function the way you have and what do you need to do to move to the new state?”
“What will you gain from the move to the new state? What will you lose?”
Presenting problems provide a starting point for the coaching relationship. However, it is important to recognise that in most cases, they are not the underlying issue. Cash flow coaches know the importance of asking the right questions to identify things correctly.
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.