Before our own confidence propels us to achieve things we didn’t think possible, we experience confidence through the support of people we know and respect. These are people who help us see what we can accomplish instead of fearing the future and not even trying.
A good friend told me years ago to look up at the night sky and gaze on the points of light. “Any of those stars are yours for the taking. All you have to do is reach up and touch them,” he said to me.
I believed him and, over my career, he continued to remind me to overcome the obstacles in my path and to focus on the possibilities in front of me.
That’s what I want from my financial advisor. Someone who knows me well enough to be able to help me focus on the possible outcomes I can achieve, Someone who will motivate me to take the small, doable, steps that will ensure I achieve my goals.
Unfortunately, that’s not been my experience. For many advisors the ideal client seems to be the ones who hand over their financial assets, congratulate him when the portfolio goes up, is understanding when the portfolio is down and happily pays the fees that reward him for a job well done.
But there is so much more to being a good financial advisor than doling out financial advice. We tend to think about trust in a relationship as a “given” rather in terms of the hard work that it takes to earn people’s trust.
No doubt, the function of financial advisors is changing. Financial institutions are trying to recruit more women because they understand that women are better at building trust and forging relationship. But this isn’t just about whether advisors are male or female. It’s about changing the business model, making it more about the client and less about the firm. For that to happen a lot more has to change than the gender of financial advisors. Every aspect of advice needs to evolve beyond the needs of the organization – recruiting, revenue models, compensation, culture, services, communication even products all need to be part of the transition.
Some advisors are getting it and for them a bright future exists because there is a real need for financial advice. But good advice isn’t limited to financial advice, Its true potential lies in building the confidence of clients who need to believe in the possibilities they, not their advisor, are capable of. They need to believe that every small step they take will get them closer to their goal — and this is never more true than with female clients.